Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Aussie Heros, Gutless Everyone Else

Wow. Some truly terrible journalism in the Herald Sun yesterday.

Be prepared for some Aussie chest beating, racism, and some outlandish assumptions of Titanic proportions!

Check out the article here

To set the scene, here is a headline to remember:

“Aussie couple helped panicked passengers as 'gutless' others fled”

That’s right, here’s an accurate and balanced article about how great Aussies are and how terrible the rest of the world are, mostly because they are not Australian. Cue the OUTRAGE!

This story takes place on the stricken Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground off the Italian coast. To summarize the news of the Costa Concordia, as told by this article, it goes something like this:
An Australian couple was having problems with their marriage, so booked a holiday cruise. As a result, a ship in some country that’s not Australia, with 23 Australians on board ran aground and capsized. There were other people on the ship, but they weren’t Australian. The heroic couple pulled off a remarkable survival when they organised the whole rescue operation, because the all other gutless non Australian bastards on the ship threw their wives off the ship. If it were not for the heroic couple, everybody would have died. Some people did die, but don’t worry, they weren’t Australian. 
It was EXACTLY like the Titanic, the only other ship to capsize. Unfortunately a jar of Vegemite was lost, which just goes to show how bad the situation was.  After saving everyone on the ship, our heroes then abused the hospitality of a local bar owner and got plastered on free booze. 
The capsizing was actually a positive thing, as it saved the couple’s marriage, and they will now stay together until they can sell their story to 60 Minutes and New Idea.  So many questions remain surrounding the capsizing, such as what movies the couple watched on the plane to Europe, and who cheated on who to cause the marriage problems.

We in Australia should be appreciative that some news from overseas was actually covered here, as international news is generally limited to bears swimming in backyard pools in California. But of course, the news of the Costa Concordia was Australianised, because, according to the media, us simple Aussies just don’t have the attention span for news that doesn’t involve us or outrage us!

So here is the story…

Two Australians told of their remarkable survival after booking their cruise "to save their marriage".
So the important thing to remember is that the story is about an Aussie couple – Just like you. That’s right; it could have been YOU! Outrage! Tell us more about this amazing couple. Don’t worry about the boring facts of what actually happened.

Can’t wait to find out more about their REMARKABLE survival and what made it so different from the 4000 unremarkable survivors.

Having come close to splitting up last year, they decided it would be a make-or-break holiday.
Oh no, don’t split up! That won’t be a happy ending!

"We looked at each other and I said 'we've just run aground'."
Then what did you say? This guy was smart and figured out what happened, no doubt before anyone else did.

"People were panicking and a lot of elderly people were screaming and having panic attacks."
People were panicking AND having panic attacks? Sounds serious! Did they hear that you almost split up?

"The worst thing was there were young Italian men, the gutless bastards, jumping into the boats without their wives or girlfriends"
What outrage! Bloody non-Australians! If only people acted more like Australians.

But hang on, is this representative of the 4000 other people on the ship? Did every man on the ship have a wife or girlfriend that they left behind? Were there no single men on the ship? How do you know they were Italians? Did you speak with each of these gutless bastards?

"We saw them pushing women out of the way."
More outrage! How observant, lucky you had time to casually watch everyone else evacuating while you were busy getting in the way.

Crew members ordered passengers out of the lifeboats and back to their cabins, and the Australian couple decided to stay put.
That’s right, why would you listen to trained professionals in an evacuation? You know best. I’m sure you made the evacuation safer by defying instructions.

"Trace asked me how safe will it be and I told her 'don't worry it's not like the Titanic', but it was exactly like the Titanic"
WHAT? Didn’t 1500 people die when the Titanic hit an iceberg at full speed in freezing water in the middle of the Atlantic in 1912? How was this exactly like the Titanic? Oh right, the Titanic was a ship, and you were also on a ship. Exactly the same…

But more to the point, how would you know what it was like on the Titanic? Oh, of course, you saw the movie. You’re all over it.

"I said, 'Trace if we have to swim, we will swim'."
And if we have to get on a life boat, we’ll get on a life boat. And if we have to state the obvious, we’ll state the obvious.

"I was calm. The way I see it, panic will get you nowhere."
That’s because you’re a HERO!

He was crushed into the side of the boat and ripped his lower leg as he used his body to block the crowd to allow women and the elderly on to the lifeboats.
So in an evacuation, pushing people out of the way is GUTLESS, but blocking people’s paths to safety while they try to escape is HEROIC? What?

The couple were among the final crew and passengers on the last lifeboat to leave the ship.
So this remarkable tale of survival involved them abandoning ship via a lifeboat? Like 4000 other passengers? REMARKABLE.

"There were six crew and stewards left after us and there were no lifeboats for them, so they jumped into the water and one of them died."
So, because you didn’t evacuate when instructed, you took the place of the crew who were the ones facilitating the evacuation that you were getting in the way of, and as a result, one of them lost their lives?

"It was unbelievable. People opened their hearts"
Did they know you were responsible for the death of a crew member?

"A bar owner opened his bar for everyone, kept it going all night. We all cleaned him out, drinking espressos with Sambuca shots."
Of course you did. Get plastered, you’re a hero after all. It’s not at all inappropriate to celebrate in the face of tragedy where several people lost their lives.

After 19 hours of no food or sleep, the couple said they held no grudges against the cruise company but felt let down by a lack of communication.
And the cruise company breathes a sign of relief. Crisis averted.

Their luggage, laptops, phones, passports, jewellery and a jar of Vegemite remain in their submerged cabin.
Of course, whats a story about Australians oversees if they don't mention Vegemite. Truly a tragedy when the Vegemite is lost.

Mr Elcombe added: "Who needs couples' counselling, when you survive a Titanic experience?
Huh? By Titanic experience, do you mean sitting through the film? It was pretty long. What other Titanic experience have you had?

"This has made our bond much, much stronger."
Oh guys, that is such great news. I’m so happy, and I’m sure all the other passengers are too. This is the real story.


Unknown said...

Great response to this idiotic news report.
Must find a way of getting this out for all to read.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, great response. I had similar thoughts, particularly in regards to Mr Elcombe's claims that the "gutless bastards" were all Italian men. Clearly he is not afraid of advertising his prejudices.

I have met many like him over the years, with analogous appearance (based on his photo & comments - according to my own prejudices). I doubt he knows what a typical Italian looks like, nor is able to distinguish between most languages.

His comments provoked Italian bashing in commentary that followed articles containing his comments, much of it based on World War II propaganda; Propaganda that has been established by recent historical works to be myth yet is still considered unquestionable fact by many of Mr Elcombe's generation.

It is also interesting that Elcombe's wife appeared to have a different view: "The Italian medics, police, army were amazing." No comment from Mr Elcombe on that. I'm sure he still thought of them as gutless, and himself, by far, more heroic.

It was irresponsible of the media agencies to allow such an ignorant and inflammatory comment to be printed.

P.S. very apt point to make on Elcombe & Gunn potentially being responsible for the death of a crew member.

dave said...

Thanks for the comment, good to see I'm not the only one with these thoughts! Its scary how many other articles there like this which only seem intent on causing outrage rather than covering the actual news.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should send this to the Herald Sun !

Anonymous said...

Glad to have been provided an avenue to comment. I wrote a similar passage for the commentaries at (where I originally read the offending comments), yet they did not release it for public view.

I've been overseas for a few weeks but note these two articles:
1) More accusations of people from certain countries getting onto the life boats first, this time Russians. If true, could this be what Elcombe was seeing? I doubt he would know:

2)Finally, an article praising the bravery of the rescue teams (on this occassion, Italians):

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