Australia’s latest political scandal is *checks notes* a bunch of dancers twerking at the commissioning of the Royal Australian Navy’s newest seafaring toy. Let’s unpack.
On Saturday, dancers at Sydney’s Garden Island welcomed the HMAS Supply into service by doing a dance routine to Sean Paul‘s “Boasty” (among other bangers).
The stunt was actually brought the public’s attention over the weekend by none other than PEDESTRIAN.TV’s own deputy editor, Alex Bruce-Smith. Peep the spectacle below.
NEW: The Royal Australian Navy commissioned HMAS Supply in Sydney today, and uh….. organised this dance to celebrate pic.twitter.com/OvCYlhhGZG— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) April 10, 2021
The whole thing was… a lot. It’s no “Yvan Eht Nioj” but I’m here for it. Here’s what we know.
The dancers, bless their dutty hearts, are from the 101 Doll Squadron. In case you couldn’t already tell, the troupe styles itself as “a squadron of dancehall women facilitating a movement to unite and collaborate unique projects inna dancehall.”
As someone who went through a huge dancehall phase, this is a dance group I can fully get behind. Unfortunately for us, the didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell was in the crowd on Saturday, looking like a confused but supportive grandparent watching their teen flounder in a talent quest. Interestingly, the ABC spliced vision of Governor-General David Hurley in among the dance footage, but apparently he only arrived after the dance was over.
The reason the 101 Doll Squadron were the ones to inaugurate this leviathan of a killing machine was because the Australian Defence Force wanted to involve members of the local community – in this case, the Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo – where the ship would be docked.
"We've got the CDF, we've got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General's there, I don't think it's appropriate to be twerking. I think our standards in the ADF, and definitely commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that". https://t.co/Nn1DwwdbeH pic.twitter.com/id6YAND9E7— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) April 13, 2021
“HMAS Supply and the Royal Australian Navy are committed to working with Australians from all backgrounds in actively supporting local charities and community groups,” a spokesperson for the Australian Defence Force told The Australian.
It’s not clear if the dancers actually were Jamaican, but still, I’m not a hater!!
Cancelled my meetings tonight to learn the dance routine from the launch of that navy ship— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) April 14, 2021
Then came the political outcry. Apparently noone wants to be the one to cancel the Doll Squadron, but one anonymous government frontbencher described the spectacle as “a shitshow” to the ABC.
“A question worth pondering: what would Horatio Nelson think of this shitshow?” they said. Sorry, but who the fuck is Horatio Nelson and why must we let dead white dudes ruin everything from beyond the grave?
Personally, I’d like to see what moves that politician has before they start hating on the baddest gyals in all of Sydney.
Meanwhile, Liberal backbencher Phillip Thompson – who is a former soldier and once got in trouble for talking about shooting Muslims on social media – agreed with the anonymous and cowardly frontbencher.
Waiting for a completely non-ironic 800 word op ed on why twerking in front of a death machine is disrespectful— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) April 14, 2021
“Standards in the ADF, and definitely when commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that,” he told the ABC.
“We’ve got the CDF, we’ve got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General’s there, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be twerking”.
You know what is in fact a shitshow? Australia’s most decorated soldier being investigated for an abhorrent shopping list of war crimes, as well as for allegedly hiding a cache of evidence in a buried child’s lunchbox.
Twerking, on the other hand, is a creative expression of sheer joy. Assuming the dancers were all somehow connected to The Culture, we should be asking them to open every government event from now on.