HUMANS OF PERTH Field Anthropology

MAMILs – one of many targets Human Of Perth ruthlessly attacks

First there was Humans Of New York, the Facebook page that let us see the beating heart inside every hipster in the five boroughs. It inspired plenty of imitators, including Humans Of Perth. Now there’s a new Humans Of Perth – one that takes a decidedly jaundiced view of the various subcultures and stereotypes that call our city home. We reached out to the page’s creator, the enigmatic Matt, to find out more.

What was the motivation behind Humans Of Perth?
At a meta level, I’m motivated by being deeply disturbed by life and humanity and having a brain that over-analyses everything and every detail of how bad something, some situation or someone is. It’s a curse, it’s not fun.  I’m motivated to put forward some alternative commentary in response to the despairingly terrible state of society and the people in it. But it’s like screaming at a tornado, a tornado of people who think taking a selfie is being introspective. Or spitting at your firing squad. It’s all a fine gesture that ultimately means less than nothing in reality.

Everyone sucks in their own way – no one is perfect or immune from being a fool. If you laugh at one of the profiles, you should be prepared to laugh at yourself also. I hope to write enough profiles so that at least part of one of them applies to everyone reading them. Some self-doubt and a dent in the collective hubris would be a great thing for civilisation. I don’t have much faith in that happening at all, though. I think it’s an upward trend.

How long have you been at it?
The page has been up since 27 November 2014 so a little over a week depending on when this goes to print. I’ve been writing jokes and doing stand up for about five years on and off. I’ve been venting on Facebook under a pseudonym for a few years, to about a dozen friends who tolerate me.

Is Perth a target-rich environment for this kind of satire?
Firstly, I’m glad you realise it’s (an attempt at) satire and not documentary.

I guess Perth is a good target, I’m not sure though, I don’t really have any comparison. I’ve been here forever. I think this kind of satire translates wherever you are, and I think I’d have the same disdain for certain types of people wherever I was too.

What’s the reaction been like?
Overwhelmingly positive from a mathematical point of view. So far there have been around 100,000 likes, comments, shares etc (fuck I hate even saying that). I’ve only banned 10 people, so that’s 0.01% negative, 99.99% positive. That 0.01% of people do stand out in a concerning way though.

There have been a few threats of physical violence, mostly from moronic meatheads who think I’m the person in the caption and it is real. Easily offended ‘funky’ grandmothers also have lots of trouble grasping that it’s a parody. I’m worried that they think Hollywood movies are real. These are the kind of lost people that end up getting duped by extreme ideologies, fundamentalist religions, cults, off-the-plan real estate investments, psychics, TV home shopping and Nigerian email scams.

There have been a few 40 year old office clown white guys who’ve written to me or posted comments about how unfunny the page is and how much it sucks (inferring they can produce better material). It’s great to have a look through their Facebook page and see them wearing a crazy tie and purple polyester shirt at an office Friday night drinks and posting quotes from Anchorman 2.

There have also been some negative comments from people who think they know what I’m “trying to say” or that the posts are taking the wrong side on a local issue, such as cyclists vs drivers. That’s incorrect, and attributing way too much socio-political thought to what are essentially long-winded dick-jokes about annoying idiots. I’m not writing Animal Farm here.

What’s the end game?
The Earth being engulfed and incinerated by a bloated Sun and all of us being boiled inside our own skin like sous-vide sausages. Then a white-hot, solar-system-wide, heat death and a trillion years of ice cold silence and nothingness like an intense lustful relationship followed by the most devastating break up ever. Our history will read like the cover of Women’s Weekly. Everything ends in spectacular failure. You leave everything behind. I guess entropy is the real ‘end game’ for everyone and all things. That, or running out of jokes for this dumb page I started.

Check out the Humans Of Perth Facebook page here.