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