‘There’s nothing I would rather be, than to be an Aborigine, and watch you take my precious land away.
For nothing gives me greater joy than to watch you fill each girl and boy with superficial existential shit.’
A waggish tweeter said of opinion columnist, blogger and shock jock of the written word, Andrew Bolt,
‘Full time patriot, defender of wealthy white opinions, developer of Skintone, expert with copy and paste shortcuts and limited news.’
I would add, deliberate denier of Aboriginal literary and artistic success and even Aboriginality itself. (Bolt 2009, 2012)
Amongst his many articles attacking Aborigines and Aboriginal issues, were several claiming that Aboriginal literary, Art and community awards and honours, scholarships and jobs were actually achieved by white people falsely claiming to have an indigenous heritage. Bolt’s sole criteria for judging a lack of that heritage in It’s so Hip to be Black, White is the New Black and White Fellas in the Black, was the ‘existential’ colour of their skin.
In It’s so Hip to be Black above, Bolt begs the question why the photo montage he selectively cut and pasted from Google Images was digitally enhanced to lighten and warm skin tones? It also calls into question his choice of images and his deliberate rejection of the visual evidence revealed by other images on the same Google image search page – the younger Mick Dodson for instance.
Bolt seems to think that Aborigines are Australian Negroes; whereas at first contact with Europeans, Aboriginal skin colour ranged from dark brown, some with blond hair to being thought to be lost whites by explorer Abel Tasman. Now, after two hundred years of rape, sexual abuse, intermarriage and light children being removed from their families, Aboriginality is defined by ancestry, culture and recognition by Aboriginal communities rather than by skin colour.
Makeup goes to court
Skin tones seem personally important to Bolt with his complexion revealing an almost indigenous tan before 2011 and a pale foundation after. On the other hand, he seemed oblivious to the fact that Larissa Behrendt may have bleached her hair and be like him, wearing makeup.
2011 was also the year that Bolt was finally forced by the Federal Court of Australia, to admit that all nine of the claimants in the case of Eatock v Bolt that resulted from the above articles were Aborigines, not frauds, and that he had breached the Racial Discrimination Act. He didn’t go to jail, he wasn’t asked to pay a fine. No, in spite of his continuing claims that section 18c/d of the law limited his free speech, he wasn’t prevented from publishing at all. He was simply required to provide balance by putting the judge’s decision in front of his own – all forty pages of it.
Superficial existential shit
When does a writer selectively using information to promote a particular world view, become a fraud? When does a deliberate refusal to research the history, background and different sides of issues, become lying by omission? When do the subtexts of opinion writing become so scurrilous that they should be termed prejudice? Subtexts such as: that whites out-competed Aborigines for Aboriginal Art and literature awards; that they abuse the public purse; that Aborigines are given preference in awards and jobs in the Arts; and that real Aborigines don’t have university degrees. Bolt reinforces those subtexts with emotive language such as:
“Hear that scuffling at the trough? That’s the sound of black people being elbowed out by white people shouting ‘but I’m Aboriginal, too”’ (Bolt 2011)
I wonder why Bolt thinks that any writer or artist would want to scuffle at the public trough for short term grants, a ‘generous’ $260 a week to live on, frequent pleasant holidays when unemployed and perhaps a short but exciting life experiencing Her Majesty’s Pleasure? Pat Eatock ’s story in Judge Bromberg’s summary would have enlightened him. (Eatock v Bolt pp.154–164)
If dislike of literary fraud and pretense was really Bolt’s rationale for those articles, why doesn’t he have issues with men pretending to be women who write romance? As Harold Lowry, who writes as Leigh Greenwood says ‘Contrary to popular opinion, men are romantic. We just have more cultural obstacles to overcome’. (Sarah 2007)
Aborigines write, whatever their skin colour. They also have more cultural obstacles to overcome including shock jock opinion writers.
Andrew Bolt Quotes. 25 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. <https://twitter.com/BoltQuotes>.
Bolt, Andrew. “Making a Saint out of Mabo.” Herald Sun. News Ltd, 12 June 2012. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.
Bolt, Andrew. “White Is the New Black.” Herald Sun. Newscom, 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.
Chi, Jimmy. Nothing I Would Rather Be. 1990. Lyric.
Connor, Michael. “Andrew Bolt on Trial.” Quadrant Online. 1 May 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.
Eatock v Bolt  FCA 1103 Summary. FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA. 28 Sept. 2011. Austlit. Federal Court of Australia, 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2011/1103.html>.
Sarah, S. B. “Male Writers of Romance.” Smart Bitches Trashy Books. 24 Aug. 2007. Web. 5 Jan. 2014. <http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com>.
(c) Jan 7 2014