Gay Mackie

What a Burke: If everyone knew, why are we just hearing about it now?

Frankly, I am shocked to hear the allegations against Don Burke. It doesn’t seem like something he’d do, which may be the problem. Why did it take so long to come out?

 

 

I, like many this morning, are shocked to hear about the alleged acts of Don Burke. Frankly, I’m upset. I’m resistant to television, so the only true allegiance I had to a program was Burke’s Backyard, and a big part of that was the (now naive) assumptions that Don was a very nice man.

It seems the opposite is true. The feeling I can’t shake is that we really didn’t know him at all, as his apparent long-running (and industry famous) sexual misdealings were in full flow at the same time I sat down to watch him enthusiastically cultivate his yard, and in turn, mine.

 

 

But there is a point I’d like to make. If Don had done this for so long, why did it take so long to come out? According to the articles I’ve read this morning, two of the number of accusers were his former bosses, one of whom painted him as a local equivalent of Harvey Weinstein. Which, hyperbolically makes sense, but that doesn’t wash as an excuse. Weinstein is a true powerbroker of Hollywood, a pillar, slowly turning to salt after a concerted effort by a brave few, which built into that powerful ‘me too’ majority.

 

Don Burke is Harvey Weinstein. Pruning him with secateurs of justice would be a mere flick of the wrist. What was seemingly lacking, was an effort. No-one bothered to ask, so no-one decided to tell.

 

Don Burke is not that. Pruning him with secateurs of justice would be a mere flick of the wrist. What was seemingly lacking, was an effort. No-one bothered to ask, so no-one decided to tell. Maybe it was a case of, he’s off the air, who cares? However, what is clear is that no-one really cared too much about his alleged victims, as the toxic flipside of the national psyche won out, where the protection of friends trumped the good and logical. With the number of his accusers now reaching fifty, there’s evidence of a herculean effort by many to keep it quiet, to choose apathy.

Despite this, and whether he’s guilty or not, we now have a responsibility to shoulder. I believe we need to avoid mistakes that I made this morning, allowing our nostalgia to blind us, or our feelings of personal betrayal lead the discussion. As we move forward, we should favour the narrative from the backyards of the victims, not Don’s. As his long-buried deeds now germinating, we need to prepare ourselves for the harvest proper, and the fact that there will be more to come.

 

 

 

 

Gay Mackie

Gay Mackie is a retired print journalist, who spends her time at yoghurt (yoga), tap dancing and asleep between the hours of 2-4pm. She'd also like to make it clear that the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke is her grandson.

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