Sunday, June 9, 2013

That’s all that you’ve got left in the end

Crocodile tears flow for the rich kid who dropped his lolly bag 

On the day of the Packer-book launch I came across three separate exhortations to laugh in the face of fear. Two, admittedly, were Buddhist-based but the third came as bravado. It was Simba, Lion-King-in-diapers, tossing his wannabe mane and declaring: "Danger? Huh! I laugh in the face of danger!", just before things start to go pear-shaped. He reminded me - well, obviously - of James Packer.
Suddenly we're all feeling sorry for wee Jamie. Maybe not all. I mean, maybe not David Leckie, after the public Packerooing that made him the main floor show at Sam Chisholm's Opera House transplant-party last week.
But others spring gallantly to the dauphin's defence. "It's tough being the son of the legend," says Greg Tingle, "even if you're a billionaire." Weep. Sniff. Daniel Petre says it's sad. "Sad and wrong ... to see a father want to relegate the relationship with their son to build their own self-esteem.''
What's really sad, though, is how much attention we lavish - column inches, pixels, airwaves - on a man who's done, well, nothing actually. Less even than the Prince of Wales, on whose life (the jackaroo year, the polo, the patent unfitness for the job) Packer jnr's is clearly modelled. At least Windsor jnr stood for something. At least he'll leave us some memorable quotes (carbuncles, Luftwaffe), a brand of organic jams only 25 times the normal price, a glimpse into the secret life of plants and tampons, and some truly awful buildings to remind us just how wrong good intentions can go.

Either way, most of us have done more, to less acclaim. Some of us much, much more.

Take Elizabeth Blackburn, our newest Nobel laureate whose coverage must have been a tenth of Jamie's. Blackburn has that disengaged look, like the sweet-faced but mousey girl-nerd who always beat you into first place in class; a look that means she's actually intensely, passionately engaged, only in something you can't even imagine. {Read on}