A defence of Waleed Aly
A Leftist lady, Karen Brooks, writes below that she finds Aly's Leftism perfectly acceptable, wise and honourable -- to paraphrase. But she would, wouldn't she? -- As Mandy Rice Davies once said. Her heading on her article below was "Dear Australia, why so angry?" So it's possible that she really does want to know why many conservatives don't like Mr Aly.
Does she like Tony Abbott or Donald Trump? I'm guessing not. I am also guessing that she has said harsh, intemperate and inflammatory things about both of those two interesting gentlemen. But that's OK, of course. Leftists are allowed to utter as much abuse as they like and that's fine and dandy. Conservatives however have only one duty: To shut up. Is she surprised that they don't? Apparently. What's good for the goose is not good for the gander. The expression "double standards" comes to mind, as it often does when reading Leftist writing.
But let me tell her why people outside the small circle of Leftist luvvies don't think much of Mr Aly -- and certainly don't think he deserves any kind of Australian Award.
It's because of the sneering contempt he has expressed about mainstream Australia. He implies that we are immature, unthinking and reflexively racist -- with no substantial evidence at all and ignoring much evidence to the contrary -- including the advantages that he himself has been given.
So that's it, Ms Brooks: Aly is an offensive false accuser and a person with a very flexible respect for the truth. Is that a good enough reason to disapprove of him? If you want to read one of Mr Aly's contemptuous comments about Australians, together with a few observations about them, go here. But you won't will you?
While the Logies is done and dusted for another year, the level of scorn and vitriol dumped on Gold Logie recipient Waleed Aly (co-host of Channel 10’s The Project, academic, award-winning journalist and musician), by various sections of the media and public, has not only been astounding, it deserves examination.
What has this clever and clearly multi-talented man done to warrant such a smear campaign?
Less than 24 hours after the nominations for Gold Logie were announced back in April, derision was being heaped on Aly’s inclusion. Political correctness was touted; the show’s poor ratings; he’s too “divisive” wrote some. One anonymous person complained he didn’t use social media (no, just sets it alight). Another said he was a “Johnny-come-lately”, despite having a 10-year career on TV and radio. Perhaps it was a case of Muslim-come-lately?
In a recent interview with The Australian, Aly raised the issue of his religion, noting that while the general populace don’t seem to care, journalists do. He suggested, “Journalists find it much more a point of interest because it’s not part of their world and the media is lacking in diversity.”
Then, just as the fuss over his nomination was dying down, he did the unforgivable, and won.
According to one conservative columnist, the first, I think, to take aim, “it was fitting” that Aly won because he’s a “Social Justice Warrior who appeals most to Lefties with a first-year arts student view of the world”.
Putting aside the fact caring about social justice is now also cast as something negative, the usual cluster of right-wing columnists (what is the collective noun for them, a cacophony?) then piled on to use Aly’s win as a political hammer upon which to beat their own dull and predictable agenda drum — insulting the “Left”.
And boy, did they — along the way casting aspersions on Aly, his wife, their financial status, Twitter users, SBS, the Logie voting system, audiences, Noni Hazelhurst, ABC, the Archibald.
Blah lefty, blah left, blah leftist.
It seems that for some of these columnists, the most unforgivable thing Aly has done is give a broad voice and often considered and humanitarian platform to ideas that contest theirs — what they dismiss as Left-wing views. Some of Aly’s op-eds have been picked up on YouTube and gone viral: his discussion on terrorism and ISIS garnering 30 million-plus hits alone.
Refusing to be comfortably boxed, let alone shelved, Aly not only eschews the stereotypes many try to foist upon him (Muslim apologist, divisive etc), but also speaks out and, in doing so, pricks the social and cultural conscience.
It’s not comfortable being told in a measured manner that people with “unpronounceable names” are sometimes marginalised and forced to conform in order to get ahead. But it’s the truth. Anger and denial doesn’t change that.
Another social truth is what Aly humbly and with great compassion told when he received his Logie. Thanking his fellow nominees, he said each of them “brilliantly distils a piece of Australia... (if we) look back at all those pieces assembled, it’s a brilliant mosaic and we really should be celebrating that fact”.
He joked often and was self-effacing. It was only in the final part of his speech that he referred to the undeniably white landscape of Australian TV. So white, “Mustafa” had to change his name to Tyler to be cast in an ethnic role. He dedicated his win to all the “Mustafas” and “Dimitris” and, basically, praised the night for perhaps enabling more and necessary change.
Less of an attack I haven’t seen or heard. Yet, to read his conservative detractors, you would swear Aly was an ungrateful mongrel who savaged everyone.
Perhaps Aly’s greatest offence is that rather than telling us what to think, he encourages us to think for ourselves.
But instead of congratulating the man many think a worthy winner, outrage and racism dressed as virtue and patriotism followed, accompanied by shrill claims of how multicultural and tolerant we are.
Give me Aly and his voice of reason and “accessible sound bites” over all the hate, judgment, green-eyed monstering and non-casual racism any day.