A senior Brisbane journalist has been awarded honorary life membership of Friends of the ABC for a superb piece of writing described by literary experts as one of the finest examples of the “tragic surrealism” style.
News Corp Australia columnist Peter Gleeson received the honour and a swell trophy from the FABC’s national executive for a column he penned on the national broadcaster in Brisbane’s The Sunday Mail yesterday (pictured).
“We met as soon as we could to bestow this honour because we think it’s an exemplary piece of satirical writing that helps our cause so much,” FABC executive officer Simon Stylesheet said.
“We think defending the ABC’s independence and funding is going to be worth one to two per cent of the primary vote, especially among swinging voters, at the looming federal poll and for Peter to highlight in such a wickedly humorous way the hatred the Murdoch news empire – and many in the Morrison ministry – have for our national broadcaster is … well, you can’t put a price on it, really.
“Quite frankly we don’t know how Peter got away with it but God bless him for that. It’s so over-the-top our executive can’t stop giggling every time we read it.
“We think Peter is brilliant with his use of hyperbole and… is it irony? He’s written the piece ostensibly to please his publishing masters but anyone with a ounce of nous can see what he’s managed to achieve here. You would have to be blind with anti-ABC rage not to see that Gleeson couldn’t possible believe the shit he’s writing, if you’ll pardon the French.
“I’m no literary expert and I’ll let them classify Peter’s work but I guess you’d call it ironic absurdism or something like that?
“We at the society just love his call that the ABC be renamed the Australian Biased Corporation and his constant references to the ABC being hijacked by “card-carrying members of the Left of the ABC and the Greens”.
“Peter is relentless: ‘The problem for incoming ABC chairman Ita Buttrose is that she inherits an ingrained, entrenched, systemic culture among ABC journalists who are part of the Labor-Greens-GetUp-unions conglomerate. Senior editorial leaders embrace, cultivate and foster a working environment where conservative ideology is crushed’.
“We can’t thank Peter enough for his efforts in alerting the Australian people to the danger the ABC finds itself in should the Morrison government be re-elected. With the national Liberals having voted to sell off the ABC, this election will decide Aunty’s very future and Peter’s tongue-in-cheek effort is invaluable.”
A spokesperson for the Australian Fiction Writers’ Association said many of the organisation’s leading members remained in awe of Gleeson’s writing, which they said represented the pinnacle of the emerging technique known as “tragic surrealism”.
“That Peter can mount such a compelling case that the ABC is hopelessly biased in a News Corp Australia publication is testament to his amazing literary gifts…and unbridled hypocrisy.
“He is probably Australia’s leading practitioner of “tragic surrealism” in journalism at present although a number are snapping at his heels, including workmates Des Houghton and Renee Viellaris in Brisbane and Annika Smethurst down south.”
Houghton and Viellaris were both awarded Queensland Labor Party honorary life membership late last year for helping Premier Anna Palaszczuk win a second term through “a sustained and high-quality period of tragic surrealism prose”.
Mr Gleeson is a former editor of The Sunday Mail in Brisbane until forced out by News Corp Australia’s “55” rule – no-one can edit a #newscorpaust masthead once either their IQ or age exceed 55 (Gleeson turned 55 a year or so ago) – and he also hosts a late-night TV comedy show on Sky News.