The Two Tribe Diatribe

I was buying a coffee during the week and flicked through a local tabloid while I waited. Everything about it was predictable. There were bad Muslims, bad mothers, bad bikies, bad punctuation, bad inner city elites, bad environmentalists, bad aborigines, bad cyclists, bad ABC, bad scientists and bad intellectuals with all their book learning.

The heroes, perversely, are billionaires and battlers. The anyone-can-make-it-myth. The billionaires print the tabloids and the battlers sit on their uncomfortable aspirational couches and read them. It’s only life there’s nothing to it (if your daddy’s rich and your momma’s good looking).

The rich right wing columnists and the rich right wing shock jocks have a tick list of ‘bad’ because it makes their jobs easier. It’s the same hymn sheet week in week out. No need to learn another chord or headline. They’re like the worst teachers you ever had at school.

Research indicates their readers have left the classroom. They trust almost nothing the tabloids comment or report and buy the rag for the sports pages. Good on them.

I say ‘them’ because I don’t buy the tabloids but they can sift just as well as I can, of course. We go to the football side by side and we’re all smart arses. Actual, funny, quick thinking shit stirrers. We drink in bars together, catch the shit Sydney public transport, nightclub and dance together, picnic and panic together, help each other out when we need to. Argue and fight when we need to.

The two tribes rivalry is exploitative tabloid nonsense.

The tribes exist but they are not rivals.

Yes I’m inner city. I drink coffee (though not a tabloid latte). I drink chardonnay (though I prefer cabernet) and am more socialist than capitalist. I read Crikey and The Conversation and The Guardian online, but I also read The Australian (I love burlesque) and the confused, lame Sydney Morning Herald. I don’t read the tabloids except when I’m waiting for my coffee because they are invariably full of trite, simplistic, inflammatory bile and/or bullshit. With good sports journalism.

Just as my ‘elite’ exists I know the tabloid ‘hero’ exists too. I’ve met him. He drinks coffee too (but cappuccino), likes Bundy and Coke, or Jack, possibly chardonnay, often smokes cigarettes, clubs RSL or League, wears high-vis to work, owns a ute or/and a small business, suburban ovals on the weekends, tabloids, trains and buses, nightclubs and football.

Is one better than the other? No. Different but the same.

Unless you read the tabloids. For the articles.


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