The Australian's "suppository of all wisdom," Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, has just returned from - where else? - the land where the 4th most popular baby name is now - wait for it - 'Messiah'. He's been attending - you guessed it - "the 21st Australian American Leadership Dialogue," where he's been angsting with the dupes and slaves of AIPAC over the impact of the dreaded social media:
"In technology and political culture, the US often offers clues to our future. A former senior Republican appointee told me how hateful politics has become, because so much of it now is raising money and following Twitter feeds. Another operator, a Democrat, said he thought the political benefit of social media vastly overrated. Twitter is a way of distributing brief press releases. But you cannot convince anyone of anything on social media. It is not a place for reason, evidence and dialogue. It is a place for mobilisation, useful in certain ways during campaigns." (Keeping up with the Kardashians is no model for leadership, 15/8/13)
A place for reason, evidence and dialogue... what, like the Australian?
"A senior Republican was almost despairing about the effect of social media on politics, because social media favours grotesque oversimplification, outright lies and character assassination."
How about that? Just like the Australian!
Golly, gosh, gee, just look at where all this social media is taking us:
"This campaign is like watching a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians..."
Like, whatever happened to good old, grey gravitas?
"The word authority, the very concept, is unfashionable in our hyper-democratic and faux egalitarian popular culture. But the absence of legitimate authority leaves a horrible vacuum. Political leaders, who should embody legitimate, earned authority, have no alternative but to become celebrities. But the dynamics of celebrity are superficial, treacherous and hostile to public policy. Thus we get Rudd's 'selfies' (selfies - this is a loathsome dialect we must master). Rudd, a serious foreign policy thinker, has had to construct a celebrity persona - with endless attention to all aspects of social media, long-winded self-revelatory essays on his religious feelings and their compatibility with zeitgeist prejudice, carrying his sleeping bag through airports for celebrity sleepouts for the homeless, wacky and anachronistic efforts at slang to combat his natural prolixity... There is much less artiface in Abbott's public persona. But he too has responded to the need for leadership as celebrity. When he first became leader he emphasised his love of sport, his many marathon runs, surf livesaving events and the like... [T]he balance has gone badly wrong. It has nothing to do with running a nation well. We are loosing something of that. The Kardashians, repulsively compelling as they are, offer no model for leadership."
Seriously, maybe Greg should be running for PM.
After all, he'd have Rupert batting for him, and as a gent whose support for Israel resides in both his DNA and his bones, funding a Greg-for-Canberra push shouldn't be a problem. I mean, it'd almost be as though Vic Alhadeff himself were standing.
One thing's for sure, running on his strength as a fully paid-up "suppository of all wisdom" - or the embodiment of "legitimate, earned authority," as he'd probably prefer to put it - he'd certainly provide that missing "balance" vis-a-vis those two clowns, Rudd and Abbott.