Standing up for ‘Standing Up For The Short Guy’

Standing Up(side down) For The Short Guy

“Despite claiming to stand up for these targeted groups, all he has done so far is make sweeping generalisations and cite every unpleasant stereotype about the groups unlucky enough to be the subject of his articles.”

As crazy as this may sound, Standing Up For The Short Guy – my Farrago column for 2011 – was never meant to offend anybody. It was meant to be provocative, cheeky, and satirical, but above all it was supposed to be thought-provoking. In saying that, I understand why some readers have taken opposition to my columns, and I sincerely apologise if you have been one of my ‘victims’.

At the same time, I’d like to wholeheartedly thank everybody who read my articles throughout 2011. I’ve been humbled by the positive feedback, and as such have become really encouraged to pursue writing as a future pathway.

I thought it’d be fitting to look at how I pitched this idea to the 2011 Farrago editors in November 2010. How did they let this little ball of chaos roll through to the keepers?

A measured stroll across South Lawn brings you in contact with a wide array of demographics. In addition to the over-generalised, hackneyed categories of nerds, hipsters, drunkards and activists, Melbourne attracts intriguing characters from all over the world. Our communal goal, however, is the same; set ourselves up for the rest of our lives.

I believe that the idiosyncrasies of this diverse population would make a great platform for discussion on worldly topics, pertaining to culture, sub-culture, religion, and upbringing. My column’s pieces would provide a light-hearted commentary on the social interactions of a select group/s, before providing the reader with informed insights. The aim would be to murder stereotypes, uncover myths, address prejudices, and satirise Western close-mindedness. My quirky observations and jocular writing style will enable Farrago readers to laugh… and then think.

Topics might include: ‘Do all international students speak Asian?’, ‘Cross-faculty relationships: are they safe?’, ‘Protestors vs. Evangelists: Assessing the tactics’, ‘Library loudmouths: the public sphere’, or ‘Spot the Smoker’.

When appropriate, I would accompany the articles with photos or cartoons.

It doesn’t matter how employable you are after ten years of undergraduate-cum-postgraduate study; if you’re still ignorant about the people around you, then you’re not qualified for this world. I am passionate about celebrating differences and uncovering real people. And I think that we can all learn a hell-of-a-lot by being able to take the piss out of ourselves.

Yeah…um, about those cartoons…

Below is the beginning of the sample article I submitted. The warning bells probably should have been ringing at this point.

As I approached my first ever University group assignment, an older friend was determined to offer me wisdom.

“Make sure you don’t have any international students in your group”, sounded his stern warning.

I received his gratuitous racism with shock. He couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about, though, and, after sitting back down on his slouched Ethiopian slave, continued to throw knives at a map of Asia.

As I draw this chapter to a close, here’s what YOU said about Standing Up For The Short Guy:

  • “[It] seems to be seems to be a Singaporean-Australian guy’s take on Australia’s Asian students or on being Asian or at the very least, the ‘anything Asian’ column of the magazine.” – Zoel
  • “Do us all a favour and have sex or smoke some weed or drink copious amounts of terrible goon and get off your goddamn journalistic high horse.”Nick
  • “Kevin Hawkins, you’re a doosh.”Chris
  • “Where is the satire, because I certainly can’t find it. But maybe I just don’t possess the same wit and humour as Mr Hawkins. It’s probably because of my ‘Asian’-speaking background and resulting poor English language skills. Or maybe it’s because my two years of being a ‘perennial slacker’ at college has turned my brain into mush.”
  • “I think Kev needs a root”College Student
  • “Kev if what ‘college student’ says is true, come visit St Hilda The “Promiscuous”.” – Ney
  • “Had me laughing hysterically, out loud. Clearly hyperbole is lost on some.”Elizabeth
  • “If you’re going to be writing in the public sphere then every idiot and his dog will have an opinion. More importantly on the internet all you are more than likely to get are the inconsiderate nut-jobs who will insult you like there’s no tomorrow for no good reason.”Lachlan
  • “Kudos to Kevin Hawkins on his phenomenal “Standing Up For The Short Guy” piece”Brenda
  • Your article has caused quite the stir in the 23+ club 🙂 On the whole I think this is a great analysis and you’ve hit the nail on the head.” – Mat
  • “I think you’ve caused a stir, and goddamn that’s always a good sign.”Todd

If you wish to re-read Standing Up For The Short Guy, click the accompanying links below: