The political right likes to […] plead immunity to offence over “comments”. According to them, this trivialised media ecosystem is the outcome of something called “outrage culture”, which took over university campuses in the 1990s and then metastasised thanks to cultural Marxism. It’s common to hear arguments over, say, female-shaped pedestrian crossing lights dismissed as hysterical and separate from a place called “the real world”. Once we were Aussie larrikins taking things not too seriously, they argue, before the thought police intervened.
This Australia never existed – it’s still the same place where the editors of Oz magazine were sentenced to prison and hard labour for pretending to wee into a fountain. Power has always concerned itself with the apparently unimportant and everyday. Arguments over South American soccer games, or who is allowed to touch a banana, or whether Jesus’s name has the letter “И” in it, have all killed tens of thousands of people. It’s no different now, when those who complain loudest about the “offenderati” will shed their thick skin and join them as soon as the subject turns to something like Anzac Day.
Richard Cooke on the Australia that wasn’t.
- To be fair, I have met one of these. Once. [↩]