Friday, September 05, 2003

He’s a cleric?

Today’s headlines get it all wrong.

Okay, maybe The Age (etc) was merely following the nomenclature lead set in my blog, but I now wish to correct my error of yesterday – the Melbourne Sheik-guy was emphatically not called a “cleric” in the 7.30 Report, but rather a “spiritual leader” who “preaches” at a “roughly furnished warehouse in inner Melbourne”.

And the difference?

A “cleric” does not self-credential. While the finer points of this proposition could be debated into eternity, a convenient way of gounding and testing it is that the more times the putative-cleric is euphemised as a “leader” and especially as a “[INSERT GLOWING ADJECTIVE HERE] leader”, then the less the “cleric” is likely to be a real one. In the case of the Melbourne Sheik, he runs the full gamut from “spiritual leader” to “community leader”.

Oh, and he’s a baby boomer, too.

Putting all this together, and remembering my ever-handy – and now newly-expanded – maxim that demographics run deeper than blood, gender or religion, the Melbourne Sheik is self-evidently just another Lindsay Tanner, a time-server justifying his existence by selling verbiage-activated shit sandwiches to a young, educated but restless* constituency.

* Lindsay Tanner's electorate of Melbourne has Australia's second-highest percentage (51%) of adults with post-secondary qualification, but also the highest unemployment rate (9%) out of all 75 higher-than-median-income electorates ("Australia's hip pocket", The Australian 13 December 2002; no URL).

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