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When words fail us


POLITICS HAS BECOME so bad in places, so over-the-top in behaviour that appears consequence-free, even when badged corrupt or immoral, that it gets beyond us.  Earnest reporting and social media commentary can’t keep up. It’s too depressing. But a remedy has appeared. Bring on the satirists.

Consider Koalagate. It featured a dramatic, world-class dummy spit by John Barilaro the local Member for Monaro and National Party leader on the subject of ‘unacceptable’ koala protections. We’re sure you’ve seen the stories.

His Liberal colleagues in the NSW Coalition were not amused. But amongst those who were highly amused and shared it with the world, was satirist and merciless political scourge Jordan Shanks who posts video blogs or vlogs on Youtube under the pen name friendlyjordies.  (He is not a fan of Glady or of ABC pundits either.)

A lot of young people watch friendlyjordies and so apparently do some in the switched-on next generation or so. That hurriedly included us.

The satirist’s take on the National Party and the political life and doings of its leader came to our attention via Michael Tanner, writing for Michael West’s steadily more impressive website of political and economic analysis.

Friendlyjordies  aimed at the Nat’s management of NSW land, water flora and fauna. Tanner introduced him saying Australia’s concentrated mainstream media and their conforming narratives made the audacious comedian the story, instead of repeating the damning litany of destructive National Party policies that were exposed.

“Vloggers make for an unlikely symbol of a revolution,” he wrote. “Vladimir Putin has sufficient fears over the mobilisation of support behind vlogger turned political dissident Alexei Navalny that an attempt was made on his life.

“What keeps dictators in power is an absence of room in the mainstream media for disparate views. This necessitates niche approaches, such as vloggers, who gather support from audiences whose voices aren’t heard and whose stories aren’t told, by the mainstream media.

“Back at home, Youtuber Jordan Shanks, aka Friendlyjordies, is filling that niche. On September 14, he posted a 26-minute video that alternated between mocking NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, and a well-researched commentary.”

Indeed, in-between the jokes the comedian provided a comprehensive summary of Barilaro’s doings in the NSW Parliament and the complicity of the whole Coalition apparatus in environmental vandalism in NSW. Sources are credited — including a piece from the Bulletin about Barilaro’s widely-appreciated pork-barrelling at election time.

Friendlyjordies channelled our representative’s political persona and the deputy premier’s decision-making conflicts-of-interest while vlogging from the Barilaro’s luxury Airbnb near Braidwood (or farm with chickens depending on who is telling the story). Adding a fake Italian accent to the drama raised some eyebrows in turn. But within four days the piece had amassed 351,000 views and counting. In the following link you can see for yourself.

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