Welcome to Brain Graze, the weblog of Bernard Slattery of Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
I am a curmudgeonly, old-school journalist with affection and respect for good writing, flavoursome beer and defining moments in rock music. I am appalled at the standard of reporting that passes for mainstream journalism in Australia today and hope to use this blog to introduce some better examples of balanced reporting and comment on major issues. I am also committed to family life and the south-east Australian bush.
THIS IS A PIECE I WROTE FOR THE PAPER THAT EMPLOYS ME, THE GEELONG ADVERTISER. IT WAS PROMPTED BY THE CONTINUED USE OF THE TERM BY VICTORIAN PREMIER STEVE BRACKS IN HIS WEEKLY RADIO PUFF PIECE WITH NEIL 'CREAMPUFF'' MITCHELL
THAT blasted word has appeared again. In bold type on the front page of my local paper, the Geelong Advertiser. Meusli choke time.
Thankfully, the dreadful adjective wasn’t the work of an Addy writer. It was quoted by a senior bureaucrat to describe the City of Greater Geelong’s performance in certain matters.
Admittedly, the State Auditor-General also said the council was misguided and deficient.
But he did say the council’s actions were ‘’inappropriate’’. To this aficianado of vibrant language, that’s bordering on profanity.
Was there ever a more prim, wimpy, snobbish word than inappropriate and its direct antonym?
It doesn’t tell you whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, honest or shonky, ugly or easy on the eye.
It’s the type of word Methodist mums once used when their kids asked why they couldn’t play with the Catholic youngsters down the street.
"Inappropriate’’ has spread in use with other politically correct nonsense, courtesy of the prevailing academic touchstone, moral relativism.
In the morally relativist world, no-one has bad intentions, well almost no-one. Your granny-bashing junky is merely a substance deprived victim of society; a thief is just differently ethiced; and liars have their own truths.
Thus, no-one or nothing is offensive, disgraceful, immoral or hateful. It’s ‘’inappropriate’’. No arguments there.
And that’s the whole point of PC language: to limit discussion and eradicate debate so that we all march to the same dumbed-down beat.
Of course, moral relativism can be relaxed in certain cases. As long as the politically correct line is followed.
Hence, anyone who questions whether indigenous welfare policies are working just asks to be branded a racist. Ask if the country can afford existing levels of migration (and I think it can support higher levels of skilled migrants) and expect to be called a redneck. Suggest that tightly-controlled borders are an essential responsibility of government and be prepared to wear the xenophobic tag.
Nothing like a spot of hurtful, inaccurate abuse to gag the sceptics, non-conformists and true liberal thinkers.
Those bandying the abuse have been described lately as the commentariat, and the bleating classes.
Melbourne writer Michael Warby prefers Club Virtuous. This exclusive coterie, he says, with tongue firmly engaged in cheek, is restricted to those who display opinions which show them to be elevated intellectually and with superior moral understanding.
Its practitioners, particularly in the broadsheet press, are, Warby says, the pharisees of commentary who write to parade rather than to persuade.
Expect to hear a lot more from them as the Labor Party, as announced, sets out to gentrify the working class.
This glossary compiled by Warby and associates explains the utterings of Club Virtuous. In these times it seems er, appropriate.
Divisive: giving people a choice we don’t approve of.
Diversity: (1) giving people a choice we do approve of, (2) everyone thinking the same (particularly people from different social classes thinking like us).
Democracy: the people when they're right.
Populism: the people when they're wrong.
The community: everyone who agrees with us.
Consensus: agreeing with us.
Leadership: (1) agreeing with us, (2) requiring people to agree with us.
Humanitarian: agreeing with us.
Progressive: agreeing with us.
Informed: agreeing with us.
Informed debate: everyone agreeing with us.
Need to have an informed debate: everyone has to be required to agree with us.
Compassion (1): our opinion.
Caring: our opinion.
Morality: our opinion.
So-called elites: us
Australian public: racists.
Racists: the Australian public.
Failure to support an apology: racism.
Failure to support high immigration: racism.
Failure to support race-specific property law: racism.
Failure to support race-specific welfare policy: racism.
Failure to support an automatic right of aquatic illegal entry: racism.
Failure to support female equality: sexism.
Worrying about importing people who don’t believe in female equality: racism.
Border protection: xenophobia
Callous: disagreeing with us.
Immoral: disagreeing with us.
Demonising: disapproval of us.
Censorship: disapproval of us.
Concern for insensitive use of language: censorship.
Inappropriate: something we don't like but can’t explain why.