tip off
27

Razer’s Class Warfare: pissing in one’s mouth is a traditional value

We should quit expecting the unlikely convergence of great talent with great moral courage. Plus, what’s so wrong with bubbling?

Well. Slap my arse with a papal tiara and call me Francis, a rugby league footballer has brought “the game into disrepute”. Who’d have thought a young five-eighth would behave like a young five-eighth? Not officials of the nation’s most indelicate code, who have made like the board of a lawn bowls club who’d just seen a senior player take a dump on the green.

Two things.

First, and briefly, fuck off, Lord Muck.

Ours is an unseemly nation, and yours is an unseemly game. I know this as (a) we are transgressive twits largely descended from criminals, and (b) I grew up in Raiders territory and at my League-mad school, the sight of men, and some women, playing with their metabolic waste was hardly uncommon. I can make no argument in support of sport like Soggy Sao, but I do know that this and other ritualised excretion occur across classes and codes in Australia. Later, the rectors of colleges at my university were powerless, or possibly unwilling, to stop the time-honoured spoodge-play of their rugby union-playing undergrads.

I am unlikely to be the first this week to suggest such pastimes are traditional. In fact, I recall the acolytes of Saints Andrew and Paul at Sydney University making the case years ago for custom. We’ve always done it, therefore we should continue to do it. This, of course, is no defence for vulgar, if victimless, acts, but it is evidence they occur — are often applauded and sometimes demanded of powerful men.

The NRL can put on the dog all it wants about its “respectable” game, but anybody who went to a bad high school or a good university or ever saw a hulking front row knows that weeing on oneself is neither a mark nor a disavowal of respectability. It’s just something gross some blokes do.

To chastise a footballer for a private, victimless act at the trough when it is just this sort of ritual that emboldens him to play like a bull on the public paddock is a hypocrisy we can no longer even call piss-weak. The pearl-clutching of the NRL and others is a farce.

Any nation that pretends to look to sporting heroes for ‘role models’ is surely pissing in its own mouth.”

Second, less briefly, fuck off with the “role model” argument.

Why should footballers be considered role models or models for any behaviour other than that executed on field? That they serve as an example to Australians outside the scrum is, in any case, in doubt. Any nation that pretends to look to sporting heroes for “role models” is surely pissing in its own mouth.

Yesterday’s dreary editorial in The Sydney Morning Herald half gets this idea about our poor cultural nutrition. We must appoint better role models, says the storied newspaper. Apparently, we should aspire to be more like an astrophysicist or possibly Patrick White. Patrick White? Sure, he was one of the greatest exponents of tedious modernism in English language fiction, but he’s no role model. White was a cranky, high-born tool who championed political conservatism for the first 60 years of his life. And, if Twitter had been around in his lifetime, we can be sure there would many more flaws in the glass than the great writer ever chose to make tastefully evident.

Perhaps the point is not to select better role models than a footballer but to abandon the notion altogether, and possibly to accept that public identities were never as forcefully influential as they have lately become thanks to a media class that demands them. At the very least, we should certainly quit expecting the unlikely convergence of great talent with great moral courage. Einstein was a prick. Come on. The work or the feats we admire are not necessarily accomplished by admirable people, and to demand that an artist or scientist be as good as his output is hopeful at best.

At worst, it is dangerous. While Daring to Dream is now an accepted pastime, it is also an Oprahfied false consciousness. Like everything else “aspirational”, the Dream propels us into a nightmare of paralysis. If we all Believe We Can Achieve, we tend not to challenge those broad social circumstances that will actively prevent our achievement. You know. Sometimes the only thing holding you back is not you.

But that’s just my university Marxism talking. The real concern today is the disingenuous turd crapped out by the NRL on “values and standards” and “positive outcomes”, which reveals our national delusion not only that a fundamentally brutal game can, or should, be sprayed with a corporate Air Wick, but that we and our children are so horribly stupid that we look to footballers, or modernist authors, for “inspiration”.

Sport has its inspiring moments, of course. Nicky Winmar gesturing to the skin beneath his St Kilda jumper. The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute. Cathy Freeman marking victory with the Aboriginal flag. Billy Jean King trouncing that old fuck Bobby Riggs at the Battle of the Sexes tennis match. But these incidents serve to illustrate a moment of cultural synthesis. These moments serve history, not the reputation of the athlete. Freeman made her reputation on the track. This self-effacing woman could have enjoyed being a “role model” in the bloated Bradman style, but instead went on to provide practical assistance to the children of Palm Island. Why settle for inspiration when you can actively improve literacy to disadvantaged students?

But the media class has done a bang-up job of convincing itself and the rest of us that “inspiration” counts for a lot, that lives are transformed by good behaviour and ruined by a bad bubbling. In fact, the only life that has been demeaned by the Piss Carney portrait is Carney’s, and the only lives improved are those of idiots writing stupid editorials about how we should all read Voss.

Perhaps the writer has forgotten the postcolonial novel that gives us a clueless white foreigner bumbling around a nation from which he is so pompously alienated, it kills him. If Voss had actually looked, he might have learned something about the persistent darkness of a wantonly ahistorical country that deludes itself it is illuminated. In this case, by the light of its “role models”.

But Voss, who never stopped to drink his own piss, died in the desert. And personally, I can’t wait for a deluded national conversation that has “role models” at its centre instead of courageous exploration of the unmapped darkness to meet the same fate.

27

Please login below to comment, OR simply register here :



  • 1
    Andybob
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Liked “pearl-clutching” so much I’m going to adopt you as a role model. Please refrain from any untoward acts in public urinals so as not to shatter my childlike awe. Not convinced Einstein was a prick though.

  • 2
    puddleduck
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Take a bow, Helen. This is a tour de force.

  • 3
    Horowitz
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean we should leave all of Rolf Harriss’ artistic(?) output where it is…?

  • 4
    LINDA LEMAN
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Ive just been seduced by some of the best writing Ive seen in yonks!
    Sigh….

  • 5
    jmendelssohn
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Of course we should, Horowitz. He was a crap artist, praised for all the wrong reasons by people who were easily deluded by fame. Future generations deserve to know that their ancestors have no taste and are easily fooled.

  • 6
    russell reid
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed that read…thank you Helen.

  • 7
    theloadeddog
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic article - I think this reflects what a number of people have been thinking about the whole incident.

  • 8
    JimDocker
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Not your best work Helen.

    I don’t expect footballers to be perfect, but these are people that come into our kid’s lives in a huge way. Several players a year come to my son’s football club. I take him to meet them at family days. I like to think that I will always be his role model, but I also expect that he will look up to other men in his life.

    They don’t only get paid the big dollars because of their ability. They are marketable. That might not be ideal, but it is the reality.

    It is fair to say that Carney was not just sacked for his ‘Bubbling”. He has a charge sheet longer than his arm and has been on his last warning for a while.

    Generally, if somebody wants to piss in their own mouth, I have no issue with it. Piss away, but don’t think that Carney is some blameless victim.

    He is a serial dickhead and it finally caught up with him.

  • 9
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    And some people still want to be journalists when they grow up.

  • 10
    Aron
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Pearl-clutching” is the phrase of the year.

  • 11
    Steve777
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Agree - good article.

    Now what is it they say about the various football codes? Soccer, a game for gentlement played by yobbos; Rugby Union, a game for yobbos played by gentlemen; and Rugby League, a game for yobbos played by yobbos.

  • 12
    John Donovan
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Get your point but don’t agree. He is paid a pretty significant sum of money to do two things. Play better than most of us could ever dream on the football field, and don’t act like a complete tool when you are off the field. Especially in a public place. If he wanted to continue being paid a large sum of cash, it wan’t too hard to stick to the contract.

    It’s not unreasonable to start expect some higher standards from public sporting figures. the sponsorship dollars that supplement their incomes implies a certain standard of behaviour. If we follow the argument that “they’ve always behaved like that so why should we expect any better”? then theoretically we should not agitate for better outcomes in a whole bunch of social scenarios?

    They ARE capable of better behaviour, we reward them for better behaviour, so it’s not an unreasonable expectation.

    Regardless of whether or not we set them up as “role models” (and I agree that’s a dumb idea for anyone from the outset) agitating for a modicum of what society would class as semi respectable behaviour, is not such a tall order.

  • 13
    Chris Hartwell
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Seriously though, can we stop holding up sports players as something to aspire to? They, variously, kick/throw/cuddle a dead-pig/each-other/fluffed-ball/the ref while running back and forth while endlessly grunting. Can we please start holding up the folks who have actually improved the world? There are plenty of Australians who would fit that bill - we punch well above our weight in the sciences, let’s start there.

  • 14
    Blueblood
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Chris Hartwell, I’m clutching my pearls, nodding in fervent agreement. Moving through space and time in a special way, gripping firmly onto a ball ain’t a thing that’s adding to the sum total of human endeavour.

    Let him pee in his own mouth all he wants, nobody is forcing people to watch it. Who was the meathead filming in the toilets? Now THAT is poor form.

  • 15
    Gael McLeod
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    The man is an alcoholic twat who drank his own urine from his own penis. Sincerely hope its not a common behaviour among men.
    Agree with the media bullshit, alcoholics are poor role models.

  • 16
    TheFamousEccles
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    JimDocker I agree that Carney is serial dickhead whose time had expired, but I disagree that sports people are role models based on their televised invasion of our kids lives (aka marketability). They are compelled to do appearances at schools, etc and while a small few would do it if it wasn’t required, the vast majority would spend the time between training/games taking selfies of their dicks and tweeting them to each other. That is the way of things with the professional sporting classes - self absorption. It has to be, what other than ego drives a person to sporting greatness? Certainly not altruism and a wish to positively influence others.

  • 17
    Mark out West
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    @ Helen - Moronic - Rugby=Television/Money/Sponsorship/Advertising=No Public Displays of NSW Boganism

  • 18
    Helen Razer
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Chris and Blueblood. I half agree. You can read the editorial to which I linked in the Sydney Morning Herald which essentially says “La did da there are better people like scientists”. But urging to refinement (and this really irks me from a publication that has hurt itself and its readership by playing around itself in the muck) will achieve nothing.
    SO, yes it would be nice if everyone read Patrick White, admired Peter Singer and praised scientists. But wishing that is the worst kind of utopia. All for which we can hope is what I’ve tried to describe here which is to question the unproven value of “role models” altogether. And this hand-wringing about bad celebrities. Who cares? Bad celebrities and good celebrities have an influence imagined and then accorded to them by the same media class chastising Carney.
    The point is: all we can hope for is vigorous public discussion. No one has really ever valorised the worthy and it is not going to start just because we say it should.

  • 19
    Grumpy Typewriter
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    For the record, this incident – while disgusting but hey, whatever floats your boat – has absolutely zero affect on me, or as Helen points out, anyone else for that matter. The fact is I don’t consider it newsworthy and it shouldn’t have been reported in the first place.

    I have long had a problem with the media holding up celebrities from any genre as role models, and holding them to a higher moral code than the rest of us. Frankly, they’re not that special, they’re just people. Even as a kid I didn’t have, nor really seek out role models as such – I could never see the point. There were bands and musicians I liked but I never went as far as to call them role models.

    As for today’s celebrities/role models be they sporting, acting, or media-whoring-socialites (the worst of all), I like them best when I don’t know anything else about them except for what they originally known for. They are adults living in our westernised society. Frankly, I would be more surprised if they didn’t go out, get drunk and try and to pull a root at a nightclub, but that doesn’t mean I have to, or want to know about it. And it shouldn’t diminish what they are originally (apparently) lauded for. If pre-celebrity, these previously regular people liked to go out on the piss with their mates, why is this behaviour suddenly open to public scrutiny? [I know, in a world like this paparazzi and the industry they serve would cease to exist – it’s never going to happen.] While I’m at it, I’m not saying they’re exempt from obeying the law like the rest of us either, they’re not. It’s all about equality.

    And on a related point, larrikinism as we knew it is dying or already dead, which as a country was something we previously loved and identified with. I blame the meteoric rise of social media (we don’t need to instantly know *everything*), along with the stupid large sums of money paid to people for “skills” which I frequently wouldn’t say are worthy of such obscene financial reward. It shits me that this means everything is becoming so politically correct for fear of offending, which invariably is then linked back to protecting their ridiculously large income. I almost pity people who will look back to the early 2000s as the good ol’ days because they’ll be so heavily sanitised.

    The real shame of the Carney story is twofold: that the public saw it in the first place – sure, it was stupid behaviour but it didn’t actually affect anyone else; but the biggest shame is being betrayed by his mate who leaked the photo. Not cool.

  • 20
    Ken Dally
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank Helen for putting some perspective and reality into the debate. Also some great lines I shall probably steal and propagate.

  • 21
    stitch jones
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    HELEN RAZER well written and i agree wholey

  • 22
    Jeremy Gaynor
    Posted Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious summary from Helen Razor but the sports mad media deliver drivel upon drivel 24/7 …it’s cheap copy and TV ..young men make the usual and sometimes unusual mistakes …Carney now has the crisis he’s been courting. Sport media needs it’s crisis for its much bigger sins.

  • 23
    old greybeard
    Posted Friday, 4 July 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Yes Helen it is well written, but the premise is nonsense. This sport takes public money (why they get it I know not). I know too many young men who went to the city to try at league and failed. Indeed many of them were fools. However, this is Carney’s 3rd serious breach of his club’s rules and he is no longer a kid, he is 26. A future topic might be the role of managers in guiding their client-what do the lazy sods do for their dough? I also don’t think it helps the grass roots of sport. Time to grow up and if not, sod off.

  • 24
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 4 July 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Reminded me of John Prine “Pissin’ in the Wind”?

  • 25
    64magpies
    Posted Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Worth the price of admission just for this.

  • 26
    dr felonious
    Posted Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Have you thought about a career in managing rugby league players Helen? Todd needs some of your help right now.

  • 27
    Chris Hartwell
    Posted Monday, 7 July 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Hahah, true enough Helen, so it’s good I’m something of a cynic - hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and therefore never disappointed but sometimes pleasantly surprised.

Please login below to comment, OR simply register here :



Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...