I don’t read stories about rural Australia because I grew up there. Not sheep station or dairy farm bush, more pine plantations and lumber mill bush. So while I regularly ‘go bush’ to hike, fish, prospect and photograph, wild horses couldn’t drag me back to the small-minded conservatism and busybodiness that embodies small-town living.
But I did read this article.
The Darling River is in full flow, breaking a 16 year drought. While that’s prima facie newsworthy, I suspect it’s not why the story was (fleetingly) the most-read article on the ABC’s digital news yesterday. Here’s why:
Lucy Powell, agronomist, posing before a glorious riverine landscape. She is the reason why bored people click. Read the article and you’d wonder why she fronts the piece. She has about three words to contribute, yet she’s the banner? Hmm. Why not one of the other contributors who detail the impact of the rains on their rural lives?
Because pretty chicks get clicks, is why.
If I were Lucy Powell, agronomist, I’d be riding this hard. But in this respect she’s well ahead of me, because Lucy Powell has been riding her “cute farm girl” looks hard since highschool. After a lazy ten minutes of research, I already know too much about Lucy. Mostly, I know she’s a self-promoter. Expect to see her on some farming lifestyle reality tv show soon.
It’s interesting to chart her development from chubby teenager to ABC covergirl. We know she’s off a ‘hobby farm’ at Paraparap, did her highschool years at Geelong, dropped out of uni, took a gap year then studied at Longerenong College near Horsham. While at ‘Longy’ she was interviewed by the local rag, and appears on the college’s student profile page beaming self-contentedly.
Putting her best farm-girl foot forward, Lucy Powell entered the Rural Ambassador program and won the Noorat Agricultural Society competition in 2018, travelling to the big smoke to compete for the state title. Short segue here: why have only two males won this since 2007? Why is every other winner is an attractive white female? Hmm. I’m glad there’s water in the Darling, because that smells fishy to me.
Anyhoo, Lucy Powell then applied for and received a $4000 grant from the DemoDAIRY Foundation to complete her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, which presented yet another photo opportunity for the ambitious young woman. Never one to rest on her heels, Lucy was also crowned the Horsham Rural Citizen of the Year in 2018. Go Lucy!
In 2019, talented Lucy travelled to Indonesia as our national representative at the Agricultural Youth Forum at Bogor’s IPB International Convention Centre. Wow, lucky she had that Cert IV right? She must be exceptionally talented. This is confirmed in 2020 when she was runner-up in the Great South Coast Dairy Awards. Couldn’t find a photo of Lucy in a ballgown, skulling a tall frosty glass of milk?
Missed photo ops is not why she’s here. Lucy Powell shows how much some people live online. In reality, she’s nobody. I didn’t touch her Facebook or Instagram, assuming she’s on both, just plucked the webz for what’s public. Lucy is a public-nobody working her heinie off to become a public-somebody. And that’s no bull.
In another of my witty and well-written prior posts (Selfies: The Future) I theorised that humanity can now be simply divided into those who take selvies, versus those who don’t. This obviously extends to those who pose for photos, and those who don’t. I don’t need to stalk Lucy’s IG to know she’s a selfie-maniac. She’s probably also an extrovert, pushing herself to the front of the group for FOMO.
None of this make Lucy wrong, just different from me. I wonder what it would be like to live in the skin of somebody like Lucy Powell, beaming for the ABC photographer on the banks of the Darling, excited at where that picture might take you. Because that’s how it works, one does not simply succeed through talent and effort, one must self-promote.
Do introverts not self-promote? I used to live by the maxim ‘let my actions speak for themselves‘ until I realised that they don’t. So this introvert no longer fails to self-promote. Lucy Powell is a timely reminder that success in this world, sadly, means getting yourself out there. She’s young, she gets it.
I get it too, but I can’t do it.
I refill my solitude-cup by going bush. Not Lucy Powell’s version of bush, where every natural asset is a resource waiting to be plundered, but places where I can walk far in boots, my pack heavy with tools, test my strength against the bedrock and drink from a mountain stream. Be in my own head without a camera in my face and somebody screaming: “Look! Look, it’s Kaisson! Isn’t he awesome doing that, err, thing that he’s doing!“
Instead of “Lucy Powell fame” IRL maybe I’ll be immortalised anonymously in the grand tradition of the Australian bush ballad. So that they don’t fuck it up when the time comes, here it is in full (credit where due):
BUSH BLOGGER’S BALLAD
A strapping young blogger lay dying
His keyboard did pillow his head
No mates around him were crying
As he rose from his pillow and said
Wrap me up in my track-pants and blanket
And bury me deep down below
Where the critics and trolls won’t molest me
In the shade where the epitaphs grow.
Had I one more flight of imagination
Far over the plains would I fly
Straight to the land of my childhood
Just to shit on them all from the sky.
Then cut down a couple of saplings
Place one at my head and my toe
Carve on them keyboard and glasses
To show there’s a blogger below.
Hark to the wail of the introvert
Watchful and weird, yet they know
They toll the death-knell of the blogger
Sad followers nod as he goes.
One day in the glare of your monitor
When outside the wind’s whispering low
As the introverts’ shadow starts rising
Perhaps think of the blogger below.