Where's Wooley? Here he is, telling the internet to get off his lawn
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Where's Wooley? Here he is, telling the internet to get off his lawn

Man, I had no idea Charles Wooley was still alive, let alone trousering elephant bucks for shouting at clouds and a whole generation of internet kiddies to get off his damn lawn.

But apparently he is.

Oh, how quickly we forget.

Like, I’d completely forgotten about his cringe-making, creepy uncle interview with Kiwi PM, Jacinda Ardern, until Wooley decided to remind everyone about it on the weekend, in a 60 Minutes shocker that rivalled Clint Eastwood’s menacing an empty chair at the Republican National Convention for crazy old man points.

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Now, full disclosure time, I didn’t watch 60 Minutes, because duh. But I did sample the internet outrage over Wooley aggressively shaking his walking frame at all of the internet outrage that goes on these days, especially as regards utterly blameless fellows who really wanted nothing more than to let the Prime Minister of New Zealand know that she is a bit of alright, and who’d be quite keen to have known when she got knocked up, if she didn’t mind sharing.

It seems, admittedly not having watched Wooley’s courageous expose, that his main sources were a disgraced footballer and a disgracefully unfunny comedian, and they were very worried about the insatiable hunger of the internet outrage machine, except possibly the footballer, who did admit he’d been a bit of a knob and probably deserved everything he got.

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Which he totally did.

It was all a bit strange really, and I sort of expected the whole thing to go sideways, hard, into a fearless investigation of deep state chemtrails in the water supply, or I totally would have, you know, if I’d watched the show.

But not having had to suffer that ignominy, I have a few notes which are all the more clearheaded for not being muddled by a nagging anxiety about just how much Charles Wooley now looks like the sort of bloke you warn European backpackers not to hitch a lift with anywhere after, say, Gympie.

As much as there really is an internet outrage machine, it’s a pretty poor imitation of the much more powerful outrage machine that the legacy media have been feeding human souls for over 100 years.

And political correctness isn’t censorship; it’s really just another name for good manners, which Charles Wooley was lamentably lacking when he embarrassed himself in that bloody awful interview with Jacinda Ardern.

John Birmingham is a columnist and blogger for the Brisbane Times. He is also an award winning magazine writer and the author of Leviathan, the Unauthorised Biography of Sydney, which won the National Award for Non-Fiction. He amuses himself in his down time by writing novels which improve with altitude.