The American Media Seem Bewildered At How “Drunken And Depraved” The Melbourne Cup Is

"There is, for whatever reason, a whole lot of falling/lying on the ground."

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People have a lot of complicated feelings about the Melbourne Cup. For some, it is a deplorable event that glorifies animal cruelty. For others it represents the worst part of Australian culture, specifically excessive alcohol consumption, that we’d rather ignore. There’s also a segment of the internet who think its elitist to criticise the Melbourne Cup at all, arguing that it’s akin to mocking the working class. Look, there’s a lot at play here.

An interesting aspect of the coverage is considering how the Melbourne Cup is seen outside of Australia. All of sudden the things we take for granted — like the annual footage of girls in flowing dresses falling out of bins, or men in snappy suits having a nap on a pile of empty beer cans — seem brand new and strange. This is how I feel about American sports website, Deadspin‘s coverage of the Cup.

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Good headline, really.

Today Deadspin writer Billy Haisley, put together a photo gallery of punters at the Melbourne Cup, including such stunning portraiture as a woman riding a wheelie bin, a man making a phone call while lying horizontal on a stone staircase that is littered with debris and a woman singing into a Pringles can.

To us, this is pretty standard Melbourne Cup coverage. To American eyes however, this looks like a hellish Roman orgy of excess. “It’s not until you see these photos of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most drunken and depraved horse racing event, that you can really understand just how out of hand the whites can get,” Haisley writes.

“There is a lot of booze. There is a lot of littering. There is a lot of smiling. There is, for whatever reason, a whole lot of falling/lying on the ground. All of these factors combined create opportunities for some marvelous photography.”

Haisley compares the event to America’s own Kentucky Derby in that it follows the same tradition of “getting equal parts dolled and fucked up at horse races”. He does end on a positive note however, congratulating Australians for “having each other’s backs” when it comes to treating a national news services as a lost property office.