Tomorrow is the time of year where all Australians take stock of the world around them and ponder our nation’s place in the world and our current good fortune (flood crises notwithstanding)…or at least it should be.
Instead we are presented with this jingoistic orgy of Australian flag branded merchandising and nationalistic triumphalism that is so far from the perceived Aussie nature it’s completely unrecognisable.
The final straw for me was, believe it or not, an ad for Woolworths. As well as the gormless front man spruiking the regular rip-offs we could expect to find, he then rattled off a massive list of flag brand items covering the full gamut of useless objects. Seriously, I fully expected to find flag branded condoms and maxi-pads.
Couple this with the now common sight of Aussie flags stuck to car windows, usually in pairs and usually accompanied by a “Fuck off we’re full” bumper sticker, and you really start to wonder.
Why do we suddenly have this heavily Americanised version of flag-based patriotism foisted off on us, accompanied by its handmaiden the triumphal exceptionalism i.e. we’re the best in the world?
Why can’t we go back to the good old days, where Australia Day was just viewed as the first of many public holidays in the year and we treated it with the good natured, apathetic acknowledgement it deserved?
To mind the only good thing about Australia Day at the moment is Sam Kekovich…you know it makes sense.
This is something that has been weighing on my mind a bit recently, after I noticed an increasing trend towards rampant boganism, and frankly it disturbs me quite a bit.
It seems that everywhere you go these days you surrounded by bogans, and what’s worse they are totally self-aware bogans and revel in their boganism like it’s a badge of honour.
It really struck me when I was on holidays in Bali and was walking up the main street of Kuta and was literally surrounded by them, showing off their bogan stamps and mullets in the traditional Bintang singlet, asking all passersby where the nearest Pizza Hut is.
I thought to myself; “it never used to be like this did it? It never used to be this full on?”.
After a bit of thought I reckon I’ve worked out where it all went wrong and when the slide to the lowest common denominator really began…the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Prior to this we were generally an affable, tolerant nation, content in our place in the world with a realistic view of our impact on it. We were satisfied that the majority of our self-worth came in sports, and in particular traditional standards like cricket, netball, and rugby and we were happy that we excelled in those areas.
Then we won the Olympics and little Johnny wasted no time in telling us how bloody good we are and that we would do well. Of course we did with the home town and seasonal advantages, and when Samaranch declared them the “best games ever” , well that was it…we collectively went nuts.
From this point it was on for young and old. Our successes in this one event lead us to believe we were natural world beaters at ALL sports and we proceeded to get ugly about telling absolutely everyone about it. This gave rise to the increasing appearance of the ugly Aussie spectator, once usually reserved for his spot behind the Collingwood goalposts, he now appeared at all events with the same passion and fervour armed with the most brain dead chant of all time “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi”.
It has only gotten worse, with the expectation of us being world beaters at EVERYTHING now treated as a forgone conclusion in most minds, leading to the appearance of the “patriotic” Aussie (more like jingoistic) spouting the Cronulla riot slogan of “fuck off we’re full” with great delight. Couple this with the conspicuous display of “bogan stamp” tattoos (Southern Cross) on all and sundry and you have a delightful display to impress the world.
And there you have it…the great tradition of Aussie openness and tolerance being drowned in a sea of jingoistic fervour and hatred, with lashings of drunkeness and generally sub-human behaviour on display to the rest of the world. If any other countries actually cared what happens it’d be serious, but thankfully (despite the mass bogan delusion) the world cares very little about what happens here (except for bloody Oprah).
Makes you proud to be an Australian hey?