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04 July 2005

Or Something



Invasion of the Vernacular Snatchers

The legendary Australian bone-dry sense of humour is brilliantly illustrated in the Herald today. A character calling himself Richard Magoffin managed to convince a reporter that there was a story in repeating the old nonsense about American influences destroying our language and, yes, even our culture.

Just look at the fun he has:

“I met a kid the other day who had never heard of a schemozzle”

What a hoot, using a yiddish word to illustrate the death of the Australian vernacular. Mazel tov, Cobber!

He goes on:

“There is so much sport on television, and although there is that (element of) having a drink and cheering on, an extreme amount of television is dumbing down Australia and we don’t want to turn into a little America.”

The cheeky bugger seems to be saying that it’s American TV that is dumbing us down, not getting drunk and watching sport! Heh, good one. Pass the VB, professor!

At the same time he seems to be making, with a straight face, the accusation that all this Amercian television we are watching is sport (the bad kind of sport obviously). What with Wimbledon, the Ashes tour, and international Rugby Test matches all making sports headlines this week, well, you just have to admire the timing of a statement like this.

A better example of the dry Australian larrikin humour you will not find. Thanks, Richard Magoffin (if that is your real name!)


Posted by
Sunny Kalsi
2005-07-04 22:16:22 -0500

I can see where the guy’s coming from. I was brought up on Fast Forward and Full Frontal, and I think those shows and their predecessors (who doesn’t know the quote “like a tiger”) shaped a big chunk of aussie culture. Despite the fact that the word “schemozzle” is not an Australian word, the phrase “It was a complete schemozzle”, the idea, and the imagery that goes with it is quite distinctly Australian, I think.

What he’s probably trying to say about sport is that the only real aussie TV we get to see is sport, and while that’s OK, it’s been taken to an extreme. The rest is mostly reality TV, and there’s nothing left that really defines and shapes aussie culture. Skithouse and it’s ilk are really quite bad, and at the very least not australia-defining, and I find myself watching Big Train (which is British) instead. Having said that, the late-night Skithouse is shaping up alright, with Blokeman and the guy with the neighbours, and Australian fast bowler was definitely the right direction.

Frankly, I think Ray Martin is still on air more because of Eric Bana’s impersonations than because he’s any good.