To Err is Devine

The folowing is satire, and will not make sense unless you have read this disturbing, ridiculous, selfish, dangerous and infuriating article by Miranda Devine, entitled Roads are for cars, not lycra louts .

Whoever made up the Fairfax motto To Err is Devine has a lot to answer for. It’s a big fat lie. SMH is built for people with conscience and reading comprehension. Pretending otherwise is unfair to columnists and readers alike.

It leads to tragic accidents and violent incidents such as the attack on readers’ belief in journalistic integrity by a certain columnist this morning.

At 6.59am, in the pre-breakfast light, a columnist in her mid-thirties, “dressed like Michelle Grattan” was pontificating spuriously along the sense-only SMH column near Darling Island, Sydney

You can see from the video footage released by police how dangerous the situation is, with the columnist vapidly indulging herself, with little tolerance for anything.

The reader had to take a deep breath and pull out into cloud-cuckoo-land to get through the first few paragraphs. When the column caught up at the next page break, the columnist got inside the readers head and began assaulting him with the most incendiary drivel.

This is classic angry columnist behaviour, as if its up to Fairfax to divide the public and encourage attempted hit and runs. How aggressive do you have to be when you’re attempting to coat your puff-pieces with a veneer of opinion anyway? You never hear of Danny Katz or Mia Freedman inciting assault.

Neither columnists nor readers ever wanted a civil war. But hostilities were fed by the lies told by the Editor, who gave columnists unreasonable expectations of having ideas, a concept above their station. The former media minister Helen Coonan, whose favourite food is Tim-Tams, was last seen speaking sense, in a deliberate attempt to incite fear and envy in SMH columnists.

Most columns turn out to be little more than black ink on paper, with little room for intelligence between the self-promotion and casual incitements to violence. But they sent a signal to readers that by expecting more than nothing they were somehow in the wrong.

Attempts to retrofit Miranda Devine columns by reading them as satire just makes them more dangerous and simply adds to Sydney’s already woeful level of intellectual debate. Devine and the loose stools that constitute her points of view are allowed onto the page only under the good graces of the readership, and only when they do not pose a hazard to clear thinking.

The ideologues who have fostered the ‘Column-sharing’ lie must think a few dead column inches and distraught readers are a small price to pay for getting Miranda a paying job in society, because that is their ultimate aim: to make reading the SMH so unpleasant, dim, preposterous and fraught with hazards that readers give up.

In the editor’s choice to publish there was a not-so-subtle message: that even the most crucial and iconic newspapers do not belong to the world of journalism as it is understood.

They can and will be reclaimed for dangerously frivolous purposes at any time.

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

2 thoughts on “To Err is Devine”

  1. Miranda Devine’s article really isn’t that bad. In fact, I found the fact that it sparked the flames of righteous wrath within hundreds of the lycra-clad quite amusing. There was, however, the problem that some of the comments were difficult to read due to the flecks of rabid foam that coated the pixels…

    I find it interesting that you state the article is ‘dangerous’ – do you believe that it will somehow subvert the populace against those of two-wheeled conveyance? That it will fuel the fires of prejudice against the hi-vis wearing fitness fanatics? That bike-lanes will disappear across Australia and cycling will slowly be relegated to purpose-built cycling camps? That cyclists will be herded like cattle into giant factories as slaves of the malevolent automobile over-lords, forced to build engines until their fingers bleed? Is Miranda Devine the next Joseph Goebbels?

    Scary, scary stuff.


  2. FFS.

    No, fuelling prejudice is not the danger, or even very likely. The problem with this shite (and other anti-bike crap getting round) is that it will fuel apathy towards bikes by car drivers.

    If bikes are painted as the threat, not the endangered species, vigilance and care may drop, no matter how perceptibly or fractionally. A near miss may become an apparently insignificat nudge between bike and car that, at the very most, will scratch the paint of a car as they carry on at 60 ks. That same nudge could tip a bike rider onto the road – you only get one chance to come off your bike into the path of traffic, which is why any article encouraging anything but extreme care by both car and bike is dangerous.

    I know at least 3 people who’ve been hospitalised in bike-vs-car accidents, but not one of them was driving…


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