Two days ago I’d never heard of Andrew Bolt, but now I know he’s an Australian journalist, and a grade A fool.
He came under fire for mocking Greta Thunberg (climate change activist and all-round incredibly, impressive human being) and more specifically for the fact that she has autism. Bolt called Greta “freakishly influential” and wrote, “I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru.” Yeah, really, he said that.
Bolt is not short of critics. He has justifiably been lambasted for his cruel and offensive remarks towards a young girl, and his “ignorance” about autism.
What I found most worryingly familiar about Bolt’s comments is his deadpan denial of the climate crisis, and his self-satisfied conviction of that denial. He’s one of those people, who lives in the same world as the rest of us but is blind to the facts, the endless studies, and many lauded scientists who have been trying very hard, for a very long time, to warn us of impending catastrophe and destruction.
Whatever about being too weak-willed to create change and make sacrifices for the good of yourself, your loved ones, future generations, the planet and all it’s living organisms, it’s another to write an article with contempt for a 16 year old girl who is braver than most adults, two, three, four and five times her age, doing things we as adults should be doing for young people like Greta.
Bolt writes with derision of Thunberg’s decision to travel to the US by yacht; “Of course, she’s going by racing yacht, because she refuses to fly and heat the planet with an aeroplane’s global warming gasses.” I read this in total seriousness, but Bolt writes this with ridicule. I see dedication and passion, Bolt sees a fundamentalist, someone “deeply disturbed” and “strange”.
I was recently at a meeting where a young man raised his hand and challenged the Irish Green Party’s leader, Eamon Ryan, if he would close down the airports, if he became Taoiseach. Ryan gave a solid reply about having to coax and nudge people in the right direction, because we all know no one will vote Green if they can’t take their holiday abroad. And I think Ryan is right in his evaluation of the voting electorate, but it still doesn’t make it the right choice for the planet. And Greta is one of those people who knows that too and is not standing by while “our house is on fire”.
Bolt is like a bystander at an accident with his smartphone out. Telling a relative not to bother trying to resuscitate their loved one, while simultaneously filming it all on his smartphone. At the very least he can stand back and let them get on with it.