Flat White

The Age: proud to be a global joke

15 August 2017

8:35 PM

15 August 2017

8:35 PM

It’s official. The Age is an international joke. And no. I’m not talking about that “Is this the most Melbourne guy ever?” story from July last year on the fashion style of “web developer, mystery blogger and jazz kitten” hipster Samuel Davide Hains, who turned out to be the invention of a freelancer after making the front page.

The Age booted the miscreant behind that piece.

But today, they celebrated the latest item that’s made them a global laughing stock in their editorial:

A Melbourne cafe owner’s gently provocative and light-hearted initiative to draw attention to the lamentable reality that women continue to be paid much less than men and face manifold economic unfairness has been a resounding success.

For a week each month, Alex O’Brien’s Handsome Her cafe is charging men a (voluntary) “gender surcharge” of 18 per cent, reflecting the gap between average full-time wages for men and women. The money will be given to community organisations.

The move ignited a spirited debate on social media, and has been reported internationally, causing valuable community conversations in other nations, too. There has been much earnest criticism by those who feel Ms O’Brien is unduly discriminating against men. These people might want to lighten up a little and focus their indignation on the injustices women still face. Men hold the overwhelming majority of positions of power throughout the economy.

The injustice extends far beyond that. Global financial firm PwC calculates, for example, that were unpaid childcare, the overwhelming majority of which is done by women, included in the national accounts, it would be the biggest contributor to our economy, worth $345 billion…

It continued on — and on and on — in a similarly po-faced, self-congratulatory way.

The article first ran last week (Where else?) in the digital bedlam that is the Fairfax lady pages.

Clearly, The Age’s editorialists missed the sniggering that greeted its appearance. Sniggering — and more.

Perhaps the shortest, sharpest takedown came from Julie Burchill, a columnist not unknown in these pages whose career has covered everything from the inky pages of the then punk bible The New Musical express to The Sunday Times.

Her verdict: “What a dumb idea!”

Her full verdict?

What a dumb idea!So a male labourer would have to pay more than a female lawyer? Tossers! THIS is what happens when identity politics usurps class-based politics – the rich thrive and the poor suffer.

Ah, but it’s the gesture that matters in Age-land, not the reality. It’s all about the gesture — and nothing else.

No wonder they are an international joke — and too stupid to realise.

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