David Milner has already labelled 2022 “annus stupidus”, but 2022 was also a turning point. From Scott Morrison to Christian Porter to Elon Musk, so much stupid was met with so much comeuppance. And for that, we should be thankful. Here are 2022’s top shit-heels getting exactly what they deserve.
- Not ordering enough RAT tests
In the vast sweep of history, it will be largely forgotten that we started 2022 with not enough RAT tests to go around. Friends were texting each other whenever they saw a box for sale in the wild. Lines for PCR tests were longer than the queue for a Qantas check-in. It was bad.
We all knew we were in trouble when the Prime Minister proudly said he’d easily bought one while on holiday in Terrigal. Clearly there was a terrible shortage. He then later admitted he’d never bought one, but his wife definitely had, even though they actually got them for free from his department, even though he didn’t believe they should be free.
Oh man, even just remembering it is exhausting.
It was several more months until that disaster turned into actual comeuppance, but, spoiler alert, the clowns who oversaw that clusterfuck will never be in power again.
- Grace Tame side-eying the Prime Minister (and five other ministers too)
When you’re friends with very few women, and you respect even fewer, it’s sometimes hard to get a read on how they’re going to behave. In fact, women tend to come across as highly unpredictable. Doubly so if they’re some sort of lippy, feminist hero who has made a point of not putting up with men who cross boundaries.
At the time, Christian Porter’s media representative Peter van Onselen wondered aloud why Grace Tame had even bothered to turn up. I can tell you. In that one photo, Grace Tame managed to side-eye not just the Prime Minister, but the resources minister, the health minister, the finance minister, the attorney general, the home affairs minister, the treasurer, the industry, science and resources minister and the social services minister. She was basically giving the side eye to the entire Coalition front bench.
- Morrison crash tackling that kid
Empathy is all about understanding people’s boundaries. In the dying days of the federal election campaign, in one image, Morrison demonstrated his inability to respect boundaries. In particular, the boundaries of a small, defenceless child.
Like a twist straight out of the plot line of a farcical political sitcom, Morrison took out a small kid in a crash tackle that reminded everyone of why they hated jocks like him at school, oozing as he did with that uniquely male privilege of being able to be physically negligent towards everyone around him.
At the time, his handlers brushed it off as Morrison just being an affable uncle who was enjoying a bit of “rough and tumble” but instead it unequivocally reminded everyone for the final time that Morrison is cut from the same cloth as people who you have to keep an eye on when they’re around you’re kids.
- OpenAI’s Chatbot launches
Rather than bother to breathlessly write a couple of paragraphs about why OpenAI’s new ChatBot is so revolutionary, I asked ChatBot “Why is AI so revolutionary?” This is its answer:
“AI is like a super smart robot that can do things that would normally require human-level intelligence, like understanding language, recognizing images, making decisions, and solving problems. It can help businesses run more efficiently and make better decisions, and it can also help create new technologies and applications that were previously unimaginable. For example, self-driving cars and robot assistants could potentially make our lives easier and more convenient. Plus, AI has the potential to transform industries and societies in a way that is similar to how the steam engine and electricity revolutionized the world in the past. Just be aware that AI also raises ethical, social, and economic concerns, so it’s important to address these issues as it continues to advance.”
The future is turgid prose! Sucks to be a human writer!
- Lachlan Murdoch losing the election
After more than five decades of picking the right horse to back, Rupert Murdoch broke his winning streak in Australia by letting his dim-witted heir take the punt. What a mistake. Cosplaying his own dad, Lachlan spent the months leading up to the election self-importantly jetting into Sydney, holding long editorial conferences at News Corp’s Surry Hill’s headquarters, and pretending he knew the first thing about how to strategise a victory for Morrison.
Not only that, but NewsCorp doubled down in November, as if it was actively trying to prove its irrelevance to modern Australia. Sensing that Lachlan is not the genius who’ll be able to solidify his legacy without help from his daddy, Rupert attempted to merge NewsCorp with Fox, a far more profitable entity that would keep Lachlan afloat for decades. But for some reason Fox shareholders didn’t want to be run (into the ground) by Lachlan, and decided to politely decline Rupert’s generous offer. With the reverse takeover of Fox scuttled, NewsCorp is now run with an heir of desperation.
- Christian Porter loses appeal, faces mammoth legal bill
This year, possibly for the first time ever, a white, privileged man learnt the concept of consequences. He was then bailed out of those consequences by an anonymous donor or donors. But still there were a few hours where he felt the force of consequences. Let’s at least celebrate that.
- Lachlan Murdoch suing Crikey
When someone is baiting you into a fight, it’s probably worth asking “why are they trying to bait me into a fight?” Crikey placed a full page ad in The New York Times, daring Lachlan to sue. Given that nobody reads physical papers anymore, it’s fair to say that he could have ignored it and nobody would have noticed or cared.
When you have grown up with so much wealth that you believe consequences only exist for other people, it’s sometimes hard to know whether you should act out your unresolved daddy-issues in public.
So now he’s suing Crikey, and after 20 years of plodding away at the fringes, Crikey now has a fully fledged business model and raison d’être that gives it the resources to become a major player in the news media landscape. All because Lachlan mistook the fact he could use his untold inherited wealth to sue them with whether he should.
- Labor Passing its IR bill
When the history of 2022 is written in a few decades, there is one piece of legislation that will stand out above all else. Even though it doesn’t feel like it now, 2022 will be seen as the year that three decades of bipartisan consensus around suppressing wages is swept away by a new, more equitable model for the economy.
The legislation is possibly one of the most uninspiring pieces of legislation you’ll come across (“multi-employer bargaining” belongs on a Spotify Sleep Playlist). But it is incredibly shrewd.
The reason why employers and their puppy-dogs in the media don’t like it is that workers will only enjoy the fruits of this bill if they go out and organise across workplaces. In other words, for the first time since the early 1990s, there is a proper business model behind unions. There is a compelling reason to organise industries across enterprises, and the benefits will only flow to workers who bother to do it. There is now a tangible reason to join your union and build power.
We all put up with enterprise bargaining because Paul Keating brought it in, so it enjoyed a bipartisanship it never deserved. It required unions to fight with both hands tied behind their backs. When history is written, we will be surprised that we put up with it for so long.
- Elon Musk buys Twitter
Imagine becoming the richest person in the world because money was essentially free, mainly thanks to a pandemic that had nothing to do with your own brilliance. During this period, if you had sufficient chutzpah, you could make yourself the richest person on paper, simply by convincing everyone to park some of their free money into your companies.
Because money was free, there was no need for the companies to make money. But the more people who joined in the group-buy, the richer everyone got. A virtuous circle.
Now imagine that money becomes a lot more expensive. As the richest person in the world, you realise that people are going to need their money to start making money for them. This is not something you’re in the business of doing. You’re the shiny front-man, not a serious manager.
So you decide to trade your riches for something that will give you power and influence instead. And then you massively fuck that up. That’s the story of Elon’s 2022. What a wonderful end to a wonderful Annus Stupidus.
10. Fuck you AI writer bot!
Why bother coming up with a 10th point when that AI bot from point 4 is going to replace all human writers!?! The future is bots diligently churning out listicles to hit a media outlet’s quota of articles before the holiday break, and they’ll do so without any bitterness, rebellion or half-assed resentment. Today is not that day.