26 January 2007

Flag for follow up

Yr Aunty B started this post on Australia Day, being most pissed of at the the whole wave-or not-to-wave furor that swept Cangurolandia in the lead up to our national holiday. Then she stopped, being too wrought to continue with the line of argument and too tired to summon up and appropriate level of vitriol.

If I had continued, dear reader, on visiting this blog last week you would have learned that Aunty B most wholeheartedly supports the marvelous Ken West who pointed out quite politely that people who were looking to pick fights with others based on their skin colour could just fuck off, and in particular "leave the flag at home" on the day of the Big Day Out in Sydney. Well he didn't actually say fuck off, but I'm sure he would like to now. He is the man that brought Iggy Pop, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphopricy, Bjork, and NICK CAVE to my tender adolescent ears live for the first time and since them he's run about 16 years of festivals in about 7 cities - he knows what he's talking about when it comes to mob behaviour.

For Allah's sake, people.

In the press furor that was whipped up by the Murdoch lynch mob afterwards, mostly people wanted to "unite peacefully" under the banner, and "kick out the troublemakers, not the flag". To them I say screw you and the horses you rode in on. In the noble world of group facilitation, what Ken West did is called "naming the behaviour". As in: John, I think you've been dominating the group discussion a bit, and now I'm going to ask you to be quiet for the next session so we can hear what the others have to say. The idea is to acknowledge what they are doing in front of their peers. You name the behaviour to stop adults hiding behind our ingrained sense of politeness that often lets them get away with acting like selfish toddlers when they are supposed to be working a group.

The Big Day Out is full of pissed up yobbos in their tens of thousands who go expressly to get that adrenalin buzz that only comes with rubbing your sweaty torso against a mob pressed so tightly they can lift people over their heads, while music plays so loudly it will give you permanent hearing damage if you go too often. Some people go in matching sexy schoolgirl outfits, or boxers and singlets, or plastic skirts or watermelons on their heads. The buzz of the day thrives on group identity, tribal feelings, physical exertion and teenage sexuality. The trick is to encourage the fun parts and banish the violent, exclusionary and just plain mean side of those things. Generally Ken is a legend at this, just let him do his job!

And just get your hand off it. The flag, I mean.


Betty Sue said...

Mmmmyah, I rolled my eyes soooo hard at the whole thing, when my ears weren't ringing to the sound of dog whistles. Though I did find it interesting that some sections of the RSL were siding with Ken West, saying that it was not respectful to the flag to have it draped round some drunken shoulders and being vomited on.

Stu said...

I'm reminded of last year at the BDO when this girl asked me "why are you wearing earplugs?"
I just gave her a can-you-really-be-that-clueless look and said "because my ears are fucked"