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A vast, sunny intellectual gulag
May 17, 2013 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Why Australia hates thinkers, an essay on anti-intellectualism in today's Australia and the populist hostility to “intellectual elites”, by Alecia Simmonds.
posted by acb (60 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Meanwhile, a riposte from left-wing commentator Jeff Sparrow, claiming that there is a rising elitism amongst the progressive intelligentsia. Also, along similar lines, The Toxicity Of Smugness, Christos Tsiolkas' essay about the rise of the bugbear of the uncultured, instinctively right-wing “bogan” among the university-educated Australian Left.
posted by acb at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


The culture wars have been called on account of rain.
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my field, Australia has some really top scholars and pays and supports them very well. Certainly there is an anti-intellectual current in the culture, but the institutions are just the opposite. This tension is just as prevalent in the US, which, for all its famous antagonism to science and scholarship, also has the best higher education in the world.

So it goes. Maybe anti-intellectual rhetoric is an important part of any very well educated society, since it prevents wholesale capture of the culture by academic elites.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:36 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Bookish' Australians indifferent to Olympics success
posted by Damienmce at 10:39 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe anti-intellectual rhetoric is an important part of any very well educated society, since it prevents wholesale capture of the culture by academic elites.

Interesting idea, though I never felt that university professors were in danger of consolidating power here in the US. I think it's more likely that, as the author says, there may be an element of anti-intellectualism inherent in egalitarianism, which would be unfortunate but understandable. I do agree with what you say about the parallels between Aussie and US anti-intellectualism.
posted by Edgewise at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought Bruce taught logical positivism and was also in charge of the sheep dip.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:44 AM on May 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


'Bookish' Australians indifferent to Olympics success

See also: The Anti-Football League
posted by acb at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always did say Australia and America had a lot in common. In a bad way.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:58 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is mostly a question-begger -- she doesn't try very hard to make her case that it is so, she mostly assumes you already agree. She also doesn't do very much to live up to the title, because she doesn't put a lot of effort into saying "why" this is so. So if I may submit to the temptation to offer some tasty snark, if she represents Australia's intelligentsia, then the answer is "maybe because they are as lame as this article".

More seriously, it is nearly worth it for this broader observation: "Social media doesn't democratise debate. It limits it to the resilient. Snark triumphs over insight, and commentary is reserved for those with voluminous folds of scar-tissue."
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:09 AM on May 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


I always did say Australia and America had a lot in common. In a bad way.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:58 PM on May 17


Including the way they spell "Labor", it seems. I had no idea the Aussies did that too. We really shouldn't have let our colonies off the leash.
posted by Decani at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's a very little opinion piece and I don't think it's worthy of a post to the blue frankly. I don't actually believe her thesis; I think she sees the distaste many Australians feel for people who, say, 'put on airs', or think themselves haughty or too clever by half, is the same as anti-intellectualism. It's not. But, as with all broad-brush generalisations there's going to be a certain percentage that fall within the scope. That doesn't make them the heartbeat or the soul or the intellect(!) of a nation.
posted by peacay at 11:11 AM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Australia and America seem to have been converging over the past few decades. We now have US-style megachurches in the suburbs, and the Aussie bogan has shed his flannies, Sandman panelvan and fondness for Ackadacka and remade himself into a copy of the American bro, right down to the Oakley sunglasses and appropriation of gangsta rap and EDM. Some have even started confusing their national founding myth with America's one, asserting that being Australian is about “freedom and steak” (a far cry from either bragging or staying mum about having convicts in one's family tree). We don't yet have the full-on religiosity yet, thank the FSM, though I'm sure there's a committee in the Liberal Party salivating at the prospect of a solid base of campaign volunteers like the Republicans have in the US.
posted by acb at 11:14 AM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Including the way they spell "Labor", it seems. I had no idea the Aussies did that too.

Apparently the spelling of the Labor Party's name is for historic reasons distinct from all other uses.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Psssh, the author should check out the North Carolina General Assembly to see real ant-intellectualism in action. Some recent gems from the State House:

• A bill that bans a scientific study on the sea level rise along the coast.
• Proposed having an official state religion (Christianity) and called the bill the “Defense of Religion act”.
• Tax penalties for the parents of college students who vote at their college address.
• Charter School teachers do not need a degree, schools would not need to meet the same standards as public schools, and will be administered by their own board, but will get public funds.
• Repeal of the Motorcycle helmet law.
• Allow conceal carry gun owners to carry in bars and public parks.
• Women risk jail time for hard nipples and shear shirts.
• Towns no longer have a say in the type or quality of building construction in their own limits.
• Proposing deep education cuts and eliminating some UNC college campuses all together.

I could go on, but I'm starting to get depressed…….
posted by remo at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Apparently the spelling the Labor Party's name is for historic reasons distinct from all other uses.

Back then, ditching the British imperial apron strings and gravitating towards America as a model was seen as a progressive thing not at all incompatible with socialism.

There were a number of other decisions taken in Australia that suggest America as a model: minor things like road signs (Australian ones resemble US ones rather than British or European ones) and power plugs (which, whilst distinct from ones used elsewhere, have prongs the size of US plugs albeit at 45º angles, rather than following the British or European models).
posted by acb at 11:20 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


remo--I assume these are real pieces of legislation that were offered( hopefully not passed). These are just plain frightening--seriously. That there was even a motion to second them is frightening.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:27 AM on May 17, 2013


Back then, ditching the British imperial apron strings and gravitating towards America as a model was seen as a progressive thing not at all incompatible with socialism.

It's incredible isn't it, that Australia's institutional memory of America's socialist and labor movements is so much better than America's own. Over here, only history wonks even understand the extent to which such a thing even existed. It's taken 70 years to finish dismantling it ... and for the rest of us it pretty much resembles the crumbled store signs painted on the side of old brick buildings -- still sometimes legible if you look for it, but quaint and signifiying something very long gone.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


@rmhsinc You are correct some were proposals, but a surprising number have passed or on their way to passing. (Sea Level ban, charter schools, guns in bars, a ban on banning large sugary drinks). The nipple bill, and the defense of religion bill are the only ones on the list that appear dead right now.

I also should mention rural republican members are also targeting Democratic leaning cities in the state as some sort of political payback. As one member put it the cities are arrogant. So, they are going as far as canceling contracts between the cities and the state. Moving to control city assets like Charlotte Douglass Airport and the City of Asheville's Water System.

It has gotten so bad, that the House Speaker has asked for his guys to tone it down.

I am counting the days until this guys go on break for the summer.
posted by remo at 11:59 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anti-urbanism seems to be a cornerstone of the Right. See also: Rob Ford's Toronto, &c.

It's almost as if the very idea of cities, where people might serendipitously gather and talk and get ideas rather than watching TV in their McMansions or passively consuming, is regarded with suspicion by the stakeholders in the political Right...
posted by acb at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Didn't read the article. Searched it for the word "Murdoch". Doesn't appear. Therefore the article is wrong.
posted by flabdablet at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anti-urbanism seems to be a cornerstone of the Right.

You know how in the US we like to call the states "laboratories of democracy"? Well, that's changed. They've become laboratories of crony-capitalist theocracy. So we're way out ahead of everyone else (That's right--We're Number One!!). We're so widely acknowledged as world leaders in this field that we're exporting tactics abroad.

The interesting thing about anti-urbanism in the US is the way it uses "city" as a metonymic dog-whistle for "enclave of lazy non-whites, immigrants, eggheads, and perverts who don't have real jobs and suck down our tax money".

What's interesting about it that it's actually the urban areas that are the idea and wealth generators. Our liberal-leaning cities (and their environs) pay out more tax money than they get back in services. It's all of those God-fearing white folks in the hinterlands, the real Americans, who are on the government tit.

So I suspect that anti-urbanism is being used in a similar way in Australia. Is this suspicion valid?
posted by mondo dentro at 12:37 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Australia, elections are typically decided by the outer suburbs of cities, rather than inner cities (which tend to be gentrified and left-leaning albeit in a bourgeois-bohemian fashion). The Liberal Party (i.e., the right-wing party) has been tremendously successful in stirring resentment of “inner city trendies” with university degrees and exotic pretentions, in the suburbs.

The US racial angle on inner cities isn't as prevalent; most of the racist dog-whistles of the Howard era were about Lebanese Muslims, predominantly in the suburbs of western Sydney, and asylum seekers arriving from abroad, and the occasional bit of beating up on Aborigines in remote settlements. The inner city is “unaustralian” in that the people there vote Green, watch foreign arthouse films on SBS, slow you down by cycling in front of your 4WD and, most damningly, probably consider themselves better than the suburbanites, not that they have too much melanin in their skin. I.e., the anti-urbanism is more hipster-punching than racism.
posted by acb at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


A bill that bans a scientific study on the sea level rise along the coast.

"Let's go burn down the observatory so this never happens again!!"
posted by dry white toast at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Still, no worries, eh? :)
posted by The otter lady at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2013


> This tension is just as prevalent in the US, which, for all its famous antagonism to science and scholarship, also has the best higher education in the world.

Also true of ancient Athens, where there was pervasive public hostility to those thinkers we so admire today (as seen in the comic playwrights, and of course in the execution of Socrates).
posted by languagehat at 2:26 PM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


The honourable hat beat me to it, but yeah, the dynamic of the conservative rural areas hating the liberal cities has been in play since there have been cities. It's the fundamental yin-yang of conservatism and liberalism, the desire for order and structure vs. the lust for change and advancement. There were probably petite bourgeois on the outskirts of goddamn Ur who bitched about them fancy city folk with their whores and their chariots.

Australia meanwhile, is the California of England.
posted by Diablevert at 2:33 PM on May 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Maybe anti-intellectual rhetoric is an important part of any very well educated society, since it prevents wholesale capture of the culture by academic elites.

Only on Star Trek. 23rd century problems.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:08 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


In a bizarre twist of logic exemplified by the short-lived Rudd mining tax, Australians have come to see elite multinational companies as having the same interests as the everyday person and academics as haughty public menaces.

Another way in which Americans and Australians are converging.
posted by Ickster at 3:11 PM on May 17, 2013


Australians have come to see elite multinational companies as having the same interests as the everyday person and academics as haughty public menaces.

Yeah...who, though? Apart from the Murdoch press and the state of Western Australia? Because I just don't see it in the everyday conversations I have.
posted by Jimbob at 3:26 PM on May 17, 2013


Yeah...who, though? Apart from the Murdoch press and the state of Western Australia? Because I just don't see it in the everyday conversations I have.

“How could Nixon have won? I don't know one person who voted for him!”

Most of the people I know in Australia are left-leaning and appalled by Abbott and such, though a few (mostly older relatives, though also one former schoolmate) have swallowed the Murdoch line and rail about “Juliar” and the “coms” and “watermelons” in the Greens white-anting the economy and the stupid, sheep-like trendy lefties in the inner cities.
posted by acb at 3:32 PM on May 17, 2013


Australia meanwhile, is the California of England.

I was thinking more of it as the Texas of the Southern Hemisphere. With Melbourne as Austin.
posted by acb at 3:33 PM on May 17, 2013


There were probably petite bourgeois on the outskirts of goddamn Ur who bitched about them fancy city folk with their whores and their chariots.

Abraham. You may have heard of him.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:00 PM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. I bet the Aussies' round white little bums are all rosy after that damn good spanking. I can see the glow from over here.
posted by dmayhood at 4:44 PM on May 17, 2013


A related post over at TheMonthly lends support to the idea that "it was ever thus."

Or rather that it was never thus. Just the bleatings of a loud minority of elitists with a different, self-serving, agenda to the fictional "latte-sipping, inner-city elites" they rail against. They have created a strawman to oppose, and do so from some of the most privileged positions in Australian society.

And then some people decide they'd quite like to step inside the strawman and play the victim. Why they do this is an entirely different rabbit-hole to fall down.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 4:45 PM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah...who, though? Apart from the Murdoch press and the state of Western Australia? Because I just don't see it in the everyday conversations I have.

Well I'm currently working in civil construction in Western Australia, so take this with a grain of salt, but it's a near universal opinion that I hear. It's very much the embodiment of "fuck you I got mine" but many people I hear talk about this really do feel that their interests align with multinational (mostly mining) companies and they are probably right. It's those companies that result in formwork carpenters and the like being paid $130k a year and it is seen that it is those fucking greens and labor that want to mess that up.

That labourers on my current job earn significantly more than the CEO of the major public institution I last worked for is not something on many people's list of things to give a shit about out here. The important thing to most is that nothing gets in the way of the gravy train rolling on for ever more. Not a carbon tax, not regulation, certainly not the environment and certainly not any weird ideas of social obligation and helping those less fortunate. It's head in the sand business as usual.

People that question this status quo, whatever their background but particularly academics, are given very short shrift indeed.

I'm being a bit harsh and this is not universal but it is predominant.
posted by deadwax at 4:53 PM on May 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Favorite quote:
"Social media doesn't democratise debate. It limits it to the resilient. Snark triumphs over insight, and commentary is reserved for those with voluminous folds of scar-tissue. Sensitive thinkers rarely fit this bill."
posted by bitmage at 6:24 PM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's no doubt that Australia is a vast, sunny, intellectual gulag.

'Kin oath, there is. Throwing around adjectives and generalisations like dye at Holi does not a case make.

I find the idea that there is anything to be gleaned from breaking down the content of a show no one watches from a media that no one respects or listens to fruitless in the extreme - especially when such analysis occurs in a total vacuum without any comparison to other contraries.

Mind you, a fucking journalist blaming the public for not buying into their shit is pretty much par for the course here - and just the kind of paternalism I would expect. Ironically, for someone deriding the lack of experts and the rightful honour they should be accorded, I note that the piece is a) wholly without any verifiable facts, a gaudy construction built from rotted cliche - and b) written by someone who is 1) not an expert herself 2) seems to have a nice sideline going in whiny op-eds and 3) Lacking either of the former, seems to believe her status as an academic is all she needs to speak for Australians any and everywhere.

Gah.

Tall Poppy Syndrome is a thing - and the lack of it is definitely something I admire about American culture, where achievement is often unironically and wholeheartedly celebrated. Anti-establishmentarianism is a long-standing and large part of the white, historical, Australian identity, no doubt.

But let's inject some facts into this debate, shall we? Let's have a look at Which professions are most trusted for honesty and ethics in Australia, in 2013.

Well, look at that, all bar one in the top ten require degrees, and uni lecturers are in there at 68% at number 10. Newspaper and tv journalists, by contrast are in positions 20 and 21 with 19% and 18% respectively.

Honestly, that piece is so classist and racist - and all too typical of navel-gazing, bourgeois, left-wing elitism liberalism. Ironically, it's the very thing that the people she despairs of hate "the left" and universities for.

Actually a lot of Australians have great respect for experts, those that work hard and know much. If she ever got out into the suburbs she's so keen to pillory she would see that.
posted by smoke at 7:23 PM on May 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's a very weak essay and deserves puncturing. But the whole Nick Cater book debate is very interesting with deep ironies how NewsLtd has presented it.
posted by wilful at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


... the lack of [tall poppy syndrome] is definitely something I admire about American culture, where achievement is often unironically and wholeheartedly celebrated.

Unfortunately, this is only true for achievement that translates into wealth, preferably of an ostentatious variety. Highly skilled craftspeople, artists, scientists, poets, academics... they are suspect, and even reviled.

The stoking of class resentment by the ruling class against the cultural elites is a fundamental and time-honored tool used to maintain dominance. It's really pretty simple: it just deflects resentment away from where it rightfully should be directed (the plutocrats who are exporting jobs and extracting wealth from the working and middle classes) toward a readily identifiable, frequently unlikable, but--most importantly--much less politically powerful target group.

Despite the differences that have been pointed out about how this tactic takes shape in the two countries (interesting stuff!), it still seems like this is a point of commonality.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:09 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


smoke: "Tall Poppy Syndrome is a thing "

OTOH it's also very Australian that they would reappropriate the term for a science award.
posted by vanar sena at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Deadwax, not all Western Australians are like this, but yes, there is a certain self-interested mentality here that is perhaps more prominent than in eastern states? I don't think people in WA are really more selfish than anyone else, but there's less shame in being selfish, perhaps? I don't know.
Luckily I work with a bunch of commies & I know a lot of people active in grassroots social programs so my days aren't filled with endless whinging about the carbon tax & Juliar & refugees, but sometimes I just want to take a cricket bat to the next Lexus I see.
(Personally, I thought this article was rather thoughtless & badly-argued. But again, I'm a university educated middle-class white person who hangs in that sort of crowd.)
posted by jasperella at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2013


Anti-urbanism seems to be a cornerstone of the Right. See also: Rob Ford's Toronto, &c.

Except for everyone on the Left who opposes development.

I don't agree with this article as much as I assumed I would. Australian pop culture is anti-intellectual, and its models of gender roles are hysterically retrograde. The idea of the 'Aussie bloke' is sickening and Australian slang is disgusting. There's also the ever-present racism and sport worship.

BUT there seems to be more of a public intellectual culture than America. There's overseas news in the newspapers. Both parties have elected bookish nerds like John Howard and Kevin Rudd. Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott, for all their faults, are sane and intelligent men. There are policy articles in the paper and public debates on Q&A. Evolution is taught in schools.

Sure, the majority are anti-intellectual idiots, but that's true in every culture. Australians are just more obvious about it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:29 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also what's that article in, I think, Crikey that celebrated Australia's communal identity by looking fondly back on a 60s and 70s of stifling conformity?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:31 PM on May 17, 2013


Pride in wilfull ignorance is not just an Australian thing. It is an issue in Canada and the USA, at the very least. It seems to be an essential part of the nutbar Right ideology, but it is certainly not absent from nominally Left-wing discourse, especially among those who see a corporatist conspiracy behind a number of health, animal rights and agriculture debates.
posted by dmayhood at 9:31 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Exactly! Half the lefties I know are crazy, and they've managed to hijack politics to the point where we don't have nuclear power and we arbitrarily stop fishing trawlers. Count how many people show up at the 'march against Monsanto' next week.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:37 PM on May 17, 2013


You know how in the US we like to call the states "laboratories of democracy"?

Jon Stewart recently modified this to "the meth laboratories of democracy".
posted by XMLicious at 10:04 PM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Half the lefties I know are crazy, and they've managed to hijack politics to the point where we don't have nuclear power and we arbitrarily stop fishing trawlers.

This is a perfectly fine discussion to have, but it is not remotely the same as anti-urban sentiment directed at cultural elites. In fact, it's pretty much coming from the same place.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:09 PM on May 17, 2013


This is why I appreciate pets more than people. As Charles Schulz stated via Linus: 'I love mankind, it's people I can't stand.'
posted by breadbox at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2013


The culture wars have been called on account of rain.
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on May 17 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


The weather in Melbourne has turned to shit in the last week. What else are we to do? \o/
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:23 AM on May 18, 2013


Oh, and on Australian terribleness and dance music: there is something of a subculture down here (i.e. down under) of men who spend far too much time in the gym, and take far too many 'supplements', so they can go to dance music festivals and take their shirts off.

(yes I know, but it is actually a thing, it baffles us as well.)

If your heading down this way look out for those people, they will first use a hoop snake to entrap you, and then rain drop drop bears on your head. By which I mean if you look at those roid abusers 'wrong' they'll snap and try and kick your head in.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:32 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Australia meanwhile, is the California of England.

I was thinking more of it as the Texas of the Southern Hemisphere. With Melbourne as Austin.


Nah. Gold Rush, surfing, jocks and airheads. The Golden Land of blonds and tans where people move to escape the dreary motherland and start anew. Redneck-y desert interior. Wildfires and desert winds. Hikers and nature-lovers, barbecues and beers and beaches. Laid back, and quietly certain of their superiority. Don't give a fuck about books. The California of England.

Doesn't hold entirely, of course. You've got no noir and no San Francisco, they've got no tropics and aborigines, for starters.

Oh, almost forgot --- as for the right wing, Cali is the home of Reagan and the John Birch society. Orange County nutters will give anybody's nutters a run for their money.
posted by Diablevert at 3:22 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Carnsharssyatits
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:37 AM on May 18, 2013


The liberal party isn't right wing, it's centre right. Labor isn't left, its centre left. Both parties fight it out for the last one percent that will give them a majority. Most of the spin from the parties doesn't represent their deepest values, they are attempts to capture the attention and support of that last vital slice.

The garbage in the press aren't real opinions, they're provocative attempts to grab attention, sometime to political ends, but usually just to get attention, because attention can be sold.

To take this noise from australian politics and the media, and pretend that this represents the opinions of the nation is wilfully ignorant
posted by compound eye at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Both parties have elected bookish nerds like John Howard and Kevin Rudd. Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott, for all their faults, are sane and intelligent men.

What colour is the sky in your universe?

Abbott is an old-school because-I-said-so authoritarian paternalist, as his pronouncements on policies (we fund roads not public transport because that's the way it has always been, global warming is “crap”, the ban on RU486 guided by his Catholic faith, &c.). Rudd is Labor's Abbott clone, and Howard was a reactionary. I'll give you Turnbull; he seems like a modern, intelligent politician. I wish he'd lead the Liberal Party so Gillard would actually have to work at being the lesser evil.
posted by acb at 12:17 PM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Compound eye has a good point, except that a lot of the Labor party is actually centrist or tends to centre right. There are many hardcore leftists still, but many have jumped ship to the Greens.

Much of the core of neo-liberal 'reforms' were carried out by the Labor government of the 80s and early 90s. The key difference from the same sorts of changes in the UK etc, is that their social impact was taken into account down here.


Well, look at that, all bar one in the top ten require degrees, and uni lecturers are in there at 68% at number 10.

Yes, but that doesn't tell us which kind of uni lecturers are respected. I would expect that someone doing medical research, or anything to do with science, to be a lot more respected than lecturers that study the kind of stuff I study.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:57 PM on May 18, 2013


And Howard is not and never was a bookish nerd. His view on our history boils down to 'let's not think about it too much or it will make us feel bad. Look! Heroic Soldiers!'
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:19 PM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


My point is that Howard looks like a bookish nerd.

Compound eye has a good point, except that a lot of the Labor party is actually centrist or tends to centre right. There are many hardcore leftists still, but many have jumped ship to the Greens.

Huh? Except for immigration all the parties are pretty leftie. Even the Libs banned guns and won't touch socialized medicine.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:34 PM on May 18, 2013


That's only lefty by American standards, CiS. The rest of the world sees it differently.

And I think a lot of the anti-intellectuals are over here in WA, as noted above. I'm given crap on a regular basis for holding out for a non-profit or education job instead of jumping into the piles of cash being offered by mining companies for doing a substandard version of my job.

I'd actually assumed that the mining boom here had attracted people who were willing to relocate for a fly-in, fly-out job that gives lots of money for some really fucking mind-numbing work in a really shitty climate. Meanwhile half the artists and musicians and academics I know have moved to Melbourne. So I think we've got a disproportionate amount of anti-intellectuals here.

None of which excuses the criticisms smoke rightfully makes of the article. Even the bogans I know have respect for people who "know their shit".
posted by harriet vane at 5:07 AM on May 19, 2013


In other news: Ancient discovery set to rewrite Australian history
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on May 19, 2013


A couple made a gorgeous Jackson Pollack inspired bedroom on TV show The block and got attacked for it.

They were the only couple in ads who seemed at all cool.

Matt said the judges made it clear that the The Block rewards the couples who renovate for the mainstream and they curbed their artistic enthusiasm after this episode.


UGH.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:14 PM on May 19, 2013


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