Thursday, January 25, 2007

(I Hate) Australia Day

Today is Australia Day, which celebrates the beginning of European settlement and (supposedly) our great nation.

I hate Australia Day. Emily is to Australia Day as Uncle Scrooge is to...

In the last few years, there has been an incredible rise in nationalism in Australia. Once upon a time, Australians were noted for their low-key approach to patriotism and general lack of respect for authority and national institutions. It would have been considered very strange and over-the-top to make such a big deal about being Australian. We had a kind of Anglo-Saxon "She knows I love her, I don't have to tell her, after all I married her, didn't I?" approach.

I love my country. I love our landscape, our freedoms, our sense of humour - so many things than I can hardly count them. When I am overseas, I miss our blue skies with a physical ache. And although it pisses me off that my Big Dude went to Vietnam, I honour his service.

But I really dislike the fact that there now seem to be flags everywhere and constant talk about unity and loyalty to our nation. We actually had a kind of oath of allegiance to Australia at an awards ceremony at work the other day. I was being presented with an award, so I was happy to be there, I had no problem with the wording of the oath, but for some reason I kind of choked on it. Semi-compulsory patriotism makes me uneasy.

Did you ever know someone who possibly has kind of low self-esteem who suddenly went around declaring to everyone that they have finally found the greatest love of all? It's like that. Genuine self-esteem, like genuine patriotism, is good. But hyped-up self-esteem, hyped-up patriotism, feels all wrong to me. It makes me wonder what is really going on. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

And it has an unpleasant flavour to do it. Drunken yobs have been going around with flags, demanding that people who look Middle Eastern kiss the flag.

And our Prime Minister loves it. He knows that the more nationalistic we are, the easier it is to get away with having his picture taken with returning soldiers rather than answering any hard questions about what the hell they are actually doing in Iraq in the first place and how the hell we are all going to get out of there without the Middle East combusting. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Bah, humbug!

32 Comments:

Blogger flutterby said...

Drunken yobs have been going around with flags, demanding that people who look Middle Eastern kiss the flag.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Drunken yobs aside... I would gladly profess undying love for Australia. I had a huge crush on an excahnge student from Canberra. Dude was so cool you just couldn't help but want to be around him. And then there's the accent. I love me an Aussie accent! And you guys have kangas and koalas. I mean, really... there's no contest. I think that Canadians walk around feeling like the uncool kid on the block, and... let's face it -- Australians rock.

How's that for a shortsighted opinion?

Honestly, I get your point about the patriotism. I think that the US has been such a broadly recognized example of strong patriot lines that countries in these times are feeling the pressure to conform. You know?

Come to Canada, we're just a bunch of whiners and bitchers with no national identity whatsoever!!

9:19 PM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Drunken yobs have been going around with flags, demanding that people who look Middle Eastern kiss the flag.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Drunken yobs aside... I would gladly profess undying love for Australia. I had a huge crush on an excahnge student from Canberra. Dude was so cool you just couldn't help but want to be around him. And then there's the accent. I love me an Aussie accent! And you guys have kangas and koalas. I mean, really... there's no contest. I think that Canadians walk around feeling like the uncool kid on the block, and... let's face it -- Australians rock.

How's that for a shortsighted opinion?

Honestly, I get your point about the patriotism. I think that the US has been such a broadly recognized example of strong patriot lines that countries in these times are feeling the pressure to conform. You know?

Come to Canada, we're just a bunch of whiners and bitchers with no national identity whatsoever!!

9:19 PM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Drunken yobs have been going around with flags, demanding that people who look Middle Eastern kiss the flag.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Drunken yobs aside... I would gladly profess undying love for Australia. I had a huge crush on an excahnge student from Canberra. Dude was so cool you just couldn't help but want to be around him. And then there's the accent. I love me an Aussie accent! And you guys have kangas and koalas. I mean, really... there's no contest. I think that Canadians walk around feeling like the uncool kid on the block, and... let's face it -- Australians rock.

How's that for a shortsighted opinion?

Honestly, I get your point about the patriotism. I think that the US has been such a broadly recognized example of strong patriot lines that countries in these times are feeling the pressure to conform. You know?

Come to Canada, we're just a bunch of whiners and bitchers with no national identity whatsoever!!

9:23 PM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Drunken yobs have been going around with flags, demanding that people who look Middle Eastern kiss the flag.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Drunken yobs aside... I would gladly profess undying love for Australia. I had a huge crush on an excahnge student from Canberra. Dude was so cool you just couldn't help but want to be around him. And then there's the accent. I love me an Aussie accent! And you guys have kangas and koalas. I mean, really... there's no contest. I think that Canadians walk around feeling like the uncool kid on the block, and... let's face it -- Australians rock.

How's that for a shortsighted opinion?

Honestly, I get your point about the patriotism. I think that the US has been such a broadly recognized example of strong patriot lines that countries in these times are feeling the pressure to conform. You know?

Come to Canada, we're just a bunch of whiners and bitchers with no national identity whatsoever!!

9:28 PM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Sorry for letting my computer puke on your comment page.

"Bad boy!!" :)

Have no clue what just happened.

9:39 PM  
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11:46 PM  
Blogger hasarder said...

The rise in forced patriotism over the last few years frightens the shit out of me. It makes me think of the Nazis - using patriotism to justify war and vilify anyone who questions the actions of the government.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

I was married to a German. Well a BAVARIAN to be precise (huge difference I'm told).

Anyway, on our visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein (the castle in Germany, oops Bavaria, that Walt Disney modelled his Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland after), we were going through the place. It truly is wonderous and beautiful and awe-inspiring, an absolute gem.

So, the entire time he's yacking at me about how wonderful Germany is, was and always will be, yadda yadda, look at this look at that, the ingenuity of the Germans, you wouldn't find this in a Scottish castle...etc.

Finally we were in the kitchen and he made some remark about the utensils on display and I lost it...much to the amusement of two Americans who overheard me and who totally cracked up.

I turned to him and said .... Max, there's a fine line between pride and arrogance and you have well and truly crossed it today!

Tis that distinction which I fear is becoming somewhat blurred in these times.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Uh Em, don't listen to Flutterby ("Come to Canada, we're just a bunch of whiners and bitchers with no national identity whatsoever!!)"

Not because she isn't half right but because it's foooken freeeezing here right now!!! Bloody Hell, as the Brits like to say! Stay where you are and we'll join you, since it's summer down your way! :-)

3:29 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

LOL ....I DO say 'bloody hell' a lot :)

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm English and have spent a fair amount of time in the US. It amuses me when Americans mention the royal family with great reverence; some saying "Oh, you don't pledge allegiance to the flag, you pledge allegiance to the queen, right?" I just laugh. It seems ludicrous! I remember an episode of "Murder She Wrote" and there was a mock-up of a senior policeman's office in a London police station, and they had put a picture of the queen with two union flags above it! Yeah, right, as if you'd ever see that in Britain. They'd think the person was deranged. One thing I (un)notice in Britain is how seldom you see British flags. Unlike in Switzerland or the USA. Australia I don't remember as being too seriously in-your-face in that regard.

England doesn't have much of a sense of identity within the UK, and frankly I can't really see why anyone would be proud to be British, or English or anything else really. Where you're born and what your nationality is is pretty much beyond your control. So it seriously baffles me why anyone would see it as something to be something to be proud of.

And during my various stints of living in different countries I've realised: there really is NOWHERE that's the perfect place to live. Even the most utopian-seeming place has its drawbacks and really farking annoying niggles and foibles. Which is probably a good thing really, or else everyone on the planet would want to live in that mythical perfect country.

Anyhow, this is probably a lot of drivel, and six months too late.

Bye!

Johnny Dee,
England

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnny Dee, your quote is fantastic !

6:21 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

I hate Austalia because I find the white people insincere, dishonest, arrogant, criminal, sexist, ageist, and racist. I am so fed up with living and want a way out of this shit hole of a country. I can't find a job. My husband complains of racist remarks made to him constantly. My children are bullied at school. I studied for a degree which is not worth the paper it is written on. I have become so depressed since returning here ten years ago. The lifestyle is just horrible. And I am a white Australian born in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. I am so tired, really very tired of living in this country.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Dave from Cronulla said...

Under the Southern Cross I stand,
Sprig of wattle in my hand.
A native of my native land,

Australia, you fucking beauty!!!

Basically if you dont like Australia, then get out.

I don't like Costa Rica, so I don't go there...

Find a country you like and love it up!

And stay off our beaches!!!!

Dave from Cronulla

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, you are the worst kind of Australian. The nationalistic bogan. Get over your country (and nationalistic spirit) and accept criticism.

You don't like Costa Rica for the same reasons most Australians struggle overseas, they compare everything to Australia and find differences.

You people (and your love it or leave it attitude) make me ashamed to be Australian. As a citizen, I can criticise to my hearts content. Who are you to tell people to "get out"? You're nobody Dave, you and your southern cross tattoo mean squat.

4:55 AM  
Blogger sam said...

I think there is a misunderstanding about the different kinds of 'love' that you can have for a country, for example:

Why I LOVE Australia: The nature we have here is really unique and beautiful and we SHOULD take better care of it. I also think we should respect the land and environment around us because THATS what makes Australia - Australia. We have beautiful sunrises and sunsets and amazing beaches. I also think as a generalisation, we're not perfect, but we ARE getting slowly better when it comes to racism and being open minded about things. Our country has a LOT of potential and that’s what I really love about Australia. It’s up to us Australians to respect it and make it a great place to live. We're not going to run out of room. We just need to get rid of our desert and then we can use the other 90% of our land. If we improve ourselves and surroundings locally, we'll improve the world globally.

Why I dislike Australia: We also have the potential to go the other way, the influence of all the media we have been subjected to has altered and shaped our culture, things like 'smart cards' that allow us certain privileges in exchange for personal information that we provide to the government. We must NOT become like other countries where our government becomes our country.

Let’s not forget we have been a country of some terrible crimes, fantastic feats and incredible friendship, but ones thing for certain, we change the world. For instance the 'Free Hugs' campaign was started in Sydney by Juan Mann, and all true Australians should admire him because that’s something really amazing that we can all be proud of.

Every second, we can make a difference.

Hav fun,

Sam =D

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Minnie said...

Well said.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave is a friggin' idiot! LMAO! I hate Australia day because we celebrate DEATH and PAIN! I hate patRIOTS because they are sheeple, who listens to anything their Cheifton says.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHITE AUSTRALIANS ARE DIRTY FILTHY DISGUSTING PIECES OF SHIET.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SUCH A GROUP OF FUCKED UP LOSERS.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sooo tired of living in this country. I used to like it when I was youngr I am now 27, nothing I do is valued in this country, you get a degree and no one cares, you apply and apply for jobs and no one cares or gives you one. The extreme heat is terrible. I have actually almost passed out because of it once. The people in this country have no self respect, we are all expected to degrade ourselves and have no self worth or self respect. If a person does well in this country we all just put them down. That is our Australian way so we think. I have not lived over seas but I have travelled overseas and until you see something better you do not know how terrible it really is here.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Sonja Sora said...

"WHITE AUSTRALIANS ARE DIRTY FILTHY DISGUSTING PIECES OF SHIET.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SUCH A GROUP OF FUCKED UP LOSERS."


I am so sorry you feel that way.
I consider myself a white Australian, but I'm not running around saying that Aborigines are devil spawn.
For all I know you're white too.

But anyway.
Personally I like Australia Day. I don't go out to raves or any "Aus Pride" parties, so for me it's a day to hang around with my family, listen to Triple J and eat some good food (not lamb, I'm not that patriotic. :P

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