“Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX…

…about anything else” was a slogan in the advertising campaign for Castlemaine XXXX beer. Like most successful campaigns, it capitalised on the underlying perception already in existence.

Since I’ve never been to Australia, I can’t say whether or not reality corresponds to the image. But, as Marshall McLuhan said, “perception is reality”. I’m not sure this maxim tallies with the moral and intellectual history of the West, but it certainly works in advertising.

Australians enjoy the reputation of beer-swilling, fun-loving, hard-swearing, Anzac-hat-wearing chaps one would like to be out on the town with but wouldn’t like to cross. A nation of Crocodile Dundees, as projected by popular media.

Actually, I’ve drunk a fair amount of beer with Australians, having played tennis matches against many, and, on this limited exposure, found them seldom veering too far from their reputation. Good tennis players too, and they never knowingly give a bad line call, which is more than I can say for some other people but won’t, out of respect for my French friends.

Then, over the past few days, I’ve read three things about Australians that didn’t exactly shatter my perception of them, but did dent it somewhat.

First, a man has just been sentenced in New South Wales under the state’s ‘one-punch’ law. Introduced in 2014 in response to alcohol-induced violence, the law says that those convicted of fatal one-punch assaults will face a minimum of eight years in prison.

I haven’t gone into the text in detail, but the wording sounds odd. It seems to exonerate those drunks who achieve the same lethal end with several punches, rather than just one. ‘Fatal beating’ would sound like a better rubric, but then I did say I haven’t studied the law deeply.

Also, a minimum sentence of eight years strikes me as too low for manslaughter, but perhaps the Aussies regard drunkenness as a mitigating circumstance. I’d treat it as an aggravating one, but then Australian legislative bodies never solicited my opinion.

Then I’ve discovered that beer consumption in Australia has halved since 1979, while the consumption of wine has increased pari passu. In other words, Aussies are abandoning beer for wine, which may explain the need for the one-punch law.

Back in the 1980s I witnessed a similar shift in Texas, which could rival Australia for beer consumption per capita. Texans didn’t quite appreciate that, though both wine and beer are weaker than Bourbon, wine is three times as strong as Lone Star.

Hence my colleagues, who would typically drink two or three beers at lunchtime, began to order a litre of wine – with detrimental consequences for their postprandial output. Also, accusations of Oedipal relations with their mothers were levelled at their fellow drinkers with no provocation whatsoever.

If that’s what’s happening Down Under, a note to Australians: a can of XXXX has as much volume as three glasses of wine, but the latter pack a bigger punch, and so conceivably could the drinker.

Having established a causal relationship between those two developments, I can’t for the life of me fit the third one into the same logical chain.

I’m referring to the new law that has legalised homosexual marriage and punched a hole in my stereotype of Australians. “It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying we love and respect you, now go out there and get married,” declared Prime Minister Turnbull triumphantly.

I wouldn’t hug too many same-sex couples if I were him – they may get the wrong idea. Nor do love and respect automatically involve a licence to get married.

We may have similarly warm feelings about parents close to their children, siblings adoring one another or, for that matter, people mollycoddling their pets. But it doesn’t follow that Daddy should be allowed to marry his little girl, a brother to marry his sister or either of them to marry Fido.

I’m not saying that the love claimed by Mr Turnbull is objectionable, but it’s definitely of recent vintage. What happened in December, 2017, to give Australians the love and respect for homosexual couples that had been conspicuously understated for the preceding two centuries?

Could it be – and here I’m trying to squeeze the facts into a preconceived theory – that the recent shift from XXXX to Chardonnay has addled the Aussies’ brains too much? If so, there may be other undesirable consequences as well.

For example, a bunch of rowdy Aussies, celebrating yet another one of their Ashes victories over the Poms, drink too much wine, then espy a happy homosexual couple and give the one-punch law another chance to be invoked… A thought too harrowing to contemplate.

The truth is much less interesting I’m afraid, and there goes my logical chain. The contagion of our toxic modernity has reached Australia, infecting its population as it has already infected most of the West.

Before long, Australians too won’t give a XXXX for anything other than political correctness.

1 thought on ““Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX…”

  1. The one punch law is a knee-jerk reaction to the many occasions when an inebriated youth, and usually unprovoked, randomly punches a passing young man, which often leads to a fatality. (I suspect the attacker is probably stoned or has nerves shot due to crack).
    The homosexual union is really about redefining marriage and putting Christians off the law-making podium. It gained momentum early because of their clever use of the term “equality”. Surely everyone believes in equality? Also the A.B.C. (Australian Biased Communication) totally supported it and inundated the gullible public with propaganda. And homosexual are always the sensible wise ones seen in various sit-coms for decades.

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