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an enigmatic people dedicated to the life of the mind
August 8, 2012 11:32 PM   Subscribe


 
Bookie-ish would have been more accurate.
posted by vidur at 11:37 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


“Under protest from their own citizens, the government partly repealed these laws but only to introduce Australian Rules Football, a watered down version of the game which, according to those who have played it is ‘more like a mixture of chess and expressive dance’.
I LOL'd.
posted by Jimbob at 11:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just assumed we were just all aimlessly lost and concerned about the future of two of our greatest intellectual institutions.

I refer, of course, to Randling and First Tuesday Book Club.
posted by Pinback at 11:41 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, considering Australia has annexed New Zealand, it's natural that they adopt the behaviours of the assimilated country.
posted by Metro Gnome at 11:58 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Australia New Zealand at the Olympics, I was amused to see that as soon as Australia overtook New Zealand, Channel 9 took to showing the medal rankings of both countries. While NZ was ahead, the graphic never mentioned them, though the hosts cried about it loads.
posted by vidur at 12:08 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish this were true.
The bleating over the "bad" medal tally is just... awful.
posted by Mezentian at 12:11 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Related: The Australian sports minister, Kate Lundy, will row a length of Eton Dorney wearing a Team GB shirt if she loses a bet with her British counterpart over which country will win the most gold medals.

Her British counterpart agreed to dribble a hockey ball around the traffic island on the Strand which contains Australia House, if Australia wins the bet.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:11 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I lost interest in Olympia when the Gods defeated the Titans in Hesiod's Theogony.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:12 AM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Further to vidur's comment: at one point NZ was 10th, and Australian TV showed the top 9 countries, then Australia. Hmm.....

But now that our brave Tasman cousins have reached a position of some respectability on the table, I would like to endorse Aus Zealand as a legitimate country, and point out that we would be 6th overall. Not bad for a country of four million people! (And, um, another country of 22 million people).

Also, the Brits are being kinda silly about this. Yes, you're winning more medals than the Aussies. You're at home; of course you are. Let's see how things work out when you're back on neutral ground.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:14 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aus Zealand?
I propose Ausland.

Then we can all be Auslanders.

Ich Bin Ein Auslander?
posted by Mezentian at 12:18 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Infinite JestInfinite Jest: Er.. Britain came ahead of Australia in Beijing.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:19 AM on August 9, 2012


Will you people never cease tormenting me with your accursed facts? ;-)

Aus Zealand was a real thing, by the way.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:35 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mallarmé referred to sport in L'après-midi d'un faune.

OK, from memory the sport involved faun bits and unconscious girls, but there's no inherent contradiction here.
posted by Wolof at 12:40 AM on August 9, 2012


Internesting. So like Naughty and Nice Korea?
posted by Mezentian at 12:42 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, considering Australia has annexed New Zealand, it's natural that they adopt the behaviours of the assimilated country.

Australia does have a habit of claiming New Zealand as Australian whenever convenient, to the point that many "famous Australians" are actual famous New Zealanders.

And this is all noted from my perspective as an Australian.
posted by outlier at 12:58 AM on August 9, 2012


That was pretty funny. And as much as I love Australian Rules Football - that was a great description of the game.

The Olympics - I am kind of glad we aren't doing as well as the Australian Olympic Committee predicted. I am tired of "punching above our weight" in relatively meaningless bullshit. I would prefer to have a few more
Nobel Prize winners, or a thriving film industry.
posted by awfurby at 12:59 AM on August 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


an enigmatic people dedicated to the life of the mind

That's Austrians.
posted by Segundus at 1:06 AM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Australasia competed as a single entity in the 1908 games…
posted by misteraitch at 1:09 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Australia does have a habit of claiming New Zealand as Australian whenever convenient, to the point that many "famous Australians" are actual famous New Zealanders.

Sort of like Canada's maple syrup rule: if you're born in Canada, or live in Canada, or ever visited Canada, or ever thought of putting maple syrup on your pancakes, you're officially Canadian if you ever win the Nobel prize or Hugo Award.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:09 AM on August 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


awfurby: "I am tired of "punching above our weight" in relatively meaningless bullshit. I would prefer to have a few more Nobel Prize winners, or a thriving film industry."
Nobel Prize winners, okay, but how is a film industry any less meaningless bullshit than professional sports?
posted by brokkr at 1:18 AM on August 9, 2012


Duh, because a film industry is lead by creatives, not the boorish jocks who beat us all up in high school, and therefore reeks of true human accomplishment and worth? Sheesh!
posted by Jimbob at 1:32 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


brokkr: Are you suggesting all art is without value, or just cinema?
posted by biffa at 1:56 AM on August 9, 2012


Just Australian cinema.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:02 AM on August 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


There's just as much meaning in somebody running for money as there was in, say, Gallipoli.

You know, because they're both about running.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:08 AM on August 9, 2012


Again, this is why you need to annex New Zealand. We bring you Peter Jackson! Weta Studios! Flight of the Conchords!
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:08 AM on August 9, 2012


Anna Meares.

That is all.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:11 AM on August 9, 2012


biffa: "brokkr: Are you suggesting all art is without value, or just cinema?"
I'm just saying I don't see it as a given that cinema is less worthless than sports.
posted by brokkr at 2:11 AM on August 9, 2012


Gallipolli's sound track was written by Jean Michel Jarre, so... it has that going for it.


Clarke and Dawe- "a lot of other countries, it turns out, have sent swimmers."
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:15 AM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Anna Meares.

That is all.
Oh come on, Anna Meares wasn't all.
Didn't you win something in wind surfing?
posted by fullerine at 2:21 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anna Meares.

A fantastic 1-1 victory.
posted by biffa at 2:22 AM on August 9, 2012


"Aus Zealand - IT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. "
posted by the cydonian at 2:25 AM on August 9, 2012


This was brilliant. We need to get a lot of wind knocked out of our sails when it comes to crowing about sporting brilliance. And learning how to take a joke as well as give it is a handy lesson too... thank the lord for British satire.
posted by twirlypen at 2:27 AM on August 9, 2012


It's not a victor mentality. "Down under", you know, has both "down" and "under" in the same phrase, and that's not a recipe for athletic success.

The tiny town of Upover will dominate all future Olympic Gold. Mark my words.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:28 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The British press has also been adopting some Irish athletes

(though to be fair the Telegraph may not have caught up with Irish independance yet)
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:32 AM on August 9, 2012


The thing is, during those cold, dark days when we had only one gold medal, I didn't actually hear or see anyone complaining about it, first hand. All I saw were media stories wringing their hands about how some other people out there thought Australia weren't doing well enough.

A bit like those constant stories about how there are rumours out there (that this journalist doesn't believe, of course) that Rudd's going to challenge again.

Is there anything newsworthy going on in this country at all that doesn't require incessant cowardly stoking by the media itself?
posted by Jimbob at 2:39 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Australian cinema gave us STRICTLY BALLROOM, my favourite movie, so I spurn your witty but cruel disdain for it.
posted by alasdair at 2:43 AM on August 9, 2012


Given that I am out-numbered 2 to 1 by Kiwis in my house, and that I recently learnt what jandals are, I'd just like to point out that on a per capita basis, NZ is kicking arse.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:46 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Further to vidur's comment: at one point NZ was 10th, and Australian TV showed the top 9 countries, then Australia. Hmm.....

At one point last week the UK was 11th, and the BBC showed the top 9 countries, then the UK.
posted by rory at 2:48 AM on August 9, 2012


Is there anything newsworthy going on in this country at all that doesn't require incessant cowardly stoking by the media itself?

Yes. But Tony Abbott is doing the incessant cowardly stoking for all of them.

I think we're also rescuing an American from the Antarctic, so we're probably due to start whining about the cost of mounting the rescue...
posted by Mezentian at 2:55 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of the continuing pommie-aussie feud is that both sides think that they're the plucky underdogs and their opponents are superhuman sport machines and both sides are convinced the whole world is against them/on their side depending on which mood they're in.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:03 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another world is possible…
posted by acb at 3:26 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


A world in which "Up there Cazaly" is a lament for the unknown sportsman, "The Tyranny of Distance" popularises the rise of the Australian School of economic thought, and "Hey Dad" is an academic piece discussing the changing role of men in the modern family.

Also, ponies. Sigh.
posted by mixing at 3:29 AM on August 9, 2012


I wonder whether this will lead to (a) Murdoch/Rinehart-employed commentators claiming that the medal drought is due to Gillard/the Greens mismanaging the country, and/or (b) the government desperately doubling sports funding to ensure that such a national catastrophe doesn't happen again.
posted by acb at 3:33 AM on August 9, 2012


My husband is an Australian now working here in Britain, and he is bemused by the British 'hah, how does it feel now?' he gets every.single.day. He points out he doesn't care. He points out this is what happens when one country starts to spend less on elite sport and one country more, and is it really better to spend on elite sport. But still the Brits drone on and on. He then comments that he has already left one country because of the overweening jingoism. That usually shuts them up.
posted by Megami at 3:37 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Australia "Officially Over Sport": Australia

Australia announced today that it was "like, totally over" sport in all its forms, after decades of doing sport and being reasonably good at it. "Sure, we were into sport for a while, back when we were young," admitted Australia, "but now we're like, Meh. Whatever." Australia then went back to its dank, untidy bedroom and started listening to aggressive forms of guitar music on its iPod. Sources say that Australia does not have an opinion on what it would like for dinner, and does not wish to watch any coverage of the London 2012 Olympics with its family, claiming that "We don't care. Just don't bother us". Experts speculate that Australia may have started smoking, and could be depressed about its acne.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:35 AM on August 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm just enjoying constantly refreshing The Medal Count page and exclaiming to myself that, as an Australian, I'm not too bad at sports (per capita) even though I can barely break into a trot without my jeans sliding down my flat, untoned arse. And in a few days it will all be over and I won't think about Rhythmic Gymnastics and Beach Volleyball et al for at least another four years.
posted by h00py at 4:48 AM on August 9, 2012


I read books whilst the Olympics is on in the background. I look up when something exciting is happening but I've missed a few good things because I've been engrossed in a particularly interesting chapter. I try to read only Australian authors during the Olympics. I've been walking more briskly during the last fortnight. Surely that counts for something?
posted by h00py at 4:54 AM on August 9, 2012


The British press has also been adopting some Irish athletes
Somewhat amusing Irish response to Olympic successes so far.
posted by Abiezer at 4:55 AM on August 9, 2012


Australian cinema gave us STRICTLY BALLROOM, my favourite movie, so I spurn your witty but cruel disdain for it.

It also gave the world Welcome to Woop Woop, which is the movie I suggest whenever someone asks me what living in Australia is like.
posted by Ritchie at 4:58 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


It also gave the world Welcome to Woop Woop, which is the movie I suggest whenever someone asks me what living in Australia is like.

See also: The Cars That Ate Paris.
posted by acb at 5:02 AM on August 9, 2012


Somewhat amusing Irish response to Olympic successes so far.
Like the comment about British golds before the track and field started.

"With golds in Rowing, Cycling, Riding and Sailing the British are experts at sitting down."

"What about the shooting?"

"...and standing still."
posted by fullerine at 5:08 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


, and "Hey Dad" is an academic piece discussing the changing role of men in the modern family.

About that....
posted by Mezentian at 5:12 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sort of like Canada's maple syrup rule: if you're born in Canada, or live in Canada, or ever visited Canada, or ever thought of putting maple syrup on your pancakes, you're officially Canadian if you ever win the Nobel prize or Hugo Award.

This sounds like a playwright's observation on Leonard Cohen songs - that it is a little-known Canadian legal statute that you do not legally need to have a reason to sing a song by Leonard Cohen. Moreover, this law applies outside Canada's borders, as the singing of a Leonard Cohen song converts the surrounding area to Canadian territory for the duration.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:47 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


New York Times: And the Olympic Gold for Whining Goes to ...
Although Australia’s athletes have won a handful of gold medals in recent days, the country has racked up a fraction of the 16 earned when the Games were held in Sydney in 2000, and lags well behind its pace in Beijing four years ago. This has been deemed a fiasco.

After plenty of needling from the domestic news media, the Swimming Australia president David Urquhart issued a statement alerting his compatriots that he grasped the dire implications of the country’s relatively meager haul in the Olympic pool — one gold, six silver and three bronze.

“This is not a time for blame and scapegoating,” he wrote. “This is an opportunity to make the changes required to rise to the international challenge.”

This is also, apparently, an opportunity for the British news media to mock Australia. On Tuesday, The Independent, an English newspaper, ran a story with the headline, “Yorkshire — the county that’s trouncing Australia in the Olympic medal table.” The story had a chart that read, “If Yorkshire were a country,” ranking the county 10th, with five golds, well ahead of Australia’s two at the time.

Australia now has five golds and has more than double Yorkshire’s number of total medals. But data can be sliced any old way when it comes to international taunting.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:02 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fairness to Yorkshire, they do actually believe they are their own country and God's Chosen Ones so this is like some sort of religious and devolutionary experience all rolled into one. Just wait: next week those uppity medal winners will get a sharp clip round the ear and sent back to work with a bowl of soup and a half stale crust and they should count themselves lucky.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:10 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband is an Australian now working here in Britain, and he is bemused by the British 'hah, how does it feel now?'...But still the Brits drone on and on. He then comments that he has already left one country because of the overweening jingoism. That usually shuts them up.

Except when Brits do shut up, Megami, that's when you really need to worry!

It's not that they've been silenced by a foreigner's defensive wit - it's just they've thought of something too amazingly rude to say back.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:50 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Australia does have a habit of claiming New Zealand as Australian whenever convenient, to the point that many "famous Australians" are actual famous New Zealanders.

Mel Gibson I believe.
posted by mattoxic at 6:57 AM on August 9, 2012


Mel Gibson is from New York.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:27 AM on August 9, 2012


I don't think Australia is claiming Mel Gibson anymore.
posted by h00py at 7:47 AM on August 9, 2012


I don't think anyone is claiming Mel Gibson anymore.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:51 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This British interest in beating Australia seems new to me; there are old rivals like France and Germany they're ahead of in the table, but I'm hearing less about that from their media. Australia has clearly got under British skin by regularly beating them in rugby and cricket in recent years. This taunting is evidence of another victory for Australia.
posted by Gomoryhu at 8:59 AM on August 9, 2012


This British interest in beating Australia seems new to me; there are old rivals like France and Germany they're ahead of in the table, but I'm hearing less about that from their media. Australia has clearly got under British skin by regularly beating them in rugby and cricket in recent years. This taunting is evidence of another victory for Australia.
posted by Gomoryhu at 8:59 AM on August 9 [+] [!]


Umm... there's this little thing called the Ashes. A team of (mostly) English cricketers won it back in 2005 for the first time in 18 years. They got MBEs for that.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 9:19 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of the continuing pommie-aussie feud is that both sides think that they're the plucky underdogs and their opponents are superhuman sport machines

Um. Have you ever actually met an Australian who thinks of the British as superhuman sport machines? Because I don't believe I have.
posted by jacalata at 11:24 AM on August 9, 2012


Is there anything newsworthy going on in this country at all that doesn't require incessant cowardly stoking by the media itself?
posted by Jimbob


I think it is absolutely wonderful that nothing much newsworthy happens in Australia.
posted by vidur at 1:24 PM on August 9, 2012


I think the NYT headline posted above should have used 'whinging' rather than 'whining'.
posted by pymsical at 1:53 PM on August 9, 2012


We're now in the top 10 for the overall medal tally.
And people are still fucking whining.

THIS IS THE WORST OLYMPICS EVER.
posted by Mezentian at 6:52 PM on August 9, 2012


He then comments that he has already left one country because of the overweening jingoism. That usually shuts them up.

Of course; nobody wants to get into an argument with the bartender.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:47 AM on August 10, 2012



The English should not taunt the Aussies like this. Not only is this poor form but you really shouldn't piss off every single bartender in London.
posted by srboisvert at 5:11 AM on August 10, 2012


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