FURTHER TO the post below about Fairfax’s policy of publishing toxic nonsense and driving away sane readers, it is worth noting the sort of people who still harken unto inanity’s trumpet. The top letters in today’s Sunday Age, all commenting on Chris Berg’s column of the week before, make a very good example. In case you missed it, Berg was explaining that the increasing wealth of many has bestowed the ability to live in the sort of homes they like, and if those abodes happen to be outer suburban McMansions, so be it.
This sent a gaggle of quintessential Age readers to their keyboards, eager to broadcast how very good they feel about themselves for limiting their carbon footprints, living frugally and, presumably, not patronising the shops and products of the Age’s remaining advertisers. Here is one letter summing up that perspective:
Not always a solution
I AGREE that it's unfair to label the people who live in McMansions as inferior, but to argue that their houses are a healthy sign of wealth is ludicrous. Chris Berg's logic seems to be that ''because we can'' is justification for anything. The flaw lies in the underlying assumption prevalent in much of society that physical assets are, in and of themselves, a good thing; and that the more we have the better off we must be.
Berg has previously argued that it's OK to use it/spend it/build it now because human ingenuity has and always will find a way to solve any problems we might encounter. Funny thing is, I remember reading about another optimist who happily announced ''peace in our time''. I believe in human ingenuity, too, but perhaps we should consider the possibly that it might not always solve every problem.
RICHARD JAMONTS, Williamstown
Writer Jamonts lives in one of Williamstown’s nicest streets, no one’s idea of a cheap address, and earns his crust as a management consultant, by no means a minimum-wage gig. One guesses he regards his own plush digs in Toorak By The Bay with affection and pride, no doubt seeing his address as one of the just rewards accruing to his career as a seagull* with a clipboard. Those bogan cretins in unfashionable suburbs, they are different. As Jamonts writes, it would be “ludicrous” to suggest the fruits of their hard work -- you know, building things etc., -- are “a healthy sign of wealth”.
At some point, when a history of Fairfax’s last days is written, the author will need to establish just when managers and editors came to the conclusion that their papers’ future depended on becoming one with the Jamonts of this world while not merely ignoring, but actively denigrating, the far larger pool of potential readers in those despised McMansions.
* OLD JOKE: Why are management consultants like seagulls?
A: Because they fly in, make a lot of noise, crap on everything and leave a huge mess when they go.