Monday, March 13, 2017

Could help explain something

Bill Leak obviously had a lot of friends, on the Left and Right, and but even so there has been a somewhat extraordinary amount of column space in the News Ltd press lauding him.

I see that Chris Mitchell, former editor from when the paper went full blown Tea Party lite, has written this about Leak's post accident period:
Bill knew that fall could have, should have, killed him. He was in a coma, had severe brain damage and a 15cm hole in his head as wide as his thumb.

He suffered debilitating headaches for the first few years back in the cartoonist’s chair. He struggled through the fog of heavy pain relief to get his thoughts together each morning for the day’s cartoon.

After starting back a couple of days a week, in time he came back to full- time work. 
Someone on line, in the last year or two, made the observation that the problem with post accident Leak was not just that he was being "controversial", but that his work had stopped being funny.

Mitchell provides evidence that the lingering effects of the head injury had a role in that.   (Although, it has to be said, that his moving house out of concern for radical Muslim death threats in 2015 could be good reason for loss of sense of humour, too.)

Mitchell claims that Leak didn't change politics, as people claimed - but looking back over some of his old work, as people have been posting since his death, I reckon that is rubbish.

Update:  another person writing in the Australian notes:
He rose most days at 5am, went downstairs to his office, and, ­fuelled by coffee and cigarettes, scanned the overnight news while waiting for his friends to wake up so he could engage them in vigorous, often ribald phone calls and email exchanges.
Sounds like quite a big tobacco habit.  As some others have noted, in response to the hysterical "the HRC hounded him to death!" claims from some on the Right, the smoking no doubt had a major  hand in causing Leak's death.  

Sinclair Davidson, in his semi-routinely hyperbolic way, went so far as to have his post on Leak's death entitled "The Australian Human Rights Commission has blood on its hands".    Yet, ironically, he spends much of his time deriding tobacco plain packaging; work which undoubtedly the tobacco industry is happy to see.   Say no more...

Update:   two more things about Leak I heard today:  I caught a bit of a replay of a Richard Fidler interview with him in 2009 (post accident) in which Leak spoke about now being off alcohol, giving the distinct impression he had been a very heavy drinker before.  Then Guy Rundle, in an obit which I presume will upset some, claims Leak had 30 plus years of high functioning alcoholism (and drug use - although he doesn't say illicit drug use.)   I don't even know if Rundle knew Leak, of course.  But still - it would seem that Leak had a very far from healthy lifestyle for much, or most, of his adult life.  


not trampis said...

Davidson is going down the Kates road and even then has no credibilty.

I think Leak simply went over that famous line that cartoonists have a number of times.

He may have even loved all that publicity. Who knows i certainly do not.

the 18C 'problems' were a joke and his lawyers made sure no agreement would ever be made.

not trampis said...

The one thing I don't get is Leak must have expected blowback when he did cartoons not close to the line but over the line.

It is part of the territory. If he didn't like the heat of the kitchen he could always get out of it but he seemed to enjoy the heat of the kitchen even increasing it but then complaining about the heat.

A complete contradiction

John said...

Davidson can now attack the HRC because Wilson has left it. Davidson and Tim Wilson amaze me. For all their grand philosophy when it comes down to money and influence they will abandon their principles without a qualm. If Wilson had any integrity he would have gone to the electorate under the LDP banner but he chose the Liberals because it was obviously a much safer bet. If either of them had any integrity they would stop working for the government and go into free enterprise to produce something of value. They are armchair experts who don't have the guts to put their ideas to the test.