Bleats

Your Favourite Aussie Insult Is Back In Vogue And Your Mates Are In Big Trouble

And it's not "drongo".

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”

Thank you indeed!

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.

We assume he’s just saying “dickhead” a lot in this clip.

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.

Nice try, Ukraine.

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.

Bob Hawke Was Farewelled With The Most Aussie Symphony You'll Ever Hear

Can you hear, can you hear that thunder?

Bob Hawke – aka Australia’s Last And Possibly Only Prime Minister That The Majority Of Australians Genuinely Liked – was farewelled on Friday 14 June in a state memorial held, naturally, at the Opera House.

Like the state funeral for his predecessor Gough Whitlam music was played an integral role, including a truly stunning rendition of ‘Down Under’ – the song most associated with the outward looking, optimistic Hawke years – opening with didge before unfolding into a complete orchestral performance by the Sydney Symphony.

Turn this up, friends, and just try not to choke up.

And as befits the man and his legacy, the event included a performance of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ (no, not the Leonard Cohen song – you know, the thing from Handel’s Messiah) for which he even turned up to conduct – in video form, at least

The footage came from this 80th birthday celebrations, when he got to wave the baton for the Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Rest well, Bob. You did good.

We've Already Changed The Lyrics To Advance Australia Fair And We Can Totally Do It Again

As pointless culture war debates go, this is next level.

Let’s get something out of the way early: even in the fairly unimpressive category of national anthems, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is a C- at best.

Musically it’s nothing special, lyrically it’s largely about economics and contains the arcane-even-at-the-time-of-writing word “girt” out of nowhere

Peter Dodds McCormick wrote it in 1878 in the hopes that Australia would federate, which only took another 23 years, but now it’s turned into a big stupid Australia Day-style flashpoint.

One one side are folks who think that it’s got white supremacist overtones. And they’re not wrong either – calling the thing “Advance Australia It’s OK To Be White” would have been too much of a giveaway, but describing ourselves “young” neatly eliminates a massive amount of non-European history, a point not remotely lost on First Australians.

And on the other side of the argument are those who think that it’s a founding tune-document of our proud nation and HOW VERY DARE YOU EVEN SUGGEST CHANGING ONE PERFECT WORD?

And we could point out that the national anthem was actually ‘God Save The Queen’ until 1984 (though AA-Fair had been made the “national song” in 1974), so the song’s noble and immutable history as our national anthem is as venerable as Jimmy Barnes’ solo career.

Can’t we make this one word our national anthem?

 

Or we could point something rather more pertinent out, which is that we’ve already changed the lyrics. Like, heaps of times.

First up, we left out all the verses about how awesome Britain is. And we dropped the verse about how we could totally take any country that looks at us funny (and contains the phrase “native strand” which would definitely have drawn attention away from “girt”.

WHO WANTS SOME, REST OF THE WORLD???

But also, the very first line used to be “Australia’s sons, let us rejoice”. And that was changed to “Australians all” in the interests of being inclusive of the nation’s non-sons. And spoiler: society didn’t crumble as a result. Turns out you can alter songs and it’s actually fine.

And sure, all this could be eliminated if we would just do as I have long advocated and officially our true national anthem – John Farnham’s immortal ‘Pressure Down’ – but until that magnificent and inevitable day, there’s nothing wrong with giving the old one a once-over.

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