Slack hack Jack sacked

As long-term Troppo readers may recall, I don’t have a terribly high opinion of the ethics of SMH journalist/”blogger” Jack Marx.  But he certainly didn’t deserve to be sacked for writing a (deleted) post imagining Heavy Kevy’s experiences in a New York strip club.  It’s a relatively innocuous piece and quite well written too. Although the Murdoch empire has now gleefully reproduced the post that terminally offended Fairfax management, I’m recopying it over the fold just in case it disappears from the Dirty Ex-Digger’s archives.

In the circumstances, I can’t help wondering whether there might not be other reasons for Marx’s alleged demise.  For example, there’s this recent post revealing that he’d been carpetted by SMH management for posting too infrequently.  And why get on the blower to Murdoch so quickly after allegedly being shafted? 

Nevertheless, Marx has written some high quality stuff of late, not least this article about the Oz useage of the word ‘wanker’, or this one about a cyber-romance that wasn’t, or this one about an encounter with a Sydney prostitute.   Murdoch could do worse than add Marx to his “blogging” stable (assuming they weren’t already in negotiations prior to the sacking). At least it would give Chris Sheil something else to read while boycotting Fairfax’s rugby coverage.

Update – Meanwhile, self-styled “pseudo-Marxist” Age columnist Terry Lane has retired too, though seemingly of his own volition.  Lane reckons his heart is no longer in punditry because political convergence has reached a point where it doesn’t really make any difference whether Howard or Rudd wins.  Although I’m anything but a Marxist (pseudo or otherwise) and I even agree with some of Howard’s professed policy positions, I frequently feel like Lane in the face of Rudd’s relentless “me too-ism”.  I console myself with the hope that it’s mostly just a highly disciplined refusal to be wedged, and doesn’t say much about Rudd’s fundamental political philosophy or ethics.  I hope that Rudd’s professed admiration for Dietrich Bonhoeffer has an extra dimension than just the latter’s general socially committed Christian political philosophy.  After all, Bonhoeffer found himself living in an age that required him to acquiesce as a matter of high morality in conduct, namely the cold-blooded assassination of Hitler, that in more normal times would be regarded as evil.  Maybe Rudd sees his passive acquiescence in Howard’s policies (however egregious) in a similar light?  I certainly hope so, otherwise God help us.

 The article that got Jack sacked

KEVIN Rudd “has no recollection” of a visit he made to a gentleman’s club in New York in 2003.

This is unfortunate, for if one is going to put one’s arse on the line by doing such a thing, one might as well afford oneself the luxury of being able to recall the experience if one so desires.

Fortunately for everyone, I’ve visited such establishments many times myself, and thus I believe I’ll be more than capable of filling in the blanks with a few educated guesses, thus shaking the ball from the selfish grasp of Kevin’s memory while, at the same time, providing the public with those saucy details so infuriating for being missing.

First, he would have sat himself down beside the stage – the one with the pole in the middle. There is restaurant in another part of the club, far from the nudity, and one could presumably argue that Kevin and friends went there. But let’s be frank about this and assume that three pissed Australians weren’t entering a strip club for soup.

A dancer would have emerged – perhaps blonde, perhaps brunette – in some manner of cocktail dress, a g-string underneath and clear plexiglass heels. Being that it was New York, September 2003, I’d say it’s a fair bet the stripper’s routine would have kicked off to Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake.

The dancer would have begun with some general pole work; a few twirls here and there, leaning back, bending forward at the waist, that sort of thing. Nothing spectacular – not yet – just some gentle gymnastics to get the blood pumping. Perhaps she would have noticed the little man smiling at her from the edge of the stage, perhaps she didn’t. But he noticed her, that’s for sure. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her. She was gorgeous.

The change in soundtrack, to, say, Gossip Folks by Missy Elliot, would have signaled to the dancer that it was time to start getting a bit better acquainted with the men at her feet – to make ‘connections’ with them that the men would want to pursue with private lap dances later on. And so the dancer would have begun to skirt the boundary of her little stage, engaging the men who looked interested as she went. At some point, she would have come to our Kevin.

On her knees, but still towering over him, she would have leaned forward and stared him square in the eye – a pout, a coquettish smile, a flutter of the lids. She’d have doubtless smiled back.

Leaning into his ear, she’d have told him her ‘name’, which would not have been Sharon or Therese, but Cheyanne or Loquita, or any number of exotic concoctions designed to hide the girl’s true identity. The Australian politician representing his country would have told her his name was “Kevin”.

The girl would have kept Kevin’s eye as she balanced on her knees and elbows, arching her back so that he could see how lithe and flexible she was. Then, swiftly, she would have spun herself ’round in a scissor movement, one heel planting itself on the backrest of Kevin’s chair, the other swishing through the air just above his head, causing his fringe to flutter, before planting itself on the other side. Here, spread-eagled on the edge of the stage, she would have arched her back, run her hands along the length of her legs and leaned into him, her hair cascading into his anxious loins.

Kevin would have smelled her – the silky perfume, the hint of sweat, the musky other. Perhaps, out of sheer drunken instinct, he’d have reached up to touch, her finger shaking in front of his eyes, firmly, but seductively. She would have whispered a gentle admonishment; he’d have felt her breath in his ear, seen her naked breast become the universe in his eye. His glasses would have fogged to near zero visibility as she nestled her bosom on the crown of his head, her breasts as saddlebags over the man’s steaming ears. And, through the leaden swamp of drunkenness, to the sound of Tweet’s Oops Oh My, an erection would have creaked to life in the trousers of the future Australian Opposition leader.

With minutes until her act were to cease, the dancer, now in but a g-string and heels, would have returned to her pole to close off her act with some swings and upside-down splits and things. At the edge of the stage Kevin would have remained, watching her now from afar until, with a flourish, the dancer would have gone. For just a moment, Kevin would have been crushed as any lovesick man, his heart going pitter-patter, the blood pulsing to his nether regions. For a time, he might have stalked the club in search of the girl who had seemed so keen. But a voice – perhaps belonging to another – would have told him it was hopeless, and to think of Therese.

Back at his hotel room, the shadow foreign affairs minister would have laid in the dark, thinking. He would have smelled her, felt her lingering touch still upon him, like that of some phantasmic seductress. Perhaps, if he were lying face down, he’d have begun a gentle humping, his pillow underneath as kapok mistress. Or perhaps, with closed eyes to the heavens, deliverance would have been at hand. Whether sleep came down before ecstasy we will never know.

And we will never know whether this version of events is close to truth or miles from it. For Kevin Rudd doesn’t remember a damn thing.

Pity, that. Some details might have been interesting.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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16 years ago

Meh, too much gonzo, not enough journalism for me. I’ve always felt that Marx was more interested in the construction of Jack Marx than any particular piece he was working on.

Indeed, I often came away from his work with the feeling that said pieces _were_ about Jack Marx, rather than the subject, and his stylistic flourishes not much more than a varnish enabling intellectuals could read pieces about movie stars etc. without feeling guilty.

Harsh I know, and I’m not saying that the Marx experience for everyone.

I’m sure he’ll get work again soon enough, and I doubt this was the only reason he was fired myself.

16 years ago

“At least it would give Chris Sheil something else to read while boycotting Fairfaxs rugby coverage.”

I speculate that CS’s real problem is that he’s forced to read The Oz seeing how much he despises that writer.

now he knows how right wingers feel when there’s nothing but a Fairfax publication to pick up in the dentist lounge.

I get the impression this blogger was trying to write a little more than standard blogging stuff. Add a few bit’s here and there and it would not even have passed the xxxxx censor rating.

He gets it well though. Even from 10 years ago, I can recall the sweet scent of the the perfume on those gals. Vividly.

“Kevin would have smelled her – the silky perfume, the hint of sweat, the musky other Kevin would have smelled her – the silky perfume, the hint of sweat, the musky other”

I’ll say. It’s over 10 years ago and I till can too.

He even gets Kev’s emotions right. I could well imagine a Queensland dude never knew such bodies existed.

16 years ago

I didn’t like Marx’s piece. It was imputing to Rudd, as some probability, a lasciviousness which is in fact Marx’s own, at least in his wettest dreams. He could get away with it in an independent blog, but I agree with them pulling it. Not a sacking offence, though, I agree, but I think the guy’s full of it.

The trouble with Rudd avoiding the wedge is that if he says he won’t do any different from Howard, just to avoid the wedge, how can he as Prime Minister then say, “Well, you know, I was only pretending. Now I’m going to do what you all really wanted me to do.” That would be like the non-core promises…although then again, that would be just like Howard…

16 years ago

I agree that it is a well written piece, Ken. Yet, as Graham says, it amounts to nothing but intimate self-projection, appropriate, perhaps, for Penthouse Letters, not a newspaper that is already struggling to be taken seriously, especially in the rugby dept.

16 years ago

He was sacked for that? No way. There’s more to this story.

Richard Green
Richard Green
16 years ago

The editors noted he was a poser who was no longer shifting the Smirnoff Ice he was paid to, and this simply gave an excuse to break the contract.
No great loss, I’m no fan of Gonzo, but this is to Gonzo what Puddle of Mudd is to grunge.

harry clarke
16 years ago

The piece by Jack Marx is entertaining fiction that is probably close to being non-fiction. What’s wrong with some insightful humour?

16 years ago

Let’s face it, he was actively destroying the SMH’s livelihood – is leaks from sympathetic labor people. Of course he was sacked!

David Rubie
David Rubie
16 years ago

The real problem is, there is no insight. If Marx had thrown a few jokes in like “I’ll see you later, out the back door” or something it would have at least been funny. Rudd and strip club are so incongruous that you’d think there would be plenty of humour to mine, but the faux seriousness of the weakest allegations of impropriety since Downer pulled on the stockings has gone past ridiculous and into the seriously strange.

Really, the poison dwarf pulling up other people about their behaviour?

Has Howard really been cleaning Pru Goward’s pipes? That’s what I’d really like to know.

16 years ago

i reckon it’s backfiring cos it just sexes Rudd up. as Beattie said, now he’s got blood in his veins. no more Mr Nerd Guy.
as for Jack Marx – sacking him for that cheeky bit of satire is a bit of an overreaction.

16 years ago

sacking him for that cheeky bit of satire is a bit of an overreaction

The boss of Fairfax, David Kirk, is a former All Black Captain. New Zealanders are notoriously strait-laced. There ought to be a law against non-nationals running Australian newspapers.

Joshua Gans
16 years ago

I can’t say I agree on the quality of the writing. It’s full of awkward constructions (unwisely opting the conditional tense most of the time, but failing to stick to it) and cheap images (‘perhaps blonde, perhaps brunette’ — good grief!), and contains, as usual, the odd grinding syntactical solecism (‘Being that it was New York, September 2003, Id say…’).

And it doesn’t ring tue either. For all of Rudd’s faults I suspect he is the kind of person who, like me, would find a strip act a turn off — tacky and embarrassing rather than erotic. So why was he there? Well, who hasn’t had the experience of being in a strange city and at the mercy of a forceful host who unexpectedly turns out to be an ockerish boofhead, and drags you along to some place you wouldn’t have otherwise chosen?

16 years ago

Pretty crass stuff. Befitting of a blogger, but not a journalist. I wouldn’t have called it a sacking offence though, just the same.

16 years ago

I’d not heard of nor read him prior to this and feel no loss. this was little different from the Eskimo nell stuff passed around the boys’ toilets in primary school, circa 1960. No loss unless he ever did anything else with, you know, wit, insight, that sorta stuff


[…] “shady” place, pulled off the site. And all on his birthday. Clubtroppo have the “offending” post, and Cameron Reilly an interesting interview with Jack. Hat tip – Freedom to […]