The elephant, the canary, the wolf and other beasties to dispatch by journalists.

Jan 3, 2021

The tweeters are using the media as spittoons. Along with the contrived malice of Donald Trump and the spinmeisters of government they’re doing their damnedest to discredit our profession. We don’t need help: This is a job we’ve been doing ourselves.

‘Tis not the season to be merry when journalists click on clichés. It saves time and isn’t taxing, unlike the ATO. It says the writer doesn’t care a Ficus carica whether their words are engaging or ignored.

Sadly it’s the ABC most likely to tramp the low road, probably because editorial ‘resizings’ mean Gen Z interns think a ‘sub’ is the submissive in a complex intimate relationship. The better-read might find a French connection – a Jules Verne fantasy set in a Port Adelaide shipyard.

As this is the silly season, like every month, it’s time to make a wish. Most will be hoping for government policies driven by the needs of the many rather than the demands of the few, but this column is far more ambitious.

It wants bromides banned.

The elephant in the room has been around since its naming by Fyodor Dostoevsky. That’s 150 years, twice the age of an average tusker. Time for a euphemism, like a large calibre bullet. A whale in the spa might take its place.

No brutality, thanks, for the canary in the coalmine, already a century old. I’ve been in a couple of collieries but have yet to see a little finch. Maybe they all expired while workers were checking their electronic early-warning systems.

Also invisible on my rounds have been bulls in china shops, though they’re common in the money market. Let’s truck ‘em to the knackery for ramping profits. Teenagers’ bedrooms are far more chaotic.

The wolf shouldn’t be kept at the door on a continent where he’s not indigenous. Can’t we have drought-struck quokkas scratching at the architrave?

Animals need to enjoy the food put under the table by the hard-working mortgagors keeping a roof over their heads, as though the structure has another purpose. But the wild canines will probably find this bone hard to chew. They’re so old they’re toothless. Like the tiger, and a streak of government supervising agencies frequently found asleep at the wheel.

Though foxes never manage chook pens they seem to run much of the media. They like something to chase, so it’s recommended they hang around politicians. They’re always raising eyebrows by pulling rabbits out of hats, starting hares or letting cats out of bags while forecasting lights at the end of tunnels which match their vision.

All these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Any copy with such hand-me-downs deserves scragging along with the chickens which come home to roost if only newsrooms had staff capable of killing to be kind.

It’s also worth noting coffins no longer get the final nail but are screwed down. Like welfare recipients.

A final plea to my fellow hacks: Spike Anon. No name, no fame.

To republish trite tweets from nameless cowards and rank them alongside the analyses of intellectuals like Hugh White, Bob Carr, Geoff Gallop and other serious thinkers is more than laziness.

The tweeters are using us as spittoons. Along with the contrived malice of Donald Trump and the spinmeisters of government they’re doing their damnedest to discredit our profession. We don’t need help: This is a job we’ve been doing ourselves.

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