Thursday, 24 October 2013

More Harris

In the book on Ockers that I mentioned the other day, Max Harris claims that ockerdom originated elsewhere but around the time he was writing (1974) it spread to Sydney, ruining what he describes as the 'Sydney style', which was 'a delicate balance between sparkling waters and a relaxed suburbia'. His explanation of what followed makes me laugh, particularly as one of those he describes as 'loutish pubescents' was probably my brother, then a fledgling reporter given to hurling 'questions at startled public figures' whenever they let him out with a microphone:

"It [Sydney] fell, alas, the easiest of victims to the hepatitic infection of ockerdom. The easy manners have converted to churlish assertiveness. The colourful Australian vernacular has become Strine stereotype. The instinctive egalitarianism has become ignorantly complacent dogmatism. The casual clothing now gives the impression of a ghastly cane-cutter's convention in a poor man's Florida. The media era, once characterised by the iconoclastic Australianism of a Michael Charlton and a Bob Raymond, is now characterised by loutish pubescents throwing embarrassingly inept questions at startled public figures - from Gough Whitlam to visiting pop stars and thespians. Gaucheries are good enough because a gauche public has come to expect the pleasures of uneducated impertinence."

It was probably also the era of Norman Gunston. I wonder if Mr Harris laughed at his antics:
(For some reason the you tube link doesn't seem to be embedding so here it is:

Silly Max Harris, if he didn't.  Taking pleasure in the absurd isn't the same thing as being a philistine. Solemnity isn't wisdom; at least I don't think it is.

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