For a thinking, principled person to passionately, closely follow an Australian federal election campaign is to be for a month dragged down into a deep, intelligence-insulting gutter.
It is a gutter along which filthy rubbish-filled stormwaters (the rubbish is the slimy debris of political lies, scares and deceits) trickle, ripple and babble with increasing velocity as election day draws closer.
No wonder then that as pornographically explicit glimpses of electioneering begin to appear in whatever Scott Morrison says and does (and wears, too, for in recent times he is much on the news in his laughable electioneering costume of hard hat and a high-vis tunic) I have made a solemn resolution.
It is that for my soul's sake I will shelter from this coming election campaign. I will "build" a (virtual) news-proof and current affairs-proof bubble. Then from the moment the Prime Minister, inevitably smirking, names the election day until after the votes are counted and God's chosen result (for we have it on good authority that it was another of His "miracles" that decided the last election) is known, I will stay in my bubble.
Taking appropriate vows of intellectual and ethical chastity, I will turn away from and be quick to switch off all electioneering material that tries to reach me via my devices.
What should those of us desirous of such bubbles build them from? What month-long self-improvement project can we take up so that, hopefully, our absorption in it helps us keep the election at bay?
Each to his own. Some of you may choose to learn and polish a new skill. Exotic juggling, say, or ventriloquism using a soft toy orangutan.
For my part, blessed with a love of book reading (and blessed with an e-reading tablet that enables me to buy any book I want in a trice and to read that book anywhere and everywhere I wander) I am going to read all 12 of the novels longlisted for this year's Booker Prize for fiction.
Then, if this does not take long enough to keep me absorbed and election-proof, I will glide on to the 12 novels longlisted for this year's Miles Franklin award. These 24 masterpieces should see me through.
The beauty of building one's election-repelling bubble from some branch of the arts is that while one is sheltering the mind from elections' pollutions, one is using materials good for the mind, keeping it pure, supple and nimble and actually tenderising and improving it. Thus it, the mind, will emerge from the bubble with added tone and lustre, better equipped to cope with the sins of the government that God (through the weak-minded voters He allows to be scared by the Morrison scaremongers) chooses, miraculously, to appoint to govern this little corner of Christendom.
But of course, since election-watching has a powerful pornographic allure and appeals to that worst side of us, and since your columnist shares with Oscar Wilde's character Lord Darlington an ability to resist everything except temptation, it may be that my bubble's roof will collapse and fail me.
But I will do my plucky best. Indeed, noticing the electioneering is all but under way (as well as Scomo's appearances in election costume, Clive Palmer's incomprehensible and strangely homemade-looking TV ads have begun to appear), I have begun my reading of the shortlisted Booker Prize novels.
So it came to pass that last Sunday evening, sharing the living room with loved ones misguidedly watching ABC TV's 7pm news, I was instead engrossed in Richard Powers' Booker-shortlisted and harrowingly wonderful novel Bewilderment.
Looking up from the shelter of my book for a moment I saw the TV screen filled with the most awful spectacle imaginable. My flesh crept.
In a Canberra park an in-electioneering-mode Scott Morrison was speaking, probably lying, flanked by the ever-appalling (and on this occasion obediently and robotically assent-nodding) Liberal minister Michaelia Cash and by the ACT's very own unprepossessing Liberal senator Zed Seselja.
It is a measure of how tenderised I am now by my deep reading of fine and beautiful things, how turned one is against politicking politicians, that for an unkind moment I entertained the thought that here with three arch Liberals all in one spot was a golden opportunity for aliens to swoop, to abduct for study three examples of our species at its malignant worst.
But then, for my soul's sake, I turned away from the shallow pornography of the election-infected TV news and scurried back into the protectively uplifting Booker bubble of Richard Powers' mighty novel.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.