Monday, May 08, 2006

Croweaters are not all bigots

Will debunking 'kick a vic' have heretics of this sacred phrase put in stocks in Rundle Mall and pelted with Frog Cakes before a dunking in the Victoria Square Fountain filled with mushy green pea soup and upturned pies? Having performed in Adelaide comedy venues over the past four years want to know something funny. Not once have I heard a South Australian comedian use interstate rivalry in getting or keeping the laughs going from a live audience.

By the Piping Shrike could it be, this is Not funny! Except within the walls of sporting clubs. Much like the humor from the era it originated from it is passe' in the 21st Century. Look at the terrific examples of South Australian sporting clubs management and operational success on the National stage. Adelaide City 'soccer' club, Adelaide 36'ers Basketball club, netball, baseball and rugby league teams have had the same platform in their niche sports and failed. Not to forget the huge crowds the interstate rivalry of the Pura Cup attracts to Adelaide Oval during the cricket season.

Bloody hell, Media Mike the state premier was even ranting on about beating the vics when announcing getting the destroyer contract. What the hell do these public comments have to do with economic growth? Or is the next game of AFL football so important that it needs to be given an indirect reference. No wonder 'The Australian' in a recent article on various state attitudes in Australia printed, "South Australians, they just wake up grumpy."

Tourism spending down by $128 million and 800,000 less visitors last year since 2004. That's a lot of money and people missing and as winter comes around with it is the news that the successful Secrets campaign has been replaced with SA - A Brilliant Blend. The Tourism Task Force is blaming the falling number of visitors on the lack money being spent on promotion. I don't think the State has enough money to counter the falling numbers without a significant change in the generic attitude the State presents of the way it views those who live outside it's borders.

No matter how many advertisements 'The Brilliant Blend' campaign releases promoting the niche image of South Australian people, the lifestyle, produce, landscapes and wine, being reminiscent of Tuscany in Europe are delivered.

All this positive effort and expense is going to be countered by the smothering portrayal of the South Australian experience through the medium of sporting coverage and it's associated "kick a vic" attitude. Something that harkens back to the middle of the last century, when by distance alone Adelaide was isolated and self sufficient for employment, entertainment and sport. When radio and newspaper coverage was nowhere near as widespread and raucous for attention as it is today with the addition of television into the mix. Nor as prevalent. As a form of state identity and pride is fine if it is confined within the precincts of sporting enclaves. But not the front page of daily newspapers, is football now the driving force for the state identity. Football is sure as hell is 'only a game' and not an economic cornerstone of the economy and has stuff all potential for growth.

In coming months the State media will be smothered with this attitude and it's off shoots, from the garden of sporting pride that has also brought the melodic, witty and tuneful stalwart, we all love, Ozzie! Ozzzie! Ozzie! - Oi, Oi, Oi! The 'kick a vic' is presented as funny, humorous and an aside to counter put downs of the State sporting ability in the last century, during interstate contests which were annual events, not weekly. What if we changed the word 'vic' to 'tourist' in every media article and commentary how long do you think the overuse of this representation
of the SA public attitude would go on for?

To know that people are in SA with the ability, authority and intelligence to correct this. Yet don't because it is a good fall back when feeling lazy and just need a no brainer for a filler commentary or column piece is why all the money spent is wasted as lip service to promoting SA as a great place to visit because of the free exposure the other representation has will always outweigh it on volume and audience share inter and intra state. Other nations, communities, cities and states has made the effort and changed stereotypical attitudes which has been detrimental to growth and economic progress. Why can't South Australia?

Or am I wrong? And in fact South Australians are in paroxyms of laughter and trying to hold their innards in whenever they hear another witty interstate jibe.

Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff


Master Peebody said...

I like the interstate rivalry that we have.

I don't think i've seen a tourism ad for SA. I know i've seen ads for the other states though. If i was going around australia, then i'd have to say SA would be the last state for me to visit if at all and thats not because i don't like SA, i just don't think it has as much to offer as the other states, but thats probably wrong and it comes down to me not knowing anything about SA.

Geoff said...

Excellent mate, I enjoy the rivalry in sport in fact. Having lived in Vic and the NT and spent a bit of time in NSW I brought this 'bigot idea' up because SA seems to have so much 'who we are' internal advertising. Yes, I know it is expensive to advertise. Yet I have been led to believe that the platforms of the Clipsal 500, Adelaide Festval of Arts and the Tour Downunder cycling race would have raised the level of awareness of the state recognition for SA. What you said just shows how little awareness there is of SA in fact. Fascinating reply mate.

Drew said...

Hi, I'm a Victorian. I first moved here in '95 and have always been a little weirded out by what I've always referred to as SA's inferiority complex.

I think it is, as you say, the 'who we are' propaganda that seems to be trying to fill a cultural vacuum that only SA Great, the SATC, The Advertiser and Channel 9 ("Parochial? Yeah, we're Parochial") believe exists.

I wish Adelaide would stop trying to think it has to be like Sydney and Melbourne and just try to be more like Adelaide.

But the Kick a Vic message reinforces a message that some part of the community holds dear, the part that has heard the 'we're just as good as you' message, but now translates it to a 'you think you're better than us, so fuck off' attitude. That's parochialism at its worst and a lot of South Aussies are fiercely parochial. And I hate to generalise but I think many of them like sport.

I live here because I like it here. Every city has its idiots. The idiots here just happen to be those narrow footy fans who wake up grumpy every day.

Andy said...

I'm with Drew on this one, I reckon. Because Adelaide is trying so desperately to compete with the east coast, it's coming off awkward and forced.

It's like the try-hard in high school who desperately wanted everyone to like him. At first it was amusing, but now it's looking pathetic. Now he gets all shitty when people take the piss outta him.

But it's too late now. Adelaide is branded as boring, bland and featureless. I don't anything will remove that stigma.

Geoff said...

Drew and Andy, thanks for your comments, damn I was sure I had replied before to Drew but must have been a brain fade. I was reading the article about SA in the Sat. Advertiser today which is kinda on this thread. It seems the state is great at 'sloganeering' (my new maybe its a word, for the day) and talkfests and once it comes to actually making the concerted effort to take action. The wall it hits is bigger than The Great Wall of China. As much as I dislike professing negativity, I am not against change, it just astounds me the entrenched prevailing attitude that pervades the state.

Kaufman said...

I haven't lived in Adelaide for close to ten years. And it's been wonderful to escape the mentality which you describe.

By way of nostalgia and fleeting electrical sparks which form images of what may or may not have happened in my life there, I recall the Adelaide media being unwavering in their role in perpetuating this "us" and "them" mentality during sporting contests.

At uni, I asked an Adelaide news reader if she ever had second thoughts about promoting on whose side she was on with regards to contests of a sporting nature. She replied in the negative, stating that it would affect ratings and revenue from advertising drastically if the station altered its policy.

I know one thing's certain: I don't miss news broadcasts from Adelaide.

God, how I miss The Crows Show, though.

Geoff said...

Andy K that unrelenting 'them and us' image is so entrenched now I think it is irreversable. Now having moved from the sporting events into all of the society.

Damn it you have gone and put the image of Andy Kauffmann's comic lounge act on my blog and once again I can't remember what his "character's" name was. Talk about the electrical circuits being shorted, I blame my use of belly button fluff for it.

Ah the 'Crow's Show' a highlight of Adelaide TV creativity the comfort of the people before the camera and incredible understanding and communication with the live audience was a sensational learning experience for me.

Kaufman said...

'Was'? You mean, it's over? Say it isn't so, brother. Say it isn't so.

What will the devout flock turn to now on a Saturday morn? Surely a program in the pipeline to rival the Southern hospitality shown by The Crows Show does not exist.

Let's be honest here: The show had companies of all sizes knocking on Seven's door with sledge hammers the size of Wales, all wanting to donate to the cause so they could plaster the show's credibility gaps with their logos; mums and dads with IQ in single digits had somewhere to drag the sprog, be that to the studio for some live hooting and whooping or in front of the box for some free child minding AND education about South Australia's past, present and future; Andy K (not me) finally got his wish to get as far from Morphetville Racecourse as he could.

FYI, in Japan, one never hears or sees on TV the result to any sporting contest that doesn't feature a Japanese competitor in the top three: 'Today in Shidonee, Ostrareea, Junichiro Mukaraika finished the fifteenth round of the Wallaby Master's Classic in 52nd spot. "I tried my best and got nowhere," he said. "I must improve if I wish to finish first." In other sporting news, Barcelona striker Masaki Jojima did not feature in his team's record win over arch rivals Gaudi. "I'm very happy with how I sat on the bench," he said. "I hope we win our next game".'

You know what I mean?

Kaufman said...

P.S. Give us a yell when you work out "the character name." ; )