Besides, he has the worst porn star name ever

Sunday 5 September 2004

Further evidence of The Age drifting rudderless on Wednesday was its wasting of column space in its opinion pages on that perennial waste of space, Merlin Luck. He was one of the losers in the last Big Brother series, but then weren’t they all? For those who neither know nor care, Merlin was the one who tried to extend his fifteen minutes of fame by coming out with duct tape over his gob and a sign saying FREE TH [sic] REFUGEES when he got the arse from the show a few weeks into the competition. Since then he has made persistent efforts to outstay his welcome in the feeble public spotlight by being a media tart for the Greens and the Democrats, and generally attempted to pass off his sour grapes at losing on an obnoxious game show as the vacuous sermonising of a sanctimonious tool.
Politics used to be cool. From what I’ve heard there was actually a time where it was fashionable to be concerned with human rights issues…

The opening sentences are a spectacular hybrid of Columnist’s Defiant Bullshit Basic (“Everywhere you go these days the one thing everyone’s talking about is how to find the best PR agent for your toddler!”) and Clueless Twat Explains It All For You (“I’ve heard the Berlin Wall was, like, an actual wall? And it totally went across Berlin?”) He continues in the latter vein for the next few paragraphs:
There are 11 million children orphaned by AIDS. Landmines are still maiming and killing Cambodian kids. Two million little girls are at risk of female genital mutilation every year… Just look at the front page of our biggest-selling papers that so often feature footy. Has the lead story ever once been “33,000 kids died today”?

No, it’s usually a scorching exposé about magpies attacking cyclists. I was going to be callous and observe that, on the bright side, nothing bad happens to adults on Planet Merlin. Instead I’ll just speculate on whether Merlin was cloistered in the Big Brother hamster cage for just a few weeks, or in fact had spent his whole life in there and has to share his newly-discovered realities about the outside world with us. He wd no doubt be surprised to learn that a lot of us know this stuff already, and that we learned it from reading a paper. What’s more, he might have known it too, had he actually read a newspaper instead of just taking money from one to write drivel, and had he gotten his news from other sources besides that dreadlocked private-school loudmouth with all the petitions at the Resistance stall in town on Fridays.
We, as a society, have become desensitised to a point where information alone is no longer shocking or even newsworthy.

Hey, what’s with all this we business? Where does a Big Brother contestant get off lecturing me for being shallow?
These days we need it packaged up in controversy and hype, tied to really shocking images, and even then only delivered in bite-size chunks. Snippets of digestible reality that we can process and put to one side without actually thinking about what it all means.

Now it’s starting to make sense. We need large slabs of indigestible reality without controversy or shocking images and that leaves us wondering what the point was, just like Big Brother Up Late!
Is it too hard to think about 30 per cent of Australia’s Aboriginal people living under the poverty line? Is it easier to watch a reality TV contestant win $1 million?

That depends on whether or not you were one of the losing contestants, Merlin.

I’m 24 years old. I have a bachelor of commerce. I go out all the time…

Translation: I’m on the dole.
…I love watching the Swannies play over a beer with my mates, or going to the movies with a girl and having a nice evening out. I’m an ambitious and driven person. I’m happy, positive and energetic… an informed, compassionate person.

Why is The Age paying Merlin to place the world’s most long-winded personal ad?
You might think: “But how can I make a difference?”… Inform yourself so you can hold your own in debates and discussions. Raise awareness in your own circle and make an appointment with your federal member of Parliament to raise your concerns.

Uh, Merlin? You don’t have an MP, remember? Because, as you told your fellow hamsters on Big Brother, you’re a German citizen who’s been living in Australia for 20 years without applying for citizenship. If I think about how you can make a difference, it always ends up with you getting off your arse and onto the electoral roll, not with you playing media whore.
A Lutheran pastor and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp once said…

Translation: I can’t be bothered looking up Reverend Martin Niemoller.
Merlin Luck made a silent protest about Australia’s refugee policies when he was evicted from the most recent Big Brother series.

Actually, his ‘silent protest’ lasted all the way through his brief stint on the show, considering that he spent his weeks of exposure on national television sitting around scratching his balls, saying jack shit about refugees, and never engaging his fellow hamsters in a conversation on a topic loftier than pubic hair styles. What do you reckon, voice of conscience in the wilderness or hypocritical fame whore?
As for The Age, I’m not sure if giving this rubbish column space was an exercise in the blackest of cynicism, a misguided attempt to appear cool themselves, or the side-effect of a personal vendetta among the editorial staff.
  1. But how come you've given him column space?

  2. Because Kate, as Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living", and because I love humanity this much (I have both arms fully outstretched while typing this) and because young Merlin seems such a smug, complacent chap, I thought I wd do him the favour of examining his life for him. It's my small contribution towards redeeming his pitiful existence.
    Or, to put it another way, paraphrasing Mr Luck's favourite anonymous lutheran: "First they gave Paddy McGuinness a column, and I didn't speak up because I cdn't take him seriously. Then they gave Andrew Bolt a column, and I didn't speak up because I can't take him seriously either. Then they gave Emma Tom a column, but I think they took it away again because no-one has heard from her for several years now. Blah blah blah then they gave Merlin Luck a column, but by then there was no-one left to read The Age.

  3. Great answer. Thanks.

  4. :D

  5. It's a pleasure, and thanks for your question. While I'm at it, I'll close that quote I left open at the end of my reply: ".