Australia’s media wants to be buried with the Pharaoh
I’ll get this out of the way up front: I hate the monarchy. I think they’re a gaggle of tax dodging dole bludging inbred Germanic nonces deserving of as much respect as an unemptied council bin overflowing with dog turds. It’s not a popular opinion to have in the Australian media landscape, especially right now, but it’s one I can afford to have because I am 1. (through 101) white, and 2. a dyed in the wool dropkick whose opinion writing has made them about as employable as an ex-con with a hammer and sickle tattooed on their forehead.
Still, even from where I cling adrift on the melting ice floats of what the gronks at The Spectator would call ‘the lunatic fringe’, I am somewhat taken aback by the magnitude of the sniveling simpering being performed by Australia’s professional media class re: The Ol’ Gal’s death.
It’s just sad, and it’s been blasted at us 24/7 by a media that’s as deluded as its future is dire.
(NOTE: there’s nothing mysterious about this other than why I thought it’d be any different.)
The first article I read about the Queen’s carking was former Prime Minister and professional Cenobite impersonator Tony Abbott’s piece in The Australian titled: Queen Elizabeth: Probably not a single death in human history will be as widely felt. Despite underestimating how much jigging I’ll be doing when Howard dies, and despite consistently sounding like the protagonist in the final act of a Paul Schrader film, Abbott accurately settled on the prevailing tone of the coming coverage: one of zealous reverence, with a generous sprinkling of absurd kowtowing and, for want of a better word, batshittery.
Since then, we’ve had a chorus line of scraping and bowing that would put Waylon Smithers to shame. From the Murdoch Press to the ABC, columnists, talking heads, and ‘royal watchers’ (the journalistic equivalent of a great aunt’s sickly 19 year old pug) have blotted out any news that isn’t the news that we’re all so bereft, bummed, and blown away by this news.
I s’pose I should be grateful for something so laughable in this time of grief.
As if to cut off any criticisms or viewer indifference to the wall to wall coverage at the pass, a narrative immediately emerged alongside the central one (QUEEN = DEAD), that this was actually the most important story of a generation, or maybe in living memory, or perhaps of all time. Journos quickly began to sound like comedians pre-empting a heckler that had no intention of saying anything to begin with by insisting over and over again that this is news at its newsiest, that it’s deathly (no pun) important, and that it’ll rock your peasant world.
‘It is absolutely the biggest story I’ll cover live,’ the ABC’s Michael Rowland, who was flown to London to gawk at a stationary hearse, told The Guardian. ‘Like every other broadcasting outfit, we have been doing rehearsal after rehearsal over the years and mock presentations of the Queen’s death and finally everything kicked into gear,’ he continued.
The ABC, who usually only have the funds to whip up a makeshift cast of balloon animals to sit alongside Stan Grant for the remaining 19 viewers of Q&A (people who I assume are in some kind of Waco situation), have sent a bevy of journos to stand in front of various doors, bridges, and intersections to give us a heads up in case a Scorpion King type resurrection scenario arises.
It’s played out as the most tedious bit of live streamed wankery since Chatroulette. There is something arcane and Fielderesque in how our media must operate like this only to stay two steps behind EVERYTHING in the impossibly hyperactive Age of Content. The fact that they have to play act this historic moment over and over like a pantomime troop held hostage by a malevolent A.I. seems like something the C.I.A. would cook up for the prisoners in Gitmo, but no, this is just how they do things.
It’s not stupid, it is their solemn duty, and it’s our solemn duty to appreciate that fact.
What push-back there has been from the media, public figures, and the public themselves has either been met with vitriol just a tad worse than normal (normal being extremely deranged) or washed away by the tide of livestreams of British people queuing.
It is odd that a colonised country filled with people from colonised diasporas is so insistent on telling those victims of colonisation to sit down and be polite while actual foreigners put the symbol of their oppression in the ground (or was it out of a cannon? They lost me at the boy soprano choir tbh) but, let’s face it, it’s not at all surprising.
For the Australian media to be anything other than churlish snitches would be for them to give away the game.
Australian journalists hate nothing more than being told that they’re being a bit silly. To be a career journalist in Australia requires a level of self-seriousness that one can not afford to examine or unravel for fear of knocking over the whole house of cards. You can not be an Albrechtson, a Jones, or a [REDACTED FOR PROFESSIONAL REASONS] and have a skerrick of interiority—it would mean the end of your career and (what I’ll generously call) your ‘sanity’.
The death of the Queen and their coverage of it has been a prime example of Australian media’s ‘why do people hate us?’ paranoia. Surely, they tell themselves, it can’t be because of what we do, say, or think, and it certainly can’t be because of how we act. It must be because we’re just too good at our jobs, and these plebs are too stupid to appreciate that. By hell, you’ll watch grey faced Londoners line up to nod their heads at this tank of embalming fluid, and you’ll thank us for it, you schmucks!
And so the cycle goes unbroken.
The Queen’s death is such a fascinating reflection of Australia’s media professionals because they are a people broken, bowed, and bound by deference. Deference has gotten them this far. There is no space within them or the media landscape for anyone to seriously interrogate it. Deference is due the Queen not because of who she was but because of what she embodied as a symbol of a dead way of thinking and a dead century that was held together by respect, subservience, and dependence—a century that our media is still very much stuck in.
For them to entertain the idea that people may be indifferent, or worse, disrespectful about the Queen’s death is a mortifying notion. Because if the people react like that to her passing, what does that foretell about how they’ll react to theirs?