Exercise 11, p. 22 “Monkey see, monkey do! By Kelvin Mach, Mulgrave
With regards to an Australian binge drinking culture (the “drink to get drunk culture”), Mr Mach singles out parents for criticism owing to their tendency to drink to excess.
The headline, “Monkey see, Monkey do”, reflects Mr Mach’s view that young adults tend to follow their parents’ example. Mr Mach therefore believes that it is counter-intuitive/disingenuous to blame children for the binge drinking culture.
- Mr Mach appeals to role-modelling and leadership concerns/duty of care; he criticises (decries/condemns) the lack of leadership displayed by parents who are the first ones to enjoy a drink.
- Adopting a defensive tone, he seeks to shift the blame from the “naughty party boys” to parents who fail to show responsibility and who condone excessive drinking habits. (sarcastic reference to “responsible” parents) Accordingly, he expects parents to feel embarrassed at their lack of decent standards.
- Mr Mach uses a series of examples such as the school fete, sporting events or garden activities to show the prevalence of drinking among adults. These examples foreground dubious “role-modelling” efforts among parents.
- By using such typical life-style examples, Mr Mach seeks to shame/marginalise school fete-organisers and parents who encourage, rather than ban, the consumption of alcohol in the school grounds.
Word-level analysis; purpose: shaming/ fear tactics
- The figurative reference to the “fine dining” setting functions as a pun that directs criticism at parents who fail to provide a decent and upstanding example.
- His sarcastic and accusatory references to a “society brimming with alcohol” and parents who have “showered” young adults with alcohol at parties are designed to redirect the blame towards adults and policy makers who encourage the drinking culture and at worst, often have a tendency towards hypocrisy.
- Appealing to family values, Mr Mach cites his own emotional conflict within the household as a way of gaining the reader’s trust and their sympathy: “My parents come home exhausted from work and are quite snappy”. He thereby accuses parents of failing to deal with their stress or their problems without recourse to alcohol.