Shh! The Queen Of Merit Is Speaking. Again.

By Cameron Colwell

It is with a heavy heart, dear readers, that I must announce that the cis-heterosexuals are at it again:

This referring, of course, to Sonia Kruger’s slamming against the recently announced scholarships for LGBT students. A few short weeks after declaring that we should ban Muslim immigrants, wholesale, Sonia Kruger declared on Today Extra yesterday that a scholarship for LGBTI students is “reverse discrimination”.

This, apparently, is worthy of national news.

I’m literally having to suppress eye-rolls as I write this. First of all: Who cares what Sonia Kruger thinks? Is she an expert on education, and the financial barriers many students face? Does she, beyond ‘television personality,’ have any role that situates her as worth listening to? Why on Earth does anybody give a damn what Sonia bloody Kruger has to say about immigration policy, beyond her being a face that we recognise? I can’t see any indication that she is worth listening to on any of these issues, whatsoever.

Second: No, “Reverse discrimination” against straight people does not exist. As an educator and a gay man, I understand that the purpose of a scholarship for LGBTI students is to target and address the unique disadvantages faced by many queer people. After all, we suffer far more mental health issues than our cisgender, heterosexual counterparts. It only seems right that there would be an attempt to alleviate the pressure that this brings – I know that my own high school studies were hamstrung by the more-or-less constant mental health issues I faced as a gay high school student.

But, then, I feel I must also face, head-on, the discourse that has elevated Sonia Kruger into a place of importance to begin with. It feels fit to quote Isaac Asimov: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

He was talking about the USA, but the gist is easy to appropriate to our Antipodean context. Instead of ‘my ignorance,’ we have ‘whatever is spoken, unfiltered, from my mind.’ Look at Pauline Hanson’s political career: Even among those who are against her racism, she is commended for being honest. Do we really, actually believe that just because someone is saying what they “really think,” their opinion is automatically to be given a national platform? It might be a good concept, only that whenever anybody speaks of a public figure positively because they say what they really think, what they really think is horrendously racist or homophobic or otherwise bigoted. Sure: Sonia Kruger has the privilege of living in a country where you cannot be jailed for your opinion. This, however, does not mean she is above criticism, nor does it mean she deserves to be declared a national authority because of her highly esteemed place on a breakfast television panel.

Sonia Kruger, I guess, is what happens when we disparage and discourage actual, learned experts on critical issues like race and gender and sexuality and instead choose to listen to people purely by virtue of their being on television. She is the culmination of the spectacle-above-all-else cult of modern television. She is the pinnacle and idol of a culture which celebrates not who is most scrupulous and painstaking in opinion, who holds their integrity above all, but what will earn the most likes, re-tweets, and shares.

Is it her fault that she embodies everything that is wrong with the way we discuss news nowadays? Is she the literal Antichrist? Who can know?

The point here is that she should not have been given a national platform. In fact, I find it detestable that those who are profiting off the fears of minorities, whether Muslim or homosexual, are given this kind of attention on national TV in the first place.

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