Imagine that Bill Leak wrote a musical in the last few years of his life. The musical was intended to satirise a pair of white, Green-voting, hippie transcendentalists who arrive in Maningrida to save the Aborigines there from their lives of welfare dependence, child abuse and neglect, and family violence (which were some of Leak’s specific concerns in recent cartoons). Let’s imagine that he spent months researching the foibles and quirks of white, Green-voting, hippie transcendentalists – their bizarre beliefs, their patterns of speech, their prejudices, their behaviours – so that he could write a buddy story set against what he would portray as the social decay and cultural anomie of Maningrida. And let’s imagine that he never once went to Maningrida, or spoke to anyone who lives there, but instead fell back on some well-worn stereotypes of the kind of Aborigines that live only in the minds of white Australians, in order to provide comic relief.
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