A SAGE OF THE AGE

I have never been a fan of Michael Leunig, the cartoonist and all-purpose sage whose doodles and squiggles throw the kind of people who vote Green and believe everything they read in the Age into transports of ecstasy. His drawings exhibit no great skill or charm and the faux-innocent observations and bits of doggerel that go with them read like a satire on Left-wing pieties.

Here is an example. Beside a figure of a trademark Leunig funny little man clutching a wad of cash and walking into a bank appear the lines:

MY COUNTRY

I LOVE A SUNBURNT COUNTRY,
A LAND WE CALL OUR OWN.
THOUGH SINCE WE DIDN'T PAY FOR IT,
IT'S REALLY OURS ON LOAN.

I DO NOT LOVE OUR POLLIES,
ESPECIALLY JEFF AND JOHN*.
THEY TRY TO PUT ONE OVER US
AND HAVE THE PEOPLE ON.

AND LIKEWISE MULTINATIONALS
POLLUTING OUR CLEAN AIR;
THEY LURE US TO EAT JUNK FOOD
AND THROW LITTER EVERYWHERE.

I LOVE IT MOST WHEN I CAN SIT
AND PEN A LITTLE RHYME,
AND DRAW A FUNNY LITTLE MAN
AND CRITICS SAY, "SUBLIME!"

Oh, sorry, that wasn't Leunig at all, that was written by me, in the old Argus in Quadrant fifteen years ago. But I should say that apart from *Jeff and John (Kennett and Howard for very young readers) being no longer on the political scene nothing much has changed.

This Easter Leunig produced a vapid cartoon in the Age depicting Christ as Humpty Dumpty putting himself together after three days. I suppose it could be thought offensive if that didn't imply taking this poseur seriously. Nevertheless, the usual considerations apply. Would Leunig portray Mahommed as Humpty Dumpty? Yes, the day pigs fly. Would the Age publish it? Same answer. Indeed, would Leunig's feeble drawings be so idolised if they conveyed a a conservative point of view? Oh dear, what a hard question.

16 April 2012

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