The Art of the Australian Insult

Age of miracles

A huge range of comments relating to World Youth Day have appeared in local newspapers over the past week. Here is a selection, some positive, some negative, some critical of said negativity:

“The Pope’s warning about false idols should ensure bona fide pilgrims shop only at the official World Youth Day souvenir shops.” Adriana Maxwell.


“More public transport, pedestrians wandering safely down a quiet George Street with cars and buses diverted, proposed draconian police powers put firmly in their place and (here’s the real miracle) smiling, polite teenagers. I lapsed long ago, but …hallelujah!”

Robert Verhey.


“This sneering, intolerant criticism of everything smacking of World Youth Day brands us as rednecks and is a downright embarrassment.” James Burfitt.


“if they’re so keen to stop dwelling on old wounds, why do Catholic Church leaders still re-enact and carry on about the crucifixion?” Wendy Varney.


“The Chaser disguises are much better now. They fooled me.” Doug McLaughlin.


“And we thought Cate Blanchett was overexposed during the 2020 Summit pilgrimage.” Peter Sesterka.


“The real crime against humanity perpetuated by World Youth Day is what Mercedes-Benz has done to its lovely ML 430 vehicle to facilitate the vehicular perambulations of the Pope.” William Simon.


“How delightful (and fitting) to see a gumnut on the papal pate. May Gibbs would be chuffed.” Margaret Pritchard.


George Street with no cars. Now that is a miracle.” Gemma Purcell.


“Can I sue for annoyance at seriously out-of-tune Catholics randomly singing in my presence? Shouldn’t they have been subjected to an Idol-style elimination before being allowed into the country?” David Breeze.


“There is no relief. First the Barmy Army and now the Psalmy Army.” Frederick Hewison.


“It is indeed a disappointing day when one of Sydney’s leading newspapers becomes nothing more than a blinkered, sycophantic pamphlet for World Youth Day. Reportage is one thing, but touting the WYD logo on the front of the newspaper, and headlines such as “On the Hungry Mile, a feast of goodwill”, amid a host of mind-numbingly similar stories about paradise, hope and joy is quite another thing.” Diana Louis Shahinyan.


“I’m getting a little queasy at the quasi-worship of the Pope. He is only a man, for goodness sake. As for his infallibility, he has obviously never argued with a woman.” John Christie


“There’s something Animal Farm-ish about the Pope’s warning to youth not to be seduced by television images that depict violence as entertainment. The World Youth Day organizers have ensured one and all can watch the whole production of The Stations of the Cross on screens at Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Crescent Precinct in the Domain. Perhaps a case of your violence bad, our violence good.” Joan Kunze.