Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why the hate?

Many years ago I recall hearing about Jason Priestley — and this may be the first and last time Jason Priestley is mentioned on this blog — being in Perth to compete in a car rally. He finished middle-of-the-pack and some dullard, petty, namby-pamby, whinging, creativity-free, pathetic fuck of a journalist pulled out the feeble, hackneyed, miserable line that as a rally driver he makes a good actor.

Whether or not he makes a good actor is still debatable but if he didn't come dead last after mistakenly turning on the air conditioning instead of pressing the accelerator at the start line what the hell made the journalist feel so superior? On that occasion, Priestley finished ahead of a good half of the field competing in that particular race — people who are no doubt just as passionate about their rally driving as Priestley, perhaps more so — so what was this lazy, carping, humourless cretin of a journalist complaining about?

This old episode came to my mind when I was surfing through news programs on telly recently, looking for footage of Usain Bolt's win in the 200, and sat through a story of Paul Keating getting on stage and dancing along with Mike McLeish at the end of a performance of Keating! The Musical. “As a dancer,” the journalist doing the overdub said: setting up his oh-so-witty gag to punctuate the end of the piece, “he makes a great politician.” Keating wasn't moving too badly for an old guy in an expensive suit, I thought. What did this TV news guy want? Some energetic rhumba? Riverdance? Breakdance? What a pillock.

But it seems so easy for some brainless prat to sneer at, say, Stan Grant's guitar playing, or Pat Cash's, or Brett Lee's. None of these are Jimi Hendrix but at last count there were well over 6 billion people who aren't Hendrix. These three all play the guitar quite well and I have not the smallest doubt that all three play better than any of these sap-headed, superficial, fatuous journalists putting down their skill at the guitar.

Just because a person famous for one thing is caught on camera doing something entirely different and doesn't happen to be the very best in the world at this second thing doesn't mean you should immediately put them down for it. Being no better than the rest of us is not the wonderfully exciting source of derision some of these journalists appear to believe it is.

I guess I am sensitive to this lazy kind of criticism because, beyond the bass playing in this band that has brought me all my world-conquering fame, I too am a man with hobbies. I, for example, like to play cricket. I will never make the national side — only eleven guys in the whole country get to do that — but I do perfectly OK: there are members of the club who fail to match even my pedestrian record at the crease. The game brings me pleasure so I would not at all like some lonely, hate-filled journalist to catch himself on a bad day finishing some lazy colour piece with something like “but as a cricketer Paddy makes a great bass player”