Tarago Diaries #42 – Zeitgeist

Mark reflects on art and media.

Author:  Mark Seymour.

Date: 3 December 2020.

Original URL: N/A.


Article Text



I’ve abandoned the zeitgeist..

You know that thing? In art: what’s suddenly cool, meaningful and socially relevant. What is ‘now’?

Mostly I read really thick books to keep myself entertained. So I’ll freely admit:

I struggle to keep up with ‘now’. And there’s a lot if it coming at you.

Best not to get involved in overt social comment in case you simply don’t ‘get it’..

and I’ve come unstuck before. You may have noticed.

Unless of course the level of hypocrisy is so friggin’ off the dial that it’s plainly obvious to anyone who’s even vaguely paying attention:

Your bullshit radar is pinging hard!

So now we’ve got that out of the way.. I can’t help but notice..

We are about to have a biopic inflicted on us about Martin Bryant. You know: the guy who massacred 35 people at Port Arthur and ruined the lives of hundreds of others by proxy.

Really? Why?

Well you know how it goes. That whole culture trope about ‘exploring’ the dark corners of human consciousness… man! Ahh yes. That old chestnut. We need to know these things right? Like what made the prick tick.

Or, you know, the social context. Tassie. Darkness. Isolation. Abandonment.


Then comes the backlash of course. And then.. the defensive arguments about how artistic freedom and free speech are so crucial and well, important.

There’ll be no gore apparently.. thus protecting the sensitivities of loved ones.

How fucking noble.

But still, there’s so much fodder isn’t there? So much to talk about and so little time. Back and forth.

BS bingo.

So sure. When it comes out, you go right ahead and switch on your STAN and have good old perv. Tell your friends. Did it feel good? Did you get scared? Woo hoo!

Sort of like “Wolf Creek but on the gear” right? ‘’cos it was about real shit mate. not made up..

‘based on a true story’.

Don’t you get sick of reading that?

It’ll be a smash I’m sure.

Actually, it’s only a movie. But let’s not split hairs. And the good thing is.. you’ll know what’s coming won’t you?

So you won’t have to think too hard..

All that suffering. The lives of innocent people. Real ones. Played by actors. You can think about all that too. While you’re at it.

But hey.. that’s ok. You weren’t actually there were you? And neither was I. So we can only speculate. What it REALLY FELT LIKE.

But what I don’t get is this Aussie middle-class titillation that vaguely-talented filmmakers keep tapping into.. You know the sort of thing? Your ersatz bush gothic trope of mindless violence, lashings of inexplicable evil, bodies in barrels, cannibalism, murderous babysitters, gratuitous sadistic imagery, beautiful girls getting stabbed in the back or the shot from a long way off..

Sure thing man.

Just so you can say you were seated in the comfort of your loungeroom, and you didn’t even flinch.. ‘cos.. you know..

We’re all enlightened! On the edge. But of what? The Edge of stupidity? Oh yeah baby! Buried deep in the dark heart of the lucky country.. etc..

Wow man. It’s all so INTERESTING. Not.

But really. I just can’t help wondering why anyone would be willing to wallow in something as truly offensive as this?

To the families and loved ones of those who got taken out. I mean, where’s you’re compass pointing mate?

Are we that lame? That venal? That we’d actually buy into this?

But hey, I didn’t make it through the shiv scene in Chopper.

As I said, I’ve abandoned the zeitgeist.

There’s another side to all this though. It’s the cultural argument that would’ve been used to extract the funding..

I would so love to know how that went. Especially given I PAY tax.