Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming soon: The last of the V-8 interceptors?

Makes you wonder when Max is going to show up like the High Plains Drifter and clean it all up. At Ballardian, a brilliant micro-essay by Melbourne-based Simon Sellars on Australia's culture of barely sublimated consumerist violence, launched from an amazing scene of Brisbane rugby hooligans bashing a Melbourne TV reporter live on camera.

"Melborea Moronica: New ‘Depraved Species of Electric Flora’ Found Growing in Melbourne, Australia

"As far as Western societies go, Australia is still the WILD West, still lawless and green, still new and unformed and built on a tradition of bloodshed that goes right back to the very birth of the nation, a psychic schism that still festers like an open sore. The big Australian cities, like Sydney and Melbourne, despite their affectations of worldliness and cosmopolitan charm, are like the suburb of Brooklands in Ballard’s Kingdom Come writ large: an immature, isolated culture (just as Brooklands is sealed off from London by the motorway system, Australia, as a whole is sealed off from the Western world by distance), fuelled by prejudice, media hatred, blind loyalty to sport (and I’m not a hater of sports per se, just the culture that surrounds it; don’t forget the bozos in the YouTube footage above are proudly displaying their team colours), and unthinking, jingoistic nationalism that is able to be tapped, diverted and funnelled into ‘us and them’ dichotomies as needed — motorists vs. cyclists, for example, sports fan vs. sports reporter. The sense Ballard gives in Kingdom Come of sporting fans supporting violence rather than any notion of ‘team’ or ‘community’ is hyperrealised here in Australia. The big football teams in Melbourne all play out of the same two grounds; there’s no suburban specificity, no sense of individuality, just a differentiation predicated on sponsors’ logos. The dystopian cliche of a One World Government effacing all nations under a fascist regime finds full expression in the microcosm that is Australian football, in itself an expression of wider society."

Fortunately for me, I live in Texas, where we don't have such problems, being able to pacify the urges of putatively fascistic fans through the soothing televisual wonders of the Godzillatron. Hook 'em Horns?


Blue Tyson said...

Yeah, if this had happened in Texas, there would have been seven shooting deaths.

Christopher Brown said...

More than that, surely! It would have been a bloodbath worthy of a Cormac McCarthy story -- wherein not only do a lot of people die violent deaths, but it's usually the *wrong* people. Okay, time to head to my concealed weapon permit class.