2013’s edition of Prosh has seen a considerable amount of press thanks to a number of articles that have offended some people, so after dropping my $4 on the day and leaving the paper gathering dust on my desk I decided to give the thing a read to see what all the fuss was about.
Let’s face it, in this day and age, $4 is an incredible deal no matter what you’re paying for. I could have paid less if I’d wanted, or more. The fact that your coin goes to charity is a heartwarming bonus (provided the charities in question accept Prosh’s money, which I’ll get to later).
I actually found the cover page article hilarious. It was well written and made me laugh, which is all you really want from a newspaper that is reputedly funny, written by supposedly well-educated tertiary students. There were strokes of genius throughout as well, like the First World Vision ad, the Life of Magnum Pi, and the Northbridge ad. But as they say, you can’t polish poo, and this publication is a great big compilation of it.
While reading, there was one thing I just couldn’t get past: mistakes. The whole paper is sprinkled with them. Even the URL at the top of NEARLY EVERY SINGLE PAGE is technically wrong – although it does redirect visitors to the actual site (http://uwaprosh.wix.com/2013). But there’s no redirecting your way out of Primary School-level bugger ups like “…North Korean’s own cities…” and “…SCV’s were deployed…”, which you’ll find in the same column in the second article of the paper… not what you’d call bursting out of the blocks. Are these writers not currently undergoing tertiary-level education?
The second thing I noticed was the fluff. Yes, I understand that in some ways the paper is trying to parody The West Australian, which is pretty much 100% fluff, but can you try and be more creative rather than engaging in wholesale tree murder with unfunny, dated humour? Gina Rinehart = Jabba The Hutt is an old joke, and because she’s morbidly obese and evil, it’s an easy observation that’s there for all to see every day – it’s not humorous if that’s your punch line.
Dockers cast off talks very briefly about how the Dockers have started season 2013 surprisingly well thanks to their logo no longer having an anchor. Two problems here:
1 – This is not a joke, it’s actual news; it IS surprising that they’ve started 2013 well (or they had before the last two games…). It’s not even being parodied here, I could have read this in The West Australian on the weekend.
2 – There IS an anchor in the logo. In fact, they’ve removed the man from the previous logo, and simply restyled the anchor, so in reality, it’s now more anchor than it ever has been.
So yeah, that article’s shit. These sorts of half-arsed articles make up most of the paper too, so you can’t even use it as toilet paper, since you wouldn’t wipe with the same thing you’re supposed to be wiping up, would you?
And now to what everyone’s been talking about – offensiveness. Plenty of comedians offend people. Plenty of comedians make people laugh. And some especially talented people can do both at the same time. Prosh evidently has no such individuals.
Those especially talented comedians, like the Eddie Murphy of old, Chris Rock, Ross Noble and to a degree Ricky Gervais, come across as people who have their finger on the pulse of society. For the most part, they know where the line is, and go right up to it to devastatingly funny effect. They deliver their lines with perfect timing, and put together their acts so they space out things that might offend with moments of comic genius based on ordinary topics that are still funny. The key is they’re clever, they’re balanced, and they know what makes people laugh.
In contrast, Prosh shoots itself in the foot with the issues I’ve previously discussed. There’s already no credibility thanks to the mistakes. There’s very little humour due to a lack of creativity or talent amongst the writers. So when Prosh then proceeds to use underprivileged Indigenous Australians, victims of terrorist acts, victims of senseless gun massacres and victims of the holocaust as the butt of poorly-written, mistake-ridden supposed jokes, it comes across as a cheap attempt to earn a handful of shock laughs, and ends up offending rather than amusing. No care has been taken in the writing . It’s a mindset that doesn’t bring to mind students of a Top 100 university.
Now I’ll borrow some words from Mark McGowan, who I think sums things up pretty well: “Those involved in this year’s Prosh should take a moment to consider the impact content like this can have on Aboriginal Western Australians and decide for themselves if there are ways to use their talent in a more constructive, inclusive manner that will benefit all Western Australians.” Problem is Mark, it fails as humour too, which sadly indicates a lack of talent that can be used to put together something half decent.
It’s worth noting that ICEA has decided to refuse receiving funds from the UWA Guild, and have ceased any association with them. (http://iceafoundation.com.au/icea-protests-against-prosh-article/).