So this week, a bit of ‘Media Watch’. We have an ad for ‘Lamb’ that gets trotted out each January. This, I am cautious to refer to this as, tradition, but in any case it kicked off back in 2007. I am nervous to say anything about it yet. But … there is an attempt, an attempt at something in addition to encouraging us all to put lamb on our barbie on January 26 2017.
It’s all about ‘being Australian’, having a National Identity. On top of everything else I need to feel guilty about, between the chocolate eating and the late Tax Return – I don’t know how I am going to squeeze this in also.
Some parts about being Australia immediately smack you in the head. Such as, “The Piss Take” or ‘taking ze piss’. This can be funny, it starts as a friendly ‘tease’. Can teasing be ‘friendly’? Why are we laughing at this again?
At a certain point there is less satire, parody, wit, sardonic repartee and the whole thing degenerates in to first principles, what it always was (perhaps the essence of clowning around) and becomes firstly a put down, a belittle, ribbing, scoring off ‘your friend’, a way of cutting you down. There is less and less laughter. Fear creeps in and suddenly what was fun become frightening. Who cares if they are gay? Vegan? A woman? A woman who is also a scientist? A scientist? Intelligent? Young? Old? A Person of colour? Any colour? A child? A Sensitive person? A Man? A person who is not … like you – on the surface?
If we focus on this and examine the ‘phenomenon’ more deeply, if we look in to this, make it bigger it – the whole thing becomes increasingly violent, horrifying and disgusting. People stop laughing and start hurting. People you thought were friends take on a tinge of sociopathy! Isolation happens, trauma happens and then the whole thing evolves in to Mental Illness.
Those bruises run deep. So deep, many Australians can only cope with the pain of being humiliated, isolated, put down, bullied and abused by trying to find a tribe, and an identity by doing this to others, most of the time – unconsciously. Behind the BBQs and Vegan jokes on Australia Day, there lurks a dark malice which we collectively barely want to see much less understand.
Being Australian is complicated and diverse. The best definition or explanation I received, with concomitant enlightenment, was from – ofcourse – The Elders, who understand these things better. They are Elders. They explained;
“Imogen … if you are here, on this Land, whether you were born here or came from somewhere else, you were called here. The Land dreamed you here. You were called by the Land. You belong to this Land.”
This made immediate sense to me. It is both a personal and collective definition of who I am and to whom I am responsible. And it is a real relationship – where there are real feelings, thoughts and beliefs in play.
So here it is the controversial Lamb Ad for 2017
“Who’s bringing the ice?”
“It doesn’t need to MOO for you to be Tru-Blue”
An ofcourse, Dave Hughes – committed vegetarian, offers a reply!
“Nothing worse than being Un-Australian”
However this was the original Lamb Ad 2007 which shows Sam Kekovich using controversy to advertise. I guess it gets people to look … but beyond that, what else does it do?
Just two words left – maybe two and a half words to say …