‘Terrifying’ reaction to Noll’s violent rant
"I'LL f**k your missus and your mum"
These were the words singer and former Australian Idol star Shannon Noll called out at a regional NSW gig last night, as part of a vile tirade against a punter who hurled a beer can at the musician and his band onstage.
Noll's rant against the suited concert-goer, whom he called a "f***ing maggot", the "f***head in the tie" and a "f***ing private school stupid f***head motherf***er", was caught on smart-phone camera by another attendee in the crowd at the Duck Creek Picnic Races in Nyngan, NSW. It makes for disconcerting viewing, not just because of Noll's violent raving, but also because of the crowd's enthusiastic response to his rage.
When Noll cries out, from the lit-up stage at the Picnic Races, "I'll punch your f***ing teeth down your throat … then I'll f**k your missus and your mum", the crowd erupts into whistles and cheers.
Turn to social media and the response is similarly, erm, fervent regarding Noll's behaviour at Duck Creek.
He has since apologised for the violent rant.
"This video of Shannon Noll calling out a suited up bloke who threw a bottle at him before sliding into a cover of Horses is absolutely brilliant (and super loose)," wrote one user who shared the video on Twitter.
"If you watch one thing tonight, make it this video," wrote another user. "Shannon Noll feeding and threatening some w**ker who threw a drink at him #straya #drunk"
It's no secret Noll has anger issues. Just last year the singer was arrested outside the Crazy Horse strip club in Adelaide after getting into a tussle with a bouncer who refused him entry. Charges against the singer were later dropped.
Still, it's rare to see footage of such virulent anger unchecked.
Yet here we have Noll onstage, lapping up the attention and adoration of a crowd thirsty for conflict. After Noll threatens to "f**k" the unseen punter's "missus and mum", he lets out a self-congratulatory chuckle into the microphone. Then, bolstered more and more by the crowd's cheers, he offers the audience "100 bucks to punch that f**k for me".
Anyone who was cheering him on (in the crowd or online once the footage emerged) needs to stop and think.
There's a massive problem with scenarios like this. Right now, Australia is slogging through a painful but integral national moment on gendered violence.
Following the brutal and highly publicised killing of Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon as well as a slew of other violent incidents, the public has once again begun to evaluate how our worship of the masculine ideal might be harming women (and men) across the country.
Nobody was cheering the violence against Eurydice, but the type of adulation Noll's words garnered is worrying.
Despite the fact that we are talking about violent crime against women - and talking is absolutely important and essential to any positive change and social evolution - there are still many who are resistant to the idea that toxic masculinity could be a negative force hurting all Australians.
Just last week, Australia endured days' worth of media fallout after David Leyonhjelm's bizarre, sexist sledges in parliament, aimed first at Senate colleague Sarah Hanson-Young, and then at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Leyonhjelm's comments, which included calling Turnbull a "soft c*ck" and a "pussy", were allegedly in service of Leyonhjelm's desire to get "misandry" (for the uninitiated: hatred of men) into the national debate on misogyny and gendered violence.
"This is about misandry," Leyonhhjelm told SBS News last week. "The prime minister should stop being such a pussy. This is about criticism of all men. It's just as bad as criticism of all women."
Leyonhjelm's sexist spray, which CNN has embarrassingly dubbed Australia's "moment of #MeToo in reverse", does the very thing detractors of violent sexism are concerned about: isolate and worship one dangerous stereotype of masculinity that seeks to destroy all that is perceived as weak and feminine.
This version of 'masculinity' hurts men as well as women. There are male victims of male violence just as there are female, non-binary and child victims, because male violence doesn't discriminate. So, to think that any discussion about gendered violence in Australia is "anti-men" is to miss half the picture.
However, this is the archetype of Aussie blokeyness preferred by the Leyonhjelms of the world, where the worst thing you can do to a man is dis his balls (the very centre of his machismo) and threaten violence and harm against his women.
And so we circle back to Shannon Noll, who, when faced with humiliation onstage in front of dozens of his fans, resorted to this very model of murky masculinity to defend himself. "Have some f***ing balls to come up here …" Noll called to the punter who threw the can, challenging him "man to man" in the only way men like Noll know how to solve a problem: with violence.
And the audience, whether with genuine affection for Noll and his actions, or just ironic enjoyment for the spectacle, spurred him on so much so that Noll ended his tirade thus: "There's too many good looking girls here for you blokes. That c*** couldn't get a root in a f***ing … plague."
I'm sick of these vile displays of machismo in my community; all they do now is terrify me. And I don't think I'm the only one.
Men like Noll might think the false, inflated virility that comes from his threats of violence impresses the "blokes" and the "good looking chicks" in the crowd, but my hope is that the tide is changing. Violent men - it's time to check yourself before you wreck all of us.