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INTREPID: The Age’s brave explorer Shaun Carney discovers another world

shauncarney The Age’s leader writer Shaun Carney appears to have had a life changing experience: he has been “spending time in Carrum Downs.”

The intrepid scribe has made a number of findings to shocked Age readers:

â–  You cannot get to the suburb by train;

â–  It is very difficult to get around unless you have a car;

â–  There may be other parts of Melbourne in a similar situation;

â–  That more than a few Age readers are guilty of ‘sneering’ at people who live in Melbourne’s heartland beyond the latte curtain.

Carney had just last week dared to assert that there are many folks in Melbourne who can’t, don’t want to or just plain won’t live without cars and that best solution isn’t forcing them off the road but ensuring that there is an environmentally responsible way of them doing that.  He seems to have received a bit of a whipping from his lash-bearing enlightened tofu-eating readership.

If you live within 15 kilometres of the city and have a tramline running right past your door, or a station nearby, as did many of those readers who were offended by last week’s column, you could say it’s not your problem. To be a car user is, one letter-writer observed, a planet-destroying “lifestyle choice”.

So he explained himself, admitting that he has defected from inner-suburban life to the wild jungles of Carrum Downs to help his normally loyal readers forgive him.

But bravely Carney notes that some of these people who write letters to the editor (he only started noticing when they started slagging him) and send him vexing emails are guilty of “the sneer.” He notes:

Indeed, you could adopt a position that finds its way into letters to the editor and even the occasional opinion piece: the sneer. This assumes that outer suburbanites are less intelligent, less engaged and generally less enlightened than those of us who are closer to, you know, where it’s all happening. From what I can see, it comes more often from the broader leftist end of the political spectrum than from the right.

Astonishingly Carney even ponders what we think is probably the biggest political question of our time:

How does Rudd satisfy inner urban Labor sympathisers who want radical action on climate change while also holding on to shaky Labor voters in the outer suburbs who want something done but aren’t so keen on the radical option and don’t enjoy being lectured by people who have many more facilities than they have?

Maybe if more Age scribes were to move out of the inner city, they’d have something to offer this most important of public policy debates.


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  1. They should forcibly relocate Suzy Carbone out to Moe for a month or two. Much more interesting gossip out there. Cousin on cousin lovin’ makes for great reading.

    Posted by Still Latte despite the insults | August 13, 2008, 11:08
  2. Can you imagine the editorial meeting. Next up, an age journo bravely buys a zone 3 ticket – and travels without a GPS device to Werribee.

    Posted by headline news | August 13, 2008, 11:17
  3. I don’t think I can allow this self-criticism binge to continue. Ramadge, call the Independence Committee, pronto!

    Posted by Jaspan | August 13, 2008, 11:59
  4. headline news – that would be brave as zone 3 doesn’t exist. I expect royce “melbourne 2030” miller knew that and would enjoy a weak carrum downs latte with the money he’d save. will ted or brumby be the first to promise to abolish zone 2 in 2010?

    Posted by Albert Parked | August 13, 2008, 20:50


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