Posted on September 5, 2007


Thank tax for public broadcasting. After pondering protest yesterday, SBS had an Insight installment dealing with my current questions. The discussion of Geoff Cousins action on the Tassie pulp mill was great.

Another highlight was the ‘Yes Men’ – funny, and right on. They use mainstream media and corporate communications against its wielders, for example fronting on BBC in 2002 as a Dow Chemical representative promising to liquidate Union Carbide to fund justice for the victims at Bhopal. Dow’s bungled response (even now it reads like satire) would bring a proud tear to the eye of James C Scott. And it shows that politics and protest don’t have to be dour and uninviting processes. Not all the time.

Equally hilarious was the ass-hattery stylings of Mark Vaile, who managed to not even not answer a question, if you know what I mean. Despite my great exertion, his words defied assimilation. His double speak slid of my brain like silken tofu off Teflon. And his distracting impression of a man struggling with a very prickly turd is second only to you-know-who.

Tim Blair gave a good account of himself also, not failing to disappoint those of us who have come to love his defense of the indefensible, and simultaneous assertion of the ridiculous. His true genius is only apparent in the live performance context.

As a bonus, the above poll confirms that many feel how I feel: that activism and protest aren’t dead – just evolving. A heartening show, bravo! It seems we can almost just about let the forces of ass-clownery and bad politics squirm their way to defeat. My journalism school colleague Marty probably feels the same.