MAYBE it’s because I share some of their passions, but I’ve never really thought of hoons as a clear and present danger to the future of society.
It’s the sort of label that turns up in a sentence like “ahh, hoons, so brainless” or “Bathurst? No way, too many hoons”, but thanks to those helpful public educators at A Current Affair, I’ve been alerted to the fact that they are a scourge and must be wiped out.
If I was the sort of bloke who wound his seat back to supine and then tried to drive everywhere by holding myself up using the steering wheel and a fat arm out the window, I’d be worried. Extinction cannot be far away.
ACA – a show that is responsible for me telling people that I’m unemployed, or a sewerage taster, when asked at BBQs what I do for a living – was at its very best this week with a report someone forwarded me via the internet titled “Hoon Patrol”.
The pretty, young and ethically vacuous presenter alerted us immediately that these “so-called car enthusiasts” were putting lives at risk by doing burnouts, driving quickly and congregating in large groups to talk a load of rubbish.
For reasons that I simply can’t understand, the police – I’m willing to hazard a guess they were Victorian police – invited ACA to ride along with them on a Hoon Crackdown, dubbed Operation Mike York.
This was additionally mystifying because Mike York is a professional ice hockey player, and American (perhaps they meant Michael York, the prune-faced English actor whose best work was probably Spaceballs – but the connection to Hoon Behaviour is no clearer).
We saw some classic ACA “journalism” here, with a guy being interviewed in the half-dark wearing a baseball cap, and a young bloke who looked like he might well actually ply his trade as a TV cameraman for a “current affairs” show. This bloke was apparently frightened for his life because people were doing burnouts somewhere within cooee of his house.
We also saw questioning of young men that would have made Ricky Muir cower. “So, do you feel stupid now?” she asked one glum-looking fellow on the side of the road. Answer: “Er, no”.
And this Walkley-winning exchange: “Do you believe that you’re affecting anyone?”
“Well, it’s a fishing area and there’s no houses around…”
Yep, the giant Hoon Hangout the cops and ACA found was in the middle of nowhere at a fishing hole, and whatever they were up to they were certainly hit with the full force of the law.
Operation Unknown Ice Hockey Player handed out 115 infringement notices, 62 speeding fines, netted 16 unregistered cars, caught eight unlicensed drivers and four people with drugs. It also netted one DUI and one DUI drugs.
It wasn’t clear whether all the speeders were picked up at the fishing hole, or just by the 40 cops driving around that night shooting fish in a barrel, which is what life is like for them in a state with a 3km/h tolerance level. Just as it’s not clear who the police think they’re educating by taking such a shoddy show along to film them at work.
What it had the distinct sniff of was picking on young people – or known troublemakers as ACA would probably call them.
Now, look, I’m not saying that P-platers and young people in general should be allowed to congregate, ever, particularly in cars, and I’m not in favour of street racing or, God forbid, loss of traction incidents, but seriously, are we not getting just a little bit over the top about this whole thing?
Were Hoons in the good old days any less dangerous, or were we all just less frightened and reactionary?
Hang on, I don’t think we used to have A Current Affair, so maybe that’s the difference (actually I’ve just checked and it launched in 1971, but I think, much like 60 Minutes, it used to be good back then).