Hoon Media Coverage

A bit of a wrap-up of my brief quotes and media appearances over the last week.

First up was Sydney’s Daily Telegraph last Saturday (03/08/07), and some of the content was rewritten for the following day’s issue of Perth’s Sunday Times.The Telegraph article was quite good. It explored some of the complexities of the issue, instead of lapsing into unproductive ‘common sensicalisms’ (to coin a neologism) and that is about one can ask from issue-based journalism. I appeared thus:

“It is a form of desire, of friendship, separate to homo-erotic desire but similar,” says Glen Fuller, of the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney. Fuller, who has spent years in the field researching hoon culture, is about to complete a doctorate on modified car culture and enthusiasm and has come to some interesting conclusions during his study.
“I talk about it in terms of a homosocial – not homo-erotic – masculine desire among men, mediated by the cars,” he says. “There may be some kind of erotic undertone, which can get quite weird, because it may not be between people – it can be with the car itself.”

A few people, including Clif, the director of my research centre, David Rowe, and my primary supervisor, Zoe Sofoulis, all commented that it was quite remarkable to get the concept of homosocial desire into the tabloid-leaning Telegraph.

Next was an appearance on ABC regional radio for South Australia and western New South Wales. Below is the media monitor summary/transcript. I was on-air for just under 20 minutes with compere Annette Marner:

Marner says a second car has been permanently forfeited under the SA Govt’s hoon laws, and again it has taken place in Mt Gambier. She asks what is happening in Mt Gambier, does the town have a culture of hoon driving. Marner says earlier today ABC colleague Alan Richardson gave his perceptions of what happens in Mt Gambier: ‘the best time to see the hoon culture in the town is on Thursday nights when P plate drivers parade their Holdens and Fords up and down Commercial St’. Fuller says he has traced hoons back through car enthusiast literature and the first occurrence he found was in panel vanning magazine in the 1970s. He says the behaviour described in Mt Gambier is a classic example of an issue of the use of public space. He says related to this is different forms of driving practice. [cont]
Interviewee: Glen Fuller, University of Western Sydney
Duration: 5 mins 35 secs
[there was a promo break here]
Continuing discussion about hoon driving – Dave says the hoon driving behaviour is so common in Mt Gambier that the locals don’t even see it anymore. He says the public is starting to pick up on it more because of police encouraging the dobbing in of hoons. He says the young fellows want people to look at them and this is what the burn outs are about. Fuller says people do modify their cars to be noticed by other car enthusiasts and to stand out from the crowd. He says male relationships are often conducted through a third object. Fuller explains for hoons it is about what the car can do and the status that it gives. He says hoons see the public roads as a resource they can use for their own purposes and not something to share. He says loud stereos are about taking over this shared resource, like marking their territory. Wayne says when he drives in Adelaide people don’t let him change lanes. Fuller says this is a version of hoon driving. He says the definition of a hoon begins as soon as a driver stops thinking about the road as a shared resource.
Interviewee: Glen Fuller, University of Western Sydney
Interviewee: caller Dave, Mt Gambier
Interviewee: caller Wayne, Mt Gambier
Duration: 13 mins 05 secs

So as you can gather it was live with caller feedback. Caller ‘Wayne’ was spot-on with my definition of a hoon in terms of using the system of automobility as an individual resource rather than understanding it as a shared resource. The ritualised practices of young men (cruising, racing, etc.) are built on and from this initial break with the shared dimension of automobility.

Lastly, I featured in a page 3 article of the Sydney Morning Herald. The article by Jordan Baker was very good. She bought me lunch and we chatted about my research. For those who haven’t read draft chapters of my dissertation, the newspaper article briefly summarises some of my best work in tracing the development and changes to the scene of contemporary modified-car culture.

The SMH article is available online.

9 replies on “Hoon Media Coverage”

  1. congrats Glen, you made some sense in a sea of hysteria. As for the homosocial desire material … legendary stuff. I want that part framed … hehe .. or on a tee!

  2. Great work on getting your ideas out into the mass media. Some recognition for a the massive amount of work that you have poured into this. You must have reached thousands of people from coast to coast! I even saw a quote on ‘moral panics’ in the Herald’s article. Fantastic.

  3. Hi rob, clif and pete, thanks. It has been a much better experience with the media this time round.

    rob, yeah, I am aware of the PhD research. Note that it is being undertaken within a road safety research centre. I find it mildly amusing that part of the research is interviewing 30-40 ‘hoons’. This may be a journalistic reduction of an otherwise sound research project, and I really hope it is, because ‘hoon’ is both a folk devil figure and (slightly more sophisticated) is also an effect of the governmental discourse that belongs to the road safety industry. From what I gather about the rest of the student’s comments it is not a journalistic reduction.

    If I was going to do research on ‘hoons’ I would first be asking what assumptions are presupposed by the ‘hoon’ discourse — beginning with the assumption there is actually a consistent population beyond the identity effect of discourse — oh, but hang on, I think I have already written a book chapter about it…

    Of course, if someone was to carry out and then write up such research with such assumptions, ie assuming the discursive assuptions of the road safety industry, then it would be a very easy target of critique for anyone with a passing interest in the subject and minimal tools from critical cultural studies. Someone with a sophisticated appreciation of the road safety literature and a healthly contempt for the way it is used within politics would probably enjoy themselves.

    Actually, I already have a rough draft of a critical essay looking at the function of the road safety industry and the political economy of mobility…

  4. Thought you’d find it amusing, glen. I actually LOLed when I read the sub-head, and then LOLed again when I saw the bit about “looking for 30-40 hoons to take part in discussion groups”. Hilarious!

    Sad thing, though, is that hers is precisely the kind of research that would be taken seriously in most places outside the university (as well as a fair few within it too). In that sense, then, it’s doubly encouraging to see your own work resonating beyond the usual sites of critical cultural studies.


  5. hey hooning is our culture fuck ya all im the leader of the perth street racing my krew is calle PHK aka Perth Hoonz Krew and were the biggest hoon krew in WA the cops never catch my boys they allways catch other krews like Chosen Few and other shitty krews u will never stop us we will just keep finding new places to race lol fuck the pigs………

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