Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally made the big time… the Urban Dictionary.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s number one marketing strategy is to appear like he’s an ‘ordinary Australian’… even though he’s been enjoying the trappings of high office for two decades (Morrison became the State Director of the NSW Liberal’s in 2000).
Morrison grew up in the wealthy Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and followed Rugby Union, a sport generally associated with silvertails and university elites.
But when he was parachuted by the Liberals into the decidedly more middle-class electorate of Cook in Sydney’s south, Morrison suddenly declared himself the ‘Number One Fan’ of the Cronulla Sharks, who play the significantly more working class game of Rugby League.
Chameleon Scott. The Every Man.
His other strategy is to embrace the slings and arrows that get thrown at him… as working class Australians generally do.
Part of that strategy was to invite media to follow him to his church, Hillsong, and photograph him waving his hands in the air and dreaming of the Rapture. Morrison understands that while ordinary Australians don’t particularly like fervent religion, they like people attacking your right to fervent religion even less. Which is precisely how some on the left reacted to the imagery… come in spinner, and well done Scotty.
Another part of that strategy centres around his nickname. It’s not entirely clear how Morrison came to be known as ‘ScoMo’, but it was surely intended as an insult, given that the word sounds like some sort of illness that doesn’t end with a scab.
Regardless, one of the truly slick things about ‘Scotty From Marketing’ is his ability to convince you lemons are really lemonade. Hence, he not only embraced ‘ScoMo’ as a nickname, he’s actually got it listed as his profile on his official Facebook page.
It’s a clever strategy – take an insult, embrace it, encourage it. Removes all the power.
Morrison did the same thing with the rumour doing the rounds on the internet a few years ago that he ‘shat himself at the Engadine Maccas’ after the 1997 rugby league Grand Final. The rumour started here:
At last year’s Press Gallery Mid-Winter Ball, Morrison joked that ‘finding out what really happened at the Engadine Maccas’ it was one of the great mysteries of our time. Power gone again.
But one of the rules of co-opting nasty things said about yourself and making them your own is that you should limit the number of nasty (and stupid) things you do, because sooner or later the term is going to become a verb… in the Urban Dictionary no less.
And unfortunately for Prime Minister, that’s precisely what has happened: ‘ScoMo’ has now achieved verb status, with an ever-expanding list of possible explanations for what it might mean (there’s seven as this story goes to press).
Briefly, if you’re not up with the Urban Dictionary, it’s a ‘crowdsourcing dictionary’, which allows ordinary people to redefine language. The site was launched in 1999 and was originally intended as a “dictionary of slang, or cultural words or phrases, not typically found in standard dictionaries”. But today it’s used to “define any word, event or phrase”.
Thus, behold the beauty that is ‘the people’ seizing back the term ScoMo.
- To shake someone’s hand without their consent and against their will. As in, ‘I Scomo’d her. And when you’re a Prime Minister they let you do it. Grab ’em by the hand!’
- A person in charge who leaves things to others when a difficult or emergency situation arises. As in, ‘Shit was going really tits up at work this week so I Scomo’d off to a tropical island for some R&R and let someone else sort it out.’
- A person who lacks leadership, accepts no responsibility, and takes credit for other people’s work. As in, ‘It was a total Scomo: we dropped the ball, denied the problem, had no plan, cut the budgets, and stood in the way; but then we grabbed the credit for “getting it done”. “SCOMO!”
- When someone tells you they don’t want to shake your hand cause you’re a dickhead so you grab their hand anyway without their consent for a photo op. To achieve extra bonus points, you walk away from them when they start talking to you and show no compassion. As in, ‘She told me she didn’t want to shake my hand cause I was a dickhead, but I Scomo’ed her anyway.’
- When you bugger off from work for a week to avoid a difficult task, but you’re so useless nobody notices for the first three days. Then when you’re caught out you promise to come straight back to work only for it to take another four days. Everything goes on as normal without you because you’re totally useless anyway. As in, ‘Jono did a Scomo last week and even his wife didn’t miss him until the weekend.’
- To shit one’s self at Maccas. As in, ‘Feeling crook but went out anyway and ended up Scomoing my pants.’ Or, ‘I left a trail of Scomo from the registers to the toilets.’
- A person who has set aside the needs of the people they have been elected to represent in order to pursue personal religious convictions and political aspirations. As in, ‘Hey mate, do you remember that time you, a self-reported Christian, set up illegal prisons to detain human beings seeking political refuge, thereby committing human rights abuses, and then sold it as ‘protecting borders’? That was such a ScoMo move, dude.’
Terms which have not yet made it into the Urban Dictionary but surely will (hint hint) include:
- To wear 18 different football scarves, in order to convince everyone you go for their team. As in, ‘Who do you go for Bill? The Tigers? I go for the Tigers too! And who do you go for Kevin? The Bulldogs? I go for the Bulldogs too! And who do you go for Anthony? The Magpies? I go for the Magpies too!’
- To tour a community devastated by a natural disaster and Praise Jesus that no-one died, when people did, in fact, die. As in, ‘Thankfully, we’ve had no loss of life… We’ve lost two? Yes two, that’s quite right. I was thinking about firefighters firstly.’
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