Every so often something happens so gently that you don’t notice until someone points it out. Like that there are a lot of white cars: now you’ll notice nothing else when you’re on the road, and you’re welcome.
But this was even more subtle: there’s a particular insult that has crept back in international useage in recent times around the world, especially the US, even though here in Australia it has never really left.
And it is “dickhead”
Slowly and subtly it has been making a pop culture comeback at a global level, and it’s about time.
Yes, the term seems to have emerged (at least in print) in the US, with the first recorded citation in 1964, but Australia is where the Dickhead is King.
According to Google Trends there was a spike in international searches around 2017, and our best guess is that at least part of the reason was the rise of Stormzy. We will therefore call this the Mr Skeng Effect, because who’s going to stop us? No-one, that’s who.
That said, it first came to my notice when Stranger Things used it in the first season, but I dismissed it as being deliberately retro – perhaps harkening back to that brief moment in the 80s when Men At Work and Crocodile Dundee captured the public’s desire for crude Ozisms.
And then I noticed it cropped up in an episode of Eastbound And Down. And then in Broad City. And then The Bold Type.
Then it turned up on the US podcasts Bad Science and Savage Love in the same week. And US sportscaster Kevin McHale just had a hot mic moment in which he used the term to describe his former coach.
Truly, the Dickhead Renaissance was upon us. And since Australia was dickhead ground zero, that makes us cultural leaders.
So use it proudly and often, nation. Australia is back ahead of the curve, dictating global insult culture. Just as we should be.
Let your dickhead mates know.