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Sky News' Bronwyn Bishop dishes out elitist nonsense

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Bronwyn Bishop on Sky News (image via YouTube)

Bronwyn Bishop's claims that the Greens represent the ruling elite is a misdirect for the ages, writes Dr Alex Vickery-Howe.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE to call people out directly.

Let’s say this very clearly and very slowly for maniac conservatives like Ben Shapiro, E-grade filmmakers like Dinesh D'Souza, and the other dull kids in the back row: the Nazis were not socialists. You look like an illiterate imbecile when you make that claim. You look like a turnip. You look like the reason why Tabasco is labelled "hot" and dog food is labelled ‘not fit for human consumption'. If you repeat this drivel, you deserve to have a dunce cap glued to your head, for all time.

I can’t stand this level of stupidity because it always comes with that smug “I know more than you do” swagger that only the exceptionally dim wear as a badge of honour. Intelligent human beings understand that the world is full of complexity, and you can’t rely on simple connections to make sense of it.

Here’s an example of a simple connection: Nazi = National Socialist = Socialist = Left-Wing

It’s also a faulty connection. Bad wiring. The only people foolish enough to accept this childish calculation lack both a basic grasp of political history and a fundamental understanding of how context works. It’s not just preposterous, it’s lazy. When people say this, we all have every right to point, laugh, and repeatedly use the word "dickhead".

Let me apply the same dumbf**k logic elsewhere: The Republic of Korea = Republic = Republicans = Make America Great Again

The People’s Republic of China = Republic = Republicans = Make America Great Again

Nonsense. Obvious nonsense.

Or let’s push political parties completely to the side and apply the same formula to fast food: Burger King = King = monarchy = our new lord and master

Or to e-commerce: Amazon = wilderness = safari

Or to computers: Apple = fruit = edible keyboard

Or to coffee: Starbucks = space money = hostile alien takeover

I’ve wasted hours of my life arguing with Musk’s swelling army of morons who fail to understand how idiotic they look when they spread these preschool-grade lies for their faithful flock of martyrs and nitwits. Of course, that’s a poor use of my time and theirs. Anyone mindless enough to accept such shallow equations should be concentrating on not sticking something valuable into an electrical socket, rather than tackling the relatively complex task of maintaining a social media presence.

But no matter how dumb Ben Shapiro is – and he is professionally dumb, almost mystically dumb – until recently, Australians have been able to draw some comfort from the fact that he is American dumb. Sadly, American dumb has become Australian dumb and there is a domestic market for dodgy news and performative commentators who export this dumbness to our shores.

Sky News is spreading like syphilis, without the initial fun. I’ve long been suspicious of how it plays in every Hungry Jack’s, how Alan “your father died of shame” Jones glowers down from airport walls, how Tony Abbott’s righthand ghoul has somehow reinvented herself as a "journalist", with about as much credibility as Donald Trump reinventing himself as a "success", and how this diseased excuse for commentary has taken root in Australian cultural life.

Dig a little, and you’ll see that most of the Sky News trolls are aspiring actors and perhaps Shapiro is too. Most of his whining concerns casting decisions. Perhaps he wants to play Ariel or Snow White himself, or star in the next Rian Johnson mystery; this is where his energies have been directed of late. Maybe he should pitch a duet with Daisy “I’m the sweet kind of monster” Cousens, bless her warm soul.

But there is one Sky News regular who really should know the difference between performance and reality, and have some respect for the latter.

On 9 November, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop pirated Shapiro’s playbook and adopted the asinine Nazis = National Socialists = Socialists rhetoric to attack the Australian Greens.

Now, I’m not pretending that yelling “ceasefire now!” is the most brilliant political strategy the Greens have ever employed (I still miss Bob Brown) but the sight of Bishop, a politician of some 30 years’ experience, arrogantly spreading the falsehood that the Nazis had anything to do with contemporary Australian socialism needs to be called out, needs to be called out swiftly, and needs to be treated with the appropriate level of ridicule and disdain that such historically ignorant, factually bereft, wilfully deceitful, self-aggrandising balderdash deserves.

I’m willing to bet that Shapiro – like D'Souza, like Jones, like Cousens, like Trump and his litter – is, to some degree, sold on his own lies. The same cannot be said for Bishop. This is a seasoned politician. She knows she’s lighting a match and flicking it at the Australian people.

The rest of the disgraced ex-speaker’s lovefest with indulgent host Sharri Markson was equally reprehensible. Bishop looked back fondly on the days when she could abuse her power and evict her political enemies with glee, suggesting that if she were still in the big chair, she’d kick the Greens out under her controversial and often brutal interpretation of standing order 94A.

Oh, those good times, when you could flaunt your bias and shut down democratic debate like a despotic schoolmarm.

And when I say Bishop was "disgraced", let’s remember precisely why: this is someone who thought it was appropriate to charter luxury helicopters at the public’s expense. Yesterday, she accused the Greens of plotting to become "the ruling elite". Have you met the Greens? They’re defiantly countercultural, ethically sustainable and beardy.

Bishop, by way of contrast, is glitzier than my Nan, who is glitzier than Elizabeth Taylor. She thought taxpayers should pay for her joyrides, as was her right as a member of the dapper class. Her entire public image is built on wealth and prestige. Now, she thinks it’s the Greens who have airs and graces? Monty Burns doesn’t get to accuse Groundskeeper Willie of being too posh.

The Australian Broadcasting Company has requested a formal apology from Bishop. We might see a begrudging one, as we have in the past from a churlish Jones, from frequent offender Andrew Bolt, and from numerous Sky News hate-monkeys who’ve previously crossed this line from dumb to dangerous.

Another apology won’t cut it. Bishop needs to give something back to the taxpayer. Dishonest broadcasters must face fines for their lies.

To use the horror of the Israel-Palestine conflict as window dressing for this kind of fraudulence, to put forward the propaganda, yet again, that the Nazis are linked to socialism and to twist a humanitarian crisis to make a very cheap, very cruel, completely cretinous assault on demographic principles is beneath the bad actors, beneath the hacks, and definitely, absolutely beneath a career politician who knows how absurd and how irresponsible she is being.

Lies must cost more than reputation.

Your move, Bishop.

Dr Alex Vickery-Howe is an award-winning playwright and social commentator. He teaches creative writing, screen and drama at Flinders University. You can follow Alex on Twitter @AlexVickeryHowe.

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