There are few men in the world who I rely on for advice. There's Dad. There's the Bondi Vet. There's Santa. And there's my mentor, friend and favourite Aussie actor, Kev Harrington. I don't know much about politics. I don't know much about columnists who write explosive articles. But I do know Kev. And for my first ever 'guest blog', I couldn't think of a better man to start. Except the Bondi Vet... but I'm not allowed to contact him anymore. This is a subject that has been popping up in my Facebook NewsFeed a lot recently. Over to you, Kev.
How to write an Andrew Bolt column - Nine simple rules.
By Kevin Harrington.
A lot of my friends complain about Andrew Bolt. I don't know why. He found a gap in the media market place and filled it. But why should he have it all to himself? Given his deification of the free market, I'm sure he'd welcome the competition. To that end I have deduced from Andrew's articles, the following characteristics, to enable us all to join in the fun.
1. Create an inflammatory headline.
The aim is to capture attention using the most confrontational, combative words you can muster. Good examples of this are "Greens out for the count", "Global warming, Dud Predictions", or my personal favourite, "Greens - Hitler Guru." *
2. Use inflammatory descriptive words.
Never mention a union official, rather use CORRUPT union boss. Don't just call someone a welfare recipient when welfare CHEAT is so much more provocative. Similarly helpful Bolt mainstays are words like alarmist, bloody minded, leftist, blasphemous, scare mongering,barbaric and militant.
3. Put quotation marks around words you don't like.
This will make unarguable facts seem, at least contentious. E.g. global "warming", "stolen" generation, "artist", and "climate change".
4. The list of FACTS.
I must say Andrew hasn't used this tactic recently, perhaps because its easier these days for readers to check whether facts are, in fact, facts - but it used to be very common. It creates the impression that whilst his opponents are emotional and opinionated, he is logical and objective. The very clever element of this is that by putting the word, fact, in front of a sentence, you can then proceed to just write something emotional and opinionated and it will seem like a fact.
E.g. FACT Julia Gillard is ugly. FACT I don't like her.
A useful component of the fact list is the statistic. And as long as you mention a very big number at the start and then hurtle headlong into abuse, the sentence doesn't actually have to make sense. The point will already have been made.
E.g FACT Over 5.9 BILLION dollars of hard earned tax payer dollars have been irresponsibly BLOWN on leftist, welfare cheating, latte sipping, alarmist, "Aboriginal", "artist" guru dollar goldfish what'sit mumble full stop... See?
5. Enlist an expert.
It doesn't really matter if the person is an expert in the field you are dealing with or indeed whether they are an expert at all. The important thing is to make them sound like an expert.
E.g. No less of an expert than Charles Edward (middle names add gravitas) Bumbottom stated in his University (degrees.com) essay (blog)... And I quote "the globe is not warming. Look how cold winter still is..." Indeed. Professor. Indeed.
6. Cite a crackpot.
In the same way that the word of One expert in Boltworld can invalidate the arguments of the entire opposition, so One crackpot in the opposition can invalidate the arguments of the rest of the opposition. And if he's not actually a crackpot use Rules 2 and 3.
E.g. Loony leftist, "Professor" Joe Bloggs in his barely literate, bile ridden "PHD" simpers, "ninety seven per cent of 'climate scientists' agree that climate 'warming' trends over the last century are 'very likely' due to human activities". Well, not according to the esteemed Mr Charles Edward Bumbottom, Joe!
7. Don't worry about contradictions especially with what you've written in the past.
We don't have a Jon Stewart here. So attacking The Left is fair, but being attacked by the ABC is bullying. A tax on carbon is bad because it raises too much money, a tax on mining profits is bad because it doesn't raise enough money. Religion is divisive if it involves wearing a burqa, religion is fine if it involves wearing a habit.
8. Feel free to meander through an argument.
A logical through line isn't necessary if the article is colourful. The point is to incite emotional response not thought. Therefore if a personal anecdote, some statistics with big numbers at the start, a quote from a militant union boss or "professor", a barb at "artists", The Left or ABC are all permissible during an exposé of say, a Green parliamentarian's travel expenses. Fire at the target with a machine gun and, odds are you'll hit a bulls eye. In fact fire a cannon at a rifle range hoping to obliterate multiple targets.
9. Finish where you started.
As long as you return to the first point you made in the last line of your column, the reader will believe your argument has been a coherent one, allaying any problems arising from Rule 9. Appearances are very important. One need only look at the thoughtful pose Andrew does with his hand poised under his chin, to see the value in this. It appears very... thoughtful. To assume this pose whilst standing would look very unnatural if attempted by a bad actor. And if there's one thing I admire about Andrew Bolt, its his ability to act his role.
|Bolt: Full of "thoughts".|
So now you're equipped. I look forward to reading and being offended by your "Bolts"of outrage. Thank you, Kev.
*The headlines in Rule 1 are actually from Andrew Bolt articles. The examples cited in subsequent rules are fiction. They are Bolt-like exaggerations written for comic purposes.