What have we learned about Australia today?

A couple of stories caught my eye today, and I think they might provide some useful insights into Australian culture. Consider the following headline. The full story appeared in today’s Age newspaper.

This story is about a woman who crashed her car, then recorded a blood alcohol reading of .462. The legal limit is .05. Lesson one: Australian culture has changed. Once upon a time, this headline would have read ‘Victoria’s Best Drink-Driver Jailed’ – after all, she does hold the record for being pissed and driving.

At the very least, the story would have once read:

The driver was severely reprimanded by the judge for being caught while over the blood alcohol limit. In sentencing, Judge Judy said, “You should hang your head in shame. If you were being responsible you would have taken the back streets to avoid detection. Instead, you took the main road and swiftly undid all of your great work by getting caught.”

Next they’ll be telling us cigarettes are bad for you.

Let’s turn our attention to our neighbours in the west, in the region creatively named ‘Western Australia’. The school captain of Corpus Chrisi College in Perth has given an almighty spray during his speech at the school’s award night. It was caught on video:

Lesson two: a lot of people in Western Australia have not heard of Youtube. Those who have probably call it ‘The Youtube’.

Our man got up and laid the boot into the principal and vice-principal in fairly elegant fashion. I especially like the way he embraced the awkwardness (listen for the tumbleweeds and crickets), and ploughed on. It has more than a touch of Donnie Darko about it.

Lesson three: when American kids get disgruntled at school, they shoot everyone. When Australian kids get surly about school, they give terse public speeches that make everyone shift uncomfortably in their seats. Australian history is littered with examples that I am too lazy to go and find and link to right now. In any case, I reckon that it’s a much better result than someone going postal. I hope our man gets himself sorted out.

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