The strange case of Chris Uhlmann

By December 15, 2020Media

On the morning of the 15th of December, former Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist, who now works for the 9 Network, tweeted the following:

“Horrified to learn that the new language guide for the Victorian public service entreats people to say “Good morning folks”. Folk is derived from the German “volk” a term embraced by the Nazis. Shame.”

This was in response to a story in Murdoch’s Herald Sun (of course, who else would be concerned with such trivialities in a desperate attempt to shout abuse at the Victorian Labor government). The guide to which Uhlmann refers, is in fact entitled The LGBTIQ inclusive language guide. It explains how to use language respectfully and inclusively when working with and referring to LGBTIQ people. By using inclusive language, they demonstrate respect in both the workplace and in developing and delivering policies, programs and services for all Victorians1. However, such details were unimportant to Uhlmann, when he could latch onto a phrase and attempt to turn it around to try to ridicule the Victorian government.

While misleading people about the etymology of the word ‘folk’ in the ‘Nazi’ tweet above, he seems to have forgotten that some five months previously, he had tweeted the following:

“Note there is a story coming up on so-called ‘Ross River Virus’ on my own network. Shame! I hope the good folk of Ross River chuck a hissy fit over being vilified by having a nasty disease named after them.”

I presume these two efforts are what passes for witticisms in the febrile mind of Uhlmann. Presumably, he feels he has to bait people online to obtain some sort of bizarre validation out of the ridicule he receives from normal people. I think it is probably best to ignore him.

Dr Natasha Taylor replied to Uhlmann’s ‘Nazi’ tweet with the etymological facts:

“’Folk’ is not derived from the German ‘volk’, it’s derived from Old-English ‘folc’, which is either from Old High German ‘folc’ or directly from Proto-Germanic ‘fulka-‘”

There were numerous funny replies, including an assertion that Bugs Bunny may have been a Nazi (‘That’s all folks’). There was another which asked if Volkswagen advertised on the 9 Network (they do).

I opined that Uhlmann may have been afflicted with ‘relevance deficit disorder’, much like that suffered by Mark Latham, who busily tweets drivel designed to engender outrage. Uhlmann’s wife Gai Brodtmann was a reasonably ‘successful’ politician (whatever that means), and one wonders if he resents that, especially given that he was respected when at the ABC, but is now just a figure of ridicule. I thought there may have been something wrong with him when he maintained that the South Australian blackouts in 2016 were caused by wind turbines, and not the massive storm that knocked over transmission line pylons2. Sometimes, given the bizarre utterances of many people like Uhlmann, and in my wildest dreams, I do wonder if people like them are sacrificing their credibility as ‘under cover’ operatives, and spout such drivel with the aim of making the far-right wing of politics appear even more ridiculous than it already is. That is, as they say, ‘a big ask’, but, as I said, that was a wild dream.

Sources

  1. https://www.vic.gov.au/inclusive-language-guide
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/oct/07/abc-viewers-go-dark-on-chris-uhlmann-after-south-australian-blackout-heresy

8 Comments

  • Arthur Baker says:

    So there are some words in English (basically a germanic language) which share a common etymology with some similar words in German, some of which might have been uttered or written by Nazis. Amazing, Mr Uhlmann. Who could possibly have predicted that?

    As for “Good morning folks”, who needs it when you can simply say “Good morning”?

    • admin says:

      Arthur,

      Lügenpresse (lying press) springs to mind; today it is uttered by wannabe fascists such as Trump and his followers.

  • Russell says:

    Yet another example of a common fault in the Rupertocracy and other trashy media outlets: lack of educated ability to research a point to make sure you sound minimally credible. And funnier still, Uhlmann has obvious German background, as does his wife (whom it is suggested he envies – thus his mad, offbeat slights on Labor). Whatever sad thing erupted inside little Chris’s head to make him into a RWNJ nobody could care less reading/listening to anymore?

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      I think if I had another career, I’d do psychology. It would be fascinating interviewing someone like Uhlmann.

  • Azhar says:

    The Age is a mixed baq in terms of quality and the standard has dipped noticeably since Nine took over the masthead a few years ago.

    Uhlmann is one of several folks (!) who write tone-deaf equine ordure for the paper. Regular contributors such as Amanda Vanstone, Chip le Grand, the dense Bevan Shields and Jessica Irvine have pushed this increasingly conservative, excessively individualistic bent. The Age upped the ante here about two weeks ago when it started publishing pieces from Parnell Palme McGuinness, who wrote a weekly column for the Australian Financial Review until recently.

    Despite its flagging quality, The Age is still considerably better than the AFR and, worse still, the Australian, which is not saying much.

    • admin says:

      Azhar,
      Indeed. I have bored it up the silly Vanstone several times, figuratively speaking. Her columns are so vacuous that it is difficult to know where to start with her. McGuinness is her father’s daughter. He was as shifty as a dunny rat, and was caught accepting cash or favours for comment a few times.

  • Jon says:

    Nothing like an actual fact to folc up an ill-considered and ignorant tweet. Credit to Dr Taylor for introducing him to reality. I trust Uhlmann “manned-up”, took his medicine and apologised for his ignorance like an adult ? He obviously thought it was a good time to jump on the bandwagon and that his tweet would be a big hit with the usual outraged conservatives. Uhlmann’s lack of etymological skills is not surprising, what is is that he’d make such a rookie error in failing to find out the context of the advice before adding his own perversion of reality to the Twittersphere.

    Still, “folks”? What’s wrong with ‘people/everyone/all’ (or just good morning) if you’re addressing a group? In fact why is such PS drivel even necessary? Are they employing aliens who don’t have even basic human social skills?

    Uhlmann’s comments on folk and Ross River Fever reminds me a of the puerile faux rwnj outrage over white moves (chess) first mentioned on ABC radio and the regular confected nonsense about some school not celebrating Xmas due to “political correctness”.

  • Jon says:

    I should have read the replies first. I see Arthur has already addressed the “folks” redundancy point.

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