Jun 14, 2013

Vale Christopher Pearson, God’s Maoist

Christopher Pearson was many things; a commentator for The Australian, a long luncher, an Adelaide Cheshire cat, a committed Maoist, a comeback Catholic. We remember Pearson, who died last weekend.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Last weekend, the deaths of British sci-fi and general fiction writer Iain Banks and of The Australian commentator Christopher Pearson were announced. Yes, gone is a man who created a series of fantasy worlds — and Iain Banks is also no longer with us. But it’s Pearson I want to talk about.

Christopher, the Adelaide Cheshire cat, was an original. In his final decades he abjured the active pursuit of his homos-xuality, out of commitment to his Catholicism.

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18 thoughts on “Vale Christopher Pearson, God’s Maoist

  1. Kerryn Goldsworthy

    ‘Well in the last years I think his role was more pernicious than positive, but the man was so damn interesting, a confluence of forces that managed a degree of self-shaping, that he deserves a more visceral memorial than the pissweak mewlings in the Oz.’

    All of that, yes, and thanks for providing one. I knew Christopher well during his post-Maoist, pre-Catholic period, which I think was longer than you suggest here. I particularly like your final remarks, though it’s a shame they’re in such direct contradiction to the knee-jerk cracks about Adelaide further up the page; is there some sort of rule that Melbourne writers have to do this at least once per story?

  2. Gavin Moodie

    Thanx for adding this complexity to someone I read as an obnoxious right wing propagandist.

  3. tonyfunnywalker

    He was a right wing obnoxious propogandist and a Murdoch/ Abbott Synchophant – I might even watch the Insiders again.

  4. mikeb

    Very interesting GR. I wonder how many of Pearson’s ilk share a common bond of hypocrisy?

  5. paddy

    Thanks for the different perspective Guy.

    Some days, it seems you and the dog are the only things worth subscribing to Crikey for.


    So that’s what a self-loathing and flagellating ex-Maoist gay Catholic Adelaide intellectual looks like?

    Thanks Guy, I always wondered where he fitted in, and you’ve answered that for me: nowhere this side of purgatory.

  7. Humphrey Bower

    Brilliant portrait Guy, of an Adelaidian eminence grise with more than a passing resemblance methinks to Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. Cheers, Humphrey Bower.

  8. Warren Joffe


    Brilliant (also rings pretty true to one who only met Pearson once and didn’t have a lot in common with him since I am neither gay nor religious). It almost justifies my Crikey sub.

    But please elucidate “Read his relentless attacks on Labor and Gillard closely and you’ll see another agenda entirely being waged.” Would you mind spelling that out and giving a pointer to the evidence and sources.

  9. heavylambs

    Great sketch Guy,and more interesting than anything I read by the man.

  10. Kevin Herbert

    Chomsky says that most dissidents throughout recorded history can’t stay the course as they are further marginalised by the status quo powers…so they join them, a la Hitchens, mainly ‘cos the money’s good.

    Pearson was yet another pathetic stenographer for boththe Catholic right & the odious News Ltd …not much of an epitaph at all.

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