The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Remember, This Man Won A Walkley Award

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

Those who’ve either followed the show or read the newspaper/blogs in the past few days will have heard that Kelly Knox – who was born without a left forearm – was the eventual winner of BBC3’s Britain’s Missing Top Model (our original coverage is here). So, you could forgive News Ltd (formerly Fairfax Digital) blogger Jack Marx for thinking it was newsworthy and, thus, worthy of being given the special je ne sais quoi that he dishes out on his blog, Jack Marx Live.

But could you forgive him for this?

She might have won a contract with a modelling agency and a photo shoot for Marie Claire, but the winner of Britain’s Missing Top Model will probably not be scoring commercial work from the following brands: Sterling; Malvern Star; Bullworker; Auclair Pittard; Lil’ Indian; Airfit; Crocket & Kelly; Steinway; Ringsport; Sea-Doo; Flygear; Moyes; Bally; Fender; E-Meter; Koastal; Taronga Zoo; The Clapper; Cheer Gear; Nippon Pedicabs; Kawasaki; Bodymaker; Jugglers World; Kelso; Sikorsky; Sherrin; Stanley Rogers; Callaway; Vic Firth; YMCA; Hohner; Rubiks; Semaphores R Us; Stradivarius; Spirit Poles; Musashi; Naughty Needles; Mixmaster; Precision Carwash; Rossignol; Swingaway; Redheads; Yamaha; Shredmate; Victa; Fiesta Music; Jetstar.

Note: that is the blog entry in its entirety. If you follow each of the links the “joke” quickly becomes clear.

This is precisely the sort of example of a media commentator doing something rancid and then being able to hide behind the old “Get a sense of humour, it’s just a joke” defense – you know, because it’s just “armless fun” (as one commenter put it). Because, geddit, she only has one arm! Champagne comedy there, Marx.

I can’t help but feel stuff like this (and this is only the ostensibly light-hearted tip of the discriminatory iceberg) is the reason – apart from ratings/controversy courting – that a show like Britain’s Missing Top Model was pitched in the first place.

Note to Marx: this isn’t comedy, or irony, or satire, and it isn’t “PC” or precious to say so.

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10 Responses to “Remember, This Man Won A Walkley Award”

  1. mscate said

    He must have alot of spare time, to come up with such pulp. Pathetic

  2. GC said

    Pure Gold….

    When we lose our sense of humour we are on our way to losing our culture. Quite frankly if you cannot laugh at the above joke then you seriously need to loosen the hell up and get out, have a beer, hell smoke some drugs, do something!!!!! Life is to oshort to be so up tight.

  3. Burt Renolds said

    Ahh, Mr Marx, the Patron Saint of Aussie Drunks.

    Really he is just doing the same old bit. I occasionally read his blog, only to remind myself why it is not worth reading.

    I would have found his writing amusing when I was in high school, but now it’s just banal and predictable.

    Someone with only one hand?… let’s make jokes about juggling!
    Comic gold baby, GOLD!

    Like most bloggers he has a readership clique who follow him religiously and would defend him to the death, and tell him everything he writes is hilarious, anyone who is recalcitrant gets set upon.

    The funny thing is, people who usually talk about, “have a sense of humour…”, are the biggest sooks when someone makes fun of them.

    Secondly none of them would have the balls to make these joke to the people targeted in his blog. They are inevitably cowards.

    Anyway, this article has already been “outed” in the comments section of the blog you refer to – maybe the man himself will make an appearance?

  4. Grace said

    yeah, right and you’d say “Patron Saint of Drunks” to his face, would you, Burt Reynolds? You haven’t even used your own name to call people cowards (unless your name really is Burt Reynolds)…do you not feel the teensiest bit hypocritical?

    The post was funny. I work with people who have disabilities and they are always cracking jokes such as that one.

  5. Clem Bastow said

    Your last point is key there, Grace – if Kelly were to make these jokes about herself it would be a different matter. However, she didn’t, and instead we have Jack Marx trading on her disability for cheap humour that outstays its welcome after the, oh, third link in over twenty.

  6. Grace said

    Clem, I’m familiar with some of your work, and think you are good a good journo, and writer, but I think this is a bit of an over reaction on your part. Sometimes Marx’s work comes across as majorly immature (like this particular gag), but if you’re in the mood, that’s OK. If not, ignore it, I say. You can usually tell, as a reader, from the first few lines whether you’re going be into something or not.

    The post was just a childish gag. It’s not as if he was advocating discrimination- if anything the post exposed the absurdity of discrimination in the modeling industry. And Kelly Knox is hardly going to be reading the blog, so it is not going to offend her, is it? What she should be offended by is the segregation within her industry- that there is a separate modeling competition for people with disabilities is discrimination, and it’s rancid.

    Also posting an article berating Marx for making jokes about someone with one arm, then allowing a comment through which calls Marx the “Patron Saint of Aussie drunks” is not much different to Marx taking the piss out of Kelly Knot. That’s what cracks me up about journos when they criticize other journos: you guys go off your nuts about other journos’ tactics, yet rarely find any other way of proving your point but to use the very same tactics you’ve derided.

  7. Clem Bastow said

    Grace, you seem to entirely miss the point of this blog – what good is feminist commentary if we just “ignore” stuff that we are, as it were, “not into”? It’s too easy to dismiss/allow discrimination and sexism as “just a childish gag.”

    It would be naive to assume that Knox wouldn’t necessarily read the blog; a number of the contestants contacted us with their feelings about Britain’s Missing Top Model when we posted our original coverage. People, both “famous” and “normal”, read what is said about them online.

    As to your final point, I am not in the business of censoring comments unless they are highly derogatory or hateful. I am not “using the same tactic’s [I've] derided”, someone else is.

  8. gittling chuck said

    Instead of twittering among yourselves, why don’t youse take your grievance directly to Marx? Go on, I dare you.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/jackmarxlive/index.php

  9. Clem Bastow said

    That won’t be necessary, Chuck – but thanks for the site traffic, gents!

  10. frankie said

    Jack Marx is an ugly old man, he needs to look in the mirror before judging others! Kelly is a beauty! He hasn’t even taken into account that she was born like that & having one arm is normal to her. My sister was born the same. Bet both she & kelly can do with one hand what Jack Marx can do with two!!

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