Thursday, 16 July 2009

Londoner Lost in Blue Mountains, Oz-UK Relations Take A Battering

(That's right, a series in which I blatantly cross-post my mutterings on londonist. I know no shame. )

The story about Jamie Neale is getting quite a run over here in London. Frankly, I think they've just been waiting for a feel-good story about a London teenager. The headlines might as well read "London Teen Not Dead, Not Even Stabbed." And it was all feel-good, with warm fuzzy feelings all round, until it turned out he'd signed away exclusive rights for his story for an undisclosed (read: large) sum. I must admit my reaction was less than favourable: "Why reward stupidity? He risked his own life, and the lives of the rescuers, why does he get a big pay out? Big deal, he got lost in the Blue Mountains and survived; I get drunk and lost every time I go out in East London (far more dangerous), and I survive: So where's my hundred grand?"

To be fair, he does claim he'll give the money to the rescue services and Katoomba hospital and if he does, top marks for doing the right thing. But I'll be interested to see if that eventuates, since it may just be a reaction to the allegations it was a hoax. As I mention in the post, it's all pretty standard fare for a rescue-story media circus in Oz, and no doubt there's more to come.
The thing that really struck me though, is the comment flame war going on below the Evening Standard article. It seems to start with a comment on the Australian media (I'll be first to agree that we don't produce anything at guardian or Indy level, but we at least avoid the barrel-scraping of the more popular papers over here... the Aussie press operates in a teacup, and is guilty of brewing up the occasional storm), so it's a fair comment to make, but the manner of making it leaves a little to be desired...
Typical Australian media, get the stroy wrong and accuse a decent British
lad as being as crooked as the australian's criminal forefarthers. .... The
xenephoibic australians need to get a life and stop whinging
... unless perhaps you're Pauline Hanson (all spelling has been faithfully preserved). I particularly like the touch of tarring an entire nation as xenophobic (or -phoibic) - Alanis Morissette could have written an extra verse. And it all kicks off from there... I'll leave you to read it at your leisure. It does strike me as odd that two of the most racist nations on the planet ("Bloody South-East Asians/Eastern Europeans stealing our jobs!" "Bloody Muslims/Muslims building mosques!" - delete as appropriate) seem to reserve their most blatant racism for each other, when they are in fact so similar.
The fact the Ashes is on probably doesn't help.
So dear reader, what's really happening in the Neale story? Is the hoax accusation a media beat-up, or do we really think it's a scam? And how are the racism levels back in Oz these days? Any more flag-waving riots? And why do we hate the Brits (and vice-versa) with such gusto?

1 comment:

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