Friday, October 05, 2012

On Alan Jones and other human deformities

I am indebted to Dennis Parker of Yongala for his Advertiser Letter to the Editor, which begins:

“So we find Alan Jones can’t stand Julia Gillard and Julia can’t stand Alan; I wholeheartedly agree with each of them.”
Having said that, this US phenomenon of the “shock jock” – and by extension, shock cartoonist, shock columnist, shock TV presenter – needs to be condemned.

And they need to be condemned by exposing the class interests behind their promotion.

Nothing suits the ruling class better than to have the people arguing amongst themselves instead of as a solid mass against the rulers.  Divide and rule.  Encourage male contempt for women; heterosexual hatred of gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons; mainstream Aussie rejection of Asians and blacks; waged people’s resentment of “dole bludgers”; the free citizen’s anger at “boat people”….the list goes on.  Only one thing is excluded: the united determination of the people to get the ruling class off their backs and into the dustbin of history.  That they will never encourage.

Adelaide’s “talkback king” Bob Francis was removed from the airwaves for four weeks last June for saying “Bugger the boatpeople, I say.  As far as I’m concerned, I hope they bloody drown out there on their way over here…”

A fortnight later Francis got his wish with the drowning of over 90 asylum seekers when their boat capsized in Indonesian waters about  110 nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island.

There was no statement of contrition or regret from Francis.  He remains on air because it suits the ruling class to have him continue to foment disagreement and disunity amongst the people.

Then there are people like cartoonist Larry Pickering who publicly harass Gillard from a sexist and misogynist perspective.

Pickering’s claim to fame was a series of satirical cartoons which were made into calendars during the era of Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke.

Pickering’s cartoons of Gillard naked and sporting a giant dildo are not satire: they have a meaner and nastier flavour.


They have moved past humour and are simply an expression of one man’s savage dislike of the woman, and a throw-back to earlier labelling of her as “lesbian” - as though lesbianism was some disgusting crime.

Pickering recently took Gillard to task for her response to allegations concerning her time as a lawyer with Slater and Gordon.  He listed 24 questions that he wanted her to answer under the heading “What a cunning stunt”.

This a rhyming slang for an insult based on the four-letter term for vagina.

Pickering is clearly bitter as a result of a divorce that has left him bankrupt, is anti-women (“I have run out of brood mares”, he says at the end of the same article) and has been exposed as a con-man and fraudster.

Yet misogynists and nutters rallied to his defense, applauding his vile rants and cartoons.
Murdoch continues to publish the reactionary Andrew Bolt whose loony ravings embraced racism for which he enjoyed a day in court.  Gina Rinehart found him so palatable that she is widely believed to be behind Channel Ten’s decision to give him his own show.

The same channel has promoted the obnoxious Paul Henry as part of its breakfast show.  He makes Bob Francis and Larry Pickering look almost sane by comparison.

Now back to Alan Jones.

His comments about Julia Gillard’s father dying of shame were cruel not just to Gillard but also to her grieving mother Moira.  That has apparently escaped Jones’ notice, for his pathetic faux apology made no reference to her.

While it is good to see major corporate sponsors temporarily withdraw support from Jones’ show, it is also testament to the power that the ruling class has to sustain divisive and reactionary commentary in normal times and explains why there are no normal people putting forward a progressive perspective in the mass media.

Those working people who follow the opinionated, belligerent put-downs offered by the “shockers” will always be “the stupid victims of deceit and self-deceit” (Lenin) until they start to ask of such put-downs, “Who does this serve?”  and “Which class stands to benefit from the divisions being promoted by this sleaze bag?”

Because in a class society, every type of thinking carries with it the characteristics of one or other of the great social classes confronting each other in daily life.