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MACKAY UNYARDED

Having written the same column over and over again for four years, Hugh Mackay now detects a national desire for change:

Over the past 12 months, we’ve gradually been changing from complacent, self-indulgent and self-absorbed to alert and re-engaged.

Desperate to share in this joyful new spirit of innovation, Hugh makes a radical change of his own:

We’ve begun to emerge from a prolonged period of social and political disengagement in which we preoccupied ourselves with “lifestyle” - everything from home renovations to ...

... to backyards? Is it backyards, Hugh? Home renovations and backyards? C’mon; it’s always been about backyards:

... to body piercing.

We witness the dawn of a confusing and frightening new era.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/28/2007 at 11:51 AM
  1. Hm. All the people into body piercing and tattoos and the like are all leftists to a greater or lesser degree. Though I can’t exactly describe them as “politically engaged.” On the other hand, the very mention of Bush’s name is a guarantee that they’ll react like vampires to garlic, and maybe that’s “politically engaged” enough for these days.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 11 28 at 12:22 PM • permalink

  2. Of course, in this era of Brave New Change, people are going to forget all about home renovations and body piercing.  No more body piercing forever!

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 11 28 at 12:50 PM • permalink

  3. I read the article and thought he was spot on and very nicely articulated the mood of the majority of Australians. My step-father voted Labor for the first time in his life this election.

    Posted by agile on 2007 11 28 at 04:27 PM • permalink

  4. Ha. Beautifully mocked, T.

    Posted by Apple77 on 2007 11 28 at 04:55 PM • permalink

  5. Agile, you would say that.
    Mackay’s “research” and conclusions about society rank with the falling whale in Hitchhiker’s Guide.

    Posted by blogstrop on 2007 11 28 at 04:57 PM • permalink

  6. ”...begun to emerge from a prolonged period of social and political disengagement…”

    See Hugh? We told you that getting out of the house would teach you new things!

    Posted by Ash_ on 2007 11 28 at 05:07 PM • permalink

  7. Well I kept trying to get out of the garden to go to the cricket or something but lawns don’t cut themselves.

    Mackay is a goof. When he can demonstrate that people are spending less money on “lifestyle” as he so condescendingly puts it I might believe him; assuming he has controlled for things like wealth effects and consumer confidence. Unfortunately he suffers from that common market researchers fallacy in thinking that people actually act the way they say they do in focus groups.

    Posted by Francis H on 2007 11 28 at 05:20 PM • permalink

  8. I love how the Liberal party can only get in if we are all politically and socially disengaged - Labor, of course, got in purely because everyone now cares and not because people pretty much got bored with Howard.

    God help them if Rudd turns out to be an ‘interesting’ leader.

    Posted by Harry Buttle on 2007 11 28 at 05:52 PM • permalink

  9. Is the “we” he constantly refers to, the 6% or so of the voting population that change their vote from 2004?

    Posted by chrisgo on 2007 11 28 at 05:52 PM • permalink

  10. ”...begun to emerge from a prolonged period of social and political disengagement…”

    As we all know Hugh, the rigid censorship shackles on all our media were finally removed on Monday, as well as the prohibition against voting without a Liberal/Country Party membership card.

    We are FREE to share our scared, secret thoughts again…

    Posted by Barrie on 2007 11 28 at 06:07 PM • permalink

  11. Er, you might see a logical problem with my post above.
    I’m sure Mackay would explain it by noting that prohibition never worked anyway..

    Posted by Barrie on 2007 11 28 at 06:09 PM • permalink

  12. Further good news for you Liberals if these predictions run true…The Liberals are finished long-term as a political force

    Posted by agile on 2007 11 28 at 06:39 PM • permalink

  13. #12
    Well that’ll be good then, the ALP can rule forever. Nothing as good for the proles as a one party state.

    Posted by Pickles on 2007 11 28 at 06:57 PM • permalink

  14. #12
    So, Febrile, should The Great Helmsman* declare labor the natural party of rule?
    With labor in power federally and in the states, maybe he should do away with unnecessary burdens upon the taxpayer such as elections and an opposition.
    We only appear to be a one party state, shouldn’t we just go all the way?
    *Or as Catherine Deveny knows him, The Great Cox’n.

    Posted by lotocoti on 2007 11 28 at 07:01 PM • permalink

  15. #12 So your perfect democracy involves voting* for either Left or Far-Left?

    Why am I not surprised?

    *Assuming voting isn’t done away with because it’s unnecessary.

    Posted by Ash_ on 2007 11 28 at 07:06 PM • permalink

  16. Maybe a new party should form which offers a real alternative besides the boast of being a good book keeper.

    Posted by agile on 2007 11 28 at 07:06 PM • permalink

  17. Yes, I thought “Prime Minister for all Australians” sounded like a euphemism for “Leader of a one-party state.”

    Posted by EdwardM on 2007 11 28 at 07:15 PM • permalink

  18. #16 So being able to manage finances isn’t something that we want in a government?

    Also, have you noticed that most things are much easier to accomplish when there’s good economic management?

    Plus, let’s not forget that the States are responsible for a great deal of the things you blame on the Federal Government for failing in, such as health, education and transport.

    Posted by Ash_ on 2007 11 28 at 07:17 PM • permalink

  19. Although being a good book keeper may seem irrelevant to you, seems as though it matters to some, given the concentration on interest rates, mortgage stress, grocery and petrol prices by KRudd.

    Symbolism, hugh ideals and noble thoughts are fine, but even in church they hand around the plate.

    Cause you’ll get fuck all here for free.

    Posted by Pickles on 2007 11 28 at 07:19 PM • permalink

  20. Cause you’ll get fuck all here for free.

    One thing I don’t bank on getting on this website is much class or deep thought.

    Noone is arguing that being a good economic manger is a negative thing. It is what you do with that money and economic stability that really counts.

    The Liberals didn’t pass muster on that count on the 24/11/2007.

    Posted by agile on 2007 11 28 at 07:27 PM • permalink

  21. Well, agile, perhaps you would like to explain what the Liberal/National government should have done with that money and economic stability, in your opinion, that they didn’t do, or what they did that they shouldn’t have done. Details, please, not slogans. I’m sure your opinions will be interesting…

    Posted by EdwardM on 2007 11 28 at 07:36 PM • permalink

  22. agile

    That WAS meant to be a satirical article wasnt it?
    What an enormous crock of manure that was.

    To pick one point out. “The new opposition will be the greens”.
    Nup, the lab party wont be silly enough to let the greens poach that many of there members, a few sops thrown to the green vote should see the % stay about the same.

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2007 11 28 at 07:38 PM • permalink

  23. Sorry to disappoint, or not, as the case may be.

    Posted by Pickles on 2007 11 28 at 07:40 PM • permalink

  24. The demise of the Liberal Party has been greatly exaggerated. A defeat such aslast weeks is necessary for rejuvenation of ideas and talent. I’d be surprised if if it didn’t result in an upswing in membership. Am even tempted to rejoin the bastards myself. If only to weed out the Dr’s Wives. IIRC after Latham’s loss they were saying Labor may not be returned Federally for a decade plus.

    And as for that Steve Biddulph article - He needs a bigger crock to store his shit in.

    We could have been building what Europe built in this past decade - superb hospitals, bullet trains, schools and training centres, low cost public transport of luxurious quality, magnificent public housing. We pissed it all away on tax giveaways and consumer goods

    He is forever disqualified from serious economic argument and analysis on thatpure comedy gold alone.

    Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 11 28 at 07:49 PM • permalink

  25. And I’ll use preview the day I piss sitting down.

    Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 11 28 at 07:51 PM • permalink

  26. One thing I don’t bank on getting on this website is much class or deep thought.

    Then why the hell are you here?

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 11 28 at 07:53 PM • permalink

  27. Rebecca, he doesn’t realise the class and deep thought happen most when he’s not here.

    Posted by Ash_ on 2007 11 28 at 08:02 PM • permalink

  28. #26 RebeccaH,

    when I first read that line, I thought he was hoping for some “class or deep throat”

    I wonder if he swallows?

    Posted by Pogria on 2007 11 28 at 08:02 PM • permalink

  29. #28

    Poggers ! That’s just the sort of infantile rudeness that the wise and noble agile has, not minutes ago, chastised me about.

    We are in the presence of a mannered and intellectual better.

    We are not worthy..

    Posted by Pickles on 2007 11 28 at 08:08 PM • permalink

  30. Hugh Mackay is a pompous, prejudiced prat; reading his weekly ‘Moral Maze’ column is a dabble in an open drain of mincing self-righteousness, hip-hopping from minimal data over a couple of sweeping disparagements of demographic classes to some damning conclusion about everybody else.

    Habib could say it better, but I would like to produce a reality TV show that saw him dipped in honey and tied to the rails of a calf pen.

    Posted by ChrisPer on 2007 11 28 at 08:08 PM • permalink

  31. Mackay for the honey, not Habib.  Habib could muster the calves into the pen and take video, hurling bon mots into the gaps between Mackay’s appalled groans.

    Posted by ChrisPer on 2007 11 28 at 08:11 PM • permalink

  32. Poor Hugh has lost his marbles, I fear.  Can’t understand why the SMH continues to subject the poor bugger up to ridicule. It’s cruel.

    Posted by Contrail on 2007 11 28 at 08:12 PM • permalink

  33. Let’s face it, Hugh Mackay is in dire need of a good blow job.

    Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 11 28 at 08:13 PM • permalink

  34. Sorry ChrisPer, I’m stuck with the tableau you created in #30. Don’t ruin it for me. If there is one way to gather the collected works of Habib in one outing, I suspect that would be it.

    As for the inventor of the stump jump plough, I think another pen, perhaps similar to that of Mr Woo in Deadwood would be more appropriate, with the requisite degree of finality and resource recycling. And the bacon would be wonderful.

    Posted by Pickles on 2007 11 28 at 08:17 PM • permalink

  35. #29 Pickles,

    Sorry, it won’t happen again.

    hangs head and shuffles forlornly out the door *sniff sniff*

    Posted by Pogria on 2007 11 28 at 08:20 PM • permalink

  36. must. resist.

    can’t.

    #33 Tiger,

    perhaps agile would volunteer?

    bwahahahaha!!!

    Sorry, I’ll leave for real this time.

    Posted by Pogria on 2007 11 28 at 08:23 PM • permalink

  37. #16
    Maybe a new party should form which offers a real alternative besides the boast of being a good book keeper.
    “Democrats”? “Greens”? “One Notion”?
    Agile’s comments once again are pure goading and triumphalism. Every alternative policy was matched by the me-too-ists. Now they have won we will find out whether they are an alternative to the ALP we used to have (the one which lost four elections on the trot, agile baby) or simply a lipstick job.

    Posted by blogstrop on 2007 11 28 at 08:35 PM • permalink

  38. As per #8 and #9-

    Before the election- dark nation of uncouth, unenlightened savages who ignored the brilliance of Hugh-who-is-greater.
    After the election- Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!  6% of voters change their minds and Hugh’s just drowning in the love.

    And the “doctors’ wives” who “were concerned and increasingly disillusioned by what they perceived as a government becoming radical in its conservatism..on Iraq..asylum seekers..Work Choices..global warming”; what a load of shit.  These people hated Howard from day 1 in ‘96.  These angels who “indeed…became active in support of refugees held in detention centres” didn’t give a stuff about the critters so long as it was Paul Keating locking them up.

    Posted by Mr Simmon on 2007 11 28 at 09:34 PM • permalink

  39. #20 ‘Agile’ you aren’t:
    ‘No-one is arguing that being a good economic manger is a negative thing. It is what you do with that money and economic stability that really counts.
    The Liberals didn’t pass muster on that count on the 24/11/2007’

    OK, so explain why Howard was consistently rated the BETTER economic manager even during the campaign.
    Clearly there were some other reasons he lost, but NOT on his economic record.

    Posted by Barrie on 2007 11 28 at 11:06 PM • permalink

  40. #38

    :“These angels who “indeed…became active in support of refugees held in detention centres” didn’t give a stuff about the critters so long as it was Paul Keating locking them up.”

    I know a couple.  You are wrong, they were just as critical under the old Labor government, but the media gave them less ink.

    Posted by ChrisPer on 2007 11 28 at 11:26 PM • permalink

  41. Hugh Mackay, the genius social researcher who alerted us to the fact that:

    - friends like to form groups
    - teenagers like mobile phones

    Posted by Tex on 2007 11 28 at 11:32 PM • permalink

  42. #40, Not at all.  Of course there were refugee advocates pre-96, yet in the context of Mackay’s “Doctors Wives” to which I was referring, they “became active in support of refugees” as Mackay noted himself. 
    In addition, the massive numbers of instant refugee advocates/supporters were mobilized by the Left post-96. That is indisputable. It was first and foremost a measure to try and embarras Howard.

    Posted by Mr Simmon on 2007 11 29 at 12:37 AM • permalink

  43. Sorry agile, but your post at #12 has irrefutably cast you in the role of village idiot.  You WERE joking, right?  You ACTUALLY took Biddulph’s drivellings seriously?

    Sigh.  So many morons.  So little time to waste straightening them out.

    Look, there’s barely a sentence of that piece of nonsense that would stand up to scrutiny.  Let’s hit a few of the highlights.

    First: conservative politics has begun to wither away

    This curious belief that conservatism is a set of goals is hard to root out.  Conservatism is not a set of goals.  It’s essentially a means of analysis.  The core difference between conservatism and (small-l) liberalism is this: liberals ask themselves “what will the UN say?”.  Conservatives ask themselves “What would my grandfather have said?”.  I really don’t see where this line of analysis is likely to go out of fashion for anyone older than a teenager.

    Next, the article isn’t even well written.  This is going in my collection of mangled metaphors: The issue of the future, coming down on us now like a steam train, is of course the environment, the double hammer blows of climate change and peak oil.

    The environment is like a steam train?  I could only wish ‘twere so. Toot toot!

    Next: Energy, weather and human misery are the factors that will define our lives for decades to come. You can cancel your newspaper, those are the only four words you need to know.

    Those factors have been defining human life for most of the time since the days of Mr Ugh the caveman.  It’s been a few years since university, but I think I can safely say that agriculture, industry, food and shelter make up a big whack of human economic history.

    The next bit would unforgivable even in an undergraduate :
    Linked to this ... is the imminent demise of the United States economy ... a coming economic collapse in globalised trade that would suck Australia and much of the rest of the world down with it ... US consumer debt, concealed by Chinese and Arab investment in keeping that great hungry maw that is America sucking in what it could not begin to pay for. The avalanche-like fall of US house prices will be closely followed by the same in linked economies worldwide, and presage a harsh and very different world than the one we have lived in. In short, the party is over. We are a civilisation in collapse.

    God give me a tall can for every prediction of the imminent collapse of capitalism I’ve ever seen.  Even if we accept (which I don’t for a minute) that some monumental economic crisis is coming, why is it that our civilization won’t rebound like every other time?  Really: the great plague, the South Sea bubble, a couple of wars and the great depression, and still the west keeps going.  You can find a useful corrective here.  It’s also rather better written than anything you’re likely to find in the Fairfax press.

    OK, the next few bits of the article are (I’m sure) just for laughs.  This one -

    Rudd and Gillard are not in power for power’s sake. I am willing to stake my 30 years as a psychologist on this…

    If you’re wrong, how do I collect on those 30 years?  Will you commit hara kiri or something?  Awesome!

    And this one -

    In the coming times of deprivation, [Kevin and Julia] have the value systems that will be needed to care for the sudden rise in poverty, stress, and need.

    Humour me.  How are they going to pay for this if the global economy is about to tank?  Jesus, isn’t ANYONE proofreading at the SMH these days?

    Oh yeah, also: By the 2010 election, 20 per cent will vote Green.  Uh-huh.  Just like that swag of House of Reps seats they’ve been about to win for the last 10 years.  Remind me how many they won this time round, won’t you?

    And finally, the part that truly does brand this fellow an idiot -

    We could have been building what Europe built in this past decade - superb hospitals, bullet trains, schools and training centres, low cost public transport of luxurious quality, magnificent public housing.

    Europe?  Let’s be realistic here: these wonderful European innovations are for the present generation only.  Because Europe’s birthrates have collapsed, this society Biddulph is so enamoured of will last no longer than that because the revenue base needed to support it will not exist.  Give two - or maybe only one - generation, and Europe will be a patchwork of rustbucket economies, bankrupted welfare systems and Islamifying cities.

    Sorry agile, but Mrs Thatcher was right.  The facts of life are conservative.

    Posted by Renegade Lawyer on 2007 11 29 at 09:36 AM • permalink

  44. #43 very nice fisking Renegade Lawyer.

    Posted by eeniemeenie on 2007 11 29 at 10:29 AM • permalink

  45. Amongst the band of semi-literate trolls who signed up on Election Day, a single gem has emerged. One who posts with dry wit, humour and irrefutable logic.

    Welcome to the club, Renegade Lawyer. You are a hard act to follow, and head and shoulders above the bridge dwellers.

    BTW, I don’t even try to follow a class act, I just swear, make ad hominem attacks, rant and abuse my betters. I’m not called “the Ignorant” for nothing.

    Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2007 11 29 at 10:46 AM • permalink

  46. #45 I second that Pedro.

    Renegade, it’s great to see of all the election weekend signups, we actually got one who can think!

    Posted by Ash_ on 2007 11 29 at 03:43 PM • permalink

  47. 44, 45 and 46

    Aww, shucks…

    **Blush**

    Love your work too guys!  Me, my personal goal is to rival Habib for pure pyrotechnic invective.

    Posted by Renegade Lawyer on 2007 11 29 at 04:57 PM • permalink

  48. #43 I sure wish you had been beside me as I had to sit through the rampant vitriolic drivel of a meeting yesterday where all the green leftards were patting themselves on the back hailing the great day of delivery which had just occurred. They have already written off the Libs as a force to be reckoned with and thought that Steve Biddulph was the best thing since sliced bread.  It was as much as I could do to refrain from vomiting all over the morning tea!!!! 

    I dont know which is worse, the infantile gloating or the 3 day depression leave that they take after the left has been defeated in the past 4 elections (along with all the teeth gnashing and wailing!!!)

    Thanks for the return to sanity!

    Posted by Quoll on 2007 11 29 at 06:07 PM • permalink

  49. Oh and BTW, I am willing to stake my 25 years as a psychologist that Rudd and Gillard are in it for the power and nothing else!!!!

    Posted by Quoll on 2007 11 29 at 06:09 PM • permalink

  50. Energy, weather and human misery are the factors that will define our lives for decades to come

    I like to think my mind is supple enough to worry about these AND lifestyle issues, as well as whether I can fit a dwarf lemon tree onto my balcony; for i am a Renaissance Woman.

    Posted by carpefraise on 2007 11 30 at 02:23 AM • permalink

  51. #43 Renegade Lawyer. “Toot toot!”

    A friendly little greeting I take pleasure in returning. Toot toot to you too.

    Posted by carpefraise on 2007 11 30 at 02:25 AM • permalink

  52. #47 Me, my personal goal is to rival Habib for pure pyrotechnic invective.

    Hmm, the stakes are rising…

    Posted by carpefraise on 2007 11 30 at 02:28 AM • permalink

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