Re: Bug buns/vegemite/nannite- "Beetle Bread"

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 20:01:13 MST

At 04:38 PM 9/01/01 -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:

>BTW: I never knew that vegemite was made from actual bugs. I assume that
>it is considered a meat product?

Never believe a word an Australian tells you. Terrible liars, the lot of
'em. For example, as I reported somewhere long ago:

I met the fabled Harlan Ellison at dinner in Melbourne: charming and
energetic, smacking his lips and crying aloud in a species of Greek and
thus endearing himself to the sceptical restaurateur. He spent so much of
his time gazing with hard direct eyes at one or another of us, telling
each, in his turn that he was 'a remarkable man' (a gambit modified, I
believe, for Dianne and Irene) that he was taken at the end for a fellow of
the most piercing insight and gentility. At last Dianne leaned across to me
and asked, not at all sotto voce, 'Why does everyone hate this man?' No one
did, not any more.

Harlan had been in Australia a week; it was his pleasure to regale us
obdurate city-dwellers with tales of Outback mystery. With enormous relish
he described the flightless Emoo, an unstoppable marauding bird protected
by matted feathers so dense that high-powered rifle bullets bounce clean
off. Harried farmers in four-wheel drives, he reported, find themselves
obliged to pursue it through the night, their hammering machine-gun the
sole weapon capable of felling the beast. Our muffled chokes and shrieks
gave the game away. 'I'll kill that son of a bitch,' he vowed, delighted.

(`Emu', BTW, is pronounced `ee-mew' not `ee-moo'. Hang on, does that work
in Yank? `Eem-you'. You can trust me on this, I'm an Australian.)

Actually, now that I think about it, veggie-mites would be the least of our
nutritional problems. In the late '50s and early '60s, when television here
was scratchy and b&w, they ran a much-loved sentimental ad which possessed,
as I only now perceive, a dark and shuddering subtext. A bunch of dear
little tanned children in atrocious swimming costumes (or `cozzies') would
cavort in sprays of water from a garden sprinkler, smiling like loons and
singing in chorus:

`We're happy little Vegemites
`As gay as gay can be
..........or something along those lines, maybe it was `bright'
`We always eat our Vegemite
`For breakfast, lunch and tea.'

Belatedly, I see the vile truth so brazenly reported in those childish lyrics:


Damien Broderick

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