CommenTree

Uneducated, but can google at least.

Who isn’t a battler?

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Reality TV has dredged up all sorts of things. That is not to be yet another random bash at all things that promote mediocrity and grant fledgling flash in pans their 15 minutes of fame before vomiting them back out onto the footpath of obscurity. But in future decades, we will look upon with this era with curiosity as we struggle to comprehend how this whole thing could possibly have been called a “social experiment”, when it was just plain voyeurism. Reality TV was and is a cultural phenomenon which revolutionised television and turned legions of people to the internet in disgust.

Many people actually benefitted from Reality TV, going on to forge careers. Shannon Noll and Ryan Fitzgerald spring immediately to mind. Also the six-foot-tall-eight-year-old James Matheson who decided to quit hosting Australian Idol to play in his band… which he plugged briefly before the door hit his arse.

But the greatest of them all would have to have been from the UK Big Brother. Jade Goody is quite possibly the champagne example out of all contestants, having never really disappeared from the spotlight like most Big Brother participants. It was all getting quite gratuitous up until her diagnosis of Cervical Cancer and her subsequent death. The media, who had constantly demonised her after she made some alleged racist remarks on “Celebrity” Big Brother, suddenly turned quicker than milk in front of a space heater.

Her passing was noted in the Australian media, but it wasn’t until our friendly overseas grandfather Michael Parkinson remarked that she wasn’t all that tops, and that she was “all that’s paltry and wretched about Britain”.

Curious about the context in which he was speaking, I looked elsewhere for the piece, and all I found was this. Meh. Nothing special, I don’t think.

However, in the comments I found this little nugget.

goody

It appears that Australians are crossing the globe to spout their opinions… and their fucking colloquialisms. “Battler”. If I start hearing British politicians start using this term, I will begin to weep as that will mean that our vote-buying technique would have infected another part of the world. I take some solace, though, in knowing that British politicians are slimier than anything we can create and have far better ways of appealing to Joe Ballot.

But I take issue with the term “battler”. Even lowly old wikipedia notes that self-inflicted hardship can even be cause for being termed a “battler”.

Who, in this world, cannot be called a battler? Even if we not use John Howard’s broad and all-encompassing, almost fetishist definition:

… the battler is somebody who finds in life that they have to work hard for everything they get… normally you then look at it in terms of somebody who’s not earning a huge income but somebody who is trying to better themselves, and I’ve always been attracted to people who try to better themselves.

Ooh baby, better yourself… ooh yeah.

Alright, I can understand the hard working people who live off the land, pushing Australia’s trademark industry of cattle and sheep are battlers. I can also understand that there are even some white-collar roles which have middle-manager Steve returning home after an 18 hour shift to play with his 2 year old daughter, Purdie, before passing out in bed, his final thought of the day deducing exactly how he’s going to simply keep the lights on in his two bed unit.

How is Jade Goody a “battler”? Struggle against cervical cancer? Okay, sure. That puts her in the same league as Delta Goodrem who had her own gig with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cancer, Hodgkins lymphoma. The only difference is… well… the survival rate. And other medical stuff.

Is Delta a battler now? Or does death, a battler make? Or is it because Goody has a family?

I’m of the impression that having sprog does not make you a battler. In fact, the more I see the word “battler”, the more I hate it further. It is a word used automatically to define someone’s plight in the world as just. Does the young sales rep who bought a four bedroom house and popped a BMW M3 in the garage and has suddenly found himself to be living from pay day to pay day a “battler”? Fuck no. How about the property developer who bought up vast chunks of land to build hollow quality shacks (in order to house people – thereby providing a “public service”), only to find that the faeces-filled property water balloon burst in his face?

Fuck no.

But they are battlers, at least according to some media outlets. Hell, even former Prime Minister John Howard was labelled a “battler” by George W Bush. For some reason…

It’s a throwaway term, designed to appeal to the hearts of people who cannot see the intent behind the words. Politicians don’t care about your plight, and you didn’t care for Goody’s. Only in death and cancer do you empathise with her. Before that, you wouldn’t have given a shit. Stop pretending otherwise.

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Written by Andy

April 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

One Response

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  1. […] to turn a little less peachy, it did not phase Michael in the slightest. Just the true Aussie battler he is, a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity was […]


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