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Home > Culture and Society

Raising The Bloody Pressure

14 March 2006

Despite TFT's spluttering denouncement of the 'say fuck, get fined' farrago the other week, it seems the news that penalising profanity is blinking bonkers hasn't quite filtered through to those with the power to penalise. Indeed, the regulating body Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) seem to be slithering towards 1950s standards of propriety, having opted to put the kibosh on the use of the word 'bloody', as in 'bloody hell', in a television ad. For fucksakes.

The ad is the latest attempt to lure British tourists to Australia, whereupon they will set their hearts on emigrating to have a house with a pool and barbecue for Christmas, only to drown in a sea of red tape and never be heard of again. It's actually sort of clever and ballsy, by the low standards of garish, glurgey tourism advertising which puts all its energy into visuals and bugger all into snappy text. There are the usual images of achingly beauteous, life-completing holiday scenarios - a lush forest, a camel trek across a beach at sunset, that sort of thing. The lines go like this: 'We've fertilised the tree ferns, had the garden watered and pacified the Tasmanian Devils - we've shampooed the camels, laid on a nice sunset, and the beer is waiting at the other end'. Followed by, in scratchy capital letters as though etched into a door by someone of a disturbed mind, the tag, 'SO WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?' Which is crude and lumpen and startlingly pushy and stupid, but then it's also very Aussie - you can't look at it without getting an instant mental playback in a broad Ramsay Street accent. It's the new 'strewth!', for certain.

It's a rather dubious campaign, all told. It's awfully blokey. There's another image, of a lovely big whale, with the lines 'She's been on a strict plankton diet, put on her best swimsuit, and all she needs is someone to play with.' Surely after the widely-reported dolphin-molesting incidents, the country doesn't want to bring any heat on itself. But really, forging a mental link between an aquatic mammal and a woman and *then* going all-out for the 'she will do *anything* to please you, and is keeping her weight in check so there is no stray blubber to offend you, yes, very good price for you' angle... well, it's just not cricket. Plus, the cultureless swine show *no* sensitivity in using the Tasmanian Devil as an attraction - the cute furry things of folklore are in deep shit at the moment, galumphing their way onto the endangered list by giving each other enormous facial tumours. It's true. But Australia doesn't care. It cares only for the fat tourist dollar. Bloody Australia.

So there are plenty reasons to dismiss this silly bit of televisual tosh, but the 'bloody' is what really bothers the BACC, and so it's this which will be cut when the ads are shown in the UK. The most watered-down expletive known to man. But 'hell' will stay. 'Hell', with its dark religious connotations, screaming literary dread and awesome linguistic weight. 'Hell' is fair enough. 'WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?' is actually a lot more scary and bothersome and inclined to make people back out of a room hastily and book two weeks in Jersey instead. Of course the Australian tourist board are just terribly pleased with all the extra publicity the hoo-hah is bringing in, and have smugly invited the squeamish UK authorities 'to have a "bloody" good holiday in Australia'. There are no winners, then. Just happy idiots, mad prudes, dieting wildlife, and facial tumours. Bloody

See the Uncut, X-rated Ad.

Pity the Poor Devils.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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