Hello, Buggers. Would you mind terribly if this edition of Media Glass House has a military flavour?
No? Thanks. So, can someone give us a definition of the word “camouflage” as it might pertain to use by our defence forces?
Yes, you in Rooty Hill, Sydney.
“Using a combination of things to make defence personel or their equipment hard to see?”
Well done. You have a service background, perhaps?
Well, doubly well done! One general definition from the web says this: Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see, or by disguising them as something else.
So, everyone. What do you think this object is (at right), shown on Channel 9’s 6pm news on Wednesday night?
Hands down. We all know the answer, don’t we? It’s a submarine!
Well, maybe not all of us. Our reader from Launceston who answered ‘humpback whale’ might need to book an eye test with you-know-who.
But seeing the rest of us all spotted the sub immediately, it’s not very well camouflaged, is it? Not at all, if we’re being completely honest.
But here’s what newsreader Peter Overton (shown at top) had to read out: It was a grey old day on Sydney Harbour and stealing to the surface just by Rushcutters Bay was this navy submarine in perfect camouflage. An Army chopper flew overhead as part of the exercise – a treat for anyone braving a ferry ride today.”
In perfect camouflage. So, here’s a little bit of advice to whoever wrote that voiceover for poor Peter.
Yes, we get that it was a grey day overhead, we get the water surface was greyish and we get that the submarine was grey.
But, see, we wouldn’t have known one of our navy’s finest attack weapons was in the harbour, let alone grey, if it had been …. anyone want to help this person out?
“If it had been perfectly camouflaged, we wouldn’t have seen it? Or thought it was something else?”
Well done, that reader from Sandgate in north Brisbane. And all the others who had their hands up. We know you had the right answer too.
So, how could the writer of this piece of twaddle fixed things up?
Something like this maybe?
“A grey sky on a grey Sydney Harbour and a grey paintjob weren’t quite enough camouflage for this Navy submarine as it stole to the surface near Rushcutters Bay. An Army chopper flew overhead as part of the exercise – a treat for anyone braving a ferry ride today.”
That’s if you were determined to work “camouflage” into the story at all.
Editor’s note: One of our investigative reporters on mezzanine level 2 of our main newsroom complex just reminded me of that old Stephen Wright joke about what the army instructor said to the recruit… “I haven’t seen you in camouflage class lately.”