Chaser Yes we Canberra – Life at the top

Nick: I can’t help thinking that this clip relates to the myth in Topic 6 that Paul Black refers to of Aboriginal people being ‘an ancient people clinging to a way of life 40,000 years old’. I find I both love this skit and hate it. Part of the humour here arises from the fact that these people are employing irony and sarcasm of the kind that’s typical for the show. But irony and sarcasm are not very typical ways of Aboriginal people interacting verbally, so I wonder if this is in fact heavily scripted and ‘performed’, or whether there is more irony and sarcasm in the subtitles that there is in the conversation. I also wonder how much of the audience laughter is also myth-related, ie anglo-Australians still surprised that Aboriginal people actually have conversations about current affairs? I think the producers are actually trying to subvert the myth here – it’s the audience I wonder about. I’d be interested in your reactions??

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4 Responses to Chaser Yes we Canberra – Life at the top

  1. Kerry says:

    Hi Nick
    Thanks for the clip. I gave up watching The Chaser a long time ago. They usually leave me underwhelmed – juvenile humour and usually offensive to someone. True to form, this clip is not very funny. I can think of at least two ways to perceive it. As you suggest, perhaps it is playing on the myth of a prehistoric people – isn’t it funny that they should be talking about Broadband? Is the Chaser trying to get us to laugh at the people or laugh at the myth still perpetuating today? A more positive slant on the skit is that it’s trying to say, aren’t there a few more important things to deal with in this election than Broadband – what about health and housing and education, particularly for those in rural and remote areas?

  2. amelia says:

    Yeah, it seems very scripted…but I personally interpreted the audience reaction as people laughing at the amount of useless, ridiculous stuff that’s on the internet (and the value that gets placed on it), and the idea that it could possibly be more important than some of the current issues in many Aboriginal communities in Australia. As I’m sure the producers intended. The whole election saga’s been so meaningless! But… maybe that’s just what I was laughing at. I would love to know what everyone in the audience REALLY found the most funny about this skit. I have a sinking feeling that Nick’s right, and that at least part of the audience would have been laughing at the fact that Aboriginal people were discussing Telstra and broadband in an Aboriginal language.

    Amelia.

  3. Barry says:

    I also gave up on the (campus-clinging) juvenilia of most Chaser material this year…but as they ran the segment in at least two episodes, I trust there was a beneficial angle in what they were prompting. I trust the subtitles were exact and wondered more about which consultant introduced the two parties. IF however the subtitles are of a piece with their silly Twitter screen scrolls (during the election series ‘Berra), then poo to them.

  4. Elena says:

    Nick, my reaction to this series of clips shown on Yes We Canberra was the same at yours- a confused mixture of love and hate! For some reason it is somewhat amusing, but it’s difficult to pinpoint why. I suspect that the comical result of the clips is not that you don’t expect to hear broadband being discussed in an Indigenous language but that you don’t expect it to be discussed by people who appear to be living in the outback, particularly when they are sitting around in the open air and thus give the impression of not being highly dependent upon modern comforts and technology. While the fact that an Indigenous language is being used does add something to the overall effect, I don’t think this is really the main cause for amusement; if the clip showed a group of Indigenous Australians sitting around a table indoors, I don’t imagine it would be funny at all.

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