Stan Zemanek will long be remembered, apparently, for his boisterous wit and pert one-liners. These verbal volleys will, alas, be lobbed no more. But, if you missed, them, Southern Cross has thoughtfully transcribed and published the very best.

Who could not smile warmly at the wry, Wildean feel of:

“Have you got a long neck? You’re a goose!”

You could be forgiven, of course, for thinking you’d stumbled in to the Algonquin Hotel circa 1919. Like a rounder, droopier, more hirsute Mrs Parker, Zemanek engaged us with zappy zingers like:

“You’re a drunk, you’re a dill, you’re a loudmouth!”

There was a time that I listened to Stan Zemanek quite obsessively. And, I can honestly tell you, these aphorisms do represent his Greatest Hits and Memories.

The guy was simply not that bright or quick. And, unless your brain was benumbed by an imprudent mix of cream sherry with valium, he wasn’t particularly funny.

Have you heard the elegiac megamix currently being played out in the press?

John Howard, of course, was among the first to eulogise the Dotty Parker of the Dark. “He railed against political correctness to his last breath,” said Howard, quickly pressing a corpse into the service of his perverse pro-inanity agenda.

I’m prepared to believe that Renaissance Cynic Howard might have actually slummed it and listened in to Stan. I do find it odd, however, that Kevin Rudd felt at all compelled to comment on the passing of this unremarkable broadcaster.

“It’s a terrible loss to broadcasting,” said Kevin, quickly pressing a corpse into the service of his perverse spot-the-difference agenda.

Oh, heavens. As if looking like a dentist or eminent chiropractor was not enough, Rudd now offers me another motivation for loathing him.

Obviously, I’m sorry that the guy died of brain cancer. But, it has to be said, the ionosphere is a much nicer place without Stan’s stump-dumb ranting. Fuelled by hate and informed by pamphlets, this voice (which, after all, was primarily relegated to the unimportant evening shift) will not echo through the decades.

As John, the Osteopath and others offered condolences and detached words about this “colourful” character, I wondered what might happen if, say, Bob Hughes fell off his excellent perch. Bugger all, I imagine. Unless you’re a neocon twat or some sporting identity, forget about being eulogised by our leaders.

I should disclose, I suppose, that I once exchanged “words” with Zemanek while he was putatively alive. After he slew me with one of the droll maxims for which he was famed, I called him a c***. This stoush lasted for a spell and reached its nadir when I was busted for cannabis possession and he, accessing my court records, offered my real name and other personal details to his night time audience.

Thanks goodness for cream sherry and valium, really. Otherwise I might have been in real trouble with Dad’s Army knocking on my door.

Honestly, though, this was a long ago time and it does not impede my opinion of the man as a broadcaster. He was just plain terrible.

Peter Fray

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