Setting a Standard
Words by Maxim Buckley
Bashing The Adelaide Set at this stage seems like low hanging fruit. They are shadow banned on Instagram and whenever I criticize them my echo chamber only ever comes back the way I would like it to. However, given their follower count is still in the tens of thousands and they still garner enough attention to make national headlines, albeit News.com.au, this fruit obviously remains to be picked. So, to be on theme I am wacking a big old OPINION PIECE on this article and wading into the swamp.
For the uninitiated, The Adelaide Set in their words is the first youth dedicated and run platform in the state of South Australia to reach the milestone of 50,000 followers. The “platform” is primarily run from Instagram and features content reposted from other creators, some paid advertising by local businesses, event information, and the occasional produced video, frequently of random things around Adelaide. A personal recent favourite of mine was the Freemasons Grand Lodge shot from across the street with some pictures from past events to show the inside. The reason I like this one so much is because I have been inside the building, which wasn’t hard to do, because I had to visit the then marketing offices for the university. It’s not really that impressive and looks quite dated on the interior. For the most part this kind of content seems very vanilla, so why write an OPINION PIECE about some Aussie Battlers just trying to make something of themselves in the big bad world of Instagram. Well, really it comes down to a collection of posts that are by far the minority of their content.
But first, why don’t I acquaint you with who runs The Adelaide Set. Well, that in itself seems to be a bit of a mystery. If you were to go on the page the face that pops up the most is that of Taydam Knowles. The social media micro-influencer and former Miss World Australia — South Australian Finalist is either the general manager of The Adelaide Set or the social media presenter, quite frankly it’s difficult to parse. Taydam has had modest beginnings and holds a fairly clean image by remaining silent on a number of issues, so I suppose her only crime is dating George-Alexander Mamalis and as a consequence writing one of the worst pieces of poetry I have ever read. It may well not be poetry, but I wouldn’t know what else to call it. George-Alexander Mamalis has been likened to Alexander the Great by his partner Taydam and since I don’t personally know George or Alexander the Great, I couldn’t possibly comment on the matter. However, I would argue that King George is perhaps even greater than Alexander the Great; he is carving his own future in a far more precarious world with thesaurus in hand! It almost seems to be a running joke that the captions and wording on The Adelaide Set posts are intentionally superfluous. Where most people would simply have “On Kaurna Land” in their bio, The Adelaide Set has “Ancient Lands of Kaurna”. King George enjoys words you need a dictionary for, such as “perspicacity” and “assiduous”. King George believes that there is no black, white, or brown in the world; “we’re all just humans!” cries The King. There are a few other minor weirdos who are involved with The Adelaide Set. One, who’s name I can’t be bothered finding, runs a carpark Instagram account? There are a few others, a recent addition of a poet named Bior who should mentor Taydam in some verse structure. My favourite character from The Adelaide Set rouges gallery besides King George is Will Twiss. If you catch me at UniBar just ask me why and maybe I’ll explain.
So now that you’re acquainted with the staff, what is it about The Adelaide Set that gets everyone so riled up? Well, The Adelaide Set was staunchly in favour of a local COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced by Vaxine, a South Australian Biotech company founded and run by Professor Nikolai Petrovsky. The company has produced a vaccine platform that it believes is highly effective and can be made widely available. The ideas and goal behind Vaxine are no doubt noble and like any biotech company I wish them well in their endeavours. I certainly won’t comment on Vaxine or its products because that’s not the point of this article, but just know that Professor Petrovsky decided it would be preferable to receive his own vaccine despite other TGA approved vaccines being available on the market and consequently at the time was banned from accessing his laboratories at Flinders Medical Centre. King George decided to take part in Vaxine’s COVAX-19 clinical trial, which he is of course allowed to do. The page decided to spruik the “traditional” vaccine candidate, claiming that they are here to support locals. I personally didn’t realise supporting local meant buying a locally made vaccine but there you go! Also, for those who know the history of vaccines, they would know that the first vaccine was the use of a live cowpox virus to prevent smallpox given the two share similar traits. As such, perhaps the most traditional kind of vaccine still in use is an attenuated or dead pathogen, such as the polio vaccine, not a recombinant protein attached to a proprietary adjuvant likely produced in insect cells. Sure, mRNA is the new kid on the block, but as a concept it has been in development since that 80s. I suppose traditional has the meaning that you attach to it.
Another recent post made by the page about the Supreme Court of The United States’ decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the basis of more than 50 years of healthcare availability in America, made national headlines. Why you ask? Well, the post featured a smiling, happy, bouncing baby. So sweet! However, the decision made by the supreme court is not supported by the majority of Americans, so one could argue that using such an image is inherently inflammatory. Okay, so what? Well, that’s not all. The page then decided it was time to link mask and vaccine mandates to the provision of necessary, lifesaving healthcare. The page asked how “the same people that told you that the government can without question decide on the limits of bodily autonomy and individual health choices are now trying to convince you, that the government has no right whatsoever to limit bodily autonomy and individual health choices(?)”. The answer is simple really, because both are a provision of necessary and at times lifesaving healthcare, but that’s not the point of this article. These two posts garnered The Adelaide Set national attention when News.com.au decided to get their grubby Murdoch’s underwear sniffing noses into the mix. What this all amounts to is this: The Adelaide Set are allowed to have opinions and can present those opinions in an OPINION PIECE. However, they were not writing an OPINION PIECE and were instead asking an intentionally controversial question to garner interaction from their rabid base of supporters and critics, myself included.
The Adelaide Set is symptomatic of an ongoing larger trend. People seem to equate freedom of speech with freedom from criticism. The Adelaide Set can easily free themselves of criticism, though they choose to go about it in a way that I wouldn’t recommend. Several of my friends and I’m sure others who are critical of The Adelaide Set and the content they spew are blocked by the page. I’m honestly surprised I have made it this long. The Adelaide Set share views and opinions that are intentionally inflammatory. It’s quite sad too! What George and his lackies have built is no doubt quite impressive, 55k+ followers is no small feat and they should be proud of themselves. But why taint it. You’re able to report on global issues, no one doubts that, but why rile up the masses with useless provocative language that only serves your own self-serving ideas. People so frequently talk about bipartisanship in media, so why not post pictures from both sides of the protest? The Adelaide Set hides behind a veil of freedom of speech as though that’s protection from criticism. A youth run platform sounds wonderful! But really, you’re just trying to be Sky After Dark.
If I make my way to their Instagram stories I will be surprised. I am just one more person yelling in their chamber and hearing their own voice echo back at them. But if I do, doubtlessly it will be followed with messages of support from their followers! They’re the only ones who tell it how it is, after all. Well, The Adelaide Set, let me tell you how it is. You are shadow banned. Since August 2021 you have garnered an additional 5k followers despite your yearly average increase being close to 8.5k. Yes, followers do not increase linearly however if this downward trend is kept your page will soon be in stasis. You are constantly in my feed and the feeds of others simply because you post controversial puerile nonsense. If that’s what you want to be, then well done, you’re there.
This article is being written the day of the protest to defend abortion rights at Beehive corner and as such I can’t invite you along, but I hope you’re there. Likely you saw The Adelaide Set repost an infographic about the event and as such I cannot wait to see you there, comrades.
Note: I’ve had the luxury of witnessing what The Adelaide Set posted for the protest and might I say it isn’t pretty. They posted one meagre picture hastily snapped presumably as the person hurried by to get to some swanky Friday night bar. The only comments on the post are ones either condemning the actions of the protesters or pointing out the apparent “hypocrisy” of shouting “my body, my choice” as if carrying a baby to term is the same thing as wearing a mask on public transport and having a piddly needle in your arm. Pathetic.