Stop all the clocks, cut off the call-back telephone, set the mood for Struggle Street with a sad trombone.
Silence the ancient parrot, and with muffled drum, bring out a hot pink coffin,
Let the mourners come.
Let woke leftist vultures circle overhead, with claws to rake this message in the sky,
The Parrot’s dead.
Apolz to the estate of W.H. Auden but some passings deserve poetry. And although decreasingly prominent right wing narrowcaster Alan Jones lost his widely unwatched little vlog on Sky News After Dark some time ago, it felt this week as though the bill might finally have come due.
No longer welcome on radio, cancelled by The Daily Telegraph, the fallen King of Talkover affixed himself to the very rear of the media’s human centipede and launched Direct to the People, his multiplatform cri de coeur… to universal indifference.
Well, to be fair, not quite universal.
Some morbidly curious journalists did hit up his YouTube channel—guilty, your Honour—giving his launch day a small squirt of traffic – until the livestream sputtered out two minutes and forty-five seconds into the show. I do like to imagine Jones burbling on regardless, those protuberant, fleshy lips of his pouting and motile, like a prolapsed anus raised to sentience and deeply, deeply unhappy with the experience.
But that was Monday.
By Tuesday, whatever poor, accursed soul signed on to wrangle Jones’s content management had wisely turned off the viewership stats.
By Wednesday the Parrot was crowing that Tuesday’s livestream was ‘almost glitch free’.
By Thursday he was, er… gone.
I can’t find any sign of Thursday’s show.
It’s wrong to gloat…
Wait. No, no it’s not.
Take a few minutes to gloat—
—but then come back and ponder this. Jones reigned over the politics of a city, and somewhat less absolutely over national affairs, bullying, demeaning, threatening and imposing his vision of how things should be on generations. Politicians feared him because of his audience reach, his power.
But none of that was actually his. If it was, he’d have carried them off into the wilderness with him. And to personalise his agency is to exculpate those higher up the food chain of any responsibility for the damage done by the likes of Jones when they demagogue racism, or climate change denial, or more recently infection control efforts and vaccine acceptance in the middle of a fucking pandemic. All for lulz and ratings.
One of the bullshit tropes of modern media is the idea of leftwing bias, a notion which should collapse in on itself the moment you take a look at any newspaper editorial page, randomly spin the radio dial, or surf the diminishing sources of TV news and current affairs.
There is bias there, and plenty of it, but it serves the interests of the vast corporations which control most of our media and the billionaires who own or control those companies.
The fall of an Alan Jones is no more likely to change the world than the fall of a Fox News villain like Bill O’Reilly. The show will go on.
It’s fun, cruel and unusual fun, to watch someone like Jones suddenly stripped of his audience and desperate to recapture that power and relevance.
But the audience didn’t go anywhere. It’s still there and it’s still being fed the same old shit to serve the same old interests of the truly wealthy, madly powerful and deeply, deeply unaccountable.
There will be one more ASB before Christmas. But not an angry one. Who needs that, eh? And I might send it out before Friday, because Christmas Eve is for
running around like a complete maddy doing all the Santa shit I should’ve done ages ago gah why am I like this? a nice sit down with fruit mince pies and a single malt. Then Imma take a week or two off. I hope you can, too. - JB