If I had a shekel for every time I’d heard … When being too Australian makes you un-Australian: John Roskam of the IPA has wondered why Bob Brown, in arguing for an increased tax on bankers, said they were “not short of a shekel”. Quoth Roskam: “Why Brown used ‘shekel’ instead of a word like ‘dollar’ or ‘quid’ can only be speculated.” While Andrew Bolt noted: “It jarred with me too.”

Well the phrase would be a source of confusion if you’re a plant-based life form grown in the IPA labs, with only the collected work of von Mises for sustenance. For everyone else over, say, 40, the phrase will be known as 20th century Australian slang, fading from use around the 1970s. Like much Australian slang it uses alliteration (“a drover’s dog could win this election”) and dynamic rhythm (“off like a bride’s nightie”) for effect, and takes a high culture term for everyday use.

It’s a product of an Australia where Sunday school classes were general, and monotonous readings from the old testament – “and malachi gaveth him three shekels, saying here, get me some Winfields, etc” — abounded, and slang had not yet become dominated by US popular culture. You’d think someone as keen on getting Liberal pre-selection as John would have a greater knowledge of aged Anglo-Australian culture, but hey, sounding like you don’t know your own country is a small price to pay for an anti-Semitism smear.

Bolt gets a pass, I guess. He’s Dutch-born, and has never really assimilated to our way of life — which is why he keeps trying to foist his country’s dour neo-Calvinist ideology, with its obsession with notions of “purity” (usually racial) on a country that doesn’t want it. On the “shekel” matter his readership put him right en masse. Could aged Anglos possibly be over-represented in his fan base? — Guy Rundle

Front page of the day. The Gillard government’s cabinet reshuffle as provided much fodder for the nation’s papers …

The Department of Corrections. Oh, UK Daily Mail, you really printed that?

NotW editor to blame for using Mosley story: reporter

“A senior former News of the World reporter told the Leveson inquiry into press standards on Monday that it was the editor’s decision to run a front-page story about Max Mosley without approaching the ex-Formula One racing boss for a comment.” — The Guardian

Nine’s senior debt holders warn on solvency 

“The solvency of debt-laden Nine Entertainment is becoming a hot issue, with $2.7 billion in senior debt to become a current liability in February.” — The Australian

David Speers talks the talk

“If there’s anybody working in Pay TV who would be worth poaching to Free to Air, it would have to be SKY News presenter David Speers.” — TV Tonight

Huffington goes to Spain with El Huffington Post

The Huffington Post has just signed a deal with Spanish newspaper El Pais to produce a new version of the caffeinated news brand Arianna Huffington has made famous in the United States.” — Capital New York

Should cartoonists follow journalists’ ethics codes?

“This week, we talked about whether editorial cartoonists should follow the same ethical guidelines as journalists; the factors that newsrooms can consider when deciding whether an editorial cartoonist has plagiarised; and how readers respond to cartoon plagiarism.” — Poynter

The 10 best magazine covers of 2011

Advertising Age cllates the most impressive magaizine covers of 2011; from The New Yorker to The Economist.” — AdAge

Peter Fray

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