Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day

Australia Day is a funny thing.

It would be nice if my immediate gut reaction to the day wasn't to cringe, because, hey, I live in a beautiful country, and there is so much to be grateful for, and appreciative of. It's okay to celebrate that once a year together. Why not?

But oh man. Do we have to celebrate it like that?

I went into the city last night and had the great fortune of catching the train with multitudinous boganeering teens. They seemed to be on their way somewhere else after a day at Cronulla beach. Flag capes. A lot of nakedness. And drunkenness. And terrible haircuts. And cut off shorts. And southern cross tattoos. And sunburned naked chests, except for- wait for it- white inscriptions of Sutherland Shire postcodes left where they had been written in zinc at the start of the day.


So it's hard not to cringe and just be embarrassed of any kind of association with this sort of stomach churning patriotism. But I do wish there was a middle ground. Australia Day shouldn't be just a cringe, or something that I am cynical about. I'd like to be able to celebrate the day, and my country, in a non ironic, non tongue in cheek way.

But they make it hard for me, they really do.


Pedro said...

There is Benno.
They have great aboriginal festivals all round town. There was one in Victoria Park we were going to take Zeke to but he didn't want to play the game yesterday!! Must have been the heat. Anyways...

This day should be spent giving respect to the true australians who were so kindly pushed aside so that the pioneers of the day could lay claim to 'their' new found lands.

January 26, happy 'invasion' day.

Ben McLaughlin said...

I agree that should be a part of the day, but I don't think that's ALL the day is about.

We live here, and aren't Aboriginal.. what is the day for us as, as you put it, not the 'true Australians'?