Brown Study

Brown study

21 December 2019

9:00 AM

21 December 2019

9:00 AM

My problem with Christmas is that it is all ‘give, give, give.’ Whatever happened to ‘take, take, take’? Taking is a far more natural quality in the human being than giving, but somehow or other it has picked up a bad name, especially at this time of the year when we are all expected to summon up the fantasy that we actually like people whom we really loathe and that we should give them things, when we would rather take something from them. So I have been thinking about what we could do to make this a taking Christmas for you, where you can actually make some money out of Christmas and feel all the better for it, and not have one of those tired old Christmases where you have to spend a fortune buying things to give away to other people. The idea we have in mind for Christmas builds on the Spectator Australia Book Club that we started a few months ago and which has proved such a favourite with so many of our loyal readers, so much so that we are now expanding it into some new ventures, as you will shortly see. But the basic idea is that every month we pore over dozens of books and select one that is so bad that we can safely recommend to our members that they should not read or, more importantly, buy the book in question. That way, you can save, say, $39.99 in one month, being the usual recommended retail price, simply by not buying our Book of the Month. And, as we promised some months ago, we would announce a bumper collection of Do Not Buys at Christmas that will save you hundreds of dollars more. And to join our club (although there is now, not surprisingly, a waiting list) you pay only 10 per cent of what you save in a year.

So it was in that spirit that a few months ago we were able to save our members the cost of buying and the time spent in reading, Niki Savva’s Plots and Prayers, ($26.35, down from $35.00), her most recent offering in the porno-politics genre that she invented. That was the book that rejoiced so much in the hypnotic effect of Barnaby Joyce’s accoutrements that one chapter was actually entitled, ‘Barnaby’s Doodle’, an appellation that was then printed on every page of the chapter, lest anyone overlooked it (the title, I mean, not the doodle). Next month, we saved our members from wasting time and money on Michael Wolff’s Siege, ($26.35, down from $33.99) which is just another gossip-monger’s collection of anonymous tittle-tattle, a manual on how to hate Donald Trump more and a book completely devoid of any explanation for the successful Trump phenomenon.

And now, it is our privilege to put on the list as the first of our Christmas offerings, Venom, by David Crowe and invite you to save $35.99 by not buying it. It is another alleged insider’s story of the Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison saga and its wash-up in the last federal election. This must surely be the most boring book on politics ever inflicted on the Australian public, being another tedious recital of daily events that you know already and can easily look up on Wikipedia. Worse still, after 330 pages on the collapse of the Coalition, Crowe has no explanation for its sudden resurrection and great victory, other than that it must have been a ‘miracle’. Thanks a lot for that amazing insight, mate! But what does it tell us about politics and government in general? Nothing.

But now for our great Christmas surprise: we are adding a film section to our club and have no trouble in recommending the first movie on which you should not waste your time or money. If we gave you the clue that the film in question has just won the prize for the best Australian film this year and that it is much loved by critics but not by audiences, you will understand the abysmal depths of ghastliness to which this picture sinks, except that it is worse. The movie is The Nightingale, a gory and supra-violent picture of how we invaded Australia, enslaved the Aboriginals, shot most of them, ran a vicious imperialist colonial rule, killed babies and raped women, all in the most unspeakable way and did nothing else. Eventually, boring takes over from predictability. Saving: around $20.

But now to our pièce de résistance, the announcement that we have also launched a travel club and that you will be able to make some money out of this venture as well. We got the idea while reading that Andrew Wilkie MP, the lachrymose MP for Clark, is getting a group together to go to London to bring some Christmas cheer to Julian Assange, who is languishing in Belmarsh Prison, where, in our opinion, he should remain until extradited to the US. Due to some nimble footwork, we were able to secure exclusively for our members the remaining 50 seats in this group booking with Qantas. Just think of the savings in store if you do not fly off to see Julian; on our calculations it is about $1,500 if you do not fly economy class and $7,000 if you do not fly business class, so we recommend you do not go at all and in particular not by business class. And just think what you get: you can go on never having seen or touched Julian Assange. And for an optional add-on, we can offer you a special deal where you will not be hugged by Alan Joyce when you board.

All this is a chance to put an end to giving and to restore taking to its rightful place. At the same time you can keep well clear of boring, left-wing writers and film directors who want to tell the whole world how deplorable you are. And you can get by without Barnaby’s doodle.

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