Shock Horror: Folklore of Disaster 16

SHOCK HORROR: The Folklore of Disaster


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© Warren Fahey


One of the most circulated items in the collection was 100% Australian as it parodied one of our best-known beer commercials. This parody appeared with and without a photographic endorsement by bin Lager himself!

 A hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer. 
And the best cold beer is bin, Bin Lager.
You can get it crashing a plane,
or looking insane.
Being feared,
or growing a beard.
Making rich countries poor,
or waging Holy War.
Making Bush mad,
or calling Jihad.
You can get it burning a flag,
or wearing a rag.
Being an Afghan resident,
or pissing off a president.
Putting nations in trouble,
or making some rubble.
Being a fugitive fella,
or killing for Allah.
You can get it any old how. 
Matter of fact I’ve got it now.
A hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer. 
And the best cold beer is bin. Bin Lager

Another Australian television commercial found itself in the middle of the War on Terrorism when Toyota’s ‘bugger’ campaign jumped continents to find itself in Afghanistan.

Another Australian creation featured a letter from Prime Minister Howard.

Anthony Mundine, an Australian Muslim and prizefighter found himself in a pickle when he attempted to explain the Muslim side of the argument. Parody was not far behind him and the following went into circulation two days later.

Three Insurance salesmen were sitting in a restaurant boasting about each company’s service. The first one said, “When one of our insured died suddenly on Monday, we got the news that evening and were able to process the claim for the wife and mailed a cheque on Wednesday evening.” The second one said, “When one of our insured died without warning on Monday, we learned of it in 2 hours and were able to hand-deliver a check the same evening.” The last salesman said, “That’s nothing. Our office was across the street from the World Trade Center. One of our insured jumped out of the window too save being burned alive. We handed him his cheque as he passed our floor!”

Osama bin Laden has a heart attack and dies. He immediately goes to hell, where the devil is waiting for him. “I don’t know what to do here,” says the devil. “You are on my list, but I have no room for you. You definitely have to stay here, so I’ll tell you what I’m going to do: I’ve got a couple of folks here who weren’t quite as bad as you. I’ll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I’ll even let YOU decide who leaves.” Osama bin Laden thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the first room. In it was Manuel Noriega and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and surfacing empty-handed. Over and over and over. Such was his fate in hell. “No,” said Osama bin Laden, “I don’t think so. I’m not a good swimmer and I don’t think I could do that all day long.” The devil led him to the next room. In it was the Ayatollah Khomeini with a sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after time after time. “No, I’ve got this problem with my shoulder. I would be in constant agony if all I could do was break rocks all day,” commented Osama bin Laden. The devil opened a third door. In it, Osama bin Laden saw Bill Clinton, lying on the floor with his arms staked over his head and his legs staked in a spread-eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best. Osama bin Laden took this in disbelief and finally said, “Yeah, I can handle this.” The devil smiled and said, “OK, Monica, you’re free to go.”

It’s Seven O’Clock in the morning and the telephone rings at the White House on the 11th September 2001. “Hello President Bush, it’s Osama bin Laden here. I just wanted to present my sincere condolences to the American people and to say that we did not have any connection to this terrible attack….”

Bush: “Attack?? What attack?”

Osama bin Laden: “A….errh…sorry. I forgot about the time difference.”

George W Bush and Osama bin Laden are out walking at Camp David when they come across an old lantern when a genie pops out of it.
“You each have a wish, one wish and it is yours.”
Osama bin Laden winked at the turban-wearing genie and declared: “I want a wall around Afghanistan so that no Infidels, Jews or Americans can enter our precious country.”
With a wave of his hand and a giant poof of smoke the genie declared it done.
George W Bush looked at the genie and asked, “Look, I’m very interested in Osama’s wall. Tell me more.”
“Well,” said the smiling genie, “it’s about 15,000 feet high, 500 feet thick and it completely surrounds the country; nothing can get in or out – it is impenetrable.”
Okay,” beams the President, “fill it with water.”


What better story than one that lets you put shit on terrorism and Kiwis at the same time!

NZ Rugby Update

All Black rugby practice was delayed on Wednesday for nearly two hours at Eden Park. One of the players, while on his way back to the dressing room happened to look down and notice a suspicious looking, unknown white powdery substance at the end of the field.

Assistant coach Grant Fox immediately suspended practice while the Police and SIS were called in to investigate. After a complete field analysis, the Police and SIS determined that the white substance unknown to the players was the try line.

Practice was resumed when the officials decided that the team would not be likely to encounter the substance again.


The Taliban held a press conference today, threatening Australia and its people if Afghanistan is further attacked by the allied forces. Taliban leader Osama bin Laden stated that Afghanistan “would not hesitate for a moment ” to cut off Australia’s supply of taxi drivers.î.

The attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, two obvious symbols of American power, coincided with an economic disaster in Australia in the collapse of Ansett Airlines. Both events, although obviously unrelated, provided an opportunistic study of disaster folklore at work.

The demise of Ansett Airlines came as a complete shock to most Australians. Ansett, along with Qantas Airways, dominated the domestic airline business in Australia for many years and had achieved iconic status. Its collapse, supposedly influenced by decisions made by the controlling interests of the Air New Zealand Board of Directors resulted in thousands of people being thrown into unemployment including the closure of many associated businesses. Then there were the thousands of people stranded across Australia and several international ports. It was unbelievably messy and no one seemed to want to accept the blame. Out of this turmoil came humour as jokes were created and transmitted verbally and, once again, via the Internet. PhotoShop folklore played an important part in this story as would-be graphic designers made light of tragic situations.

The great wonder to me as a folklorist was the number of jokes and images that married the two disasters with Ansett management and the international terrorists meeting in the middle ground. I also believe that the Internet has provided another platform for jokes. Obviously the visual and in some cases the audio jokes are exclusively the domain of the screen however it seems as if it is seen as a way of telling a joke that would normally be considered no-go territory. Sexually explicit jokes that depict Osmar bin Laden having sex with a donkey simply wouldn’t work as a joke but it does work as an image especially when the caption on the email is related and humorous such as ‘Osama bin Laden’s last known position’.

Q: What is the definition of bad luck?
A: Being stranded in Afghanistan with an Ansett ticket, trying to make a call on your One-Tel mobile to your HIH Insurance contact.

Q: What is the safest way to fly to America?
A: Ansett. 

Q: What is the best way to walk to Sydney?
A: Ansett.

First pilot, “I heard you got a new position with Ansett Airlines..
Don’t they have kind of a lousy safety record?”
“I’ll say,” answered the second pilot. “Last week two of their
flight simulators collided.”