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Australia Day « Previous | |Next »
January 26, 2008

It's Australia day. I cannot celebrate the 220th anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney Cove. That also means British colonization, brutal destruction of indigenous people and the racism of settler capitalism. Freedom based on dispossession and the historical refusal by many Australians who denied the right of Aboriginal people to co-exist with white settler society.

PetyarreK.jpgMyCountry.jpg This image is by Kathleen Petyarre, and it is entitled My Country (Sandhills Utopia) Bush Seed 2004, (Acrylic on linen".

This painting is what I celebrate as it signifies the rebirth of indigenous people from their hell.

Murdock's Australian celebrates Australian values for a free market economy amongst others.

But this newspaper does not celebrate the resilience, creativity, enterprise and hard work necessary to become a successful artist who represents her country in images.

If you are going to celebrate Glenn and Jane McGrath in their successful fight against Jane's cancer, then why not celebrate Aboriginal artists making good paintings in spite of the huge odds stacked against them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:20 PM | | Comments (9)


Hear hear.

The Day is so crass, isn't it?
So jingoistic and commercialised chauvinism.So insulting and offensive.
And thats before Sam Kekovich adds his little bit.
Glad I missed it.

Lyn, Fred,
there lots of people driving around the Fleurieu Peninsula with flags on their cars. There are lots of flags on flagpoles on the holiday houses.

I'm not sure what it all means. Love of country? Proud to be Australian?

There seems to be a fine distinction between loving your country and indulging the inner bogan. Most of the public display appears to be more about the bogan than the country. The suburban version of the culture wars maybe?

by inner bogan I presume you mean the quaint notion of an Aussie larrakin getting smashed and trashing. Flag-wearing then takes on a new, more menacing meaning.

What is bogan? Are you referring to males who have a "she'll be right" attitude towards life beyond sport, and tend to splutter like Victa mowers whenever they speak. Or the women greet one another in our vast shopping malls with cackling cockatoo calls? Outer surburban yobbos?

I understand that bogan in Australia is an insulting slang, term for an unsophisticated lower-class yob What the Americans mean by "trailer trash".

I guess that the stereotype of a working class bogan is tight black jeans, a Metallica T-shirt, a mullet or a shaved head and a love of beer and cars.

The argument from the cultural studies crowd is that bogan is the only authentically Australian working-class culture subculture. The larrikan strand runs through it.

It refers to 1980s surburban working class culture Melissa Campbell, a Melbourne University academic who specialises in the study of bogan pop culture says: was a thing of the 1980s, so as the people who grew up in the '80s get older, they look back and rediscover it."
It celebrates aspects of Australian culture. A lot of the culture I was growing up with was imported from England or just bland white bread stuff, whereas bogan was a kind of exotica that is uniquely Australian. The panel vans and the VB and the moccasins.

That is just the historical style or fashion. Today's bogan would dress differently---eg., the Cronulla beach riots of last year?

I think the flannelette shirt is the enduring symbol of bogan. It has survived from early working class larrikinism through punk, past Pauline Hanson into the pressed and tucked in version of suburban respectability.

Metallica t-shirts have become specific to the heavy metal, heavy rock, long lead guitar breaks, chunky silver jewellery crowd. More drugs and bourbon than beer, and speaker gigantism more than cars.

For bogans Metallica are among a collection including AC/DC, Cold Chisel, early Midnight Oil, Nirvana, System of a Down and now probably Hilltop Hoods. Beer and cars definitely, and the boob flash is an essential for bogan girls.