Thursday, August 21, 2003


“Wowser” is another piece of untranslatable Australian slang. Its nearest translation into standard English is probably “killjoy” but that does not fully convey the air of self-righteousness that the wowser always has. Australian columnist Miranda Devine has some good comments on the wowsers in Australia today. Wowsers used to be religious people who wanted to stop people drinking, dancing and watching sport on Sundays but no more. Excerpt:

Now that the churches are empty and their moral restraints cast aside, today's wowsers have had to find fresh fun to eradicate, like alcohol, cigarettes, Big Macs, vanilla Coke, cars and air-conditioning.

The neo-wowsers are obsessed with health and eco-concerns in just as mean and censorious a way as their forebears were fixated on sex and nudity. They are on a sacred mission to save the decadent self-indulgent masses from destroying themselves with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and global warming. They seize every opportunity to wag a finger and tut a tongue at people's remaining pleasures.


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