What Is That Stench?

Oh It’s The Stench Of Moralism

This is a bit rich. Catherine Deveny lost her job as a columnist from The Age because she tweeted  something about Bindi Irwin.

Deveny used Twitter to deliver a series of remarks about celebrities during the awards ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Casino – including one about child star Bindi Irwin.

“I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid,” Deveny wrote.

The comedian defended her comments, saying she was using satire “to expose celebrity raunch culture and the sexual objectification of women, which is rife on the red carpet”.

However, her response did not sit well with readers – many of whom launched scathing attacks of their own on Twitter and in the online story’s comments section.

I keep saying this but the creeping moralism that people keep expressing is just so sickening. I don’t see how the Age’s editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge can see it as his job to sack somebody for making a tweet that is in poor taste. It’s actually not as if Deveny was advocating criminal activities or dare I say it race hate and terrorism. She merely pointed out the irony and discomfort in our society over sexuality and childhood and the media’s fascination with it, all in one succinct ironic tweet.

Let’s face it, it’s an uncomfortable tweet because it hits us exactly where we don’t want to be hit: by forcing us to line up an 11 year old girl with all the women on the red carpet who are presented as sexually desirable. It’s a pretty insightful, witty remark.

My question is this: what gives the Editor-in-chief of The Age Paul Ramadge the gumption to make a character call on one of his columnists and sack her? He’s essentially sacked somebody for bad taste. What if another employee turns up wearing 1980s fashion? Is he going to sack them too? Shouldn’t he be the one out there defending Deveny, telling the stupid baying crowd, “back off, she didn’t break any laws, she’s allowed to express her opinions”?

Instead, Paul Ramadge has positioned himself at the head of the witch hunt and cast Deveny to the mob, in the process giving the idiotic moralism of the mob some social legitimacy. I mean, if it really is a character issue, wasn’t this the same editor-in-chief who commissioned columns from Deveny on multiple occasions? Didn’t he know her character better? Did it take for one tweet of bad taste to reveal Ms. Deveny’s character to this Mr. Ramadge? What kind of snap judgment is that anyway? And how could one trust such a judgment, let alone judger? How can we ever take The Age seriously again? It’s editor-in-chief is a witch-hunting book-burning intellectual troglodyte!

BTW, I don’t know any of these people – Deveny or Ramadge or Bindi Irwin. So it matters to me very little how all this turns out, but it’s really quit appalling. Is this how low our intellectual life has sunk to in this country? Or worse still, was it always thus?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. When the old dinosaur of the newspapers finally go down the gurgler in the digital age, Ramadge hopefully will be jobless himself; and it would serve him right for not standing up for the principles of freedom of expression while holding such a prestigious job as the editor-in-chief of a big newspaper, thus hastening the decline of a fine institution.

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Filed under General, Television

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