Boris the Rubber Chicken

The football media has gone nuts with the latest off field incident, this time it’s North’s turn with a YouTube video of a rubber chicken rooting a real chicken carcass.

My immediate reaction is one of shock and disappointment. This happens to Collingwood, West Coast, Port Adelaide … the list goes on. But not to North.

But then I actually think about the incident. Is a rubber chicken dry humping an actual chicken degrading to women? How did this story break? How should the media, the AFL, North Melbourne and footy fans respond? Who is Boris the rubber chicken anyway?

These are my thoughts:

Women and footballers is the hot topic right now. Brett Stewart of the NRL and Nathan Bock of the Adelaide Crows can attest to that. But they alleged assaulted actual women. A rubber chicken assaulting a chicken carcass seems a bit different to me.

Arocca has apparently conceded that it could be construed as insulting to women. Phil Cleary, an outspoken advocate against domestic violence, described it as ‘bogan’, ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’.

What do I think? I think it’s ridiculous. I am no fan of misogynistic behaviour, and from what has been described of the video, I think the biggest crime is that someone thought it was funny. I don’t like some of the imagery – running over the chicken carcass at the end is pretty horrific if you think about it as a woman – but it’s not a woman. And clearly, whoever directed the video (‘one of the younger members of our group’, Eugene Arocca) really wasn’t thinking about the implications.

But is it a reflection of a deeper ignorance, possibly even a disdain by footballers towards women? Definitely. My question is, why is anyone surprised? Put any bunch of boys together for a while, in relative isolation from the rest of society (let alone women), and this sort of stuff will happen. What is just an innocent in-joke to them is offensive to someone else. And the moral brigade will be wheeled out by the media and publicly damn it as an outrage.

So what’s the solution? How can the AFL, clubs and officials tackle this culture?

In many ways it’s straight-forward – put the players back into the community. Integrate them, educate them, allow them to mix freely with all types and learn from their mistakes. Don’t hide them, attempt to protect and control them. Just like the rest of us, they’re grow up eventually, and treat women with the respect they deserve (well, at least the respect society thinks they deserve).

But it’s not going to happen – not without a revolution anyway. With the media reaction the way it is, clubs and the AFL are forced to take action. And what will their action be? On the surface, it will be about education and community work. But in practice they’ll just look to make sure it doesn’t get out again.

This story broke coz a player put up the video on their Facebook page. As if NMFC won’t ban players from Facebook now? Or at least have a strict online code of conduct policy enacted. In effect, they’ll just look to lock down players more, give them less liberty, make them more removed from society. They have no real choice – the media love this stuff too much. And so the cycle continues, gaining momentum with each turn.

And so who do we blame? The media? The clubs? The AFL?

As I’ve said before, none of them are actually to blame. We are. If we, fans and non-fans alike, continue to disconnect with any real community, we’ll continue to lap up these bull-shit stories. We’ll continue to dismiss or condemn, depending on our perspective, and choose not to humanise any of the real people involved. Coz when they’re celebrities, it’s okay to condemn them. ­Coz they’re not really human then, are they?

If people want to do something about this issue, it’s time to address the continual breakdown of community – across all facets of society, not just football. North are trying – they are arguably the last of the community clubs in the AFL, and are publicly looking to go back to their community roots. And they are one of the few clubs that has at least one woman working in the football department.

And there are a few people around the traps, even in the media, who seem to get it. Just have a look at a real story from John T. Harms in today’s Age. But tragically, not many people will get past the back page headlines and see it.

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24 Comments

Filed under Off Field

24 responses to “Boris the Rubber Chicken

  1. jon

    I reckon Little Boris should get his own Facebook/Twitter/Myspace, he’s way cooler than Brooser.

  2. Its been taken too far, its breaking news and headline news. must be a slow news day. JB going to cope it tonight, your welcome at TAE Rev. Shinboner 🙂 Cheers mate:) Keep up the good work

  3. Bryce Ives

    Shinboner,
    It would never happen at Carlton.

  4. Annie

    Like you I am not suprised by the behaviour. In fact, it is with little surprise that I read about the North Melbourne player’s alleged chicken Utube prank where a women is depicted as a chicken carcass and subjected to humiliating acts, including violence, while the rap tune “move bitch” is played. For many (sadly both male and female) this will be considered funny and may even receive something of a cult following (albeit within the confines of the internet).

    Over the years, and particularly in recent years, I have seen a gradual decline, in the negative, in the way women in our society are depicted, referred to and treated. Sadly, on many occasions this is considered “ok” and those who speak out are considered wowsers, dare I say “feminists”.

    If the chicken in the Utube movie had depicted a racial or religious characteristic of a person, rather than the person’s gender, would people feel the more enraged? In any evet, as a women and human being, I am sick of the disgraceful, disrespectful and humiliating way in which an every growing section of our society depict women and the image of womanhood.

    The football players that did this should take responsbily. They are fole models in our men (and women) in society especially the young. They also represent a powerful corporate brand.

    • I largely agree with your sentiments Annie.

      The entire North Melbourne football playing list (all 46 of them) fronted the media today, taking collective responsibility. It is a humiliating thing to put yourself through. They are also donating out of their own pockets towards a domestic volence charity.

      I don’t condone the video. But I do think it’s pretty simplistic to just point the finger at the footballers involved. It’s a social problem that needs a wholistic approach to deal with and I’m not sure what that the NMFC players should be expected to do beyond what they already are. Perhaps some more community work? But victimisation isn’t going to help anyone – least of all the real victims, those that suffer domestic violence.

  5. Luke

    Go Boris!

  6. jon

    Rev, I was orginally cast for the part of Boris but unfortunately had other filming committments at the time.

    But (almost) seriously:

    Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith, that fat guy from Superbad and even Peter Jackson have all made a living off this sort of stuff, can’t we condemn them before set our swords on a 17-18 year old’s immature prank? I would have loved to see a front-page Herald Sun article going after Zack and Miri Make a Porno (and I’m sure KS would have loved the extra publicity he would have got from it).

    For me a chicken is a chicken is a chicken is a dead bird. Why is this a gender issue and not an animal cruelty one?

    I think the lesson here is keep your anonymity online.

    “(C)ult following (abeit within the confines of the internet)”? The internet is everything but confined.

  7. C

    i think they were just having a little fun, but it went too far when they actually made a video out of it.
    it wouldnt happen at carlton, as they are not smart enough to turn on a video camera, let alone use a pc to edit a short clip.
    look, NMFC have been at it for years. remember wayne and his antics in public. they need to teach these boys that they need to respect themselves and those that look up to them.
    the donations being made is a great gesture, but it should be doubled by the club. the club is just as responsible, as it was filmed on their premesis.
    reality is, if it upsets you watching it, why are you even watching it anyway??? i know, it was a slow news day….

  8. C

    ps… i am not actually a football fan, so my dig ay carlton isnt from one eyed bias….

  9. Just got chance to watch player’s press conference: http://bigpondvideo.com/afl/119686.
    Adam Simpson speaks incredibly well. Anyone offended by the incident should take a look at it.

  10. And apparently Channel 7 news just showed the full unedited video. Responsible?!

  11. Ed

    Without seeing the video in its entirety, it’s difficult to comment.

    Do we have an obsession with blame and responsibility when it comes to sexualisation in the media? Do we have a obsession with sex in the media?

    I think so.

    Take the Pauline Hanson photo scandal as an example. The publication of the photos was said to be “in the public interest.” Regardless of whether or not they were Pauline, of what concern are they to us? What people do in the context of their homes should be considered….in context.

    The Boris Video is different in many respects, but it should still be considered in the context that it was created for.

    This was not some misogynistic manifesto intended for public consumption. It was a private joke, and the pious moral do-gooders will never be able to accept that as a consideration.

    Who amongst us, if our lives were broadcast for the world to see, wouldn’t have cause for concern? If abstracts of our lives were taken out of context, they could be used to almost any end. A dirty joke told, or even chuckled at. A private sms intended for a loved one. Does being connected with one of these acts make you a pervert or a racist or a misogynist or whatever it may be? If it sells papers then who cares?

    In my eyes, the Roos are no worse or better than any of us. It was a joke, and whenever you start using comedy as grounds for assessing the moral fibre of any individual, you start down a very slippery slope.

    -Ed
    PS: I always read John Harms’ work and I think he always captures the true spirit of the game.

  12. Matt

    Firstly, good on you for posting your thoughts on this emotive issue. Reasoned debate should be encouraged.

    Sadly, though, I think much of the debate simply deflects from the cold hard truth of it.

    1

  13. Matt

    Sorry. Hit the wrong button at the wrong time…

    1 misogynistic and violent actions portrayed to a misogynistic soundtrack

    2 no one – not a soul – recognised the implications

    3 Arocca hasn’t shown any leadership.

    Re 1 and 2: absolutely completely and utterly unforgiveable.

    Re 3: I hope he does.

    And as for your comment ‘This sort of thing happens at Collingwood etc…Not North Melbourne’. A) your memory is extremely selective and B) it’s not the point – this is a game owned by all Australians. It should reflect standards that Australians live by. It is your club’s responsibility and the code’s responsibility toget that right without blemish.

    For those reasons, I believe North should have points deducted.

  14. haydn

    your a dickhead. get over it. your thinking to much just so u have something to write about. get a life.

  15. I think the video and footballer’s attitudes to women are two seperate issues entirely. Anyone who describes Boris the chicken’s escapades as a depiction of violence and/or degradation towards women is a reactionary lunatic, in my opinion. Need it be reiteratered that no women were used in the making on this video?

    Sometimes a rubber chicken bonking a frozen chicken is just a rubber chicken bonking a frozen chicken.

    As for the song, “Move Bitch”, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but surely any complaints about its contents should be directed at whoever recorded it, and not these footy players.

  16. AJ

    i’m female and i’m offended…
    that a dead chook was cast as the leading lady….
    other than that who really cares?
    jokes (rude, explicit, derogatory, offensive, whatever) about male footy players (especially carlton) are often hilarious.
    it’s a joke. if you don’t like it don’t laugh.
    i’m just glad the weekend is here and it’s back to being all about the footy… please.

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