Friday, 16 December 2011

Happy Little Vegemite

Here, revealed at last we have the original transcripts from the court trial of Mrs Sandra Darling who, in the context of Barack Obama (44th President of the United States of America) declaring Vegemite "horrible", defended her right to eat her national food proudly and without irony. Of course it is a matter of history now, her name in the textbooks as the Rosa Parks of vegetable by-products, the Erin Brockovich of yeast based spreads- but at the time it was a terrible scandal, and one that divided the world.

Exhibit 1a.


Prosecuting Lawyer:
I stand before you today, dear jury, to share with you the facts. On December 10th, 2011 at approximately 14:00, Hunter William Savage-Darling had his first taste of Vegemite. It is up to you, dear jury, to see if you also think that feeding anyone- let alone your infant - Vegemite is a horrible thing to do. 

Here the transcript is destroyed, but further pages survive:

...direct the jury to Exhibit 1a. Vegemite on fresh organic bread [pointing]. Will Mrs Darling please describe the toast shown in this picture. Does it resemble the very toast you fed your son?

Defendant:
[Nodding]
It looks exactly as described- an average amount of vegemite on two pieces of bread. It definately looks just like the toast I made for my son. As you will see a small amount of butter was added in case Hunter decided he did not want, as I like butter with my Vegemite and intended to eat the remains.

Prosecuting Lawyer:
[Eyebrows raised, pacing]
Are you telling me you made preparations for the event that your son did not like the Vegemite? Would you say that this preparation indicates a certain knowledge that your child would react negatively to the taste of Vegemite upon his tongue?

Judge: 
Order! The jury is to disregard this last statement, I feel that it is leading the Defendant.

-Pages missing-


Prosecuting Lawyer::
Describe for me, if you will Mrs Darling, exactly how horrible it was for your only child to be force fed the vile black paste commonly referred to as Vegemite? 

Judge: 
[Banging gavel]
Order! ORDER! The jury is to disregard this last statement, this time you definately are leading the Defendant. If you have any non-leading questions to put to the Defendant you may continue.

Prosecuting Lawyer:
[Moves to stand in front of Defendant]
Mrs Darling will you please relate your sons reaction to his first taste of Vegemite? 
 
Defendant:
Well, at first he pulled some very concerned faces, his chubby neck rolls melded into his plump little chin as he grimaced and sucked his tongue. I thought for a second he was going to spit it out when-

Lawyer:
[Moving quickly to lean over the stand and shout in Defendants' face]
When what? When he lay poisoned and ill upon the floor? Who knows what terrible torture this poor boy endured at the hands of his Vegemite wielding mo


-Pages missing-


bangs his gravel repeatedly]
Order! ORDER! One more outburst from you and I will have you stricken from this court! 

Defendant:
[Grabs the microphone and speaks into it urgently]
I was going to say that he loved it! He grabbed the whole piece and shoved it in his mouth, again and again-

Judge:
Silence! Order in the Court! ORDER!

Defendant:
[Speaking at same time as Judge]
He laughed at one point, and bit my finger when I put my finger in his mouth to scoop out a possible choking hazard.

Judge:
[Pointing at Defendant]
Remove her! Remove her from my court! Mistrial!

Defendant:
[Being dragged from the courtroom by two security guards, yelling towards the jury as she is removed from the room]
When it was done, he sucked the crumbs of his fingers and grumbled for more! He liked it! I know he did!


Here the transcript ends, the file having been destroyed in the unearthing. Who knows what else went on in that courtroom? We can only postulate at which words were flung, what battles were fought. Apart from the remains of the original transcript and the news reports of the chaos that ensued worldwide after the trial's outcome was revealed, there is a photo. The Photo. The now iconic image of Mrs Darling holding her son- his expression unreadable, hers a beaming smile that hints at laughter.


The now iconic image referred to in text as "The Photo"

All we know is that to this very day it is a rite of passage for an Aussie to have their first taste of Vegemite captured on film. The photos proudly displayed by all who care to celebrate such civil liberties on December 10th every year. This small but meaningful gesture marks a solidarity with Mrs Darling and all the unknown Vegemite warriors that came before her, many of whom perished in the battle to reclaimed Vegemite as a decent and delicious treat for all.



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