Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Irregular Verbs

I was just about ready to chuck blogging in this week; I spent too much time over the weekend writing witty first paragraphs of pieces that didn't go anywhere. One piece, on dinner party etiquette, got a whole six paragraphs before I decided the whole thing was pointless, at least forthe time being. And the only great Australian Bungle to win more than one vote from the readership was the building of the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre. So I guess that makes it our greatest Australian bungle ever; we're the world leaders in memorialising dead Prime Ministers in slightly tacky ways. In time perhaps we can expect the William Snedden Memorial Massage Parlour and the Malcolm Fraser Memorial Dry Cleaners.

If my own powers of comic invention have flagged a little this week, the world of politics and the press have taken up the slack admirably and I was pleased to learn today (two or three days after the event), that a little jobby whose flight path I started tracking in June has finally hit the fan. In the time it has taken to hit the Mistral, NASA could have had another Voyager probe half-way to Jupiter.

Under the headline Hailed a hero for blowing our trust in Sydney's Daily Telly, Piers Akerman puts the current furore over Bolt's reporting of Wilkie's work in the proper perspective, with the help of one of those Yes Minister irregular verbs:

Carlton and others who have placed the garrulous former analyst on a pedestal and awarded him the whistle-blower appellation like to ignore the reality that Wilkie became a media tart in early April when he contacted The Bulletin's Laurie Oakes and began briefing him for a television program.


If, however, Andrew Bolt did obtain a leaked classified document, it surely puts him in the junior Bernstein and Woodward category.

Repeat after Piers: we are respected journalists and commentators, you are a trusted source, he is a media tart and a threat to national security.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd doesn't share Piers awe at Bolt's scoop; in Parliament he was after Alexander Downer, looking for an explanation. You can find the rest of the news on this that's fit to Google here.

Postscript: in the interests of historical accuracy, I suppose I should mention that William Snedden wasn't ever a Prime Minister. But he did go out like Flynn.

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