We tend to look down on whores. They may perform a service by trading in lust – Aquinas called them the shield of marriage – but there is something distasteful about their work, rather like that of night-carters.
People who trade in conflict rather than lust are another matter. They do not seem to perform any useful service at all. Rather, they trade and profit greatly from getting down in the gutter with the kind of people who will embrace them. Take those frightful people called shock jocks. They encourage conflict by appealing to bogans. What do I mean by ‘bogan’? Someone who has been brought up without taste, courtesy or tolerance, and who is hostile to people who are better or just different – the kind of person who follow Andrew Bolt or Alan Jones.
In the poem ‘A Prayer for my Daughter’, W B Yeats wrote:
An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think her opinions are accursed.
No one would accuse Jones or Bolt of being an intellectual – the contrary is the case – but they are two of the most opinionated people on earth. And they trade and profit from giving their opinions on any subject under the sun to bogans; and then they thrive and trade on the conflict that they have generated or fanned. Each of them comes within a later phrase from the same poem – ‘an old bellows full of angry wind’, or these lines:
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
You can see how they ply their trade in arrogance and hatred in the very sad controversy about the aboriginal footballer named Adam Goodes. Goodes has offended Bolt and Jones in two ways. He complained about being called an ape, and he performed a kind of aboriginal dance during a game. For those two acts, he is being booed by large sections of the crowd, and as a result he is now thinking of giving the game away. Try explaining that to someone from overseas.
This is truly awful for the AFL. They have served up the worst footy ever on the field this year and now they have bogans in the crowd bringing the game into disgrace.
Then an aboriginal team-mate of Goodes upset some people, including a remarkably stupid state premier, by posing as a spear-thrower. The photo of him that appeared in the press looked just like the famous sculpture of the Artemisian Zeus in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. There are after all not many ways that you can throw a spear. I seem to recall a version of this sculpture at Melbourne University. I don’t recall it upsetting people, although I seem to recall it getting a coat of Kiwi boot polish where it would be most uncomfortable, rather after the manner of the darker side of bucks’ parties as then practised by whitefellas in very ugly rites of passage.
No one – not even Bolt or Jones – tries to justify this appalling conduct of the bogans in the crowd, but both insist on making comments which they know must fan the flames. They both do so with a level of drivel that would have made Goebbels blush.
Bolt is angry that Goodes referred to rapes, killings and thefts carried out by whites against blacks. Goodes did so in terms that were less blunt than those used by Paul Keating when he was Prime Minister, but for Bolt this stand by a blackfella ‘was to twist the facts to suit the fiction of a country rived by racism.’ There is something dark in the psyche of Bolt that drives him to enter any discussion of race or racism and always in such a way as to belittle and offend those of a different race.
The arrogance of Jones is boundless. He says that the problem is all the fault of Goodes. He says that Goodes always plays the victim. The crowd are booing Goodes because they don’t like him – they don’t like his behaviour including his spear-throwing and doing a war dance – provoking people. There you have it. Goodes has provoked the bogans. How? By standing up for himself. Adam Goodes is just another bloody uppity abo.
Those who do not see this for the frightful racism that it is have not spent enough time with bogans. When a blackfella got offended by being called a black cunt, I heard him described as a whinger and a girl. I saw the start of last year’s Grand Final in a pub, and within ten minutes the appreciative bar was told that in addition to being a whinger, Goodes was also a poofter.
The political savoir faire of Adam Goodes may be open to discussion, but he has on any view been what the late Doug Heywood used to call an ornament to the game. Skunks like Bolt and Jones are not fit to tie his bootlaces, and it is a source of great pain and sorrow to me that our Prime Minister consorts with and is a friend of both of them.