Ben Pobjie is an Australian comedian, poet, and writer. He studied history at the University of Western Sydney. He pursued a career in comedy writing and is known for his TV columns in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and political satire for New Matilda, Crikey, and the ABC, among others. His books include Superchef, The Book of Bloke, and Error Australis. He has written for the TV shows Reality Check and The Unbelievable Truth.
Someone told Ben Pobjie he was both clever and funny – and he ran with it. He certainly has the gift of the gab…….. in the same vein as a used Car Salesman, as far as I am concerned.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie : Questionable Histories Of Great Australians is a selection of celebrated Australians and their achievements. Remember your Social Studies classes at Primary School when you would learn about a different person’s achievements each week? People like Helen Keller, Nancy Wake and Madame Curie, for example?
Well, this book is a bit like that, though containing only Australians.
The blurb from the booksellers states this book is “Australian history made palatable.” Palatable. When did history have to become palatable?
Maybe since “Child psychologists in Britain have issued new guidelines advising doctors to change the age for maturity from 18 to 25 years old. According to the experts, their decision was based on recent findings relating to emotional maturity, hormonal development and neurological activity.”( according to the Medical Daily)
Now step back and read those two sentences again.
I did enjoy the inclusion of some different names to the Usual Suspects, such as Aboriginal activist, Vincent Lingiari, and Movie Producer, Charles Trait. ( Who, right?)
The continual chatter became boring and I felt I was reading the ramblings of a 16 year old kid. Funny? No. Self indulgent? Yes. You can most certainly see the experience the author has gained from writing television commentary.
At the end of each Australian identity Probjie lists a task – Fun For You At Home.
Under Albert Jacka VC. MC, and first decorated Aboriginal, the task is:
“Learn what it was like as a soldier in World War 1. Dig a trench in your back yard, half-fill it with water, and ask your friends over to shoot at you. If they come too close, stab them. Now you’re living like a real war hero”.
Look, I’m no history buff, and I enjoy irreverence as much as the next person. This is, however, neither clever nor funny. If I really wanted to be controversial I would suggest that the young Sydneysiders who thought they were hipsters would eat this up.
My Tip: spend the money on Avocado on Toast instead.
Palatable history. Now that’s funny.