A Labour Government will ban the selling of sweets and chips in schools…
Died Alf hear a big cheer go up on news of that policy?
Nope. It was booed by right-thinking citizens of Alf’s acquaintance as another example of the pinkos wanting to seriously widen the authority of the Nanny State.
Betcha you can think of something to boo, too.
Outside of politics, a loud boo was in order when Greg Chappell ordered his brother to bowl under-arm in that infamous occasion some years back.
Any time Quade Cooper gets anywhere near the ball while playing for Oz against a Kiwi team is worth a big boo, too, but only as an expression of disapproval of his silly first name.
Which brings Alf to the point of this blog: it’s to draw your attention to a podcast, “Boo…Who?”, in which the age-old act of booing had been deconstructed.
Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “Boo…Who?“, tackles the act of booing. Why do we do it? When and where (if ever) is it appropriate? While we focus mostly on modern examples, audiences have been voicing their discontent for millennia.
They have traced the boo back to its origins, which took them to ancient Greece, and the Festival of Dionysia, when playwrights competed to determine whose tragedy was the best. Audience participation was considered a civic duty.
A bit later, at the Colosseum in Rome, booing, or the lack thereof, often determined whether a gladiator lived or died.
Hard to say exactly what a boo sounded like back then. Maybe more of a shout, a jeer, or a whistle, rather than the extended, cow-like booooooo we issue today.
They cite a linguist, Ben Zimmer, who reckons the first time the word “boo” appeared as an expression of dissatisfaction was in the diary of a British schoolboy in 1833.
Anway, the Freakonomics bunch has compiled a list of some noteworthy boos throughout history.
It is not remotely encyclopedic, they concede, and leans very heavily on very recent events. The invite anyone interested to supplement their work with more examples.
Their list is –
1840s: American stage actor Edwin Forrest loudly hisses at his British rival William Charles Macready during a performance of Hamlet. The feud between the two Shakespearean actors culminates with the Astor Place Riots in New York City on May 10th, 1849.
Summer 1932: Movie theater audiences boo newsreels of troops dispatched by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to burn down encampments set up by out-of-work army veterans on the banks of the Anacostia River in Washington D.C.
July 25, 1965: Bob Dylan is booed for going electric at the Newport Folk Festival.
December 15, 1968: Philadelphia Eagles fans boo Santa Claus during a football game as he ran around the field at halftime, and pelted him with snowballs.
October 1, 1975: Muhammad Ali is booed by the local Filipino crowd while being introduced prior to his legendary fight with Joe Frazier, the “Thrilla in Manila.” Ali hung his head and pretended to cry.
September 11, 1983. In an away game against the Baltimore Colts, Denver Broncos’ rookie quarterback John Elway is “booed unmercifully” by the Baltimore fans. Elway was drafted by the Colts that spring as the number one overall pick, but after publicly hinting that he would pursue a baseball career rather than play for the lowly Colts, Elway was traded to the Broncos.
August 6, 1997: Steve Jobs gets booed at the MacWorld Expo announcing Apple’s partnership with Microsoft.
May 2003: Vincent Gallo is booed at the Cannes Film Festival during and after the premiere of his movie, The Brown Bunny .
May 19, 2004: Tony Blair is booed and hit with a condom filled with purple flour during a weekly half-hour question and answer session with British parliament.
January 21, 2008: Hillary Clinton is booed during a primary debate with Barack Obama after she scolds him for not taking responsibility for his senate votes.
October 11, 2008: Sarah Palin is booed when she is introduced during a Philadelphia Flyers game.
February 28, 2009: Producer Mary Zimmerman is booed during a 2009 production of La Sonnambula at the Met. The audience was apparently displeased with Zimmerman’s choice of moving the opera’s locale from a Swiss village to a New York rehearsal hall.
September 9, 2009: Congressman Joe Wilson shouts “ You Lie!” during President Obama’s healthcare speech, and is quickly booed by his Congressional constituents.
September 13, 2009: Kanye West is booed at the MTV awards for interrupting Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech, declaring his preference for Beyonce‘s music video.
April 16, 2010: Placido Domingo is booed for his first performance after undergoing surgery for colon cancer.
December 2, 2010: LeBron James is booed during his first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers after defecting to the Miami Heat.
March 5, 2011: Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino gets booed offstage in his roast of Donald Trump.
April 2, 2011: Charlie Sheen is booed in Detroit after his well-publicized breakdown, and subsequent “Torpedo of Truth” tour around America.
September 22, 2011: Openly gay soldier Steven Hill is booed at the Republican debate when he submits a question to the candidates in the form of a video that was played for the audience.
There’s a distinct American feel about that list.
But the authors are American.
What would you put on your list of boos to give it a Kiwi flavour?
No, forget about Zac Guildford.
We are talking about a different sort of booze in his case, although maybe Zac is a sufficiently silly name to call for some sort of howl of disapproval.