Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dr. Henderson Jekyll, say hello to Mr. Henderson Hyde ...

(Above: great absent god, can it be?)

It's old news that Gerard Henderson is inclined to a peculiar literary form of schizophrenia.

In his writing style, and who knows in what else.

In his Media Watch Dog newsletter - go on, read the latest edition, trash at least ten per cent of the few remaining working brain cells you have - Henderson is inclined to flamboyant headlines, calling for example the 2012 Melbourne Writers Festival "another sandalista occasion for inner city leftist luvvies".

It's puerile and childish, the kind of writing that's safely at home on the pond, which specialises in childish insults.

But the newsletter is also revealing of Henderson's extraordinary set of tics and neuroses.

He likes, for example, to call The Age, Melbourne's flailing newspaper, The Guardian on the Yarra, as if calling a paper after the British rag that began the process of degutting the British newspaper empire of Rupert Murdoch - still going on with a flurry of Murdochian resignations - is somehow an insult. If only The Age could call itself The Guardian, even in jest ...

Even more bizarrely, for reasons best known to the guardians of The Guardian of the Yarra, it publishes Henderson within its pages. And what does this say of Henderson, that he would befoul and abuse the nest, rather than do the honourable thing, and trot off elsewhere to unload his guff on the world? It's a peculiarly ill bird that fouls its own nest, and sends up its own perch ...

The funniest thing? The media watch dog prattles on about being on the couch, and tut tutts about Mark Latham morphing, which leaves you wondering when the dog will realise its own exegesis is a prime example of a man morphing into a couch, mistaking the world for a hat, and consequently in serious need of a shrink.

But it is interesting in the dog pages how Mr. Hyde lets down his guard, and comes out swinging like a psychotic. It seems, for example, that Four Corners mugged George Pell, which makes you wonder how the media dog would describe the activities of Catholic priests in relation to their child victims, and the church in relation to decades of cover ups.

Nancy’s co-owner believes that no Christian should venture on to ABC hostile territory unless an agreed interview is either live or live-to-air.

Ah a dash of paranoia to mix with the schizo world view.

Anyhoo, it's a truly weird experience, bordering on the dysfunctional and the disturbed and a thrashing and a mashing and a bashing and a cheap scoring and payback and the settling of the scores, and snidery usually as funny as a baseball bat to the head, as Mr Hyde roams the pages with whip and cane.

But then when you read the other Henderson - perhaps we should think of this version as Dr Jekyll in contrast to the Henderson in the grip of the media dog Hyde - you realise why Henderson is perfectly at home in the world of Robert Louis Stevenson.

For lo and behold, with Mr. Hyde hidden in the Sydney Institute cupboard, solemn, staid, painfully dull Dr. Jekyll turns up this morning writing like a great aunt from Adelaide in Dumping PM won't stem bleeding caused by thorny Greens.

Yep, it's the pontificating Dr. Jekyll on view, producing the usual desiccated, prissy, preening prose that makes Shakespeare's prattling Polonius seem like a live wire wit.

Henderson gives the impression sometimes of being a Chairman Mao clock in urgent need of a winding up. Along with the usual biased history lesson, which opens the piece, how many times have his faithful readers had to endure this kind of repetitious sludge?

Australian voters are smart. Middle to lower-income groups, living in the suburbs and regional centres, know that the inner-city left looks down on them and secretly would like to see the secondary and primary industries where they work (in particular, timber and mining) close down. The inner-city left's agenda also favours higher energy prices as part of its agenda to reduce human-initiated climate change.

Oh sweet long absent Jesus, it's the man from 41 Phillip Street in the heart of Sydney yet again at one with people living in the suburbs and the regional centres - yes Penrith, why aren't you home to the Sydney Institute? - while the sniggering, snickering, sinister inner city elites look down on them.

Is it possible to work any more moth-eaten cliches into the text? Sure thing:

Likewise, social conservatives in the suburbs and regional centres who are religious believers resent being sneered at by the inner-city left because of their faith, or their decision to support non-government schools, or on account of their opposition to same-sex marriage.

Yes Christians whatever you do, don't speak to the ABC's flock of Christians as they compile the Religion and ethics report. Let's get rid of the damn show, eh. The sneering secularists thought they'd killed it off, but the wretched thing has risen from the dead.

What's that you say, rural listeners actually listen to ABC radio, including (the absent god help us) Macca on a Sunday, and understand that the organisation's not a monolith, but a multi-hued tabernacle for people of many persuasions?

You mean rural folk are more sensible than a blithering, blathering paranoid like Henderson? Isn't that bizarre, since Henderson in his writing shows signs of listening to and watching the ABC almost 24/7, and commercial radio and television is treated as an unwatched, unreferenced waste land. No Lara Bingle bump for Henderson ...

Doesn't he like commercials?

Say it ain't so. But ain't it grand to see Henderson align himself with creationist and fundamentalist Islamic and Scientological non-government schools, as they beaver away indoctrinating their children in sundry bizarre beliefs thanks to taxpayers, and how engaging to think that the inner city elitists have the power to skew polls.

Yep, when you read New poll backs same-sex marriage, with two thirds of Australians on board in a statistically representative way, remember that prattling Polonius thinks the survey was conducted only in Newtown, Brunswick, Mile End and Bardon.

And so to the pompous conclusion:

Abbott's views have much more support in the wider electorate than those of most journalists and academics. That's why many commentators have failed to detect the damage to Labor's brand caused by its association with the Greens.

Yep, that'd be most journalists, excluding most of the journalists who work for News Ltd and commercial television, which just happens to be most of the journalists going the rounds, but we all know what we mean by most journalists.

Pravda on the Yarra, the showcase for the thoughts of Gerard Henderson, a beacon of light surrounded by the dark forces of greenies, sandal-wearers and elbow-patch academics.

The sooner we get back to the business of sending boat people to the bottom of the sea, and using military force to ground them to pulp, the sooner we can get on with the business of worshipping Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man with genuine Australian Gerard Hendersonian Tony Abbott values.

And the sooner we can forget all about this jibber jabber about climate science - when really it's all the fault of inner urban elites who just want higher power bills - why the sooner the world will be a better place, and Penrith can have first class beaches ...

Or some such thing ...

Conclusion? Well in keeping with the way of many movies intent on exploiting Joseph Campbell's notions of mythology, the pond has a sneaking regard for the childish, puerile abuse unloaded by Henderson in Mr. Hyde mode. It has the ring of adolescent honesty, like a teenager scribbling abuse in a diary at all those people and things that vex him.

And it's perfectly suited to loon pond, the siren song of one loon to another.

But when Henderson dons his Dr. Jekyll garb, he has to resort to disingenuous, tendentious, tedious devices to disguise his simple message - Tony Abbott the messiah, rah rah Christianity, red necks wonderful, creationism powerful alternative to sneering greenie inner city secularist belief system, gay marriage evil, hiss boo the ABC, the Chaser lads Satan's representatives on earth, how the pious Catholic church suffers, what paedophile victims, where, and did I ever tell you about the the true but rocky, extremely hard path of the climate denialist ... and the suffering of feet forced to wear hard leather boots because they can never ever touch sandals ....

Yep, it's so much simpler and so much more fun to let the mad dog run amok than to look at Jekyll Henderson pretending to be a solemn, staid, respectable member of the commentariat ... and to read the boring, painfully dull, repetitious prose that arises from the pose. No wonder Henderson mocks writers' festivals ... the average graphic novel has more literary meat in it.

Sadly it's just not possible to make this relentless repetition, week in, week out, sound new and refreshing and insightful.

It's a task at which Jekyll Henderson routinely fails, as he drags out and dusts off inner-city elites for yet another go around the track.

Mark Latham sometimes proposes that Henderson's columns are a comedy of errors, but really they're just a comedy, and a rather sad and paranoid one at that ...

It's time to stop hiding the Hyde. Unleash the hound, put it on display in the Guardian on the Yarra, and let the cards and the cane and the whip fall where they may ...

(Below: Gerard Henderson, dourly impersonating Sauron or the emperor in Star Wars for your pleasure.
Below him, are these the sort of rural folk, country cousins, he feels more comfortable around? Needless to say they know what to do with atheists, secularists, and sandal-wearing greenies, journalists and academics. Show the way Levi, it looks like Mr Henderson is in urgent need of a style guide, sitting there stitched up like a stuffed suit).


  1. Ha, Dorothy the brilliance just oozes out of you, how do you get a single other thing done? My sanity, multiple times daily.

    As is common now online the software asked me to verify that I'm not a robot by deciphering nonsensical words. I sense a metaphor there somewhere for commenting on loons...

  2. Poor Hendo, such a sad, shrivelled little man.

  3. It just shows how pathetic the media in this country is when this boring , oxygen deprived, boring old fart gets a gig in major newspapers and on national TV to peddle his nothingness. Surely when we can do better than this relic. Go and get Alan's chaff bag ,please.

  4. Hi Nick, good to hear from you. Still drop in on the old door sausage from time to time. Let's hear more from you.

    And sorry for the word trap, but the spammers are relentless. Still if it serves as a metaphor, perhaps it serves a higher purpose.


  5. I have to laugh.

    I read the limp wristed fool's words and immediately thought "Dorothy's going to have a field day with this one".

    You did a way better effort than I could have imagined. He's such a wimp, I can imagine him sobbing in his bed after reading your blog.

    Love your work

    George McAulay

  6. Time is the enemy, but I am planning to scribble a little more soon. Often it's boring quite analytical things I'm working through for my own benefit.


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