Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Of course, the best lies are the ones that reveal the truth


I guess it should come as no surprise to see Helen Dale becoming even more involved with Australian politics. I wrote about Dale as one of the fascinating Australians in one of my lists of famous people, lists which I no longer bother to keep up-to-date. She might never live down her fame in Australia from the 1990s as the literary hoaxer who made the Australian literary establishment look like the bunch of dicks that they always were, but I would argue that other Australians have also had a lend of the world of arts and letters, but those other fakers never got flayed alive in the town square. 

I've read that Paul Fenech, Australia's king of low-brow comedy television and film came in as the winner of the short film competition Tropfest one year, the film submitted under a name that would suggest that he was a lady of Jewish heritage rather than a Maltese-Indigenous Australian man with a subversive sense of humour. This stunt was reportedly pulled just a year or so after the "Demidenko Affair" but folks don't hate Fenech, in fact he's very popular in some parts. I put that down to sexism. Women aren't allowed to pull the wool or have a lend, because women are expected to occupy the moral high ground, in the most whiny and humorless manner possible.

And who would not agree that there is more than a passing resemblance between the deception pulled-off against Australia's literary crowd by the late author Elizabeth Jolley, and the curious incident of the platinum blonde in the embroidered peasant blouse? Jolley and husband were pillars of the world of books and the bookish in Perth in the 1980s. National Living Treasure Jolley was a mentor to the iconic Western Australian novelistTim Winton. Jolley had such a lot to answer for, but in my mind it doesn't get too much lower than writing a letter impersonating the abandoned daughter of one's husband to keep alive a prolonged and odious deception among family. Anyone who would dream of such a trick is certainly a different breed of human being than the apologetic dill that was Jolley's persona, both as a writer and a public figure. Turns out Jolley was a Living National Lie but there was no big cuffuffle, because her real story didn't break while the herd still held her close to their hearts. Out of Jolley and Dale/Demidenko, who was the biggest liar, I ask you? A genuinely odd Aussie lass who wrote a novel from a politically unpopular POV while pretending to be an ethnic, or a first class creep, liar and home-wrecker in private affairs playing the part of a lovably unfashionable borderline-autistic creature of the keyboard to an audience of cabernet-soaked dickwits? Myself, I've always had so much more sympathy for the undercover oddball than the fake autist. 


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