You’ve got to love the Monday Australian, they really start your week with the wacky.

Jennifer Oriel does not disappoint in a one-week-too-late column on Israel Folau, with the usual wilful confusion about freedom of speech rights (against state limitations), and the question of how much power employers should have to limit their high-profile employees’ speech.

Thus, the rightistas saw no problem in calling for the sacking of Yassmin Abdel-Magied — and it was that pack hunt that helped create the conditions in which the league and its sponsors could get nervous about a player making a stray literalist Christian remark on Instagram. Suddenly, sponsors exercising their commercial rights to withdraw from unpopular associations — free minds, free markets, doncha know, Jennifer? — are censors.

The right don’t give a damn about Folau of course; he’s just the latest prop in the culture war they’re losing. Still, you think as you read the column, she won’t lose her sense of perspective, will she?

It’s not quite as dramatic as book burning, but the principle is the same.

Godwinning (Godwhining?) on a Monday morning. Outstanding. Can you match that Chris “Eraserhead” Mitchell? Why yes he can, with a monumentally boring column about newspapers and pay TV. Among the sage of Surry Hills’ pearls:

In the eyes of audiences, TV is TV.

FTA [free-to-air] is losing total audience faster than subscription TV but it has the advantage of being free.

Sky News is already the best 24-hour service.

Subscribe now for this mix of vision and Sky plugs. Also for this:

Some scoffed two years ago when I wrote about the path back to profit for papers and argued that there was at least a medium-term ­future for print, where the bulk of the revenue still lies.

Yes, they did Chris. Probably because under you, The Australian reportedly lost so much money annually that every weekday print edition was a $1 a copy subsidy to the buyer. If we’re still scoffing it’s because we just read that The Daily Telegraph — which cross-subsidised your broadsheet frolics — has lost 15% of its sales over the last period. Where did we see that? Oh yeah, in The Australian.

Can anyone top that? Richo?

I suspect Richo’s take on culling crocs was another back of the menu job in the Inn of Celestial Happiness BYO, and that Richo was actually yelling “Tsingtao! Four crab rolls!”, but let’s read on:

Way back in 1989 I approved the culling of 2 million kangaroos … That decision passed with little or no outcry. Three decades on I doubt it would go down so easily. What is more is that kangaroos are a benign animal in the sense that they are vegetarians and do not go out of their way to hunt down humans.

Do admire the artless artlessness of “what is more”, and the suggestion that roos are vegetarians like arts students are: if they get really pissed they’ll have a kebab, or a human. Do go on:

You can’t cull snakes because there are too many of them and if you tried too many of us would perish to the fangs of taipans, browns, tigers, death adders, copperheads and their ilk.

Has he tried fugu fish? Is he hallucinating? Oh but spin that lazy susan, here’s the best bit:

Calls for the culling of sharks are common in WA but the futility of it all is hard to escape. You can’t cull the sharks out of the entire Indian Ocean and we often criticise Chinese and Taiwanese fishermen for killing sharks just to put their fins in soup.

See this is what happens when you write an article on the back of the menu — the subs start including the items in the copy. (“China will not confront North Korea because General Tso’s chicken”). Culling the sharks of the Indian ocean, one emperor’s banquet at a time.

Where does this bizarre column come from?

Congratulations if you have survived the menaces of the snakes, sharks and crocodiles … Happy holidays!

Ah. Is it possible that this week’s menu/column didn’t arrive and they shoved in a substitute? Or that, stumped for an opinion, Richo actually wrote a column inspired by being surrounded by tanks of live seafood, and had no other way to end it.

Whatever. I read the Oz so you don’t have to. And because The Onion is not as funny as it used to be.

Peter Fray

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