I should be able to cut America
On June 2, the Australian Twitter account @parsface aka fungbunger (nicknamed the Aussie dril) tweeted: “A guy at work who has been here about 6 years gave 2 weeks notice last Friday and now he’s done old Harold Holt. completely AWOL. managers go crazy. phantom calls and text messages from close co-workers. so good. the old scorched earth strategy for no fucking reason.
Aussies joined the fungbunger in celebration, a resounding chorus of you bloody ripper! and Damn oath, it’s alright! and old m8 living the fucking dream! We were ecstatic, jubilant and envious of what we recognized as a beautifully skillful and quintessentially Australian act. get some fukt assholes, ouiiiiiiwww!
If only we had kept our joy private. If only we had remained humble! Instead, we caused the tweet to go viral and before we knew what was going on, it drifted to that most vile place: America’s Twitter.
Soon, fungbunger was harpooned with replies from accounts with names like “PelotonMomForBiden”, “TeslaTerry” and “JAGEnjoyer78”. They suggested that the man in question had taken his own life, that he was a tortured soul, that it was actually the fault of our (their) failing health care system, that it was Governor so and so, that their wife’s friend had dramatically quit his job before shooting the place, and so on. Worst of all were those who bragged about having done something similar themselves, but in the dark, joyless way typical of residents of the 50 states.
Fungbunger dove into his answers, laying waste to this scourge of Americans like a berserker bogan.
“If this shall be my lot,” he tweeted, “an eternity of wrath, to kill the yank, to hunt his kind, then so be it. I will walk in the darkness and purify it. I am the Yank Hunter.
No sharp blow on the wire! came the rallying cry, NO STOP ON THE WIRE!
For his bravery, Twitter suspended fungbunger’s account.
fungbunger’s martyrdom made it clear to me that we need a way to mute America. Why? Because America is fearless. America is exhausting. America is incapable of letting anything be merely funny instead of a dreadful harbinger of their apocalyptic present. America is ruining the internet.
America is the Internet.
I’m a sandman from Perth, Western Australia, a place sometimes called the most isolated city in the world. Perth is essentially a big gelatinous suburb with the temper of a disgruntled stepfather and the motivation for his dysfunctional failure. As such, it is a Facebook city.
But I’m a tragic Twitter, tragically.
Australian Twitter is no different from American Twitter in that it is a collection of assholes and wankers who work in or around the arts, media and politics. Because all of our lunatics are leaving for newspaper internships in Sydney, and our wankers are leaving for one-man shows in Melbourne, Perth Twitter has the dregs and weirdos of Australia online.
Being three hours behind the East Coast, Perth, late at night, Twitter looks a bit like the Night’s Watch to game of thrones: a motley collection of rejects trudging along the great slippery wall of ice of infinite scroll while the kingdom sleeps.
Sadly, that means we’re the first to witness the awakening of this undead nightmare otherwise known as “American Speech.”
The greatest trick America has ever pulled on the subjects of her various vassal states is to make us feel like a partaker in her grand experiment.
Before I go to sleep, I witness many nightmares: Brooklynites grieve over the sanctity of the bodega, Louisiana astro-poets torch Wiccans over their ongoing “amethyst erasure” , someone in Minnesota has gone viral claiming it’s an act of ‘class genocide’ to know that drinking water keeps you hydrated, a Florida DSA chapter publicly implodes over the photos’ disputed value of feet, a Washington Postcolumnist peeing loudly on a little workplace levity the bassist of a long gone hardcore band begs people to share the gofundme page for a single mom rendered homeless by a twenty year hospital visit minutes, while armchair experts debate the value of mask mandates like trending #1milliondead and #bidenbts in your sidebar.
America insists you witness her tripping over his cock and smacking her face against an endless row of scorching pies. You do more than bear witness, because American Twitter has the same kind of magnetic pull as a garbage disposal. Some sick part of you wants to stick your hand in. You want to let the blades cut into your joints, if only to see if you can slow them down a bit.
The greatest trick America has ever pulled on the subjects of her various vassal states is to make us feel like a partaker in her grand experiment. After all, our fate is tied to the downfall of the American Empire’s whales. My generation in particular is the first pure batch of Yankee-Yobbo mutoids: as much Hank Hill as we are Hills Hoist (look at him!), as familiar with Supreme Court Justices as we are with Justices of Chefequally comfortable in fraseris Seattle or Seinfeld‘s Upper West Side as we are in Ramsay Street or Summer Bay.
America has effectively built a green zone in our cultural consciousness, filled with mandatory Maccas. Our imaginations, our memories, and ourselves have been well and truly occupied, and the schizoid psychic agony of sustaining our nation’s dueling nightmares is, more often than not, excruciating.
I shouldn’t know who Pete Buttigieg is. In a just world, the name Bari Weiss would mean as much to me as the Norse runes. This also applies to people who might read Norse runes. No Swede deserves to be burdened with this knowledge. No Brazilian should have to come across the phrase “Dimes Square” on a regular basis. For the rest of the wide and varied world, My Pillow Guy and Papa John should be NPCs from a Nintendo DS Zelda title, not flesh-and-blood, pillow-and-pizza men. Ted Cruz should be the name of an Italian porn star in a love boat porn parody. Instead, I’m cursed to know that it’s about a senator from Texas who once stood next to a butter sculpture of a dairy cow and said that the first words of her daughter were “I like butter”.
The irony is that much of the rot at the heart of American discourse stems from a media empire founded by an Australian (Steve Irwin!!! [haha just kidding, it’s Rupert Murdoch]), and for that I apologize – you can take comfort in the fact that this place stinks like a garden idiot too. But it would be great if we could stem the flow of poison America sends us, seeping, as it does, from that proverbial septic tank.
My nation’s finest morons have spent most of their lives trying to graft America’s culture wars onto ours. Just last week, our new Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton (imagine a young Barry Goldwater married to a mall cop and an orc) tried to get the “teachers are dangerous radicals” thing across. here, right after his party crashed and burned in the recent federal election, alongside their version of American (and British, to be fair) electoral transphobia.
Often it just seems easier to submit to the Americanization of self, nation, and the internet – to gently turn around and spell “jail” instead of “jail,” as in “the Seppos locked up the fungbunger in the prison of Twitter”. Why fight against the inevitable?
That’s why funbunger’s thread was as cathartic as it was inspiring. There he was, pushing back against the American sensibilities that weave their way into the internet’s tiniest crevices, despite the platform, the users, and the algorithms’ insistence that he bow to them. A switched Breaker Morant staring at the barrel of a permanent ban and barking: oh you doggies, shut your gobs Seppo!
patrick malborough is a writer, actor and musician based in Walyalup (Fremantle), Western Australia. They have words in VICE, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, NME, The Saturday Paper, Junkee and “beloved other”. their novel A horse held at gunpoint was shortlisted for the 2021 Fogarty Award, and they make music under the name Bang Bang Bart but they spend most of their days being bullied by their incredibly evil dog, Buckley.