Tim Wise on “Nice”

An excellent article. And I am glad to have read it on the same day the Australian media is choked with hypocrisy and ‘niceness’ after the Lindt cafe hostage-taking in central Sydney.

‘Niceness’ and the narrowest understanding of ‘decency’ are basic ideological tools.

This hostage-taking has lifted the lid on an immensely powerful lie of the dominant class in Australia – that ‘we’ in Australia are one nice, decent, happy, inclusive community (the Melbourne Cup, ‘the race that stops a nationTM’, proves this!) with the great good fortune of being distinct, because of Australia’s geography, and, dare I say it – affluence for the great majority, from a deeply troubled world.

The ideologues of capital have gone into overdrive with voices at times soothing, at others emotional or resonant and knowing, to silence comments such as I heard on the radio this morning from a ‘decent’ Aussie gentleman – ‘I thought Australia was far away from all this. It’s a wake-up call.’

No, No, No – back to sleep all you nice and decent people. Who could forget The Chaser skit (which they repeated) in which nice and decent Australians descend on an escalator and are directed by a person in the modicum of a uniform at the bottom to go back on the ‘up’ escalator. Each time I saw that skit the people all behaved the same, nicely and decently, without question, doing as they were told.

The ideologues of capital are using the hostage-taking, initiated by one who was ‘mad’ and ‘bad’ (so often the ‘analysis’), from a nation and region exploited, brutalised, betrayed and ripped apart, particularly over the last century, by activity engaged in, supported and condoned by Australia, to reinforce the self-centredness of ‘niceness’ (the capitalist ideology of ‘nice’ consumerism) and the most myopic, nationalist ‘decency’.

Dorothy, over the rainbow, would be pleased with the purity and simplicity of the message.

Not only the complicit and servile Australian media, but the world’s media will be all over this. I look forward to what will inevitably come out.

*   *   *

From the Twittersphere

Murderous, uncivilised Islamic State terrorist:

* ‘The world must stand for the news of 13 Australian hostages but it would sleep for the news of over 130000 Muslims killed in Syria’

* ‘Gaza is under siege, Homs and Damascus are under siege the café in Sydney is Not.’

Tender-hearted, civilised Rupert Murdoch:

* ‘AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats’


Voices from Russia

01 Hypocrisy Meter


Nice people change nothing. They never have and they never will. Those who are nice are so invested in their niceness, in their sense of propriety and civility, that they rarely raise their voices above a whisper, even in the face of sweltering oppression. Nice white people were the ones who didn’t own black folks during the period of enslavement, but also didn’t raise their voices against the ones who did. Nice white people are the ones who didn’t spit on sit-in demonstrators, but also had no problem spending money with businesses that had remained segregated all those years.

To be nice is to have an emotional stake in the prevention of one’s own pain. Nice people don’t like to look at the ugly. It’s upsetting, most of all because it puts us on the hook and calls forth our humanity to actually put an end to that pain…

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