Hold on, mate, them’s fighting words

By Staff
Scot Beard
Columnist
Apparently the Prime Minister of Australia does not think too much about the great state of Alabama.
In case you missed it, comedian Robin Williams sparked international outrage with his comments about the country.
While on the “The Late Show with David Letterman” Williams said Australians were like “English rednecks.”
This comment did not sit too well with Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, who issued a comment on the matter.
Drawn into the controversy, Gov. Bob Riley said he doubted Rudd ever visited Alabama. Riley said that a visit would have shown Rudd that “Alabamians are decent, hard working, creative people.”
Come on Riley – you have to have a better response than that. There are so many ways to slam Australia and Rudd at the same time.
Okay, lets start with the obvious.
While Alabama does have some residents that have been sent to prison, the state was not founded as a prison. When the British discovered Australia, the only thing they thought it was useful for was as a penal colony.
Some rednecks go to prison. Australians are descended from prisoners. You decide.
The movie “Crocodile Dundee” sparked interest in all things Australian and was used by Australian tourism officials to bring tourist dollars into the nation.
The movie “Forrest Gump” spread a message of hope and was used by the studio to bring people into theaters.
Sure Dundee fought off muggers in the Big Apple during the 1980s, but Forest won a national title by returning punts for Bear Bryant.
Speaking of football, Alabama’s version is better than Australia’s.
In Alabama there are two universities that have won national titles — one university has more than the other, but both have won.
Australia has its own form of football that is a mutant mix of football and rugby where the only way you can score is by kicking the ball through the uprights. It is a game designed for punters and field goal kickers.
Besides, how intimidating can the game be when the officials wear three-piece suits and signal a score by pointing their fingers in the shape of a gun like a 5-year-old kid playing cowboys and Indians?
Sure Alabama has its redneck element, but every place does.
While some people tend to think of red necks as beer drinking, trailer trash racists, this is not the case. Most red necks are people who work hard and like to have a good time.
Riley’s response is disappointing because he does not say, “We’ve got some red necks and they are part of what makes Alabama a great place to live.”
Instead he tries to play up the upper crust of Alabama to make it sound like a center of cultural diversity.
Why can’t Alabama be both?
Lets be happy about having NASA and Talladega.
Lets celebrate the wins our favorite collegiate football team earn on Saturday afternoons while we also celebrate the cutting-edge medical advances made at the University of Alabama-Birmingham during the week.
Alabama blends the best of both worlds, and that is what makes it great.
Incidentally Rudd admitted during his campaign that he visited a strip club in 2003, but didn’t remember much about the night because he “had too much to drink.”
Does that sound like something a red neck would do?

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