Sunday, July 10, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Monday, June 6, 2016
I usually consider myself lucky to live in Australia, as opposed to proud.
Pride might come more easily if forty-something years ago we hadn't had a referendum in which the majority of us voted for the turgid ridiculousness of "Advance Australia Fair" to be our new national anthem. I would deny any responsibility because I was only ten years old at the time. Sadly though, I do remember a classroom poll in Grade 4 where we little patriots could cast our own vote - at least feel like we could - for the best candidate. And I voted for this one. I think I was even impressed that it contained the line, "Our home is girt by sea" - probably because I had to look for"girt" in the dictionary. I like to think that if I was old enough to really vote I might have had better taste but in the cultural moment of 1974* I have no idea what I would have done. I couldn't rule it out.
And for the next forty years, there it was - and still is - at every public occasion. I don't think anybody particularly liked it and even fewer people actually knew the words. The moment (which somehow felt so much longer than a moment) always seemed a bit awkward and cringe-worthy. The only thing it really had going for it was that it wasn't "God Save the Queen".
But in this marvelous age of global uncertainty in which we now find ourselves, when everybody seems to be clinging to whatever certainty they can grasp at and so many of us are retreating into vacuous jingoism, you can now see Australians clutching unconsciously at their proudly beating breasts as they sing the fucking thing. Some of them even know the words. But not if they live in the Eggmen universe, obviously.
* Actually I just checked online and the Wikipedia entry for the song tells me that we had a plebiscite in 1977, at which point I thought the memory castle of my childhood might rather be some flimsy house of cards, but there was apparently an opinion poll commissioned in 1974. So now I'm pulling up the drawbridge on my memory castle and going for a bath.