Rudi MaxwellEditorial

Poetic justice for colourful language

Poets are brave.

To bare your emotions and stories in a poem is to take a real risk.

I went to the Live Poets at the Rous Hotel last week, headlined by Echo reviewer Geraldine Bigelow and former Echo reviewer Christine Strelan.

What brave and amazing women.

Performing your poetry in front of an audience of your peers takes guts. Telling a personal story in verse takes creativity, imagination, precise timing, thought and hard work.

And these women do it with humour too.

Poetry can inspire and, at its best, it makes you think.

Im a great admirer of language and its many different forms of expression. And Im totally in awe of anyone fearless enough to put their personal stories up for discussion and criticism.

In stark contrast to the poetry readings of the night, prior to entering I was standing outside the pub with a female colleague when a ute full of young men drove past.

One of them leaned out the window and yelled slut, to which my response obviously should have been, why thank you, young man, thats the most flattering comment Ive ever heard, would you please pull your car over to the side of the road so my associate and I can jump in the back of your charming vehicle and take it in turns to have sex with all of you?

Why do young men, particularly in groups, think it is acceptable to behave aggressively to strangers?

Apart from the basic rudeness, its the lack of imagination thats so extraordinary. Dont these children watch South Park or read Paul Keatings opinion pieces in The Sydney Morning Herald? Havent they been following Stuart Littlemore QCs defence of Mercedes Corby and attack on Jodie Power?

Even ridiculous radio shock jocks manage to be originally insulting occasionally (mainly when they mix up their cliches and mangle their metaphors into clumsy combinations that not only insult their intended subject but are also an affront to language itself) so it cant be beyond even the most ill-informed, bundy-and-coke-in-a-can swilling, roo-rooting misogynist. What these boys need is to hear some original language. They should go and listen to some poets and find some inspiration.

And the next time I hear a voice yelling out of a car window I hope it has more to express than a single word denigrating women.

Ignorant, small-appendaged, loud-mouthed, pack-minded, devolved, prisoner-or-alcohol-abuse-problem-in-waiting bores who wouldnt know how to hold up their end of a conversation with a Shakespearian monologue. Dickheads.

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