axing the jobs of hundreds of hard-working journalists, the market for menopausal male misogynists in print and broadcasting remains stronger than ever. Why?
With a nod to our new ideological overlords of the IPA, it seems the market has spoken. What Australia wants from its media is not The Truth, but something that the archetypal 50-something Dad - full of three James Boags and two Pinot Noirs at the family barbecue - declares to be the reality.
How else to explain the nasal, semi-autistic obsessions of the Gerard Hendersons of the world, the mincing, mummy-never-loved-me-anyway anti-women rants of the Alan Jones and the 'I'm no racist but look at what the boongs are doing now' magic waterworld of the Paul Sheehans?
Old, grumpy, racist and reactionary is clearly the new pathway to media millions. So let's sack all the working journalists - the ones who went to university, learnt a trade and then plied it in 10-hour shifts at not much above the average wage - and employ instead for six figures the bigotry peddlers. Because it's all about grabbing an audience and flogging to to advertisers; and the market is never wrong, right?
Clearly, that's what the public wants. The Australian public wants whitebread certainty; it wants its prejudices pandered to by the all knowing, half-cut Uncle Alan at the bar, going red in the face and sticking his RM Williams up the backsides of dole bludgers, darkies, sundry immigrants, working women and poofters (well, not all poofters).
How else to explain this nation's reflexive forelock tugging to the omniscient menopausal male? We are in love with the opinions of the lip-curling, finger-pointing, vein-bulging grumps who hate change and want to reassure us that the world is not warming, that the consequences of globalisation do not include the mass movement of people, that a woman can't be an effective prime minister, that homosexual people cannot love each other till death, that we can't be a mature nation without a German dynasty looking over our shoulders and that we are forever defined by Don Bradman, Henry Lawson and Robert Menzies.
I get the sense Australia is more than that, is bigger than that, is more imaginative than that. But we're currently in a place where people feel unnerved by change and do not want to deal with the complexity and richness of the real world. These are the people who respond reflexively to those whom Paul Keating called the punishers and straighteners. And they are defining the debate in this country.
I say it's time other voices were heard. And I'm male, 53 and white.
See also: 'Why Society Doesn't Change: The System Justification Bias' - PsyBlog