The Roberts Rule: How to avoid the same mistakes with Lyle as we did with Malcolm

We made a mistake with Malcolm Roberts: we fought back, and he took that as us legitimising his insanity. Let’s not do the same with Lyle Shelton.



Pardon me for exercising my free speech, but certain people need to shut up. Alongside the tin-hat empirical penis-ed clodhoppers of Malcolm Roberts, add Lyle Shelton’s, following his abject chicanery against marriage equality, which evidenced by his shuffle into the Australian Press Club where he stated, “homophobia, what homophobia?”

Wind the clock back to the Press Club Eve, and Lyle the con artist appeared on The Feed, trying to sell the town on the idea building his monorail policy, likening the “lost” children in the wake of marriage equality as a “stolen generation”. Worthy to note that two presenters were Indigenous.

Is there a chance the lobby will bend?

No – nor should we expect them to.

Shelton, for the time being, has surpassed the wheezing Palpatine figure of his mentor, Empirical Malcolm. On the surface, Lyle seems like a wise choice for Australia’s Next Great Lightning Magnet. This was a man who rode the tone-deaf Pegasus to the end of his moral crusade, attempting to prove that the exploding van outside his office was politically motivated, and not just coincidence, and that the driver was a radical leftist atheist out to get him, and not just a troubled man in need of help. The amount of political spin produced by Shelton makes me wonder how he didn’t reverse the rotation of the Earth, à la Superman II.

However, with the noticeable figure of Lois Lame cat-walking through the middle of the marriage equality argument, I believe that we in the media, and we who retweet, share and heckle, have a great chance – and indeed great responsibility – to mould something lasting; something I’d like to call the Roberts Ruling. Put simply, the stupider the rhetoric gets, the more we should ignore it. Which, doesn’t mean complicit support of this harmful waffle, rather a limitation of the spread of their nonsense. Now, don’t get me wrong, but I do love a salad made out of low hanging fruit, but giving these fruitcakes a greater platform just enables them to plunge into greater depths, drowning the greater discussion.

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The Senatorial run of the man the rule is named after is a suitable example. Armed with a photocopier, and fingers planted in ears, he took on the doyen of the science world, and author of a million ladyboners, Brian Cox. In response, we grouped on Twitter, Facebook, and OpEd to castigate this new evil. Twitterbots, roll out. Sadly, Roberts is a reactionary fellow – he’s like Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II – in that the more negativity we leveled at him, the stronger he became.

See also: supporting Rodrigo Duterte’s AK47-powered drug reform, his racist stereotyping of Indian nationals to dispel his own birthplace and clogging the Senate Estimates with a 12-minute articulation of the male reproductive organ as a pointed metaphor for the ills of peer-reviewed studies. Collective groans were heard, and are still uttered indeed, but the truth is, we failed regarding Malcolm’s challenge to our sanity. We let the bully get to us. He knew he upset us, so he kept hitting us over the head with our balled fist enabled by his skewed logic, commanding us to stop hitting ourselves.

So, back to Shelton; the challenge is clear. If you happen across something that looks off, don’t alert the household with antagonistic noise, just quietly relocate it to the nearest bin.

No mess, no fuss.


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