- Nick Cater's classless warfare
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The mega-rich also work hard to separate their cultural interests from suburban folk. By any objective test, classical music, opera and ballet are insufferably boring. They have no social worth other than in the treatment of sleeping disorders.
Nick Cater's classless warfare
If the business elites have earned their wealth honestly and they choose to live this way, I bear them no envy or ill-will. My own creed is that no one in the economy should accept more money than they can possibly consume, that too much materialism destroys lives by dragging people away from the bedrock emotions of love and family. His outlook is so condescending he does not contemplate for a moment the possibility of faults in his own cultural genre. As a senior editor at The Australian , Cater is part of the narrow, intolerant right-wing culture of News Ltd.
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His friends and associates, even his partner, are part of the corporate media elite. In defining most left-wing beliefs as culturally unAustralian, he has no problem with The Australian itself being owned and controlled by an American — someone who thought so little of our country and its culture he renounced his Australian citizenship. Thankfully, the Q and A program is more thorough. Nick is a cyclist and a lapsed soccer supporter. He gave up watching the game in after realising it offered a low return on emotional investment.
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He now barracks for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The type of exhilaration felt by the fans of the Western Sydney Wanderers this season is below him. Apparently it offers a low return on emotional investment.
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Most footy fans would rather cut off their fingers than swap their jerseys and scarves for a seat at the SSO. While the Labor movement is not without its problems — I have written about them at length — I cannot stand by and watch someone like Cater lecturing the party on the cultural habits of suburban Australia.
And now the author of a page book. The differences between right-wing cosmo-sophisticates and left-wing cosmo-sophisticates are not vast. They relate solely to politics. It is an attempt to frame left-of-centre activists as out-of-touch and unworthy, using culture as a veil for party politics. It is not Tony Abbott, the Rhodes Scholar son of a North Shore dental specialist, who has enjoyed a privileged life — or so the argument runs — but Labor MPs who grew up in working class areas and pursued the aloofness of an Australian university education.
There is a strong element of deceit in this tactic. Make no mistake, The Lucky Culture is a long, carefully-structured assault on progressive values and ideas. Any Labor person who has anything to do with its promotion is fouling his own nest. Already, the right-wing barrackers are out in force, with Abbott, Miranda Devine and Piers Akerman writing glowing reviews. His portrayal of Whitlamism, however, is particularly egregious.
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Cater was not in Australia during the Whitlam period, so he has relied heavily on second-hand accounts. Unfortunately, most of these are TV images instead of scholarly, well-researched books. First published in The Age on 25 May It takes considerable chutzpah to write a page book condemning Australia's elitist 'Knowledge Class' and then thank no fewer than 60 journalists, academics, economists, historians, think-tank staff and political insiders for assistance and friendship.
But that's Nick Cater of The Australian for you: the anti-intellectual sociology graduate and broadsheet editor, the great admirer of the battlers in the outer suburbs and regions who nevertheless chooses to reside in inner Sydney. But let's put hypocrisy aside and consider the book The Lucky Culture at face value. Cater's argument - when he finally articulates it four chapters into the book - is that 'the divide between the Knowledge Class and the rest has become the dominant fault line on the cultural, social and political landscape' and that 'a cohort of tertiary-educated professionals with a particular outlook' has a disproportionate influence on public affairs.
My own research into the republic referendum drew me to similar conclusions about the existence of a cultural divide between the 'mainstream' and the 'elites'.
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This divide is an issue that needs to be discussed seriously, but too often we're treated to just another partisan shouting match. The left dismisses the divide as a conservative myth; the right uses it as a stick to beat those with which it disagrees. Unfortunately, despite his claims to neutrality, Cater fits cosily into the latter camp. Far from adopting any traditional notions of noblesse oblige, Cater argues that Australia's progressive insiders look down on their fellow citizens, and in their domination of important political and cultural institutions represent a 'New Ruling Class', ready to reshape the nation against the will of the majority.
Similar ideas have been around in the English-speaking world since the s, though Cater's knowledge of this literature seems fairly cursory. We can notify you when this item is back in stock. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series.
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Nick Cater, senior editor at the Australian, tracks the seismic changes in Australian culture and outlook since Donald Horne wrote the Lucky Country in