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Letter Of The Month… Take A Look In The Mirror

By Michael Whitehead of Clovelly on May 3, 2013 in Other

Photo: Michael Jackson (selfie)

Photo: Michael Jackson (selfie)

Dear Beast,

I don’t read your magazine, but was encouraged to because someone who does, or at least flicks through it, informed me of the gist of Rupert’s Rant, “You Get What You Pay For”. I think you really need to take a good look at yourselves, and the role that you are playing as a part of this area and what you actually could be doing with your publication.

Personally, I think your magazine is Channel Ten compressed into print form, and, as indicated by its content, is aimed at white, superficial, middle- class consumers, who, on a Sunday morning, like nothing better than to get out of bed, sit down with a cup of cof- fee, hang their brain up for the day and guffaw at the latest copy of The Beast.

In a way, I’m not surprised you don’t actually publish substantial content; between going to the Bucket List, high- fiving and the daily circle jerk, I guess that doesn’t leave much time reading the paper (not the Telegraph), watching non-commercial news or even having a general awareness of what is happen- ing in the world, or even in this country. Because, if you did, you might actually get a bit of perspective and recognise that we are all, regardless of where we live in this country, very lucky to live here; and what’s more, is that people die and many more risk their life to try to get to this country to escape war, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

But what do you choose to publish?

An article equating all people who live in Western Sydney as “plebs” and “Westies” responsible for “ethnic unrest”. I’m not trying to say that there aren’t drive-by shootings happening in areas of western Sydney, but you, and other mainstream media, seem to jump on these people, a minute portion of the population, as being representative of the entire West and equate violence with an “ethnic” problem. Just as it is easy to say that the Eastern Suburbs is full of vain, materialistic, conservative consumers, this denies the existence of the open-minded, accepting and kind people that also live here. You may not like to see the kinds of cars that you showed in the picture above your article driving around the East; instead, what you do see is people who have spent small fortunes on Land Rovers and Jeeps because they don’t want to be left out of the social hierarchy; instead you see kids driving around in their parents’ Mercedes, noses in the air, thinking that to live in this area is the pinnacle of what life can offer and that everyone else is lesser. In my opinion these ideas, this materialism, these delusions of grandeur, are far more detrimental to society and the Eastern Suburbs than a couple of Skylines driv- ing up and down Campbell Parade.

“The cost of living keeps the plebs out”; so what you are saying is that you are happy because the high prices keep poor people out, so you don’t have a lesser class walking around in you neighbourhood. Shock, horror that a poor person would want to come to the Eastern Suburbs, yuk! Seriously arsehole take a look in the mirror. If you’re what the upper middle class looks like then fill this place with poor people. Creating this kind of binary is easy; it is easy to deride other people for not behaving like you. I live in Clovelly but did not grow up in the Eastern Suburbs and I am very glad I didn’t because I was able to grow up in the real world with some perspective, not surrounded by maids and not filled with the false sense of superiority that you evince and that seems so common around here.

Don’t think I don’t get the point of your magazine; I get that it’s a big boys club over there. But when the boys club has a publication that is distributed amongst an entire area of Sydney, you need to be careful what you are promoting. It is obvious that you are trying to write for people living in the Eastern Suburbs, that is clear from the ads for real estate agents and fake tan, but what you need to recognise is that, as a publication representing an entire area, you have a hand in shaping what values are represented and promoted, you have an option not to cater for the lowest demographic, lowest common denominator kind of person, but try to promote a higher consciousness or standard of values and representations. I also get that Rupert’s column is a soapbox from which to stir up controversy, and the more reactions you get, the happier you are. However, with this recent garbage you are less Alan Jones/Kyle Sandilands (which is the general standard you achieve) and more Joseph Goebbels than usual; seriously, “ethnic unrest” is propaganda 101, creating a binary of opposites between ‘us’, the white middle class, and ‘them’, ethnic, as you have defined them. This is racist, and “plebs” is classist. So, if you want the values that you promote as being those of the Eastern Suburbs to be bigotry, prejudice, classism, racism and sexism (seriously, calling Emma Freedman “A Fine Young Filly”; I understand that Mad Men is popular but it is supposed to show us the oppressive conditions under which women used to live as a way to make us appreciate the work of many people who have emancipated women from being referred to as a sporting animal), then please continue with how you are going. Top marks! Because all you are actually achieving is to further highlight what a joke you and your magazine are. However, if you would like to use the opportunity that you have to try to instil some positive content, to actually take the opportunity to talk about something real, then I suggest that you leave the bubble for a day or two, watch the SBS news, turn that nose down and get some perspective. Think twice next time you go to publish the words “westies”, “plebs” or “ethnic”, as these definitions defy the people you refer to their right to been seen as people, which they are, the same as you and I.