For an entire week, your reporter has quietly mourned the death of media reason. Today, she faces attack by winter power bill and can maintain her reverent silence no minute more. Is it an act of great hypocrisy to recount, for cash, an act of media stupidity then come over all la-di-da about how no worker in media should be banging on about it at all? Absolutely, yes. But, there are less principled ways to pay one’s bills. I could be asking you to pay ‘em, for instance.
In the unlikely case you had not heard, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has declared her intention to take action against Senator David Leyonhjelm, and she has asked Australians to crowdfund this defamation fancy. This follows the comments Leyonhjelm made to and about Hanson-Young.
These comments were unparliamentary. If I were not fearful of my arse being owned forever by a parliamentarian, I might also call them sexist, idiotic and impulsive. I might then call Hanson-Young’s response to these disproportionate, opportunistic and self-serving.
What moves a person to finance one Australian senator’s longing to pay lawyers to take money from another Australian senator?
I will refrain, however, as I not remunerated even one quarter as well as a senator, nor do I have a senator’s comfy pension plan. Further, it is my misfortune not to hold those views with which large numbers of persons employed in media feel comfortable; to wit: “strewth, feminists are awful” or “golly gee, aren’t feminists the bees’ knees”. Ergo, no bastard would crowdfund my defence.
Many bastards have, however, crowdfunded the defence of Sarah Hanson-Young. About 800 of the falsely conscious pets, at last count.
Seriously. What is this shit? What moves a person to finance one Australian senator’s longing to pay lawyers to take money from another Australian senator? How did a person on whom great legitimacy, pay and power have been already conferred become a Poor Little Lady With No One But The People To Defend Her?
Sarah Hanson-Young may weep for the powerless at appropriate moments, but she is not one of the powerless. She is a senator. She earns 200K a year. The woman is able to take vacations at the World Economic Forum, an obscene circle-jerk of the powerful. There is no better time or place on Earth to collect the cards of the inordinately well-to-do. Let her get a loan from one of the lady bankers she met at the nice Swiss spa.
I almost can’t take it anymore. I almost can’t. I am conscious that in stating that The Struggle of Sarah Hanson-Young is not The Struggle Of All Women I will give media people the shits. I’d prefer not to do this, as they are a vindictive bunch. I’d rather leave them to their commentary on the Leyonhjelm vs. SHY promotional wrestling match as though this were meaningful for the many.
Were the words of Leyonhjelm a great offence? Hell, yes. Is the decision to take this man to court likely to diminish the abusive nature of work itself? Hell, no.
I would sue myself for defamation if it meant never again having to “analyse” these obscene ruling class moments that require no real analysis at all. Let’s do the analysis needed and ask: who wins? Cui bono, as I am pretty sure they never say in civil courts. I’ll tell you cui fucking bono from this obscenity, this funding drive and this misuse of political will. Two senators. Dozens of lawyers. Parasites on the host of mass consciousness, like me. Who does not bono? You lot. Everyone else. Whether you’re on the purportedly feminist side of Hanson-Young or the purportedly libertarian side of Dave “I Love Adam Smith But Totally Ignored the Stuff He Said About Banking Regulation” Leyonhjelm, you lose.
Were the words of Leyonhjelm a great offence? Hell, yes. Is the decision to take this man to court likely to diminish the abusive nature of work itself? Hell, no. Let’s really ask, once more, what a “victory” for Hanson-Young would achieve.
First, a series of smug columns by neoliberal SHY-identified women claiming that this is just the sort of thing we need to stop rape; let’s get courts, police and any authority we can think of involved to stop the abuse of all persons. Because, nothing creates peaceful conditions like the apparatuses of the state, and the abuse of SHY is the abuse of all women etc.
Second, a series of smug columns by neoliberal Leyonhjelm-identified men claiming that this is just the sort of punitive thing that the Femonasties are wont to do. They’re no fun and they’re always calling the police, the prison warden or a lawyer.
Leyonhjelm could not write a scenario that would better embolden his base, and nor could Hanson-Young. If you are unable to see that the true victors here will be two unremarkable, and often confused, politicians who have little to offer to parliament but negation—”at least I am not him/her” is what now stands as a policy position—then your eyes are focused solely on the interests of our nation’s ruling class.
For the many, everyday life is a case of doing what the boss demands to meet the demands of the bank. For the few, everyday life is a case of being shocked by mean tweets.
If I were not terrified of having my arse owned forever by litigious politicians, I might say that these two are twits likely laughing it up when they’re not amping it up on the telly. For whose freedom are they fighting? Not mine. Not yours. No “misandrist” or “misogynist” will be felled by their petty dispute and no freedom to speak or to move without fear of a hand up your work uniform will be gained by its legal resolution. Did you not pay attention in high school? Do they not teach government these days? Do they teach you the lie that the Australian parliament is a “contest of ideas” and not a place that actually legislates?
For some decades, Australian legislation—which must be approved in the Senate—has geared an upward concentration of power and of wealth. The supposed deregulation of labour and of the finance sector has regulated and diminished the freedom of workers and of borrowers. For the many, everyday life is a case of doing what the boss demands to meet the demands of the bank. For the few, everyday life is a case of being shocked by mean tweets. This is a luxury enjoyed by Leyonhjelm, major party parliamentarians and a fantasy endorsed by many in the media class. It is a luxury fantasy maintained by Sarah Hanson-Young and nearly every Greens senator ever. This is with the exception of Lee Rhiannon, a Greens senator whose unfortunate tendency to fight for the education of children above the education of the press gallery about her Marvellously Compassionate Character has been ended by her party. Rhiannon retires next month.
SHY will go on, though. As will Leyonhjelm. They will continue to “represent” themselves to the press as guardians of justice, and continue not to represent anyone much but a media class in love with power.
There is so little that separates the policy of a Leyonhjelm from a SHY, media workers just make a bet on the neoliberal whose style they like best.
If you want George Orwell’s vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever. If you want Helen’s vision of the present, imagine an infinite row of happy media faces all waiting for their turn to be kicked. 1984 is a book for optimists. 2018, as recounted by press, is true cause for pessimism. Here we are, arguing for a pair of parliamentarians unable to articulate what they truly believe, possibly even to themselves. There is so little that separates the policy of a Leyonhjelm from a SHY, media workers just make a bet on the neoliberal whose style they like best.
To be ruled by a forceful few is a violation, but to desire the force of that few is our self-violating disgrace. And if it isn’t a disgrace for us in media to love power, it’s a cause for a bit of a laugh. Or, would be if current social conditions did not find the many in shit far less endurable than mean tweets and sexist jibes in the upper house.
Say SHY gets a payday for her one unpleasant afternoon. What will this mean for All Women? Will the many who labour in insecure retail or healthcare jobs feel emboldened to sue their co-workers? And how will they find the money to do so on minimum wage? Will we ever issue enough currency to sue all the sexism out of society? My estimate is: FFS no, you twits.
No one can purchase their way out of exploitation itself produced by purchased exploitation. You want to end workplace exploitation, you put an end to workplace exploitation. If you’re a senator, you actually have a pretty good shot at making your objections to workplace exploitation heard. But why would you bother? It’ll win you no press coverage and get you kicked out of the party room.
Get your shit together, you deluded media dills. Or, don’t. Either way, I’ll be around until you crowdfund my retirement.