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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 05:35 am
The ABC’s Kerry O’Brien interviews fearless leftoid novelist Richard Flanagan:
KERRY O’BRIEN: [Your novel describes] two thugs beating up an old vagrant in Sydney’s King’s Cross, “They kept on for a few minutes more, kicking him as if he were to blame for everything in that dirty, dead decade their were all condemned to live through. A sack of shit that had once been a man in a place that had once been a community in a country that had once been a society.” Is that what Australia has become for you?
RICHARD FLANAGAN: I think it’s become that for many people. We are more frightened, we are more frightening, we are less free, we are more unjust, we are more callous, there’s a greater divide of wealth and power and the truth gets ever harder to get out. So, that was very much how I felt and that story sort of captured it in a few sentences.
It also captured, in a few sentences, several reasons not to buy Flanagan’s book. Richard doesn’t hate Australia, by the way; he’s merely sickened by our spiritual malaise, which only Richard and his people wish repaired:
RICHARD FLANAGAN: There is something else that’s going on in Australia, a sort of spiritual malaise that I find sickening, in a word. At the end of the day it is our Australia, too, and a lot of people want it back. They want a gentler, more generous, kinder Australia, not the kind of Australia they are getting presented with every day at the moment.
Every day this happens. Every single, terrible day. Along with, as Flanagan reports, the destruction of our government’s opponents:
RICHARD FLANAGAN: We have an ever more cowed media and we see daily anybody who rightly questions or simply interrogates the process of government or government policy being destroyed.
This is happening daily? Perhaps Richard should supply a list of those destroyed. Or perhaps Richard, like the rest of his family, is genetically pre-disposed to making stuff up:
KERRY O’BRIEN: When your brother, Martin Flanagan, was asked recently what quality he most associates with you, he said, “Sheer, naked courage”. Do you recognise that in yourself and what particularly has taken courage in your life?
RICHARD FLANAGAN: I think the family is given to exaggeration, Kerry. I wouldn’t believe that for a moment.