Australia Day, Jan. 26 is coming up, and Dick Smith, well-known and generally not loathed Australian entrepreneur made an ad for his 100% Australian-owned brand for the occasion. He ran into trouble with the Advertising Council- for Dick jokes.
Judge the video for yourself:
Smith is incensed, with some reason. The general quality of Australian TV is typical Western smug-suburban. Stand-up comedians do material like this all the time, on TV. By the standards of comedy, this would be a gig’s worth for most pro stand-up comedians. It’s tongue in cheek, as good Aussie humour is supposed to be.
It’s also Australia Day.
Exactly who in Australia is going to be offended by these jokes is debatable. There was a top TV presenter called Graham Kennedy who ran multiple series of Dick jokes for years, and all he got was top ratings. Your knowledge of Australian media and humour would have to be pretty much non-existent not to get Dick Smith’s jokes in context, particularly with Waltzing Matilda playing in the background.
God spare us from a humourless Australia. I can’t even imagine an Aussie kid who wouldn’t get these jokes in context as a sendup, not some sort of “naughty word” thing. There’s an Australian expression, “wowser”, which refers to the super-conservative, fun-hating, type of person. I’m pretty sure the Ad Council would prefer not to be seen in that light, and certainly not as out of touch.
Smith’s ad isn’t particularly close to the borderline, if in sight of it. There’s nothing on it you can’t hear elsewhere around the clock, implied or otherwise. As censorship goes, it’s arbitrary, rather than case-specific.
Australia Day is supposed to be muck-up day for the nation, a day off, fun, and full of laughs. Let’s keep it that way. Run the ad, listen to the 4 wowsers who’ll complain about it, let life go on.
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