Writer: Tim Minchin
Orion Books, 2014
Review by DG Stewart, 15 March 2017
Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, actor, and musical polymath Tim Minchin has been very prominent this year, particularly in the press in Mr Minchin’s home country of Australia. Mr Minchin has recently released a very acerbic song. The song sharply and angrily attacks the former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Australia, Cardinal George Pell. Cardinal Pell had refused to fly from Rome to Australia to give evidence to an independent government inquiry (called a Royal Commission). The evidence related to his knowledge of the systemic sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in a rural Australian town while Cardinal Pell was in a position of responsibility over that town’s clergy. Proceeds of sales of the song were donated by Mr Minchin to the survivors of sexual abuse by priests, as a financial contribution to their airfares to Rome so that they could watch Cardinal Pell’s testimony from the same room as the cameras. This act of charity, together with the Australian penchant for both secularism and abrasive sarcasm, made the song a commercial success, and it reached the number one ranking on the Australian iTunes chart. The song concludes with lyrics whereby Mr Minchin invites Cardinal Pell to sue him.