If you want an exhibit A for proving why Australia is changing, and for the worse, go no further than ‘‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi.’’
You don’t need a very old ear to know the revolting, mindless yobbism would have been considered..well, unAustralian..not long ago.
The ‘‘oi, oi, oi’’ was first heard in England in the late ‘70s.
The ‘‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi’’ was first heard when used by some good-natured Queensland competitors in reply to some good-natured Kiwi piss-taking during the 1996 Youth Olympics at Homebush.
Good-natured it may have been but the thought was ‘‘how sad?’’
The imaginative invention of colloquialisms has always been the great glory of the Australian language.
Australians have been described as possessing a dry, meiotic humour.
Self-deprecation and piss-taking have always been an essential part of the language.
The cacophonic, humourless aggression of ‘‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi’’ is foreign to Australian ears old or not so old.
In character at an English soccer ground, but not here, or never used to be.
Exhibit B could be the symbolism of a young Australian’s remark at the annual carnival and fiesta that Anzac Day at Gallipoli has become.
‘‘Yeah, we really kicked ass,’’ he said.
There it is: an Americanism and the ignorance of history contained in it.
Easy to blame the education system but it goes deeper than that.
Exhibit C could be what Australia Day has become.
Not long ago it was just another public holiday; no flags, no mass organised celebrations, no American-style nationalism and exceptionalism.
Anzac Day was the one public holiday acknowledged, and it was indeed a solemn occasion.
That was a time when Australians were criticised for their alleged apathy, provincialism and ‘‘she’ll be right’’ attitude.
Not anymore, not in the good old US of Australia.
All this is by way of preamble to the media push for the NRL grand final to adopt the week-long hoopla and razzamataz attached to the American Superbowl, as exemplified by the just-completed one in New Orleans.
Forget Beyonce. An horrific prospect for someone who might remember Roseanne Barr’s slaughter of The Star Spangled Banner at a San Diego Padres game as the best rendition ever.
A piss-taking commentary on American exceptionalism.
In recent years, it has seemed NRL grand finals have become less and less memorable, in inverse proportion to the hype preceding them, with exhaustion threatening by kick-off time.
The grand final is now almost an anti-climax.
Older eyes and ears might remember a time when there was just the game, preceded by reserves or thirds and their equivalents.
Colour was just players running through a banner on to the field.
There was no pre grand-final breakfast, no week-long build-up.
It wasn’t necessary.
The game was the thing and it had its own drama and anticipation.
Those games stay in the memory, whereas recent grand finals have passed from memory five minutes later.
There is a lot of self-interest in this push for more hoopla — the media talking about players’ responsibility to publicise the grand final etc.
Perhaps a few Meat Loaf-style halftime disasters might be the cure.
Or Psy, chanting ‘‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi’’ as his new dance is unveiled.
Shouldn’t suggest such things, might give them ideas.
But then if rugby league is the greatest game of all for its fans, it doesn’t need, never has needed, any artificial help.
Fortunately, help can be at hand for Anthony Mundine if he wants it.
Not much point in an apology for his trash talk and graceless, unsportsmanlike exit after his universally recognised loss to Danny Geale.
He wouldn’t mean it and the apology would carry as much authenticity as an Alan Jones one, and the two men have more in common than they would know.
Mundine has his millions and his health.
He should recognise or be persuaded that it’s time to hang up the gloves.
Mundine built himself up for one last great 12-round bid for glory — his body won’t permit another.
Should he continue, all that lies ahead is a descent, the increasing risk to his health and losses to Garth Wood equivalents.
Mundine can still contribute much by way of atonement and be the constructive figure he’s never been but has claimed to be for ‘‘my people’’, as he terms them.
The estimable Dean Widders has said Mundine can be.
Mundine was born a gifted sportsman, with wonderful hand-eye coordination and ball skills.
He was an outstanding basketballer and a brilliant if selfish footballer whose best moments would make a highlights package matching the best.
Then he was a talented fighter who may have achieved more had he challenged the best earlier.
So much talent, so much versatility..so much knowledge to pass on at youth camps.
That can be his new life’s work.
And that work will have real meaning if he conducts it away from the cameras and microphones and keeps his mouth shut.
In ignoring the loud-mouthed critics, the Australian selectors should be congratulated in sticking to their guns in regarding the Sheffield Shield as the cricketing backwater that it is.
Ignorant critics might have thought NSW captain Steve O’Keefe’s shield form might have entitled him to a place in the Australian squad for India.
He’s matured, is 28, a legspinner and not the run-of-the-mill offspinner Indians face for breakfast.
And he took four wickets in each innings in the recent shield match against a Western Australia team that included Mike Hussey.
The selectors have rightly ignored that and gone with 30-year-old left-arm offspinner Xavier Doherty.
He may have only taken two wickets at 80 in the shield, but Doherty has proved himself in the cauldron, the big stuff, the coloured-clothing game — one-day and Twenty/20.
Doherty may well be the best Australian touring cricketer since Ray Bright.