It seems not everyone is in love with the sentiments expressed in Paul Kelly’s cult classic song ‘How to Make Gravy’, with claims surfacing this week that it glorifies crime and lionises a convicted felon. These claims have been presented by Philosophy–Law double degree student Victor Townsend of Rosanna, who has written a lengthy essay entitled “Popular culture’s dangerous glorification of criminals”. 

While the hit song provides a tempting redemption narrative about a seemingly loveable rogue who has come to learn the error of his ways, Townsend isn’t buying it. And he says our ability to glaze over the serious crimes committed in our society is becoming more common thanks to certain elements of popular culture. 

Speaking exclusively to The Watsonia Bugle about his essay, Townsend said “I mean we don’t even know what he’s in jail for? We can assume it’s not a major crime like murder because he talks about being released within seven months of his letter, but I’ll guarantee he’s still in there for something pretty bad. The fact he mentions fighting a relative on Christmas Day suggests he has a propensity for violence. Plus he shows an alarmingly tendency for jealousy when talking about his wife/partner. 

“So my guess would be he’s inside for some kind of assault. And yet here we are lionising the fact he’s a changed man and wants to make gravy again some day. Well whoopdido! It’s so typical of popular culture’s fascination with putting criminals on a pedestal. We see it in Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Orange Is the New Black, the list goes on.” 

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