The weighty issues of Empire

Last week, a fellow by the name of Patrick West, TV columnist for the UK based internet-magazine Spiked (Yes, the one of dubious provenance), published an entirely stereotypical and quite unenlightening piece about we marvellous Australians. 

Because despite all of their protestations against Barry Humphriesâs character Sir Les Patterson, Ozâs own farting, swearing reprobate âcultural attach©â, Australia remains a philistine country

This week Guy Rundle responded, in a robust and respectably non-cringeworthy way.

Of note is the paragraph immediately under the headline of Mr. Rundleâs piece, presumably written by Spiked editors.

Last weekâs TV column by Patrick West, in which he called Australians âwhite trashâ, caused an uproar Down Under.

Hardly an uproar. A quick Google seems to provide little evidence that many in Australia even noticed. However, The Teleâs Anita Quigley, always one to focus on the big issues, did notice, and responded in a defensive and equally unenlightening way that somehow seems to prove Patrick Westâs point.

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17 years ago

I just finished reading both pieces. The English piece I thought was Satire. In fact isn’t Spiked satire? No I’m thinking of Spike Milligan.

david tiley
17 years ago

There is always ten percent of a point in any article like this, which is why they can inspire persecution in the right circumstances.

I think the piece was intended to be playful and exagerrated, but not satirical, except of Australians. At the very least, the mention of Kath and Kim fails to notice that it is comical, and affectionate. Would we attack the National Character of the Britons on the grounds that ‘Little Britain’ was made?

I thought the whole thing was pretty desperate, and that Rundle handled it with the right kind of weery calm. Hope they paid him well.

Also, to be picky, he is described as a “journalist”. That is a bit like saying that Rupert Murdoch is interested in arithmetic.

17 years ago

Spiked: No respect for them at all.

Tony Harris
17 years ago

Actually Rundle’s rejoinder was almost as silly as the original piece, which may have been intended to be read tongue in cheek. It was really an exchange of stereotypes on each side that demonstrated the difficulty of making credible broad-brush generalisations about complex things.

derrida derider
derrida derider
17 years ago

Yawn. Just confirms what we already knew; the UK chattering classes are full of shit.

And on the specific racism question, I have to say that some of the worst racists I’ve ever met hailed from spiked’s part of the world.

Nicholas Gruen
17 years ago

I haven’t read the original article, but I thought Rundle’s was OK. I thought it was an interesting idea that the left in Britain can get their anti-trash-culture rocks off by beating up on the old colony rather than looking in their own backyard.