Joe Dolce and multiculturalism

From Quadrant Online:

“[to] publish in Quadrant while simultaneously presenting sympathy for Aboriginal rights or multiculturalism or green politics, for instance, is utterly hypocritical and ethically corrupt. I suppose for some the ego-actualization of seeing one’s name in print can outweigh higher-order moral fibre.” – Peter Minter, Jan 16, 2014

Personally, I had a good laugh at the assertion that publishing in Quadrant, while showing ‘sympathy’ for multiculturalism, is ethically corrupt. Minter was about thirteen years old when my song Shaddap You Face was headline news in Australia. Minter really ought to do his homework or else take the good advice in my song:

“Maybe you recall Shaddap You Face as just a novelty song of 1980, but Dolce’s hugely successful singalong was more than that. It summed up the change in Australia when multiculturalism displaced the derogatory label ‘New Australian’, when colourful Immigration minister Al Grassby regularly graced the national stage, and SBS was about to take to the air. It caught a social current and gave voice to it in about three minutes.” – Sydney Morning Herald

Just to remind ourselves:

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91 Responses to Joe Dolce and multiculturalism

  1. Rabz

    “Maybe you recall Shaddap You Face as just a novelty song of 1980, but Dolce’s hugely successful singalong was more than that. It summed up the change in Australia when multiculturalism displaced the derogatory label ‘New Australian’, when colourful Immigration minister Al Grassby regularly graced the national stage, and SBS was about to take to the air. It caught a social current and gave voice to it in about three minutes.” – Silly Moaning Herald

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, there are so many clangers in the above paragraph that it really is a challenge as to where to start.

    And Dolce – just one small piece of advice – if you want to be taken seriously, stop referring to that monstrously unfunny z-grade abomination you were responsible for all those decades ago, FFS.

  2. Sinclair Davidson

    Rabz – be polite. Joe Dolce is establishing his street-cred in the area after being dismissed as some sort of rabid right-winger by Minter and Overland.

  3. Rabz

    Sinc – I’m not buying his rebirth as some sort of poet laureate, FFS.

    He should of died of shame many moons ago.

  4. Firstly, let’s get that ‘monstrously unfunny’ comment out of the way – then perhaps we can have a serious discussion without name-calling:
    http://youtu.be/GsDQ93iguP8

  5. Arnost

    What’sa matta you, hey?
    Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do!!!?

    Remember – Its-a nice-a place after all !

  6. I trust this thread will not degenerate into name-calling and personal insults as so many of the other ones on this important topic have so I will ignore the above comments at the moment and hope we stay on track which as I understand it is part of the conditions of posting on this forum. Correct me if I am wrong. I do not have to defend Shaddap You Face. Six million people have done that for me. I do not have to defend my poetry and songwriting skills: with over a hundred poems and lyrics published in periodicals over the past two years. I am proud of writing SYF and have always been. It is one of the only World Number One Hit song ever created in this country to be translated into an aboriginal language. Ok? So now cease and desist with the insults, please. Back on the topic:

    A few of the many problems and hypocrisies of Peter Minter’s Overland ‘poetry policing’ – and why it must be resisted – are:

    1. It is impossible to enforce – unless someone at Overland monitors every single issue of Quadrant monthly and make a list of who publishes there, how will they ever spot all the contributors? Quadrant has a mandate to publish new writers on a regular basis.

    2. Or, say, someone ignorant of the ‘policy’ (it still isn’t stated anywhere on Overland’s website) is published in Overland one month and then in Quadrant the following? Do they do a recall of all those stained and ‘tainted’ issues?

    3. Or what’s to keep a dozen new Ern Malley/Guy Fawkes-style poets springing up to purposefully subvert this policy? And then saying ‘Ah hah! Got you!’

    4. Finally, Peter Minter’s original statement to me from whence this entire conflict began was this:

    “…I will no longer be publishing anyone who also publishes their work in Quadrant. Notwithstanding the history of the magazine, I don’t wish to have any association with the authors of a journal edited by Keith Windschuttle.”

    However, just recently I have found out that Minter wrote a private letter of apology to Les Murray himself apologising for maligning him, without telling Les HOW he had maligned him. Les chose not to ask. Not having a computer, or frequenting the internet or any of these blogs and Facebook threads, Les wouldn’t have had a clue what Minter was talking about and how mean and petty his comments actually were.
    Now why would Peter Minter state publicly he didn’t want ‘association with the authors of a journal edited by KW’- and then apologise privately to the man who has been the poetry editor at Quadrant for 24 years? And why, in that case, wouldn’t he announce publicly that he had written this letter of apology? Unless he didn’t want anyone else to know about it except Les. So on one hand, insulting the poet publicly, on the other, courting a private forgiveness.

  7. oldmiseryguts

    I always liked the song, and I have enjoyed Joes poetry and essays in Quadrant. Stick it to them Joe.

  8. Mique

    More power to Joe Dolce’s pen. What sticks in my craw is the SMH’s statement that “Al Grasby regularly graced the national stage”. Yeah, right!

  9. Joe’s comments notwithstanding – Rabz, when’s your humour transplant scheduled? It’s way overdue.

  10. Yobbo

    Rabz hates any song other people have heard of. He’s a raging hipster.

  11. “Al Grasby regularly disgraced the national stage”.

    Fixed for the Silly. And he disgraced much else besides. Imagine having your culture represented by that scum-sucking gutter-dweller whether you liked it or not?

  12. Token

    And Dolce – just one small piece of advice – if you want to be taken seriously, stop referring to that monstrously unfunny z-grade abomination you were responsible for all those decades ago, FFS.

    I usually agree with your music tastes Rabz, but I strongly disagree with you here.

    If Dolce’s humour was not your humour, fair enough, but for those of us who lived the experience he described it was great folk music which gave voice to the conflict many of us were feeling.

  13. nerblnob

    You can’t beat a novelty hit. I wish there were more of them these days instead of all these ululating Pop Idol types. I enjoyed SYF when it first came out, got sick of it very quickly and now get a mild smirk out of it when it graces the airwaves here in Europe. Yes, you still hear it.

    There are some good articles in Quadrant, as well as a few loopy ones. Like all such periodicals, it used to have higher standards. Trying to demonise not only the magazine but anyone who has contributed to it , though, is the work of a fanatic. A publicly funded fanatic, it seems. I suppose he gets to keep his job at Overland because nobody actually cares about it that much.

  14. Token

    A few of the many problems and hypocrisies of Peter Minter’s Overland ‘poetry policing’ …

    The left will ban everyone eventually, hypocritical exception by exception.

    I would like to understand why a custodian of public funds like Minter stays in the position after he showed he is unable to handle the responsibility?

    Why do you guys keep allowing such guys to control such bodies?

  15. Dianeh

    Like Token, I liked Joe’s song. I was a teenager when it came out and it was great fun to sing along to. I also think it fitted with the times.

    As for Minter, he is using intimidation but I doubt he even recognises it for what it is. After all, he is fighting for the greater good (lefty version) and if not he is just a petty , vindictive person. He is taking aim at a single person (Windshuttle) and has no thought for anyone else. The whole thing is disgraceful and makes Minter look like a man with an axe to grind, which is probably not what he intended.

  16. Carpe Jugulum

    I suppose for some the ego-actualization of seeing one’s name in print can outweigh higher-order moral fibre.” – Peter Minter, Jan 16, 2014

    Sweet cheeses on a bicycle, what does that even mean?

  17. And Dolce …… stop referring to that monstrously unfunny z-grade abomination you were responsible for all those decades ago, FFS.

    Remind us of your number #1 hit song(s), then sling off at Joe’s achievements.
    I take my hat off to the man.

    …the most successful Australian-produced single in Australian music history for 33 years straight….Australia’s first triple platinum recording by the old count….In 2002, “Shaddap You Face” also overtook country legend Slim Dusty’s 22-year longevity record for ‘A Pub with No Beer,’

  18. JC

    Minter should be able to do whatever the contemptible douchebag wants. However federal funding ought to be taken away for this alone.

  19. JC

    Stevie

    Just pour the drinks. Stop worrying about ethnic humor.

  20. JC

    And rabz

    Joe’s song was basically directed towards southern euros… Particularly southern Italians. I think you’ve mentioned at times your family heritage is from the north, which is basically Germanic. Their sense of humor is about equal to the Swiss… Less than zero :-)

  21. .

    Yobbo
    #1206029, posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:31 am
    Rabz hates any song other people have heard of. He’s a raging hipster.

    He was a hipster before it was cool.

  22. .

    “Al Grasby regularly disgraced met with the national stage Calabrian mafia”.

    FTFY

  23. Infidel Tiger

    Rabz prefers Morrissey’s version.

  24. Steve D

    Carpe Jugulum #1206049, posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I suppose for some the ego-actualization of seeing one’s name in print can outweigh higher-order moral fibre.” – Peter Minter, Jan 16, 2014

    Sweet cheeses on a bicycle, what does that even mean?

    Self-referential?

  25. MemoryVault

    Rabz’s comment reminds of a segment on ‘Countdown’ many, many years ago.

    Molly Meldrum had been chatting with some greasy-haired, now long since forgotten, one week wonder “rock star”, then introduced Johnny Young as his next guest. The greasy-hair scoffed:

    “Not that old has-been”.

    Johnny just smiled and sat down, and Molly asked him what he thought of the comment.
    Still relaxed and smiling, Johnny Young replied:

    “Well, Molly, I’d rather be a has-been than a never-was, because a has-been once was, but a never-was probably never will be”.

    Pretty-much sums it up, I think.
    BTW Joe, as the only Australian-born in a group of friends from backgrounds that spanned most of Europe, let me assure you your song was popular across a wide-spectrum of people.

  26. “[to] publish in Quadrant while simultaneously presenting sympathy for Aboriginal rights or multiculturalism or green politics, for instance, is utterly hypocritical and ethically corrupt.

    Who is this bigot? Who died & appointed him gaulieter of artistic merit in this great nation?

  27. MT Isa Miner

    JC

    #1206068, posted on February 27, 2014 at 10:17 am

    And rabz

    Joe’s song was basically directed towards southern euros… Particularly southern Italians. I think you’ve mentioned at times your family heritage is from the north, which is basically Germanic. Their sense of humor is about equal to the Swiss… Less than zero :-)

    Growing up with both these cultures, JC, I agree. Like Homer Simpson says: Its funny because its true!

  28. Empire Strikes Back

    So now we know that Rabz’s menstrual cycle is aligned with the new moon. Fascinating.

    Joe – I grew up with “Southern European” neighbours (as we called them back then). 20% of my peers in primary school didn’t speak English at home. Your song was social tonic for the times.

    I think you’ve mentioned at times your family heritage is from the north, which is basically Germanic. Their sense of humor is about equal to the Swiss… Less than zero

    No JC, just different. Watching ‘polenta’ and ‘terrone’ joust can be pretty entertaining.

  29. cynical1

    Minter sounds like a twat.

    Remember that saying that went something like: “The wise have doubts, fools have none”.

    Ideologues like Minter are dangerous because they are sure they are right.

    Put him in a room with Clive Hamilton.

    And then lock the door.

    SEAL it shut…

  30. The song is great, I don’t understand anyone’s bitching about it. The…er… punch line (?) was quite confronting when I first heard it, (and still is to my delicate ear) Mum wouldn’t allow the song to be played, because of that “inappropriate” piece of lyrics.

  31. Hehehe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_poets
    Dolce listed, Minter is not.

    Green eyed monster has bitten Minter eh? Suck it up Princess.

  32. Token

    So now we know that Rabz’s menstrual cycle is aligned with the new moon. Fascinating

    No, its just not his taste and he probably was too old and most likely he did not have relatives hitting him over the head with sayings similar to what Dolce outlined.

    Many a pre-teen looking for a way to slip naughty words into converation or a teen dealing with teenage angst the thought that song was great as unlike the wanky Dillon crap it actually described what they were negotiating at home.

  33. Aristogeiton

    Don’t worry Joe. Rabz prefers Andre (3000) Benjamin to Prince. He has no taste whatever.

  34. Myrddin Seren

    Related I believe, and by the happy coincidences the Internet regularly provides, I chanced on this one from David Thompson this morning

    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2013/01/our-brightest-minds.html

    in which we read analysis of a fearless academic warrior of the Left who destroyed a free speech wall because:

    Regardless of its content, the free speech wall is, we’re told, “an act of violence.” A “microaggression.” And so Mr Smith feels obliged and entitled to retaliate, in order to pre-empt any hate (as defined by him) that might potentially occur at some point in the future.

    So because a medium exists that is not controlled by the Correct-Think Brigade, something might be stated which might offend someone somewhere ( in a designated victim group – otherwise screw you White Privilege Boy ) the medium can be shut down with a warm glow of self-righteousness.

    This is pretty much a defining position of the cultural Left that they cheerfully sign on to as part of the tribal ethos – free speech must be supressed, and only Correct-Think heard. Hence Mr Dolce’s exile from the taxpayer-fundeded ‘Overland’. Editor Minter’s standing in the tribal council demanded a visible display of moral onanism, overridding all other considerations.

    ( I remain baffled as to how Sinc gets published on The Conversation – which is largely another tax-payer funded echo chamber of the Tribe ).

    P.S. – I like Simple Minds – it’s a free world ;-)

  35. Squirrel

    The tide of political correctness probably means that a latter day equivalent of Shaddap You Face would not have the same wide popularity – but more likely be for a niche audience, like Fat Pizza (for instance).

  36. If our grandchildren are any indication, the song is still popular in their age group because of the simple rebellious and rude phrase of telling adults to shut up! Let’s not forget the obvious. I’m finding this thread quite entertaining – the way SYF memorabilia, and everyone’s different experience of it, is intertwined with this current debate on the Overland & Peter Minter ‘poetry policy’. I’ve said before that one doesn’t have to go in search of causes worth fighting for – they find you. eg SYF was written merely as a fond remembrance of Sicilian grandparents back in the States I hadn’t seen in years. No politics intended. Remember I was raised in the States. Italians (and other ethnic minorities) in the States had always been in high politics, movies and the entertainment spotlight, from Sinatra, Dean Martin – even Chico Marx (who was actually Jewish but it did a ripper impersonation that fooled us ten year olds!). That’s why it was no great social stirrer over there. SYF became a symbol here by accident – precisely because the Italian and Greek cultures were not as pronounced in public awareness. Al Grassby was respected then but Underbelly now has diminished his credibility. He was the only Italians to hold a major office at the time. Corrupt? Probably – but I mean where does the queue start with corrupt politicians and police? All I remember about him was his shocking taste in ties. Meanwhile, here is the present we have a subtler fascism going on – ‘political correct’ thinking and silencing of those who dare think otherwise. If you silence dissent, it comes back through the underground to bite you in the arse with a king-hit. Better to let it air publicly and know where your opponents live.

  37. Gab

    I have no idea what Minter’s problem is with Dolce … until I read about Minter:

    Peter Minter was born at Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1967; his family has English, Scottish, and Aboriginal ancestry. He grew up at Swansea, near Newcastle, and as a teenager moved with his family to Quorrobolong, in the Hunter Valley.

    Ah, that explains a lot.

  38. I am also interested in why Peter Minter allegedly seems to identify himself – and others identify him – as indigenous – when he is also of equal English and Scottish ancestry. Did his parents or siblings view themselves this way? There is not much detail about Minter’s ancestry, parents or distant relatives to understand this. “He was born in Newcastle into a family of coal miners, sailors and fishermen . . “. I wish we could have a better fleshed out background. I do understand that indigenous rights is his area of expertise and where his academic credentials and much of his professional life lay. But I just would have thought he would also magnify not only his Scottish roots but also his English heritage equally. And other people would also to this – not just zero in on one part of the genetic trilogy.

  39. Gab

    Clearly Minter is judging the poet and not the poems.

  40. Aristogeiton

    Feast upon this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SztlS9hIeoM

    As was pointed out in another thread, Minter’s ‘work’ is very similar to that of Ern Malley. And yes, he’s ‘Aboriginal’, and is shown there pretentiously shifting small amounts of dirt from one place to another. What a clown.

    So far as I see it, this problem is due to the modern crisis in the humanities and the decline of the liberal education and the teaching of basic literacy. Postmodernism lacks the critical tools to evaluate literature and most of the funding comes from organizations which are captured by these undereducated Marxists.

    For example, I read some of Minter’s ‘Homeric’ poetry during this controversy. I am an undereducated man, but have read Homer, have basic greek and a passing knowledge of the epic metre. I cannot detect anything ‘Homeric’ about them at all, and the poetry is woeful to boot.

  41. Token

    The tide of political correctness probably means that a latter day equivalent of Shaddap You Face would not have the same wide popularity

    I agree the PC police would try to slap it down as it would hurt the feelings of an overexposed precious poppet like Adam Goodes, but in the end I agree with Joe. The song would get out.

    The moderators of taste have not been able to hold back a comic like Russell Peters are huge in Europe, India, North America & Australia even though he is never, ever mentioned in any of the standard media.

  42. “Al Grasby regularly disgraced met with the national stage Calabrian mafia”.

    FTFY

    Both.

  43. Myrddin Seren

    Hi Mr Dolce

    It is a pleasure to have you here with us today and we hope you can drop by on occasion again. As Sinc’s mission statement proclaims – The Cat is educational, entertaining and informative.

    To your question:

    I am also interested in why Peter Minter allegedly seems to identify himself – and others identify him – as indigenous – when he is also of equal English and Scottish ancestry.

    It is Marginalisation Bingo. His Anglo-Celtic ancestry, melanin content, gender and, possibly, sexual orientation make him part of the Oppressor Class. He can only enjoy validation within the Tribe of the New Class by being a victim.

    In the words of the famous Ace of Spades ( see comments at this educational experience )

    Whoever is the Most Marginalized is permitted, according to the rules of Leftism, to say whatever he or she likes without challenge and have his or her assertion simply accepted without any backtalk.

    Where the game of Marginalisation Bingo becomes unravelled is when members of different self-declared victim groups are not yelling at the dominant Oppressors, but are locked in a feedback loop trying to outdo each other as the Uber Victim, as in the linked example.

    To ensure ultimate Marginalisation Dominence, Mr Minter needs to add the following to his CV:

    convert to Islam,
    LGBTG campaigner
    vegan
    officially suffering a recognised disability. ( moral preening does not count )

    Stick around – there is a wealth of inspiration here.

  44. Token

    Ah, that explains a lot.

    Sorry Joe, in victim poker indigeneous trumps ethnic, they are the Ace & King in the Australian version of the deck.

  45. Token

    Yes as I was finding the link, you got there first MS :)

  46. blogstrop

    Joe, how far do you think multiculturalism should go? I think it has gone way too far, and assimilation now has a bad name on both the immigrant and indigenous fronts. To me, assimilation isn’t about blotting out one’s past or one’s family past, but it is about being Australian first.
    As for Minter, his nazi spiel marks him out as unfit to run anything of a literary nature – in this country, anyway.

  47. Joe Dolce’s moment in the sun (wearing one of Al Grassby’s shirts, if I’m not mistaken, but thankfully not one of his ties) has also metamorphosed into something iconic:

    http://youtu.be/GsDQ93iguP8

    (I always link to this because I still think it’s side-splitting after all this time).

    PS. True confession: I thought Dolce was pretty hot all those years ago, but then again I’ve always had a soft spot for a wog boy. Especially one with a piano accordion.

  48. johanna

    The PC brigade have long hated irreverent stuff that the masses enjoy.

    In the mid 80s, I ran a record shop for a while. Kevin Bloody Wilson was our top seller for months – but he was never mentioned in the charts or music mags, and was pretty much invisible in the MSM as well.

    Despite that, he outsold everyone, not just in my shop but everywhere. His live shows were sold out.

    The luvvies really hated him, but he was laughing all the way to the bank – no grants required either!

  49. Johanna, I worked with Kevin Bloody Wilson once for a benefit in Kalgoorlie for the Royal Flying Doctors. You never saw so many over 60s folks including white haired old ladies singing along at the top of their lungs to his filthy lyrics! I was impressed. He sold out his entire concert and then donated the entire door to the Royal Flying Doctors. His daughter is also a performer going under the name Jennie Talia! haha. I wonder if Overland would ever publish any of their work?

  50. Splatacrobat

    how far do you think multiculturalism should go?

    From Bullworth the movie:

    Bullworth: All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same colour.

  51. Phillipa, thank you! There are two versions of SYF I particularly like. Samuel L Jackson’s ‘spoken word’ version – and one by two old Italian movie legends, Franchi e Ingrassia, who both died before I could meet and work with them which was one of my dreams back then. Together they made over one hundred movies in Italy.
    Speaking of piano accordions, here is a poem recently published in Contrappasso 4.

    DON DIEGO’S ACCORDION

    I quit childhood accordion lessons
    due to a time conflict with Zorro
    my favourite b & w tv show of the 50s
    three slashes of sword
    whishhht! whishhht! whishhht!
    like the sign of the cross
    cut a Z into many young hearts
    I hung up the rapier and bullwhip
    shortly after George W Bush was run
    out of town on the back of El Toro
    but occasionally don the black cape and mask
    to help local townspeople
    with corrupt politicians and greedy landowners
    and for infrequent shopping mall appearances
    Zorro Spanish for fox pronounced soro
    credited with inspiration
    by their respective creators
    for The Lone Ranger and Batman
    whereas the accordion inspired
    the blind and the file
    I think I made the right choice.

    Franchi e Ingrassia’s version of SYF
    http://youtu.be/zh0QT2sEtuE

  52. Gab

    Oops, I didn’t read that far down! :oops:

  53. It is one of the only World Number One Hit song ever created in this country to be translated into an aboriginal language. Ok?

    Nice to know Joe. The “black trumps everything” game of rock-paper-scissors” isn’t played on this blog though.

  54. Steve, I appreciate your comments throughout here and that’s good you don’t play that game here because it is irrelevant. I mentioned it early one up there, when things were getting a bit combatative, primarily because hardly anyone in Australia – including the so-called ‘Guardians of the Left’ – are aware of it. It still remains largely under the radar. Peter Minter is not the only one here who respects the First People culture. Here is an early live version of the song at La Mama. The translation was done by an aboriginal elder, and super-busker, from Northern Broome, named Gnarnyarrhe Waitairie, who sometimes goes by the name ‘The Black Elvis.
    I remember a dinner party, some years ago, when Paul Kelly came over. He brought along two guests, the then-unknown aboriginal singer-songwriter, Archie Roach, and also, Archie’s partner, the late Ruby Hunter. Archie was a bit shy at first and stayed in the other room by the fireplace but after the meal, everyone relaxed a little. It was an eclectic mix and a night of vibrant song swapping. But when six-foot Gnaryarrahe sat down at the dinner table, meeting Archie and Ruby for the first time, and he saw Paul Kelly wedged tightly between Pondjiflu and Ruby Hunter, both big women, he cheekily commented,’ Well, Paul, I guess you finally got your coloured girls.’
    http://youtu.be/bFPUAhM1tIg

  55. Mique

    Joe Dolce: “Al Grassby was respected then but Underbelly now has diminished his credibility. He was the only Italians to hold a major office at the time. Corrupt? Probably…”

    My memory (confirmed by Wikipedia) is that Grassby was Spanish-Irish, not Italian. His electorate was heavily of Italian descent.

    A nasty piece of work all round, behind his hail fellow-well met spiv exterior.

  56. Al Grassby was respected then

    Not by anybody I knew. He was despised more than Whitlam was, if such a thing is possible.
    At the time the phrase “Slimier than Al Grasby” was used as an insult, or a yardstick of extreme duplicity.
    Obviously there are two Australias.

  57. Oh come on

    My understanding is that if one of your oldies is 5 generation Aussie, then there’s a reasonable chance you have some Aboriginal heritage in the mix. And the earlier your rellos settled here, the greater the probability. People who claim convict heritage are highly likely to have Aboriginal ancestry.

    Of course it suits some people to flaunt their Aboriginal heritage, no matter how faint it might be. Minter sounds like the type.

  58. My understanding is that if one of your oldies is 5 generation Aussie, then there’s a reasonable chance you have some Aboriginal heritage in the mix.

    Don’t bet on it.

  59. .

    ‘Fair chance”, Steve, not “guaranteed”.

    I have several friends who are “part Aboriginal” but it is such a small proportion of their heritage to claim such status is laughable.

  60. If you go back far enough, everybody is part of everybody else!

    Well, Grassby’s Spanish-Irish background is news to me. Amazing! I feel the same way when I found out Chico Marx was really Jewish.

    So in other words, there were NO Italians of prominence in Australia when SYF came out.

    Well, Mique & Steve, there are indeed two Australia’s (at least) – and SOMEBODY must have respected him:
    Australian Labor Party – in 1969, won the federal seat of Riverina, which Labor had not held for 24 years. Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Conservation, best known for ushering in multiculturalism in Australia and burying the White Australia policy, Member of the Order of Australia in 1985, and the United Nations Peace Medal in 1986. Even Howard praised him. RIP Al, you crook! (come on – you know aussies love a colourful crook.)

  61. Token

    …he cheekily commented,’ Well, Paul, I guess you finally got your coloured girls.’

    Thank you, that is a great story Joe.

    Peter Minter is not the only one here who respects the First People culture.

    Sounds like Climate Change. Everyone knows it exists and universally respects it, some believe the myths and put too much weighting upon it.

  62. Peter Minter is not the only one here who respects the First People culture.

    I’ve seen no sign that he respects it. To him it is a catchphrase to advance a political position, or to get him closer to the govt. money-tit.

    Aboriginal culture (there was only one?) is something understood by very few. That is merely my experience. There are plenty who pay lip service to it, or who live off the concept, or who select parts of it they like.
    But understand it? Very few, including one helluva lot of aboriginal people.

    It was finished about 100 years ago. The tail end of it lived on in legend, theory & collective memory. I’ve had the experience of being amongst part of the remnants of it. But there’s hardly a person alive who has actually experienced it.
    I’ve great respect for it, but it is a whole or nothing package.

  63. Tintarella di Luna

    “Maybe you recall Shaddap You Face as just a novelty song of 1980, but Dolce’s hugely successful singalong was more than that. It summed up the change in Australia when multiculturalism displaced the derogatory label ‘New Australian’, when colourful Immigration minister Al Grassby regularly graced the national stage, and SBS was about to take to the air. It caught a social current and gave voice to it in about three minutes.”

    Only in the SMH can you have two blatant leftists statements – using the beautiful word “grace” in the same sentence as Al Grassby and to say that “new Australian” was a derogatory label.

    I don’t know who the hell wrote that turgid twaddle in the SMH, but as the daughter of Italian migrants who were New Australians I’m here to say they loved being new Australians because the adjective notwithstanding, they were regarded by their Aussie neighbours as Australians. Only a know-nothing leftist could term ‘new Australian’ as derogatory, who says? My parents described themselves new Australians from Italy.

    That’s the shame of nitwits who don’t understand or appreciate how wonderful it is to be Australian (in Australia or anywhere for that matter). My parents wanted us to be Australians but gave us as much of our Italian heritage as they could, given that neither of them had much education, neither had been to Rome, neither had seen the the marvellous works of Michelangelo, nor the beauty of Bernini’s Daphne and Apollo, nor had they read Dante’s La Divina Commedia They sang us the songs, cooked the food, made the wine and the salami and of course there was always ‘Tomato Day’ and we all loved SYF, Joe for it’s naughtiness and irreverence.

  64. JaneS

    Whatever the relative merits of that song, I remember that it had just come out when my baby brother was born. I remember singing the song for the midwives at the hospital each night when my dad and I would visit mum and the ‘little mistake’.

    There I was, a little ethnic Indian, singing a song in an Italian accent to a bunch of mostly Anglo-saxon nurses. Multiculturalism at its best without the need for focus groups, marches, candlelit vigils and awareness raising. Just people being people.

    Thanks Joe for a wonderful memory.

  65. nic

    precisely because the Italian and Greek cultures were not as pronounced in public awareness

    I stridently disagree with that, especially with regards to Melbourne. SYF was a good song, not everything has to be about why Margaret Thatcher was a bitch. SYF reminds me of what Melbourne used to be like, when Greeks and Italians owned food shops, the smell alone is something you only get now in Italian enclaves. Personally, I think we’ve lost something.

  66. Tintarella di Luna

    To me, assimilation isn’t about blotting out one’s past or one’s family past, but it is about being Australian first.

    Hi blogstrop I’ve come late to this thread – (I’ve been unravelling elsewhere over these last couple of weeks)

    What you say is exactly right. I was assimilated and I am soooo glad, no confusion for me, I am Australian first but I am very proud of my heritage but my heritage is not who I am, it is a part of me but being Australian is most of me.

  67. nic

    BTW, Carlton, with Catoggio, Marchesani, Christou, Barassi, Camporeale, Koutafides, Silvagni.

  68. Tintarella di Luna

    So in other words, there were NO Italians of prominence in Australia when SYF came out.

    Well Joe — there was and always is Maria Venuti, a very prominent Australian.

  69. Gilas

    Empire Strikes Back
    #1206147, posted on February 27, 2014 at 11:10 am
    wrote:

    No JC, just different. Watching ‘polenta’ and ‘terrone’ joust can be pretty entertaining.

    Just for the further edification of the impeccably educated Cat population; it’s “polentone” not “polenta”, the latter being a wonderful corn concoction which saved many North-eastern Italians from politically-induced starvation in the early 20th Century.

    Agree that the polentoni’s sense of humour can be suboptimal.. to say the least.

  70. Tintarella di Luna, I am talking about a completely different level of integration of Italians into the mainstream. Remember I was raised in the States from 1947 until 1979. There was no comparison. Just think about it for a minute from Hollywood to politics. Of course sports, but not just local teams – National Sport. Frank Capra, Annette Funicello, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Bobby Rydell, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Laura Nyro, Sonny Bono, Perry Como, Dion, Connie Francis, Frankie Laine, Mario Lanza, Madonna, Al Martino, Lou Monte, Frankie Valli, Joe Dallesandro, Jimmy Durante, Mario Puzo, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mosconi, Charles Atlas, Lou Ferrigno, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta and Rocky Marciano to just mention the ones I knew of before I came to Australia in 1979.
    But I agree something has been lost since the late 70s. The little shops in Carlton where you could get homemade food made by real grandmas for lunch. I miss those days and it is part of the reason I had to teach myself to cook. So I could still eat like that.

  71. Yobbo

    Sorry Joe, in victim poker indigeneous trumps ethnic, they are the Ace & King in the Australian version of the deck.

    Poker doesn’t have trumps. You are thinking of euchre.

  72. calli

    At the risk of sounding ‘star struck’, I have always loved SYF.

    I started off in Cabra’, grew up in Willoughby (which I fondly recall as ‘Wogaby’). Best friends at primary were Carmel and Lina, whose mothers shyly introduced me to the joys of non-canned spaghetti. Their parents were so poor they couldn’t afford proper uniforms at the local school, so they were even poorer than me, which was a wonder for a girl who sometimes had grilled Devon for dinner. I know I’m harping on food, but with food comes generosity and fellowship and something in the spirit that’s hard to pin down.

    That was the 60′s. Then came the decay of that sense of wonder when we all had to ‘feel’ the same way about migrants.

  73. Splatacrobat

    Yogi bear was Italian?

  74. Carpe Jugulum

    Just think about it for a minute from Hollywood to politics.

    You had me at Dean Martin, but i digress.

    You are correct that something has been lost and my theory is that new immigrants stopped becoming part of the Australian mix when Al grasby arrivied on the scene. Previously people who came here wanted to be here, wanted to know their neighbour, wanted to talk about where they came from and most definetely wanted to outdo everyone in the BBQ stakes to cook the best dish.

    I’ll skip the anecdotes about my dear friend from Hungarey (gone to God), or my wifes culinary adventures when she first came to Australia from Japan. Although i must say the first time bbq octopus was served turned a few heads.

    Thats my theory anyway.

  75. Tintarella di Luna

    Y

    ou are correct that something has been lost and my theory is that new immigrants stopped becoming part of the Australian mix when Al grasby arrivied on the scene.

    bingo!!!

    The Italians started going to the US very early in the piece, Australia was just too far away, barely known to Italy though a group of Italians were duped into coming to Australia . “The greatest surge of immigration, which occurred in the period between 1880 and 1920, brought more than 4 million Italians to America.” So Joe you are right, the Italians of the US were part of its polyglot fabric and raised nary an eyebrow when they scaled the ladder of renown.

    By comparison Australia had very few Italians during the same era. Australia also had the White Australia Policy which was a real turnoff, and was only slowly dismantled between the late ’40s and the early ’70s. My Dad and Nonno came out in 1949 and Mum in 1951.

    The food I love is what connects me to Italy and being one of the polentoni my favourite is Polenta e Baccala

  76. Tintarella di Luna

    Agree that the polentoni’s sense of humour can be suboptimal.. to say the least.

    I don’t know there was the Trieste’s Angelo Cicchelin Dad had so many of his recordings with his barzellette the guy was absolutely hilarious, but untranslatable

  77. calli – thank you!

    Yobbo – I noticed looking through the ‘victim’ cards that in the States ‘Black’ there is actually is closer to ‘Convict’ here (in chains from original homeland) and ‘Aboriginal’ equated to ‘Native American’ there (indigenous to land before settlement by whites.) This confuses a lot of African-Americans when they first come here.

    Splatacrobat – Yogi Berra – a legendary catcher (big fat glove-squatting down behind the batter) for the New York Yankees baseball team. I had a baseball card with his picture on it in the 50s, probably worth a fortune now.

    Tintarella di Luna – There were a lot of forerunner songs for SYF in the States notably by Lou Monte and Louie Prima (Big Night Out). Lou Monte actually did a cover version of my song, and named his album with the title as well, which was an honor at first, as he was my parents generation – and then the mob associated with him tried to stop me from releasing my original version over there. Italians.
    The first thing I look for in any Italian cookbook is the baccala recipe. If there is none, I close the book. Look at the list in my Recipe Archive. I used to make a different one every Friday.
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~dwomen/files/recipearchive.html/

  78. Jessie

    Thanks Gab,
    Now this post and Quadrant makes sense as I had not kept known about this story.

    The 1980s and ’90s produced a stream of memoirs, moving if not always literary, which echoed reports on the stolen generations and deaths in custody. Now, the anthology shows, there are younger generations of fine, well-known authors such as Terri Janke, Larissa Behrendt, Samuel Wagan Watson and Alexis Wright, whose Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award last year after a struggle to find a publisher.

    “We couldn’t have timed the book better because people are more open to indigenous stories,” says Heiss, who chairs the Australian Society of Authors and whose books include commercial “Koori chick lit”.

    “But in some ways the issues of cultural inequity haven’t changed*; the difference is we have a platform. The anthology is heavily political because the only voice we have is through the arts.”

    The book is expected to be widely used in schools and universities here and overseas. But at the same time, in most remote Aboriginal communities fewer than 20 per cent of young children can read competently, and many will never have seen a book.

    The five-year-old Indigenous Literacy Project, supported by the book industry and The Fred Hollows Foundation, has raised $400,000 to send books to 23communities, including Wilcannia, in NSW.

    The Prime Minister’s wife, Therese Rein, has joined as patron, thanks to her friendship with the project’s founder, Suzy Wilson, owner of Riverbend Books in Brisbane.

    On September 3, Indigenous Literacy Day, schoolchildren are encouraged to raise money by reading books on a Readers’ Quest list, and booksellers are asked to donate 5 per cent of their takings.

    *I haven’t noted any cultural inequity in the cities or populated rural areas. Just media headers of health gap widening, violent assaults, ‘underage marriage rife in remote areas’ and massive education failures, mostly for the community gated remote outa sight outa mind only the elders da speaka and da painta. The urban and rural people have picked over, chosen and deliberately used only the appropriate results of this aforementioned cultural experiment as a means to develop their own unique identity of black. This choice must be deeply shameful in a context of such [remote] deprivation and disrespect for others’ rights to live as an individual in the Australian culture. Their actions [of printing story books] and thinly veiled childhood stories [lucky that they survived childhood in comparison to remote children] have ensured that gated collectivisation and lack of human development continues to be endured by remote peoples.
    These oppressors cry racial vilification, report 1/2 truths and denounce others who speak/write about the remote peoples, those people who should enjoy the same individual rights and freedoms as do these oppressors and all other Australians with their particular cultural achievements/baggage.

    Joe, the video clip on Samuel L Jackson was interesting. According to wiki, Jackson on advice from the FBI left the Black Power Mvt. Jackson’s 2012 Politics of Colour interview is a sad indictment of the state of affairs in US politics.

  79. Tintarella di Luna

    Wow Joe !! congratulations

    A very comprehensive list of recipes, my pick is LESBIAN STUFFED PUMPKIN FLOWERS – now that I gotta try – my friend has some magnificent zucchini plants so I’ll try it with them as a starter. Only question is what’s the best way to prepare the lesbians for stuffing?

  80. Free Advice

    As someone who has an aussie father and an italian/austrian/maltese mother who grew up in the 70s I can assure you that the term “New Australian” was not a derogatory term at all. Slightly patronising perhaps but nonetheless endearing, it was indeed used as a term of affection.

    Believe me, I had one set of grand parents who were like Edna Everage and the other like Sandy Stone.

    Funny how the term wog has become acceptable when it was a perjorative term back then. Conversely, New Australian was fine then but freaks out the lefties now.

    Love your work Joe!

  81. nerblnob

    It’s true that mass Italian immigration didn’t really happen in Australia until the 1950s, but there were some standout descendants in public life from previous migrations – Bob Santamaria, Ron Barassi etc.

    And Raffaelle Carboni certainly made a brief but brilliant impression on Australian history.

    I must confess to a sledgehammer moment – until reading Joe’s eloquent defence of his much-maligned meisterwerk, I thought it was the mother telling the son to shaddup his face. That’s how it would have gone in my house anyway.

  82. I once auditioned for the part of Carboni for a film about the Eureka Stockade back in the early 80s. Didn’t get the part but I loved the monologue performed it a couple of times in a few shows. A very brilliant speech as I recall. The story of Peter Lalor and the Stockade needs to be told again. From his account of the Eureka Stockade:
    ‘I undertake to do what an honest man should do, let it thunder or rain. He who buys this book to lull himself to sleep had better spend his money in grog. He who reads this book to smoke a pipe over it, let him provide himself with Plenty of tobacco–he will have to blow hard. A lover of truth– that’s the man I want–and he will have in this book the truth, and nothing but the truth.’ Carboni
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks/e00015.txt

  83. nerblnob

    I saw Bruce Spence do Carbone’s letters and speeches as a one-man show about 1980 – did you ever see that?

  84. Empire Strikes Back

    The food I love is what connects me to Italy and being one of the polentoni my favourite is Polenta e Baccala

    Ciao signora. Which region? Lombardia?

  85. Tintarella di Luna

    Ciao Empire

    Provincia Treviso – Venezia Euganea

  86. Combine Dave

    A very comprehensive list of recipes, my pick is LESBIAN STUFFED PUMPKIN FLOWERS – now that I gotta try – my friend has some magnificent zucchini plants so I’ll try it with them as a starter. Only question is what’s the best way to prepare the lesbians for stuffing?

    My impression is that they don’t like being stuffed? That’s why they are lesbians ^^

  87. nerblnob – no I didnt see it but I imagine Bruce Spence would do it great. He is very expressive and big in the way he interpretes a role which is what Carboni needs.

    Combine Dave – not necessarily. I know a lot of Lesbians who like being stuffed – just not by Sardinians.

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