Cliche of the Week 123 – Confected Outrage

May 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

Place outrage in a bowl, mix well, add artificial sweetener and keep beating until a furious confection emerges thick and sticky enough to give substance to air molecules.

‘Confected outrage’ has been erupting from news pages, mostly in Australia; 65 times in January compared with four times a month two years ago.

A lot of usage is down to shadow Attorney-General George Brandis, who said, in response to a joke by Tim Mathieson, the Prime Minister’s partner, about prostate examinations: “The joke was in poor taste but that having been said, I don’t think we want to have in this country a culture of finger-wagging and confected outrage.”

“Sure, outrage can be confected. No one was really offended by (former speaker) Peter Slipper’s text messages. Showy moralising anger is a new weapon in the political arsenal.” (Chris Berg in The Drum, December 20)

“The Coalition’s confected outrage over the politicisation of Treasury is harder to take, though, when one considers the broader politicisation of the public service under the Howard government.” (Business Spectator, November 8)

Chris Pash’s book, The Last Whale , a true story set in the 1970s about Australia’s last whaling station and the activists who fought to close it, was published by Fremantle Press in 2008.

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