5+5: #1

In which we talk boomers, hero dogs, Epstein memes and strip searches

Because I’m sure you’ve just simply not got nearly enough of my content in your brains and various internet devices, this is a regular little newsletter I will (aim to but probably not get around to) shoot off every Friday.

It’s called 5+5 because I want to bring you 5 big things and 5 small things from the week - some of it will be stuff that’s been all over the news, some of it will be stuff that totally flew under the radar, and some of it will be stuff that you’d only ever find if - like me - you spend 22 hours a day plugged into the internet and The Hell Site (Twitter, where you can incidentally find me at @joshbutler).

Let’s go! Subscribe if you’re into it.



It’s been 20 years since the campaign for an Australian republic, led by Malcolm Turnbull (remember him?), went down in flames - another referendum consigned to the scrapheap of Australian constitutional history. There’s veeeerrryyyyy little talk about an Aussie republic right now, and most think there’s basically no chance until the Queen moves on. But I spent last week talking to Peter FitzSimons of the Australian Republic Movement, and Philip Benwell of the Monarchist League, about what happened back in the day, and where this debate stands right now. I put together two long features, which you can check out here and here.

11,000 scientists sign climate “catastrophic threat” call:

Just another casual stadium’s worth of scientific experts politely asking us that, uhh, guys, if it’s not too much trouble, can we do something about the environment and that? No biggie, but like, climate emergency and catastrophe and all that. I’m not exactly sure how many times, and how many scientists, in how many languages, it will take for this to sink in - but another 11,000 added their names to yet another desperate call for action, and it was news for about 12 hours before everyone moved on again. I don’t know about you, but I’d like a habitable planet upon which to live when I’m older. I’m supposed to be investing in my superannuation and buying a house and having a family etc etc - I wouldn’t mind having a nice climate in which to enjoy all those things, to be honest. Maybe I’m just being selfish.

Police minister strip search

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he’d “want” his kids strip searched if they were potentially involved in crime (my full story on this matter here). Considering the vast, vast, overwhelming majority of drug dog detections leading to strip searches find zip, zero, zilch evidence of wrongdoing, that’s a bold call. Especially considering police procedures for strip searches are under review, after police basically admitted they’ve been flouting some laws around how they’ve been searching minors.

Elliott has understandably copped a lot of heat for the comments.

One year to election day:

The U.S. seems to never not be in a countdown to an election of some kind, but a proper milestone has been reached now - one whole year to the November 2020 election, which will see Donald Trump either unseated and sent back crying to his billions of dollars and real estate empire, or retained in the White House for another four years of unhinged toilet tweeting and presenting medals to dogs (see below). As the Democrats claw each other’s eyes out over who’s the most likely to beat Trump, and the more moderate candidates screech at the more progressive candidates over how they could possibly bring in a universal Medicare system of the type which has been operating pretty seamlessly in Australia for a few decades, I think I speak for us all when I say: bloody get on with it.

OK Boomer:

Sadly we’ve killed this meme already. Memes sure have a short half-life these days, huh? After New York Times reporter/internet savant Taylor Lorenz wrote about OK Boomer just last week, following it making the rounds on Twitter and Tik Tok in recent months, it enjoyed a stratospheric rise and fall unlike any meme since Hillary Clinton told people to “Pokemon GO to the polls!!!” I mean, ‘OK Boomer’ was hilarious to say for about five days - but then in record time, it made it onto merchandise, into the halls of parliament, and (in the surest sign a meme is dead) onto mid-morning TV panel talk shows aimed at boomers themselves. Thinkpieces were crafted, hot takes about the thinkpieces were lobbed back, and all the while, the boomers kept getting madder and madder about it all. So thank you, OK Boomer - we barely knew ye, but we’ll always have the memories.


Jeffrey Epstein - (quick CW: suicide before we go any further):

Yes this was also a big thing, but this is a different one. One thing that took over my social media feeds - Instagram and Twitter especially, but it found me on Facebook a little bit too - was an avalanche of memes casting doubt that Epstein did commit suicide, as the official report goes. You might remember that he died while supposedly under 24/7 guard, but that the guards didn’t check on him as often as they should, and the CCTV cameras were mysteriously malfunctioning at the time, and his cellmate had been taken out of the cell.

People online don’t buy it.

Hillary Clinton even got asked, point-blank, about it on The Daily Show, which made for some incredibly uncomfortable viewing.

But the gold medal standard of Epstein scepticism came from this guest on Fox News, who was ostensibly on the air to talk about hero army dogs, but managed to sneak in a bit of bonus content.

Hero dog:

And while we’re on the subject of the army dog, this is still absolutely the funniest thing on Twitter in the last month or so

Facebook maybe, almost, potentially caused a biohazard in Tasmania:

Yeah this was a weird one. In the grand scheme of Facebook scandals lately (Cambridge Analytica, green-lighting political ads to spread lies, Zuckerberg’s Lego man haircut), this one is not exactly at the top, but it’s just so weird. In a nutshell, Facebook sent a nice lovely wreath of native Australian flowers to federal MP Andrew Wilkie in Tasmania - nice gesture, sure - but only trouble is, the delivery potentially skirted the island state’s famously strict laws around seeds, pests and contamination. Wilkie wasn’t happy. I wrote a full story here with more.

No, Hillsong didn’t throw shade at Lizzo:

This was a moderately funny thing on Twitter for about 35 minutes on Tuesday — an account, purporting to belong to megachurch Hillsong, looking like it was trying to Get Down With The Kids by talking about Lizzo. But after taking a DNA test (scrolling back through the account’s history) it turns out it was 100% not that bitch, and instead was someone who’d turned their account to a Hillsong parody just 21 hours before. I’ll admit that, in a pre-coffee state, I replied a classic “delete this” before scrolling back on it. Either way, it’s still funny, even if not legit.

My Chemical Romance:

Black is back babey, of course 20-nine-scene managed to give us one final gift by bringing this band back to life. Fun fact: the day before they announced this reunion, I put ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ in my car’s CD player (I drive a 2003 Ford Laser, sorry to flex on ya) and also saw three guys dressed in Black Parade gear at a Halloween party, so I’m happy to take a decent amount of credit for willing this into existence. The last time I saw MCR, it was at Big Day Out in 2012 or something, it was like 5pm and sweltering hot. They had been one of my favourite bands since high school, it was my first time seeing them, I was very looking forward to it but I remember leaving with the distinct lingering impression that their performance was Not Good. However, I’m sure the squillions of dollars they’re being paid to appear at Download Festival next year will help things along.


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