Meshel Laurie: "I'm embarrassed to say there was a time when I believed in Mark Latham."

I read last night that The Age, long cherished as Melbourne’s classier newspaper is in talks with Mark Latham. Apparently they’re considering employing him, gifting Australia’s greatest self-serving, sack of attention-seeking shit and purveyor of populist misogyny yet another platform in our mainstream media. W. The actual. F?

I’m embarrassed to say there was a time when I believed in Mark Latham. It was 2004, eight years into John Howard’s ultra-conservative reign in which he and his government were busily spending the spoils of the mining boom and creating the selfish, xenophobic utopia we live in today. Then along came Mark, with his dishevelled candour and his old fashioned town meetings.

I attended one of those meetings, in Gosford. I stood and cheered as he entered the room, and nodded until my neck ached as he outlined his plan. Early childhood literacy, free books for kids, parenting classes, banning exploitative advertising during children’s TV shows, tax relief for families, a fairer society. Families, community, equality, families, community, equality, families, community, equality blah, blah, blah.

I would say that under anyone’s definition, Mark Latham presented himself at that time as a leftie feminist. These days of course, we leftie feminist are apparently his enemies, although how he manages to convince himself that we are also “elite” is beyond me. In a country in which women earn less than men, retire with less super, are drastically under represented in government and corporate boards and let’s not forget, are murdered at a rate of at least one a week by a current or former partner, the idea that a rich, famous, white guy like Latham dares to tag his female critics “elite” is patently ridiculous.

Watch: One of Latham’s angry outbursts at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival below (post continues after video).

Video via Life Generation

Mark Latham’s bizarre underdog complex would be funny, if it weren’t for the increasingly frequent opportunities he has to express it, and to validate it in other emotionally-retarded, power-hungry men. His choice of Rosie Batty as a punching bag says it all. Where one man failed to destroy her, Latham steps up to attempt to finish the job. I suppose he hopes she’s been weakened by the grieving and gruelling advocacy. I rather think he’s wrong, which will no doubt infuriate him further.

Yes, Latham, like the rest of has freedom of speech and therefore the right to say whatever he wants. He doesn’t however have the right to be listened to, or the right to endless opportunities to spew his hate in our mainstream media. Those opportunities legitimise him. They condone his attitudes and the attitudes of other men who consider themselves the true victims of their own emotional immaturity and violence. Make no mistake, media outlets that give him those opportunities have blood on their hands. So the next time a bloke drives off a pier with his murdered babies in the back seat, you remember that.

Remember it when you tune into one of Latham’s employers and watch and listen to their tearful, hand-ringing tributes and platitudes about our hideous family violence stats. Remember it as they ask expert after expert why Australian men murder and beat their women and children at such extraordinary rates. Remember it when you or someone you love is smacked in the mouth by a man who says it’s your fault because you don’t understand them. Mark understands him. Oh yes. Mark understands.

We, the media have a responsibility to further the discourse in our society. The shameless milking of our most controversial bucket-mouthed show ponies only serves to drown it in muck and does our country a great disservice.

I’m praying the rumours about Latham joining The Age are untrue, but just in case, I hereby implore Fairfax Media not to join the Latham Circus.

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