Culture

Not In My Backyard


Aussie Zeitgesisters, you’re not likely to recall a contest that Macca’s ran five years ago. The aim was to name a new burger. And I doubt that you will recall the winner or the burger. The reason is either because we live a busy life and this information is trivia or because you’ve had sections of your brain erased a la Gondry and Kaufmann’s Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.
Phil, August 2012.

So they’ve named the MacDonald’s “nameit burger”. They’re calling it the Backyard Burger. I was all set to enter the comp.  I even had a name prepared. The ‘Besty’ Burger. However, for reasons that shall become apparent, I could not and did not enter.

In my heart of hearts, I always thought the winning name would be something pretty poor. Therefore I intentionally made my entry–Besty Burger–deliberately naff and ordinaire I mean, come on, “Besty” meaning that it’s your best friend and it’s also a burger. Pathetic. I felt my concept represented the paucity of imagination that would break through the excellence and originality that was sure to sully the contest otherwise.

Why was I so down, so defeatist and so self-sabotaging? Come back to my childhood, back through the temporal vortex to a poorly understood era now known as the late 1970s.

My brother and I were kids and the Perth Electronics Show was at the Perth Entertainment Centre on Wellington Street. One of the prizes was the Show’s mascot, a cool fibreglass robot with funky red LED eyes–and you could win it just by naming the little (actually quite large) guy.

My bro’ and I sweated over various names, now forgotten in the mists of time. Or perhaps I’ve blocked them as a result of the emotional pain caused by the absolute shitness of the winning entry. It was–wait for it–Pec. It was an alleged acronym which stood for Perth Electronics Clone.

Clone.

If you’re reading this, kid who won what shoulda been me and my brother’s fibreglass robot, then you were damned lucky. How is a robot–even a fake one made of Occupational-Health-and-Safety violating fibreglass–in any way, shape or form, a frickin’ clone? How can it be said to be biologically reproduced from anything else? WHAT THE HELL IS A ROBOT CLONE?! (Interrobang).

I don’t want to call in the UN’s biological patent lawyers. I assume such a thing must exist in our post-Human Genome world. But there are clones and there are robots. One thing is an electronic and/or mechanical entity and the other thing is biological. It’s that simple.

You, my unknown nemesis, might have got away with Pec, the Perth Electronic Cyborg, if, as is the case of Doctor Who‘s Cybermen or Daleks, the robot’s shell was a housing or transport for an organic being within – hence a cybernetic organism, hence a cyborg.

But you misused the word “Clone”. And you still won. Not that I’m bitter, or nuthin’,but that’s why I couldn’t enter the name the hamburger name-y contest. I guess I’m still more scarred by the greatest miscarriage of justice in a competition featuring a late 1970s faux robot, than I fully realised.

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia

P.S. The above makes me sound like a bit of a geek, but I’m actually a media savvy taste maker.

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