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Blair and the Australian Reptiles of the Press

One of my Australian detractors, Sian, commenting in the Sydney Morning Herald's Radar Blog has compared me with Mike Carlton - the Aussie broadcaster and commentator. Saying "Mike Carlton's just as bad - another pompous blowhard.

Carlton and Fitz and Lambe all suffer from the same syndrome: would-be alpha males who reach a Certain Age and suddenly sense the grave yawning a little wider, feel the cold breath of the tomb on the backs of their necks, the hair tumbling from the scalp, the muscles becoming flaccid, the gut taking over.... and so they wildly over-compensate for their failing powers by transforming themselves into commentators and "humourists", in the mistaken belief that their hoary, self-important observations somehow matter to anybody other than fellow sad sacks.

Classic symptoms include rampant egotism, insecurity, aggression and the tendency to throw tantrums when challenged, plus a compulsive need to let everyone know that in spite of their advancing years, they still enjoy the pleasures of youth and are quite a hit with the laydeez.

They're also pretty mediocre writers."

He (because "Sian" is a fella who also posts under "Simon Mantle") is probably right about the worries of a bloke at un certain âge as they say over here but I don't know whether you can say Mike Carlton is a pretty mediocre writer. Judge for yourself -

"SUCH a nice man, Tony Blair. The boyish grin, the bounding energy, the evangelical mission to save the world. And such nice things he said about us, too. His whistlestop visit to Canberra provoked fawning on an epic scale, from politicians on all sides and in media coverage which began at reverential and ended in grovel.

Back in the Old Dart, Blair is badly on the nose. In the wake of the Iraq war, with its 103 British military deaths, and the "cash for favours" scandal of the Labour Party trading multimillion-dollar loans for coronets in the House of Lords, his popularity rating has slumped to a record low of 36 per cent approval.

A recent poll in Britain's Sunday Telegraph found that voters believed Blair was up to his neck in the sordid flogging of peerages, with 70 per cent thinking his Government as sleazy, or more sleazy, than the corrupt John Major Tories he replaced. Roughly a third of his own back bench is in open revolt against him, desperate for his heir apparent, Gordon Brown, to seize the keys to Number 10 Downing Street.

None of this unpleasantness troubled the grovellers Down Under, least of all at News Limited, where Blair was elevated to a pantheon of the good and great on a plinth somewhere between John Stuart Mill and Winston Churchill."

More here at - Reptiles get in a blather over Blair

Just for the record Sian/Mantle, if I could write half as well as Mike Carlton and the Ex-International Rugby Player Peter Fitzsimons I'd be a happy camper.

You can read more of my pretty mediocre writing here at The Sydney Morning Herald Radar Blog under "Punters" in the Archives. You won't find Mantle's name there - he's just one of these snide little Sydney homos that like to snipe from the sidelines whilst contributing nothing.

""It's a challenging culture in many ways"...Mantle's take on thousands of years of French kulcha."

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Reader Comments (3)

"One of my Australian detractors...."

Priceless! man, you are so far up youself I'll bet your young French wife can see the top of your gleaming bonce when you yawn. As you probably do rather often after 9.30 pm these days, Ageing Bull.

If your idea of happy camping is being able to write half as well as the likes of Carlton and "Ex-International Rugby Player" FitzSimons, well good for you. Nice to see that expat status hasn't compromised the unswerving Australian dedication to mediocrity. And thoughtful of you to provide an example of Carlton's prose for us all to marvel at. Excuse me if I say it reads to me like a tossed-off summary of a two-week-old Guardian op-ed piece, larded with cliches, clumsy mixed metaphors (pantheon/plinth?? wtf??) and a bit of historical fluffery at the end, like a big bright cherry on top. Most impressive.

But - as I pointed out on the Radar blog, and you conveniently edited out above - at least the likes of Carlton and Fitz get paid. Unlike you, they have an excuse other than Godzilla-sized ego for setting themselves up as eminences grises. If someone paid me good money to pontificate with one hand tied behind my back, I'd probably find it hard to resist too. But I'm not so deluded as to think that setting up Blog #950,986,537 on the internet makes me some sort of credible culture maven.

As for "sniping from the sidelines while contribuing nothing"... well, I guess it's not surprising, given your towering self-regard, that you completely misunderstand one salient feature of internet communication: it's a flat plane, no hierarchy. The primary-text-followed-by-comments model of your average blog like Radar obscures the fact that there's actually no centre-vs-sidelines distinction. Radar is a particularly good example, given that the feature pieces are generally such lame stuff, with most of the really interesting material in the comments. It's only preening fools like you who think that posting some desperate piece about cats & girlfriends puts them at the "centre" of anything in particular.
April 3, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersian
Talking of "pompous blowhards" - "one salient feature of internet communication: it's a flat plane, no hierarchy. The primary-text-followed-by-comments model of your average blog like Radar obscures the fact that there's actually no centre-vs-sidelines distinction." - What's this Sian baby? An example of YOUR outstanding writing? Flowery bullshit written in an attempt to over-awe and impress. And WRONG. "No hierarchy"? What do you think Technorati is all about? Why do you think they give you a ranking based on who links to you and the "authority" of that link? Google "A-List bloggers" for a start, chump.

And I see from its IP that it works at the ABC. Figures. Probably as a shirt-lifter ....I mean set-shifter. And talking of cats...I was wrong about it not contributing anything - it gives us a wonderful example of pure Oxford Street cattiness. Up yours with a cherry on top Sian baby. BTW...I notice YOU made a TYPO in your over-blown comment above, you glasshouse dweller.
April 3, 2006 | Registered CommenterMalcolm Lambe
Google "radar sian still retarded". Voila! What did I say, fuckknuckle? Top of the page. Well done. You and your retarded brother must be well pleased.


"words like "retard" only have the power to offend because they're given that power by the language police. Ask any dyke or poof about the political usefulness of claiming the insult and turning it around. Oh, there's a whole complex world of identity politics out there that seems to be completely lost on some of you thin-lipped amateur social workers. So lighten up."

- thanks for that, poof.
April 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLes Miserable

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