Funny, isn’t it, what offends those whose antennae are so exquisitely tuned to identifying insult, slight and that universal catch-all, “inappropriate” views? Take quintessential Fairfax columnist Michael Shmith, for example, whose thoughts on the return of knighthoods grace the opinion page of The Age. Didn’t see his missive? Not to worry, Fairfax newspapers are written for the benefit and enjoyment of other, like-minded Fairfax journalists, which explains why, in Melbourne’s city of four million souls, The Age now struggles to sell a mere 100,000-or-so copies a day. Imperial honours bring back “all the undesirable aspects of a class system we were well rid of,” insists Shmith.
Well Fairfax pundits would be experts on classy behaviour. After all, it was Shmith’s fellow columnist Clementine Ford who marketed those “F*** Abbott” T-shirts — a clothing line subsequently promoted on the SMH and Age websites. According to Shmith, knighthoods “defy the spirit of the nation we have become”.
Walking around with a large, Fairfax-endorsed, block-lettered obscenity on your chest is, however, entirely admirable.