A non-heteronormative mole with throbbing eyelids writes…

Farrago hun moleDr Mumbo’s most compelling read of the day? “The Hun Mole”, who writes for the University of Melbourne’s student title Farrago about the experiences of doing work experience at the Herald Sun.

She reveals: “Throughout the week, I was consistently subjected to patronising attitudes, being referred to as ‘Little Bud’, ‘Champ’ and ‘Kidlet.’ Men were also continuously and unnecessarily sexist, waiting for me to walk through doors and leave the elevator before them.” The pigs.

And: “Basic fact checking would have refuted many of the heteronormative, white, elitist opinions expressed in that building.”

Dr Mumbo suspects that she was inspired to write the piece by The Fox Mole. It took about 24 hours for Gawker’s Fox News insider to be identified in the US. It took even less for the Herald Sun to identify its mole as one Sasha Burden. Curiously, considering how much she hated it, The Australian reports that she did two lots of work experience there, just to make sure.

Dr Mumbo can find only one example within the pages of Farrago of Burden’s byline – a piece called “How to be my girlfriend“. It would seem that, if a newspaper job doesn’t suit, she could take a crack at a non-heteronormative version of 50 Shades Of Grey. Ms Burden writes:

“We’ll climb onto the roof and I’ll start worrying about getting caught and you’ll take your top off. You’ll go down on me as I look at the stars until I get too nervous about someone seeing us. We’ll stumble back to mine and I’ll give you a piggy back for the last one hundred meters because you’re too drunk to walk and I’ll slam you against the door and kiss you and your hair will be long and black and my eyelids will throb.”

Which is nice.


  1. LW
    8 Aug 12
    9:05 pm

  2. When the hell did men waiting for you to exit the elevator first or to exit a door first become sexist!!! It’s polite, you stupid girl (sorry, person). And anyone who’s not writing an academic paper and uses the word ‘heteronormative’ needs a slap. You’re seriously stupidonormative. Or maybe just hipsteronormative.

  3. Bill Posters
    8 Aug 12
    9:41 pm

  4. “It took even less for the Herald Sun to identify its mole as one Sasha Burden.”

    And out her by making a spurious complaint to the uni. Stay classy, Herald Sun.

  5. Dave
    8 Aug 12
    10:30 pm

  6. Eek

  7. NA
    9 Aug 12
    1:14 pm

  8. When university idealism collides with commercial reality

  9. Kay
    9 Aug 12
    1:17 pm

  10. It’s also a much tackier, blatant rip-off of this piece from Slush Pile Mag a number of years ago: http://slushpilemag.com/?p=1179

  11. dougfromparkdale
    9 Aug 12
    1:23 pm

  12. I thought letting women go through a door or out of a lift first was affirmative action. .

  13. rob
    9 Aug 12
    1:27 pm

  14. Getting what she deserves.
    Welcome to the real world, sunshine.

    She’ll bob up at ABC, no doubt…

  15. Em
    9 Aug 12
    1:32 pm

  16. “I may as well kiss my journalism career goodbye.”

    You said it, sister! Er, I mean, fellow human.

  17. Penguin Alert
    9 Aug 12
    1:33 pm

  18. So, the two big issues here are:
    – The newsroom not treating work experience kids like seasoned, professional journalists;
    – Showing her some basic courtesies that they’d likely show anyone visiting the office.

    Can’t wait to see what happens when she gets an actual job!

  19. Ethnic Affairs
    9 Aug 12
    1:39 pm

  20. The Herald-Sun really should take it on the chin, like a man (whoops – there goes my hetronormative reflex again).

  21. Scoop
    9 Aug 12
    1:40 pm

  22. Jeez men can be sexist these days – waiting for women to walk in the lift first. How horrible! I hope the Hun offers this poor woman counselling.

  23. Abe
    9 Aug 12
    1:48 pm

  24. ….Men were also continuously and unnecessarily sexist, waiting for me to walk through doors and leave the elevator before them.” The pigs.

    If this is what the world is coming to, then I give up. Isn’t this just being polite and respectful? Totally echo sentiments of posts above.

  25. Ahhh...
    9 Aug 12
    1:52 pm

  26. Maybe she should’ve put down the Camus and actually read the paper before taking an internship there

  27. The Grumpy Ant
    9 Aug 12
    2:25 pm

  28. I think you’ve missed the point….. men standing back and waiting for a young female intern to walk through doors first and leave elevators first, so they can leer at her arse like a bunch of depraved school boys, is not cool, or funny, or tolerable in the modern workplace. And if you’d like to argue it is, then good luck.

    Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial Australian newsroom knows that much of what she observed is true and unfortunately accepted as part of the culture.

  29. Mia Jane
    9 Aug 12
    2:33 pm

  30. Once upon a time when I went to “finishing school” we were instructed that the correct etiquette regarding the lift was for the person at the front of the lift to walk out first regardless of gender and allow room for others to get out before the lift closes. Even “ladies first” has exceptions in the old school of thought. Someone should have spent more time in the library.

  31. AR
    9 Aug 12
    2:35 pm

  32. Err, in most professional workplaces in Sydney men allow women to leave the lift first, as courtesy. Am yet to see anyone’s arse being leered at. If she thinks a newsroom is un-PC, she’d have a coronary interning at an ad agency.

  33. Daniel G
    9 Aug 12
    2:45 pm

  34. I like that little “The Fast Show” reference there.

    Which is nice.

  35. but...
    9 Aug 12
    2:57 pm

  36. There was no mention of the men leering at her and judging by the rest of the article it does not seem to be the kind of point that she would miss out.

  37. the public
    9 Aug 12
    3:01 pm

  38. in my opinion, men aren’t sexist enough! i love it when a (gentle)man applies basic courtesies such as those derided by this uni student activist .

    but i’m with @NA, Aug 09, 1:14 pm … “When university idealism collides with commercial reality”

  39. Jazzhunt
    9 Aug 12
    4:12 pm

  40. @The grumpy ant. Are you assuming that everyone who ever opened a door or waited aside for her to pass by only ever does that ‘…for a young female intern’?
    I always let everyone, no matter what gender, leave before me, holding doors open or back whenever there is someone else nearby.
    My mother called this behaviour ‘good manners’ and I dread to anticipate her reaction if she saw me push my way ahead of others, even now.
    If you believe that every person who ever opens a door for someone else only does so to get a cheap perve, then I think that says much more about you than them.

  41. mumble
    9 Aug 12
    4:25 pm

  42. Come on, we’ve all been there – where idealism collides with reality. (Well those of us who’ve been to university and worked at our own Hun have.)

    The tragedy is she really believes that erasing the misdemeanors she’s outed will change the way the world is reported; and that her own words will not have visibly corroded her soul by the time she turns 40.

  43. Jayess
    9 Aug 12
    4:40 pm

  44. I have to admit I have not read the article but I wonder if this was a bit of pre promotion for a future career in…..?

  45. archie
    9 Aug 12
    4:41 pm

  46. i hope her lecturer fails her for simply not doing the basic research on the publication she interned with

    she needs to try Fairfax or better still the ABC

    NewsLtd tabloids know their audience well and write for them

    that she’s only just discovered this at this late stage in her vocational schooling should be deeply concerning to any prospective employer

  47. LB
    9 Aug 12
    4:56 pm

  48. Things can’t have been too dire as an intern at the Herald Sun, as this particular student was placed there twice. The placement she wrote about was her second stint in that newsroom.

  49. Expected as much
    9 Aug 12
    7:35 pm

  50. that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest…perhaps her normative reflex was aimed at slight humour, but I doubt it…I always do the polite thing but what really grinds my gears is when I get a huff or a look that says so you should – with no thank you to follow it up….

  51. The Grumpy Ant
    9 Aug 12
    7:49 pm

  52. @jazzhunt Well it is good to know that there are men like you who still make their mother proud. I like to think I’m one too. I guess that’s why I got out of the tabloid press and never went back into that environment.

  53. Anonymous
    10 Aug 12
    11:01 am

  54. Pfft, what a lightweight. She should be more concerned about people who fart in lifts then quickly get off. Now THAT is a breach of etiquette.

  55. MM
    10 Aug 12
    1:10 pm

  56. You’re getting very Vex News on us here, Mumbo.

  57. Hugo
    10 Aug 12
    2:02 pm

  58. Inside a bogan paper there are plenty of folks with bogan attitudes, who would’ve thunk it?

    Of course the newsworthy part is not that the article exists, but the fact that the “professionals” are so hypersensitive about it they manage to out immature the undergrad when they release their “fury”.

    Honestly. This isn’t about a kid’s attitudes and an adult’s attitudes. Its about a kid’s attitudes and some kids with a job’s attitudes. No adults anywhere.

  59. Bettina
    10 Aug 12
    9:02 pm

  60. Not surprised that News Ltd is full of homophobic and transphobic people.

    Newspaper newsrooms are the last bastions of old school sexism and utter domination by the editor.

    I worked on the advertising for a News Ltd paper a while back and the editor was a pig, constantly humiliated and insulted employees (one marketing person was always in the loo cleaning up all the mascara that ran when the editor made her cry), was a rude prick with the agency, and an all round dickhead.

    but a very powerful dickhead who could call the PM, or premier no problem. I was once in the room when he was speaking to the then PM and it was obvious the editor expected the PM to shut up and listen.

    This was all a while back and I won’t say which paper or which editor, but like I said, not surprised that the intern found being at a News Ltd paper like going back to the 70’s.

    That said, the intern also seems like a dick a little – complaining about people being courteous???

  61. Rob Dabank
    10 Aug 12
    9:14 pm

  62. It was a Melbourne University student rag…she learnt to write for audience just fine in her work experience stint at The Hun if you ask me. Made up a few quotes and applied liberal use of exaggeration to get a few simpletons over excited- top marks

  63. Brian
    11 Aug 12
    3:09 am

  64. She’s no kid, and wrote an article for public consumption giving the newspaper a big kick on shaky grounds using pseudo-academic jargon. I don’t think it’s unfair that she gets a little ‘feedback’ though I think the Hun could have been a little less glass-jawy about it.

    The tragedy is that there are genuine problems with the newsroom culture at the Hun. I suspect that – as nice as Damon Johnston is – he can’t single-handedly clear the pervasive News atmosphere where Col Allan is considered a role model.

    If this had been a good piece of reporting it would have explored that. But it wasn’t.

  65. lazyphuka
    11 Aug 12
    11:22 am

  66. the herald-sun? isn’t that one of creepy rupert’s rags?
    social quislings like News Ltd journalists’s deserve (metaphorical and literal) kicks in the jatz at every opportunity. bravo sasha

  67. Sam
    11 Aug 12
    8:23 pm

  68. Haha “transphobic”.

  69. mumble
    17 Aug 12
    10:52 am

  70. When reviewing her efforts at a dialectical critique of a reactive culture our n-h-n mole could do worse than compare with her contemporaries in Pussy Riot and their closing statements to the court last week :


    “On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, the world sees Russia differently than the way Putin tries to present it at his daily international meetings. Clearly, none of the steps Putin promised to take toward instituting the rule of law has been taken. And his statement that this court will be objective and hand down a fair verdict is yet another deception of the entire country and the international community.”

  71. Sara Irvine
    20 Aug 12
    5:25 pm

  72. When I did my undergrad journallsm degree in the ’90s, someone in class complained a ‘walkman’ should be called a ‘walkperson’. Still makes me smile.

  73. These are facts
    29 Aug 12
    5:43 am

  74. While honesty is always a good virtue, this poor girl needed to know long before this that Australian news and media is an international joke, though mostly just everyone not living here are the ones laughing. I feel she may have thought the professional standards around the office might have been taken more seriously because the office happens to be a big newspaper, albeit 99% paper with rumors and inuenndo. I do question the mentor who sends students off to such places though? What was the thinking here?