Mike Carlton suspended by Sydney Morning Herald, quits | Crikey

Mike Carlton suspended by Sydney Morning Herald, quits | Crikey.

I’m not sure what upsets me most about this story. I like Mike Carlton, he seems to have been around forever, and has always been a robust and articulate commentator. Very sad to lose him.

I dislike the notion also that the pro-Israel lobby has contrived to get rid of Carlton because of his views on the Gaza conflict. Of course Carlton resigned, but only after he was threatened with suspension, and naturally the argument is that if he had not responded so vigorously he would not be in this situation in the first place. That’s a technically correct, but simplistic view of the situation. It’s unfortunate that genuine comment on a legitimate story can lead to accusations of being anti-semitic and ‘fascist’. There’s no doubt the pro-Israel lobby is powerful, organised, and has friends in high places.

Perhaps what upsets me most is that you can no longer tell someone deserving of it to “get fucked”. Surely that’s a man’s democratic right? It’s to the point and there’s no mucking around with it and satisfying when you say it, and unmistakeable when you’re the recipient of it. It might be blunt, but there was no cant about it.

In this instance Carlton had received some personal correspondence accusing him of – and calling him – all sorts of things. I don’t abide by the idea that you ignore it or, worse still, respond with gentle reason. Sometimes a succinct “get fucked” or “fuck off” is just the perfect riposte. Once upon a time no-one doubted that. As Carlton himself tweeted after the fact:

After a fortnight of being called Nazi,Jew-hating slime, I told a few people to fuck off. We do that in this country occasionally.

Mike Carlton is old-school Australia, the type that would call a spade a fucking shovel, though in more graceful terms than that. In a lot of ways that’s what Australians have been known for, that blunt, no-bullshit honesty. With Carlton’s effectual dismissal I’m afraid this is yet another sign that we’re not that people anymore.

I’m old school too, and that saddens me greatly. I don’t see any other reason but to be direct, and admire that raw honesty of yesteryear. Now it is dying out. Bullshit is the go. There’s more concern about form than content. Truth comes second to playing nice, or, alternatively, spinning an agenda. The mediocre middle path is taken because it is safer, and offends fewer. Maybe, but what sort of society is that?

If Mike Carlton is a dinosaur then so to am I. On behalf of Mike Carlton let me add my get fucked, to the haters out there, to the mealy-mouthed yes men, to the softcock technocrats, to anyone in fact that who prefers simulated reality to visceral truth.


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