Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Hating the tall poppies

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In 2011 we expanded The Tribune beyond our immediate neighbourhood and started distributing it all over Melbourne. February was the first issue in which we published writers from outside our local community and Ben Pobjie was the first freelance writer The Tribune ever commissioned. 

From that day to this, he has been generous, humble, supportive, consummately professional and completely hilarious. I truly believe there is no other writer in Australia who can do genuine satire as well as Ben does. So, I am very proud to reprint the first piece he ever wrote for us. Enjoy.

Know what I hate? Of course you don’t and it’d be pretty presumptuous of you to think that you do, unless you’re psychic and you’re not, because nobody is and people who say they are are something I really hate. But that’s not what I was hating in the first sentence back there, I was hating something else, which I guess just goes to show one very important fact: I hate an awful lot of things. Hundreds, in fact, one of which is positive attitudes towards life.

But the one thing I hate that I am choosing to focus on is this: Successful people.

In essence, my message is, Successful people? What the fuck?

Now, before you say, “Oh Ben, don’t be so negative, that’s just sour grapes”, I should point out one thing: you are a dick and you should shut your stupid face.

The subject occurred to me the other day when I was reading an article about Rove McManus and how his planned talk show with Valerie Bertinelli has failed to get picked up by a network in the US.

The first point to make, of course, is what the sulphur-crested fuck was Rove thinking when he decided the best entrée to the American market would be a talk show with Valerie Bertinelli? Never in the history of mankind has a human being ever used the phrase, “Hey, why doesn’t Valerie Bertinelli have a talk show? I’d watch that.” Never in the history of mankind has a human being ever used the phrase, “Can’t wait to hear what Valerie Bertinelli thinks about this.” And never in the history of mankind has a human being used the phrase, “Rove and Valerie: an unstoppable combination.” Seriously? A talk show with Valerie Bertinelli? Are you insane? What’s your next move, a cooking show with Bruce Boxleitner?

But that aside, what struck me reading this story was just how happy I was to find out Rove had failed. I was ecstatic. 

And it’s not because I dislike Rove. I quite like him. I’ve even watched his show, occasionally. He’s a very likeable fellow. It’s nothing personal at all.

It’s just that I hate other people being successful. More successful than me, that is. Up to my level of success, I wish you every happiness. Surpass me and I hate you. And this applies in particular to Australians. I can cope with Americans and British people and Italians fulfilling their dreams — just — but when Australians do it, it just gets right on my frigging wick. 

Because when people from overseas are more successful than you, you can always say, “well, it’s hard to make it, when you’re Australian, stuck here in such a remote location without access to international markets”. But when Australians make it, it shows that it IS possible, it’s just that you’re not good enough. And frankly, I consider the inadvertent exposure of other people’s inadequacies through one’s own completely innocent actions to be the height of fucking rudeness.

You know what I’m talking about. You know when you have a friend who asks you to act as a reference for his job interview and when the employer calls you and you tell them your friend is a meth addict? 

Oh, you’ve never done that? You fucking liar. We all do it from time to time, when those close to us look like achieving more than we have. I work so hard every day, purely because my sisters have failed to be junkies or single mothers. If only my family was full of failures I could relax, but no, I have to bust a gut because they insist on giving me competition for my parents’ love.

And successful Australians have a similar effect. They’re too close. When an Australian hits it big, it says hey, even ordinary Australians can do extraordinary things. Pisses me off something fierce. Because of course they CAN, but they probably WON’T. I won’t. You won’t. And one of the reasons we won’t is because there is a finite amount of places in the world for successful people and that Aussie bastard’s just taken up another one of them.

So that’s why I felt a warm, oozy feeling of relief when I found Rove’s latest effort to go global had failed. If his talk show with Valerie Bertinelli (pffffffffffffffft) had succeeded, I don’t know what I would have done. I would have been desolate. Like I am every time I hear about Naomi Watts’s latest movie, or Adam Hills’s sell-out Edinburgh show, or anything Matthew Fucking Reilly does. 

So to all you people out there succeeding, achieving ambitions and scaling heights: fuck you. Fuck you right in the ear. You’re ruining my life and you’re doing it with a smarmy goddamn smile on your face. Stop it. Right now.

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Ben  Pobjie

Ben has not one but TWO hilarious books out now. Surveying the Wreckage and Superchef.

Follow him on twitter @benpobjie

www.benpobjie.blogspot.com