Friday, November 6, 2009

How to measure Moral Outrage in Australia


Pictured: Racist former politician Pauline (Dancin') Hanson is resurrected as a public figure by Channel 7; a performance on Hey Hey It's Saturday that was degrading to black people; Harry Connick Jr expressing his displeasure at the blackface skit. Guess which of these most offended Australian sensibilities?






Australians are a laid-back people who don't take things, including themselves, too seriously.

This is, at least, what we tell ourselves. And by and large it is true. Yet it is interesting to follow the zeitgeist on certain issues and see how we are overly sensitive about some things that perhaps don't matter, yet insensitive about other things that perhaps do.

So I've come up with the Moral Outrage Scale to chart just how we seem to feel about some of the big and not-so-big emotive issues of recent times...



A disproportionate number of Indian people in Australia are targeted for robbery and unprovoked bashings.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 4/10

Indian people here and in India have the nerve to protest about being targeted for robbery and unprovoked bashings.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 7/10



John Safran does a few schoolboyish stunts on a program which, while undeniably silly, is basically eulogising cross-cultural love and understanding.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 6/10

Pauline Hanson, promoter of cross-cultural hatred, is promoted as a contestant on "Celebrity Dancing With the Stars".
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 1/10



A group of contestants dance around in blackface on "Hey Hey It's Saturday", an act generally considered inappropriate and offensive to black people.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 1/10

Harry Connick Jr points out diplomatically to the audience that in America blackface is considered very offensive and inappropriate.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 7/10



Australian soldiers participate in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, in which many civilians are killed.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 5/10

Civilians from war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan turn up in boats on Australian shores and have the nerve to seek refuge from possibly being killed.
MORAL OUTRAGE RATING: 8/10

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UPDATE: It seems that purely by coincidence, Fairfax columnist Marieke Hardy wrote a column this week that covers very similar territory. Worth reading - check it here.

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