When I read stories like this, I can’t help but get the impression that Australia is going to disappear up its own arse before too long:
The pink jersey worn by Australian rugby league referees is being scrapped as there is a feeling among officials that it undermines their authority.
So far, so meh.
But the move has come in for criticism for alienating certain groups.
Dr Tom Heenan, of the National Centre for Australian Studies, said: “I don’t think this move away from pink really supports social inclusion.”
Heenan told the BBC World Service that the change risks alienating the gay community and breast cancer awareness groups.
Leave aside for a moment the laughable idea that Australia is a tough, frontier nation and the even more laughable fact that certain of its menfolk go on holiday in Japan, aged 40, wearing a t-shirt saying “Harden the f*ck up!” on the front.
Really, people are going to become alienated by rugby league referees changing their shirt colour? What a load of bollocks! But it’s yet another example of the most patronising language deployed against any given group of people coming from those who profess to speak on their behalf.
I assume there are a lot of gays in Australia who like watching rugby league, and I doubt there is a single one who genuinely gives a shit that the referees are not going to wear pink any more. Probably because, unlike the crude stereotype Dr Heenan is peddling, most gay men don’t go all giddy over the colour pink any more than they have limp wrists and wear bottomless chaps.
Then again, Dr Heenan is an academic. Here’s what his profile at Monash University’s website says:
Tom believes that learning should be informative.
Just think: that is only the second most stupid Tom Heenan line I have posted today.
He likes nothing more than taking students on the road. His students sample life in Outback New South Wales. He introduces them to the mining community around Broken Hill, and the endless expanses of Eldee Station and the Mundi Mundi Plain.
They ride camels, visit the ghost town of Silverton and meet the indigenous custodians at Lake Mungo National Park. Students explore this and other Australian places and issues as part of Tom’s Australian Idols: Exploring Contemporary Australia unit.
I have no idea what Dr Heenan teaches, but his students would be forgiven for thinking they’d joined a rambler’s association by mistake. I wonder what they get charged for this?