I’ve spent part of this morning in a Twitter stand-off with a local journalist who ran this as the results to a “How Australian Are You” quiz:
Until you hit the results. If you got fewer than three answers correct, your quiz result was “F*** Off. We’re Full”.
As I mentioned in my post about Australia Day, we’re not full.
I “tweeted” Tim Connell about this, and his reply was, essentially, that he was being “ironic”, that readers should be given more credit, and that I had missed the point. The problem I then had, was this: I didn’t take the photograph of what he had written. Someone else did. And after sharing that photo on social media, he quickly had a group of others who were horrified by what the Newcastle Herald had put into print. So… that’s more than just me who “missed the point”, Tim.
The real issue with putting the phrase “Fuck off, we’re full” into a newspaper is that it suggests the argument has credibility. There are people who really do support that viewpoint, closely followed by a justification along the lines of “but if they’re legitimately needing safety…”. People talk about turning back boats as if we are being flooded. We’re not. And it’s not something to be proud of – not when we could easily help many, many more.
Sorry, Mr Connell. We’re just not full.
So. Am I overreacting?
Here are the reasons why I don’t think I am:
1. We’ve just celebrated Australia Day, a day that very sadly brings out the racist bigot in most of us. Mr Connell is adding fuel to that fire.
2. The issue with boats, and what waters they are actually in, is a current political hot topic. Combined with the current spate of social media memes regarding “fullness”, Connell is (accidentally or otherwise) offering llegitimacy to that viewpoint. If it’s a political problem, and it’s in the paper, then it must just be confirming what Facebook says, right?
3. There is a distinct lack of social sensitivity when using the phrase “fuck off, we’re full”. Sadly there was no “I’m being ironic” disclaimer on his quiz, so Mr Connell may need to delve into the natures of language. Tone does not communicate well in written text.
4. The quiz is a lighthearted, almost farcical look at Australian culture. But it just stops being funny when you get to that one line. So close, Mr Connell, yet so, so far.
You just can’t joke about it.
People are dying in their quest to reach safety.
And there are others, who are safe and dwelling in abundance, who really believe that as a nation, Australia is full.
We’re not full.
If I’ve missed the point, then maybe you can enlighten me on what exactly the point is. Anyone? Any takers?