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The Great Australian Intemperance

Thoughts on a time of unbottled rage
September 2023, no. 457

The Great Australian Intemperance

Thoughts on a time of unbottled rage
September 2023, no. 457
Melbourne protesters, 5 December 2020 ( Jay Kogler/Alamy)

The stumping of Jonny Bairstow reminded me of reaction chains. Bairstow, in case you didn’t waste winter nights watching the Ashes, was the English batsman controversially stumped by Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey during the second Test at Lord’s. Pandemonium ensued, with the poohbahs of the Marylebone Cricket Club berating the Australian team during the lunch break as they filed through the holiest of holies, the Long Room. The brouhaha led news bulletins around the cricketing world; even the prime ministers of Australia and the Old Enemy weighed in.

From the New Issue

Comments (2)

  • A fascinating and thoughtful essay. I particularly liked this comment:

    'Public health, in other words, operates like the Australian governments of the parental era defined by collectivism, yet many Australians – especially casual and gig workers – live in a neoliberal marketplace defined by individualism.'

    We like to talk now, in the era of the pandemic, about kindness. This is as it should be, but talk of kindness without recognising what is happening to working people/the working class with respect to economic conditions and rights perpetuates the problem. It is easy to talk about kindness, less so to actually make change to facilitate it in a real way. Governments working *for* people and ensuring proper wages and working conditions, affordable housing, medical care free at the point of service, and a focus on public education over private is what we need to help us make our lives better (and kinder), but what we increasingly do not get.

    RFK Jnr is an interesting candidate, much maligned for his supposed 'anti-vax' views. He has also fought for environmental causes for a long time as a lawyer, winning major cases against such environmental criminal corporations as Monsanto. He's complicated and I don't support, for example, his views on the Israel-Palestine situation. But he should not be written off as he has invigorating ideas about American empire.

    And then, while thinking about what I would write here as a brief response to this essay, I see the one comment already made. It highlights, I think, a problem of 'us' and 'them'. The 'masses' and their 'ugly' 'goings-on'. I don't consider myself outside of 'the masses' but one of that large group of people who are trying to get by in this increasingly hostile and neoliberal economic world.
    Posted by Sue Bond
    13 September 2023
  • That the goings-on amongst the masses are ugly and intemperate is barely worth the observing. The only thing that is new is that they have a new means of distributing their views.
    Posted by Patrick Hockey
    07 September 2023

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