Every now and then something will make it to print that that makes you pray for the day the presses stop rolling and papers go the way of the horse and buggy.
Something so condescending, so wanky, that ones chin can only fall to the chest as its impact sinks in, spittle slowly spilling from the gaping jaw.
Something beyond Michael Short’s weekly The Zone column. Something like Margaret Simons’ essay on Fountain Gate or Michael Gawenda’s piece a few decades back about a week living in commission flats.
This morning The Age has published an article so pat, so stupid its author will wander Media House being congratulated. It will probably win a Walkley.
For one of their number has been sent on assignment to work as – wait for it – a taxi driver.
“Wednesday was my third shift… as a cabbie…. An assignment that started as for The Age as a sort of abject curiosity,” writes their Konrad Marshall.
Fear not, though. Marshall will only have to perform the ghastly work – “the situation” – for a day or two longer.
“I’ll be behind the wheel tomorrow night, too. I feel good about it, but perhaps only because I know I can parachute out of the situation next week,” he says, feeling their pain, albeit briefly.
Marshall is no hack, mind. This kind of work can only go to a writer.
He is, as the article notes, a “deputy editor”. The bluest of blue bloods. He has a beard. He probably owns a fixie.
It would be churlish – though almost accurate – to note that a cabbie generates as much profit as the soon-to-tabloid broadsheet and people who work for a living don’t deserve to be patronised by tosh like this.
Frankly, I’d rather read the thoughts of a cabbie slumming it as the deputy editor of the (melbourne) magazine.