Friday, November 28, 2008

Hard to believe now

And as if the subject of the previous post were not enough gobsmackery from the headlines for one day, here's another: Rolf Harris telling Aboriginal people they need to get over themselves. The context: his attempts, decent in themselves if largely failed, to erase from recordings the verse of 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport' that goes 'Let me Abos go loose, Bruce, let me Abos go loose / They're of no further use, Bruce, so let me Abos go loose.'

I am old enough to remember when this was universally regarded as funny. By 'universally' I mean, of course, 'by white Australians'. (Compare and contrast with Barry Humphries' brilliant and savage line about the word 'Moomba': 'It's an Aboriginal word for "Let's get together and have fun". They didn't need it any more.') The real point of even mentioning this unpleasant little lyrics-based episode in Australia's cultural history is to express my admiration for the headline on this item, the best headline I've seen for quite a while, courtesy of some inspired sub at the Sydney Morning Herald: Cut the Bigoted Verse, Perce.

Even so, it was quite a contrast to the event I was at last night: a brilliant lecture on 'The Many Futures of Our Digital Lives' by Adelaide's newest Thinker in Residence, anthropologist Genevieve Bell. The event began with a Welcome to Country by Kaurna elder Auntie Josie Agius, who after demonstrating her expertise in bending the mics down to her diminutive level, lifted her head and ringingly addressed the audience in Language. We were smack in the middle of Kaurna land and you could practically see the shimmering electric line connecting the words to the ground.

2 comments:

Bernice said...

Yes lovely to hear Rolf repeating the Howard line that Aboriginal disadvantage is... their own fault!! Whacko.
Must send Rolfie a copy of Bruce Pascoe's Convincing Ground.And a bunch of flowers to the SMH sub.

Davey said...

Wow, unbelievable. I love how Rolf's sitting at home, watching the telly, ranting on about how other people need to get off their (insert Home and Away's Alf-style profanity eg "flamin whatnots") and do something ... What a turkey.

But I love the image in the last lines of your post, Pavlov.

OMG captcha:
"Wings"
I kid you not.