Embracing my Un-Australianism
January 26, 2013 12 Comments
Today, 26 January, is Australia Day (otherwise known, justifiably, as Invasion Day and Survival Day).
I am embracing my Un-Australianism.
Well, apparently you aren’t a real Australian unless you eat lamb on Australia Day.
For the past nine years, a bloke named Sam Kekovich has been imploring Australians to eat lamb on our national day. This year, Sam is suffering from a condition known as lambnesia after a hit to the head with a cricket ball.
What is lambnesia?
Well, according to Sam, lambnesia ‘makes you forget what makes this country great and fills your head with a lot of unAustralian bulldust’.
He beseeches Australians everywhere:
‘Wake up Australia. Lets not go off our chops, lets keep them where they belong – on our barbies and in our hands on Australia day!’
Is there a cure for lambnesia?
Of course! The National Lambnesia Test, an online animated game that tests Australians on their knowledge of Aussie culture. The test will tell you how un-Australian you are and ‘how much lamb you need to eat to be in chop shape on Australia Day’.
My National Lambnesia Test results are in. I am 56% un-Australian.
My prescription? Play backyard cricket (ah, it’s pouring rain), call people ‘mate’ (I think I do that occasionally), and cook lamb mince skewers with cucumber (ah, no…).
Sam is incredibly obnoxious. Even some die-hard meat eaters have had enough of him. If you click on the National Lambnesia Test, your IQ may drop about 30 points. Just remember, that’s 10 minutes of your precious life that you are never getting back.
The ‘test’ is choc-full of every Aussie stereotype you can imagine – panel vans, utes, vegemite, Shane Warne, snobs, yobs, chiko rolls, thongs (that’s flip flops, not women’s underwear, for my English friends! Sam isn’t that kinky!).
If being Australian means eating a cooked baby sheep, then I am happy to be called Un-Australian.
Incidentally, the perjorative term ‘un-Australian’ seems to get bandied about with great regularity these days. Did you know it is un-Australian to drink foreign wine? In fact, it’s also un-Australian if you don’t drink alcohol at all. Having a sickie after a long weekend has been branded as un-Australian by some, while others would claim it as a proud Aussie tradition.
The Sobering Reality
Sam is a mouthpiece for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), a ‘Lambassador’.
MLA purports to deliver ’marketing and research programs for Australia’s cattle, sheep and goat producers’. In reference to the Lambnesia campaign, the Global Marketing General Manager of MLA, Michael Edmonds stated, in a press release:
‘The campaign aims to keep lamb front of mind throughout January/early February, which has become one of the key consumption periods for lamb in Australia. During the 2012 campaign period, January lamb sales value was the highest for the 12 months preceding, averaging $15.9 million in sales per week’.
It seems that MLA has had some success at creating an association between lamb products and Australia Day celebrations in the minds of Australians. Edmonds asserts:
‘consistent Australia Day lamb campaigns have helped develop a strong association between lamb, Sam Kekovich and the Australia Day period, which is now well recognised by consumers. Continuing to promote lamb and leverage this association helps maintain and grow demand for lamb’.
Interestingly, I discovered the following snippet of information from the Australian Sheep Industry Overview (November 2012) on the MLA web site:
Lamb and sheep prices during October were at their lowest since 2008. Ongoing high supply and a lack of demand in some major overseas markets continue to have an effect.
Hence the ‘need’ to flog more lamb to Australians. In that case, Sam Kekovich may have a job spruiking lamb for many years to come.
Spare the Lambs
Animals Australia are hitting back at the Lambnesia campaign with their own lamb-friendly initiative called ‘Everyone deserves a day off on Australia Day’. The video campaign is a tongue-in-cheek response to the Lambnesia test, and features some of the same stereotypical characters – a trendy, bookish Melbournite (a snob), a beer-swilling, tattooed Darwinite (a yob). I was subjected to Tony Abbott in speedos, twice!
Animals Australia have expressed dismay that Sam Kekovich and MLA have ‘hijacked’ Australia Day. In response to the Animals Australia campaign, Group Marketing Manager of MLA, Andrew Cox, is reported as saying:
’It’s somewhat flattering if the vegetarian lobby wants to pay homage to our campaign in such a manner, but I think they’ve got a serious case of Lambnesia if they think Australians will stop eating our national meat on our national day.’
Our national meat? Sounds like hijacking to me!
Animals Australia are not alone in encouraging Australians to leave meat off the menu today. I recently discovered a facebook group called Meat Free Australia Day. It is promoting a plant-based Australia Day. How un-Australian!
Sounds ideal to me.
Before I rush off, I wanted to ask a favour of those who enjoy reading my blog.
I have entered a blogging competition called Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms 2013. You can find my entry here.
There is an icon on my home page, and you can click on that too. You can vote more than once! You can vote for me once every 24 hours. You are not required to register, or provide your email address. You just click. It’s really quick!
The competition ends on 7 February. Thank you.