The Ageâ€™s pugnacious and pompous John Silvester has made millions from crime, reporting on it by chumming up with cops and crooks alike. And telling their stories for his own enrichment, in crook-books and TV series.
A SCREED OF GREED
In Saturdayâ€™s Age, itself a monument to sometimes fanatic lefty judgmentalism and preaching, prominently displayed on its back-page, in the millionaire scribeâ€™s column of the year Naked City â€“ with bare-faced cheek â€“ Silvester spruiks the latest crook-book from a former heroin-dealer and prison escapee David McMillan and then admits mid-way through the promotional rant:
(Disclaimer: Your correspondent was so impressed with the initial manuscript he invested in its publication. This can be justified on only two grounds: public interest and private greed.)
This is a breath-taking admission of a rather serious conflict of interest between his duty as a supposedly industry-best impartial columnist and his personal investment. It comes complete with a highly dubious public interest assertion that simply doesnâ€™t stack up. McMillan has previously written a â€œtrue crimeâ€ book and according to a review of it published in The Age that described how the retired heroin-dealer lives these days:
The location is Chislehurst, a village turned suburb south of London. It’s outer commuter belt, where collars are white, lanes leafy and mortgages hefty. Richmal Crompton, who wrote the William books, lived here. Now David McMillan does, too, in a two-storey brick house with a Porsche in the drive, Asian antiques in the hall and champagne in the refrigerator.
Porsche, there is no substitute. Not exactly down-and-out without any means of having his voice heard. Itâ€™s clearly just a business arrangement. Public interest is just something he threw in to make himself feel a little cleaner.
THE SPIN ENDS HERE
And why not? Silvester has already made millions of dollars from his own line of crook-books and good luck to him for showing more entrepreneurial enthusiasm than the average Fairfax Media House whiner who complain loudly about how little â€˜The Manâ€™ is paying them and conspire in new and exciting ways to cheat on expenses.
The Age (newspaper) is the high church of whiny, preachy, lefty judgmentalism, denouncing those they don’t like for all manner of ethical failings. And yet they barely seem to comprehend the most blatant acts of corruption and conflicts of interest when it comes to their own. They have the moral compass and faux-rectitude of the Bible-thumping fraudster televangelist with his mansions, bimbos and cocaine habit…
But investing in a heroin-dealer criminalâ€™s tome and then using space in the Saturday edition of the Age to promote book-sales while conceding a motivation rooted in â€œprivate greedâ€? That does seem unusually dodgy even by the ethical standards of the heroin-dealer author whose book Silvester financed. The multi-millionaire crook-book author concludes:
Now in his 50s, he (the heroin-dealer) has decided that writing about crime is much easier than committing it. Ain’t that the truth.
DOES A GLIB DISCLAIMER EXCUSE ANYTHING & EVERYTHING?
So it seems in Silvesterâ€™s world that cheeky, self-deprecating disclaimers are a moral get-out-of-jail-free card for those profiting from a heroin-dealerâ€™s book or cashing in on crime through books and TV series that certainly have the effect of glamourising and sensationalising what are in fact are bleak, troubled lives.
John Silvesterâ€™s version of truth, clouded by â€œprivate greed,â€ is quite the piece of work. Forgive us for not being very impressed at all. Itâ€™s far too rich for our taste.
While there appears to have been some kind of delay, the book was initially scheduled, according to that ever-reliable source Wikipedia, for launch on April 1st this year. We think that says it all.
LYING LIARS WHO LIE FOR LUCRE
Silvester and the former heroin-dealer appear to have multiple books planned on his life and crimes. McMillan reveals that his books and the account in the recent Underbelly show on his life contain significant factual inconsistencies. Itâ€™s not clear which liar is lying the most.
The market loves these loathsome tomes. Weâ€™ve forced ourselves to read all three miserable volumes of the shonky Ombudsman junkyard dog Lachlan McCullochâ€™s revelations of his own personal crime-spree and even had a crack at reading his little mate Adam Shandâ€™s yawn-inducing crime books (the flim-flam man was totally found out when he got to the excellent Sunday Herald Sun and found its exacting standards just a little too much like hard work). We much prefer some good number-crunching to a literal knee-capping but thereâ€™s obviously a quid in it.
And it seems, by his own admission of â€œprivate greed,â€ thatâ€™s all that matters to The Ageâ€™s John Silvester.