EDITORIAL THURSDAY 11.06.09.
Crikey! First, our Prime Minister was in hot water over calling for a “fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate”, and now he’s being dragged over the coals because he also said that “Blind Freddie could see that…” Turn it up, bluey, what’s happened to the dinki di Aussie spirit of a fair go? Apparently some dingbats have taken offence because it’s supposed to be derogatory of blind people, but surely the drongos have missed the boat. The good oil is that the original “Blind Freddy” wasn’t a blind bloke at all. He was probably a rozzer called Frederick Pottinger, who had trouble finding the whiskers underneath his nose, let alone the infamous bushranger Ben Hall.
Whether or not that’s ridgy didge isn’t 100% certain, but either way it’s bleeding obvious that the expression isn’t supposed to offend anyone. Blind Freddie has been a proud Australian icon for generations and has been immortalized in literature, music and was even the name of a blues band from Canberra. He has been mentioned by countless politicians in the past, not just our Kev. But as we gradually become a nation of pikers, whingers and nongs, it seems that nobody is fair dinkum anymore, and we are all expected to start talking like the Yanks, or worse, the bleeding Poms.
Fair suck of the savaloy, Sheila! Is nothing sacred? Can’t a bloke call a spade a bloody shovel anymore? Strewth, Ruth, common sense is becoming as scarce as hen’s teeth. What’s next? No more dead horse on the meat pie? No more lizards flat out drinking at the billabong? No more jolly swagmen snatching jumbucks on the road to Gundagai? Isn’t it enough that we have to get permission from the thought police before we sing Christmas Carols at Christmas time?
Strike a light, the kangaroos have got loose in the top paddock, as this politically correct nonsense spreads like cane toads, and with just as much poison. We might cringe at the adventures of Barry McKenzie, who really was a Barry Crocker in more ways than one, but he was our Barry, and as much a part of who we are as lamingtons and pavlovas. Our Kev is guilty only of preserving our national heritage, not of perpetuating prejudice. Blind Freddy isn’t derogatory of blind people, only of stupid ones, and Australians have always enjoyed poking the stick at them. So fair shake of the sauce bottle mate, our lingo might not always be pretty, but it is colourful and entertaining, and if taking a shot at the tall poppies is no longer acceptable, then we have lost something worth more than all the tea in China.
And I’m pretty sure even Blind Freddy could see that.