How on earth do they get away with it? is what you’re sure to be asking yourself as you soak in the critique and absurdity of The Chaser Quarterly: Issue 04. From made-up quotes by national icons taking the utter piss out of our country, to a fake letter from The Queen (“I look forward to selling my copy on eBay”, ER), to insulting stabs at the everyday Aussie bloke, The Chaser holds no prisoners in its deconstructed dissetation of the land down under.
The publication is divided into easy-to-digest sections of ‘Politics’, ‘History’, ‘The Nation’, ‘Sport & Religion’ (because they’re one and the same in Australia), ‘Culture & Media’ (they’re certainly not) and ‘People’, but you’ll find you’ll likely read the entire thing in one sitting, it’s that much of an hilarious page-turner.
Whilst the manual is littered with sweeping generalisations, such as “The two major [political] parties are the Australian Labor Party, who represents workers, and the Liberal Party who represents yacht owners”, the sum of all this skewering is actually more spot-on than any ‘serious’ encyclopedic text about Australia that came before it.
At school, we might have been taught, for example, that explorers Burke & Wills are to be celebrated for their bold excursions from north to south of this great land of ours, but The Chaser cuts to the chase and sums them up as two geezers whose longitudinal navigation was not only redundant but virtually a competition of which of the two should end up more famous for not doing much at all (a bit like the final contestants on any given season of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here).
So scathing is The Chaser’s summary of this country, its politics and its people, that when they say “Australians famously pay eight cents a day for the ABC, four cents of which are spent on lawsuits caused by The Chaser”, you actually believe that statement to be fact.
Sure enough, when it comes to causing a ruckus, the Chaser lads (and now a few lasses) know how to make some real noise – and folks can’t get enough of the chaos they’re causing.
Back when The Chaser’s War On Everything was freshly being aired on the ABC, a promotional image was used to push the series featuring the guys lined up, posing for a class photo and looking every inch the crooked-tie-wearing rebel rousers that they are. Indeed, The Chaser takes everything sacred and institutionalised about what we’ve been taught to believe about Australia, chucks it out the proverbial window, and replaces it with truth-be-told irony and wit.
I’m off to order more back issues and to fill in my lifetime subscription to this most credible source of information. Antonino Tati
‘The Chaser’s Australia’ / ‘The Chaser Quarterly: Issue 4’ is out now in paperback, RRP $24.99.
For information on The Chaser’s Australia Quasi-National Book Tour, click here. And, yes, as far as we know, the quasi-national book tour is a genuine thing!