Young, Woke and in Need of Competition

The trusty algorithm over at job-seeker site SEEK has recommended that I apply for the Social Justice Reporter position with Junkee Media, and I’m wondering if I should dash off a CV. The job advertisement informs me that

Junkees funny, smart, ballsy, and interesting take on news, film, politics, TV, and more has seen it develop a strong following. Junkee has a fresh take and unique attitude, and in just a few years has established itself as one of the most interesting new voices in Australian media.

There is sure to be a large pool of eager applicants, but I know how to distinguish myself. I would hasten to note that the use of gendered language like ballsy is very problematic and offensive to the trans community. As an ally, I am committed to dismantling — ah, what do the kids call it? Oh, yes — the cis-heteronormative patriarchy.

As you can see, I am well versed in the vocabulary of social justice nonsense, and I shall bang on like this in my cover letter. If I include “calling people racist” in my list of hobbies, I’ll get an interview, right?

I am, in fact, a longtime Junkee reader. I occasionally stop by to check if they’ve published anything interesting, intelligent, or amusing, and, you never know, perhaps someday they will.

Some years ago, in the pre-social justice era, Junkee’s journalism might have been charitably described as fatuous or “not unreadable”. Most articles consisted of shrieking at the viral gif du jour, bland recaps of reality TV, and the latest news in pop culture. Junkee’s intellectual and moral decline began with the arrival of Osman Faruqi, who became News and Politics editor in 2016. Faruqi, a devotee of every risible and social justice idea you can imagine, brought a Greens-tinged and identity-obsessed focus to the website. A new and fierce partisanship also paid off in clicks and influence. It was at this time that Junkee proudly published Just A Bunch of People Telling Lyle Shelton To Eat Shit, an article which is fairly representative of the standard of Junkee’s more politically-inclined journalism.

Faruqi, son of Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi, also gained notoriety for his chirpy contempt for all people of a particular complexion, and there are no prizes for guessing which one. If you’ve ever dipped into any of his journalistic or social media output, you’ll have noticed his real difficulty in writing a sentence that doesn’t contain a derogatory adjective or two about white people. If anyone wants to describe such antics as racist, well, that’ll be all right with me.


In a normal world Faruqi would be a mere Twitter troll, and one might cheerily push the block button and never hear from him again. That’s not our world, unfortunately, and if Osman Faruqi is the model, aspiring Social Justice Reporters can look forward to lucrative career advancement. Faruqi may be a sneering oaf, yes, but he has gone on to inflict his oafishness on both the ABC and The Saturday Paper, and many other Junkee writers have travelled a similar path.

As I refresh the homepage, however, I notice that Junkee isn’t really Faruqi-free, as his smelly politics still hangs about. Joshua Badge, a queer philosopher and one of the site’s most embarrassing contributors, has a recent piece on the Nazi-like leadership, voting bloc and media collaborators that he wants all readers to resist. Well, that’s the main takeaway that I got, but I grant that it’s a struggle to sift through the hysterical non-sequiturs. Future Social Justice Reporters would be well-advised to read Badge’s screed, as it will give you some idea about Junkee’s style guide: you can always meet your word count by scattering fascism and white supremacy in every paragraph. Joshua scored reasonably well here, as he managed, in a single article, to get four and ten respectively. Well done, old boy.

As I glance back again at Junkee’s self-description in the job post, I would also quarrel slightly with its supposed freshness and uniqueness. I mean, where else can one find a cult-like adherence to left-wing social justice? Well, almost everywhere, I suppose.

You might say that Junkee outdoes its competitors in one area: vigorous application of the tenets of woke piety to the evaluation of art and culture. By this I mean the replacement of aesthetic standards for film and music with exclusively identitarian ones. At Junkee, it is forbidden to ask: is this piece of art any bloody good? The only thing that matters is the identity of the artists, and how much they claim to be oppressed. More oppression equals greater ennoblement, which means something is worthy of your attention. That’s why Junkee’s take on cultural matters runs along the lines of A Queer In Review: Looking Back At The Best Queer Music Of 2020.

This cultural policing isn’t confined to the present. Under the current editorship of Patrick Lenton, Junkee enjoys ransacking the past for your favourite TV show and exposing its problematic nature. I hope you don’t enjoy Friends anymore, right? Haven’t you heard that it’s both homophobic and fatphobic? Should prospective reporters undergo an interview, it would be wise to prepare for such an interrogation.

As I add my preferred pronouns to my résumé and get ready to hit send, I confess to having second thoughts. In the interests of promoting diversity, I should step aside. After all, I am a contemptible straight white male. Someone more deserving can preach the woke gospel according to Junkee.

On a serious note, the job ad does get one thing right, I should say: undoubtedly, Junkee has acquired a “strong following”, especially with young readers. This is lamentable, yes, but I hope it’s also reversible. It’s false to assume that all young Australians are votaries of social justice; it’s quite true that the right-minded among this cohort are underserved by media institutions. It’s possible that they fear articulating conservative views, especially at university; it’s certain that they see Junkee’s journalistic offerings as an insult to their intelligence.

Alternative news sites and magazines, like Quadrant, as well as ones not yet created, will have to step up. A younger readership is waiting. In the meantime, and for the sake of health and wellbeing, I’d advise everyone to cut back on their intake of junk media.

Timothy Cootes has written for Quadrant, Quillette, and The Spectator Australia. He lives in Sydney

14 thoughts on “Young, Woke and in Need of Competition

  • RB says:

    Magazines for “young adults” were the offering in my past to fill that proposed role. The cringe was eyewatering and hilarious all at once.

  • pgang says:

    Here’s one of their headlines:

    A Regional NSW Council Is Hell Bent On Destroying Sacred Wiradjuri Land With A Go-Kart Track

    That proposed go-kart track? Located on Mt Panorama. No kidding.

    Guess what else they claim?
    ‘The NSW parliament has unanimously supported a Greens motion to protect sacred Aboriginal site Wahluu, also known as Mount Panorama, from being destroyed to make way for a go-kart track.’

    Don’t know how true that is but who would be surprised. I was employed at a mine a few years along with 500 other people and after ten years of ticking off approvals, we were all made unemployed overnight by the stroke of a pen by the IPC.
    Simple message to all motor racing fans: enjoy it while it lasts.

  • MungoMann says:

    As a PONC – person of non-colour – I love debates about reducing the number of pedestrians killed at night. Just more evidence that we should reduce the number of immigrants from the Subcontinent. Not sure our ABC would put that on their ‘comedy’ website.


    Osman Faruqi is a Wokeium addict. Wokeium is the opiate of the jackasses.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Anyone tired of whole nonsense (and isn’t that all of us?) should look at “The Daily Gondor” – a group claiming to be a trendy newspaper set in Tolkien’s world. Much complaints about ‘orcophobic’ behaviour etc:

  • Macspee says:

    Mr Faruqi should ask how many people “of colour” get skin cancer and how many have died. I know of a Nauruan who died from skin cancer in the late 70’s.

  • bill says:

    Thanks so much Tony Faure, Junkee has added immeasurably to our nation, enhancing the lives of our children and our children’s children with its funky take on smart vibrant nihilism. It even contains a clever reference in the title to hard drug addiction, a curse that has caused pain to so many. Whoa! Cool as! Let’s Tweet.

  • Farnswort says:

    “Joshua scored reasonably well here, as he managed, in a single article, to get four and ten respectively. Well done, old boy.”

    Excuse me but Joshua’s preferred pronouns are in fact “they/them”. They is likely to be most upset by such egregious misgendering. Where is the report button?

  • Farnswort says:

    Titania McGrath would be a perfect fit at Junkee.

  • rod.stuart says:

    “Osman Faruqi is a Wokeium addict. Wokeium is the opiate of the jackasses.”
    The acorn falleth not far from the tree.

  • padraic says:

    I hope Osman Faruqi’s comment on the ABC about white people don’t belong in Australia because they need sunscreen to prevent sun cancers is just another sad, pitiable attempt by the ABC at humour. On an equally humorous note the same could be said about dark skinned people who should not live in cold parts of the world like Europe and North America because of the possible need for Vitamin D supplements – which is garbage of course and not even a skerrick of humour. Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in Rickets in Children and Osteoporosis in adults. All humans require a standard amount of Vitamin D as part of their bone health and over the millennia their bodies have adapted to the climate in which they live. Vitamin D is formed in the body by exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D and its derivatives are potentially toxic – large doses are used in rodent bait, for example – so it’s important that each person gets the standard amount through exposure to sunlight and possibly diet. In very sunny areas of the world around the equator, for instance in Sudan and parts of India, people have developed very dark skins to ensure they get the standard safe amount of Vitamin D while people in the south of Africa are paler. In contrast, people in Western Europe and Sweden and places near the North Pole have varying degrees of exposure to sunlight for large parts of the year and hence they developed a pale skin that allows more sunlight through so that they too receive a standard amount of Vitamin D and the skin colour darkens as you go from Sweden down to the Mediterranean. But humans adapt – white people in Australia if exposed a lot to sunlight get a suntan to prevent them from developing too much Vitamin D, and the opposite is true. I knew some dark skinned people in London when working there who had been there for several years continuously and they said their skin colour had become paler (to let in more sunlight), so much so that when they went to a beachside resort in southern Italy for a summer holiday they got sunburnt for the first time in their life, complete with peeling skin like we get. I once saw an old UK public health movie aimed at showing new mothers how to prevent their baby from getting Rickets in a UK winter by putting them in a crib, minus their clothing, next to a closed window with that weak winter sun coming through the window onto their skin and leaving them there for a certain period of time. This concern about Rickets in white children persisted culturally in Australia (where it was largely unnecessary because of our sunlight) in the form of being dosed with Cod Liver Oil Emulsion, a practice which has largely died out in Australia. (Thank goodness – I remember getting dosed with it as a child – it was up there with boiled cabbage for taste and ingestion). However, it may be a good idea for our migrant children with darker skins. Some time back there was a rethink about the “slip-slop-slap + big hats” campaign when it was seen as inappropriate for schoolchildren with dark skin because of the potential for causing Vitamin D deficiency. Some years back I met a health professional who had worked in Canberra during a winter there and who saw a case of Rickets in a young African child whose parents had been working in Yugoslavia for several years and, like in cold Canberra, had clothed the child in warm clothing for considerable periods of time thus minimising exposure to sunlight and this resulted in Rickets. So Osman Faruqi would do well to realise that “we are all in this together” and make sure that if he goes to a cold climate for a considerable period of time he should take a Vitamin D supplement and let us worry about getting our sun cancers burnt off, after adapting quite well over the past 232 years.

  • Harry Lee says:

    Anti-white-ism is surging in Australia, and across the Anglosphere.
    That’s plain to see, esp on the ABC and at SBS, and at the AHRC, in the education systems, and in the “human rights” industry -all funded by White nett tax-payers.
    Note: The Australian Constitution provides for no defence for Whites.
    And contemporary group-think says that Whites are bad and must hand all power and all resources over to Non-Whites and Muslims from Everywhere.
    So there’s that.
    But this is no joke: This is serious.
    The threat to Whites to so serious and so present, that very few Whites are willing to face up to the situation, as they fear the costs of saving themselves.

  • Harry Lee says:

    Faruqi is similar to Dr Tim Soutwhathisname, YAM and Dr Waleed Ali/Aly.
    They are lucky Non-Whites who have celebrity, freedoms and material wealth -and can freely shoot off their big mouths- because of the efforts of White Australians, past and present.
    These lucky non-Whites might be encouraged to imagine their life situations if the 25% most productive Whites ceased to contribute the fruits of their labours to the community.
    And consider their prospects if earlier White Australians -British and other Europeans- had not built the place up from Nothing -A Wasteland- to be the wonderfully equipped life-boat it now is for non-Whites, home-grown and imported, and Muslims from Everywhere.
    It’s bad enough to be surrounded by Idiots. We are now over-run by Ingrates

  • en passant says:

    I would give these ‘activists’ what they want, then rip up the white roads, white medicine, white houses, white Toyota 4WD and white money and leave them to their paradise (surrounded by a razor wire fence)

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