Return of the Wowser

No wowsers here at The XYZ. Cartoon by Ryan Fletcher.

The annual Aussie Day lamb ad is back to once again make a case for it being un-Australian not to get some meat on your fork on the national day (26 January for those who were wondering). You know it makes sense. This is, after all, a nation that loves its meat, especially when roasted to a charcoal crisp on a barbecue, and even to the extent of eating its own national symbol (the kangaroo). The Meat and Livestock people, who put on this advert each year around this time of year, don’t really need to try very hard, to be quite honest. Aussies everywhere will be sizzling snags (sausages), throwing a prawn or two on the grill, and firing up the lamb chops on the backyard barbie in large numbers come Australia Day, and it won’t be the ads that have them doing it. It’s longstanding tradition. It’s a part of our way of life. Meat on the barbie, beer in the fridge, and a hot sun overhead.

But not everyone is happy with the lamb ads. So says the self-appointed moral guardian of the masses – the sanctimonious Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Its own report can’t conceal the fact that the vast majority of us just love it and see it all as a bit of good fun – more than 400,000 views on YouTube in two days. But the ABC sternly notes, also “dozens” of complaints, mainly from po-faced vegans whose diet of kale and cucumber must make them especially joyless creatures. The ABC devotes a whole story to these “dozens” of complaints, whilst the equally humourless wowsers over at the Guardian note that the national day is also known as “Invasion Day” or “Survival Day” and get a few pages of black armband wearing self loathing and guilt out of the whole thing. Fine then, let the joyless moral police and the sanctimonious offence takers settle in for a meal of steamed brussel sprouts followed by a John Pilger film on the national day while the rest of us hop into some lamb chops washed down with lager.

On my calculations, allowing for the “dozens” of alleged complainers to number about seventy (six dozen), the proportion of Guardian reading ABC watching wowsers stands at about 0.0180% in comparison to the 400,000 who have viewed the lamb ad and not called the advertising standards board afterwards in tears. The wowser has always been among us. The advent of the internet just makes it a little easier to see them. The proportion of wowsers to normal Aussies as revealed by the ABC at about 0.0180% of the population, seems about right.