We’ve been through a lot lately, but I think we’ve officially moved beyond satire with our formal investigation into ‘fair dinkum energy’. Please stop, Australia.
On the eve of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the hosts and crew of the NBC Today show trundled along to the foreshore and hosted their breakfast piffle live from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. NBC had paid the IOC a princely sum for the broadcast rights to the Olympics back then, as they seem to do every couple of years, even as the viewer numbers dwindle and the reputation of the games/organisation/organisers sinks lower in the public’s consciousness.
NBC weren’t going to waste their time by just sending the sports people to Sydney, they also sent the aforementioned Today people, as well as then-golden boy Conan O’Brien, to do a field piece for his late night show. But back to the point at hand: there they were, Katie Couric and now-accused sex pest Matt Lauer on the pristine shores of Sydney Harbour, talking all things Australian for the vast American masses watching their show who knew nothing more about the place than it’s where the Crocodile Hunter lived, may he rest in peace.
The live cross to the Harbour City began with Katy Couric putting on a painful Australian accent by saying “G’daaaaay, and welcome to Tudaaaaay,” because we all speak like that. Later on, after a clip showing how despite the fact that Australia has a land mass roughly equal to that of the US, the population was but 10% of it, future sex pest Matt Lauer interviewed Anne Summers about what it meant to be Australian (she’d know, she is one), and at the end of the segment, Anne offered Matt a jar of Vegemite and used the expression “Dinky-di”, for some reason.
It doesn’t get much worse than that. A nation reduced to its most over-used clichés.
The much despised cultural cringe which saw Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Clive James, Robert Hughes et al nick off to Blighty in the ’50s and ’60s to seek greener intellectual pastures was met with a counter-punch of a cultural backlash. Quite rightly, in some regards. We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are, what we like, how we speak. Identity is formed over time and acceptance of said identity is important so that the broader culture and society can continue to evolve as a result of this acceptance. That cringe occasionally rears its ugly head now and again (aforementioned Crocodile Hunter; some nondescript idiot gets in trouble overseas). Sometimes we must shake our heads and get on with our days (the author speaks from a contradictory standpoint: he is among the inner-city elite; privately educated; ideologically leftist; beer drinking; football loving; not backwards in coming forwards when correcting signage with incorrect apostrophes—nothing specific, and a combination of many influences which is both uniquely Australian, and un-Australian at the same time).
There’s nothing wrong with being Australian, and at the same time, sometimes you can overdo it and try too hard to be Australian and the end result is cringe-worthy.
Then there are days like yesterday, when the Federal Senate announced that there will be a select committee into what they seem to be calling “Fair Dinkum Power”.
This is an actual thing. A Public Hearing will be held on Monday, March 18, inside the NSW Parliament House.
Fair dinkum fire me into the sun 🙄 https://t.co/WKiPbOai4D
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) 13 March 2019
Now, it might uncover something about the electricity grid. The findings may be important (the actual point of it is to, among other things, “inquire into the potential for empowering energy consumers to play a more important role in the National Electricity Market”). The subject matter certainly is. But the phraseology… I mean… Jesus.
Can I pay less tax now? Surely we’ve crossed the Rubicon here. We are being governed by a cadre of imbeciles who have lost all cognitive capacity for critical thought and advice and have gone ahead and orchestrated a moment of official government business with the words “Fair Dinkum” in the title. We are living under the governance of a government beyond parody.
Is there a point to this? Are they trying to get attention? Is this parliamentary clickbait? Is there no better way to get our attention on the day of George Pell’s sentencing than announcing a patently stupidly-worded inquiry? Who can tell? We’re being dumbed-down in real time. I’d have blamed the cache of ludicrously insulting television programs that get ratings, all falling under the mantle of “human cock fighting” (aka Married at First Sight), but it goes all the way to the top.
Bring on the election, I say. We’ll have a human sand dune for a Prime Minister, but at least we’ll be treated like adults again.