Tuesday, 24 April 2012

At the going down of the sun, and in the mourning...

I do not love Australia. Sorry - just don't.

I love G-MAn, the ducks, my friends, my family, the sense of place we share, and a few inanimate objects, but I just don't warm to abstractions, like Nation for example. A nation is not a real thing just because it has a name. A nation is an idea,  not a way of life, and certainly is not some thing worth dying for.

Alien nation more like. Not yellow peril turn the boats back type alien, but the alien I feel when expected to manufacture sentimental attachment to this 19th Century ideological artefact. It is 2012, there is a world wide web of connection between us, we can fly to the antipodes of wherever we are in 24hrs, but I am asked to continue to believe in such an anachronistic social construct as Nation.

I watch, incredulous, as the mainstream media continues pumping out nationalist hype, when we all know it is just emotional manipulation, not as sophisticated as advertising, but to the same end. E.g. I just heard Julia Gillard declare that the people of the world are tired of war (as if we were never awake to it). Not a week passed before the papers were pimping stories of tragic losses with doe eye'd dead boys beaming up at me from the front pages of the weekend press, designed to make me too, tired of the war so they can popularise pulling out of the wreck of Afghanistan and onto the next theatre of destruction.

Hate to say I told you so, but I clearly remember marching with a few million other people Australia wide, in protest against the recent American wars. Wrong way, go back we all  pleaded with our banners and chants. When so many could be so soundly ignored I realised then that Australia had swerved from apparent democracy into full-on oligarchy of vested interests. Every time the war machine gets wound up and we commit our children to its hideous maw, I hate the idea of Nation with just that little bit more conviction.

I think I lost my fealty to Nation somewhere round about the time I realised that Sunday school was not really school and Santa was really our local pedophile in a cheap clown suit. I did once love it, as was expected, and cupped a chubby little paw over my heart as I recited the creed on parade, in the blazing North Queensland sun; I love my country, I honour her flag, blah blah blah, like so many Nazi kiddies once did, and North Korean and American kiddies no doubt do today. And tomorrow, in their dead great-grandfather's jingling decorations, decked out in crisp navy whites, polished boots and plastic guns, our kiddies will be up at sparrows fart, participating in their own grooming for anticipated heroic sacrifice.

In particular, my nephew will be there in the pale dawn - a Sea Scout bound for the navy. It's either that, or a dead-end service job on the Sunshine Coast - already a vast Brisbane slum, except no one wants to actually admit it. He'll be showing off to his grandfather, trying to steal some thunder from his cousin in the army, bound for Afghanistan - logistics, so I guess that means they'l be moving on out. Cutting and running is I think, the expression.

But not the boy who's been staring at me all week. He's already home. His vibrant gaze beams up at me from the page, asking for my what, adoration? pity? But all I can manage is contempt. Not for him - poor, bright, thwarted, wasted soul. My contempt is for a nation that would not only sacrifice his life, but also lie about its reasons for doing so. Bastards. How is our society to be compensated for the loss of his potential? And I  mean social, not economic potential. What blood money have we unwittingly accepted in exchange for his life?

So, off you go Australia. Jangle your jingo and drape your flags, pin your poppies, conjure up a fluttering clamour of bunting and emu feathers and hug yourself to your nation's bosom. I won't be joining you in a drink to the dream of confected golden fields of honour and glory snatched from the jaws of monumental defeat. Go ahead, love your manufactured idea of Australia.

But remember - it does not love you back.


  1. Oh, Annett, why do you hate Australia?

  2. Please take this post down. It is offensive beyond belief and extraordinarily disrespectful to your sisters. I am certainly intelligent enough to see all your subtleties and not ineloquent moments of compassion, however this is a bridge too far. I implore you to take it down. Evan

  3. Nay, a bridge over the river kwai too far.

  4. However, I'm curious. Offensive? To whom and why, precisely?

  5. My comment was meant to be a joke. Is this Evan serious? If he is, it is HILARIOUS! I stand in awe of such brilliant comedy. Really. Fair dinkum. I'm not kidding. I yearn for that kind of subtly, that depth of elegance.

    "It is offensive beyond belief..." Oh, god, that's funny. I simply must have lunch with this person. Can you arrange it?

  6. Oh god, two droll-meisters - so early in the morning.

    That is my son, Boylan. But you knew that. It's that tone of high dudgeon that cracks me up.

  7. BTW Boylan, noone except for fake little turds like Kevin Rudd PRETENDING to be a bloke actually says fairdinkum.

  8. The sentiment is perfectly reasonable, if one has the wide political reading and a firm understanding of current affairs under one's belt as I am know you do, as probably does your friend the adjunct professor of know-allism from the University of Bumcrack Nord. Nonetheless, I think it is a red-rag-to-a-bull fuckwitish thing to write when you have family in the armed services and you are clearly still trying to be the naughty rebellious older sister at 50. Now, can I have the recipe to your Anzac biscuits, or don't you want your draft-dodging pinko mates on here to know you have the BEST patriotic biccie recipe in the Commonwealth.

  9. You wish.
    I'll be taking that recipe to the grave, boyo. Along with several longstanding grudges.

  10. I protest your obscure utilization of such an obscure but cutting pejorative. I am DEEPLY AND TRULY offended by your seemingly oblique accusation of pretentiousness. The insult was delivered via neither implication nor innuendo. It is direct, I say! Direct to the core of my pseudo academic being. University of Bumcrack Nord, indeed! I will have you know I am an adjunct professor of know-allism from the University of Bumcrack Sud. Not Nord. Sud. How dare you, sir? How dare you?

    However, I readily admit that I loves me some patriotic biccies. By all means, take the recipe to your grave, Annette, but only after you make me some. Please.

  11. Unlike you, Annette, I love Australia. I would emigrate in a heartbeat if I could make a living there and if my wife would agree (which she will not). But the one thing thing that disappoints me most about your unique and quite admirable culture is that frivolous banter tires you so quickly.

  12. Moi!
    I will have you know I not only have a pair of high heels - just for fun, but I also have a twitter account. Could one be more frivolous, I ask you?

  13. I choose not to answer due to my desires to engender your future hospitality and/or conviviality.

  14. I note this morning our Julia has spoken to the Ruskies about the girlie punk rockers. I s'pose she's off to London next to pack our Julian in a diplomatic bag and bring him home?