Archive for August, 2005
Jim Rose has a blog. How interesting.
I’m a little excited having just purchased my ticket to see the good man’s circus. Only problem is having to now wait until November to see them.
I’ve been buying a lot of tickets of late. Next pay check I’ll have to get my Moto GP ticket. Little bit excited about that. I’ll probably pick up a ticket to Meredith with that pay check as well. Always excited about the Meredith Music Festival.
Also a little bit excited because I’m about to hop on a plane to Sydney to see one of the loves of my life (and do some activist type stuff too).
I just came across this blog: Needled.
How’s that for a random bunch of thoughts!
Both my parents were born in Australia, all my grand parents were born in Australia and the vast majority of my great grand parents were born in Australia. My non-Australian heritage, as distant as it may be, is comprised largely of Irish and Scottish background with a healthy dose of English and I’m told a tiny fraction of French but we don’t like to talk about that. The closest I have to an ethnic identity is Irish Catholic if you could call that an ethnic identity in modern Australia. My point being that I’m as Anglo and Aussie as a person could be. I’m also male but I’m not sure how relevant this is.
Simpson has no significance to me. I don’t want to detract from the great man that the history books tell me he was (nor do I dispute this) but he is irrelevant to me. To me, when I think about Australia and what it is to be Australian I don’t think about Simpson. Moreover, I honestly have no idea what he is meant to represent to me as an Australian. Maybe this is because I’m 25. But I doubt it. To be honest I’m not even sure if he served in the first or second world war.
I’ve asked a few people today what Simpson means to them. To anyone under 40 I’ve asked just doesn’t care or doesn’t know what Simpson represents.
Is he meant to represent a ‘fair go’? To me, my grandfather’s experience in the second world war is far more defining of what it is to be an Australian. He was stationed in Papua New Guinea and was a doctor in the army. He doesn’t really talk about the war much other than amusing anecdotes about getting drunk with a few larrikins and so on – the good times I guess. He doesn’t like to relive the bad times so much. But from what I can gather he was told not treat the natives (unfortunately he still refers to them as ‘boongs’ or something along those lines). He flatly refused his orders and continued to treat them. Then when threatened with disciplinary action he threatened to go to the papers about how his superiors were letting these people die unnecessarily and continued to treat them. Needless to say this then when on unchallenged
It represents a few things. Firstly a very basic but unmovable humanity – above all else. Despite the occasionally outrageously racist comment my grandfather may make there is still a very basic respect and compassion for all humanity. Secondly a complete disdain for authority, a trait I’ve certainly inherited from my grandfather. It’s an acknowledgment that this humanity is often not derived from authority but from a sense of respect and decency. It seems very basic to me.
I’m a very proud Australian. A friend of mine and I often argue about the merits of patriotism. While he loves Australia he’s an internationalist through and through and sees patriotism as the source of entirely too much violence and negativity in the world. Not me though. I love this country and stand proud when I say I’m Australian. To do this I also have to acknowledge our past and present injustices. I also feel compelled to work to address these injustices because I love this country so much. When your best mate really fucks up, you don’t abandon them and keep going, you stop and pick them up – that’s human decency, that’s Australian.
Clearly I’m a bit emotional about this. Pride will do that. Then I read about Howard and Nelson saying that to be Australian is to be like Weary Simpson and it makes me feel sick. There is no human decency in this statement. There is no stopping to pick people up. There is no defying of authority to help someone.
Perhaps a necessary part of this Australian identity is having people like this to fight against, to hold in disdain. However we certainly don’t need these people to try and tell us about what it is to be Australian – particularly when they evoke dated and irrelevant symbolism that simply means nothing to me and is insulting to so many non-Anglo, but 3rd generation Australians.
Then I start to think about symbolism itself. It’s always tricky and ultimately if you deconstruct any symbolism it is absurd. Conservatives tend to cling to symbolism, particularly older symbolism – that’s what it means to be conservative. To conserve the past, and as sociologists will tell us, symbolism is massively important to all cultures. So if symbolism is so important to the federal government then why haven’t they said ‘sorry’ yet? When it comes to this symbolic gesture they all of a sudden become highly ‘pragmatic’.
Then I remember the symbolism of my grandfather and what that means to me. It reminds me what it is that I’m proud to be – Australian – and how that’s something that is worth fighting for. It’s worth fighting for us as a nation to say ‘sorry’ and to fight for everyone in Australia to be treated above all else with a basic human decency. A human decency that admits past injustices and works towards a better nation for all of its inhabitants no matter who they are. A decency that acknowledges the contributions that non-Anglos have made to this country.
The example of my grandfather is relevant to me. Simpson is not. As a country we’ve much to be proud of but we need symbols that are relevant. The example of my grandfather is relevant to me but not to you I suspect. Why not find your own act of human decency that you can draw on to evoke what it is to be Australian to you.
I kind of like the image of Gough Whitlam poring sand into the hand of Vincent Lingiari but I’ll let you come up with your own.
Update: Yes, yesterday this read ‘Dunlop’, not Simpson. My bad – it’s what happens when you read a bunch of stuff then wait until lunch time to blog on it.
I work for OurCommunity and maintain Australia’s biggest database on Grants. Without meaning to brag, I probably know more about grants than anyone else in Australia because I’ve been pretty intimately involved with them for nearly 5 years now.
So when I come across a program like the National Crime Prevention Program I secretly get a little excited. I get excited because I can see this is a program, that with a little bit of innovation just about any community group in Australia could apply for this grant an make a genuine difference. A sport group could provide an after-school program, arts group could provide an outlet for ‘at risk’ people and so on.
So when I read that Hillsong had received a $400,000 grant “for a program targeting the Sudanese community in Blacktown and indigenous people in Riverstone” I was rather pissed off.
With $5,000 I’m sure a small community group could have a bigger impact than what is essentially a $400,000 recruitment drive.
I can’t help but feel that as a life long fan of the Hawthorn Football Club (I even own a scarf!), it would be remiss of me to not comment on Jeff Kennett’s bid to become president of the HFC. Particularly a fan who has recently had a resurgence in my love of the club despite a dismal performance all year.
I hated him as premier, almost as much as I hate John Howard. But I try to remind myself of all the really important work he’s done with BeyondBlue. And the thought of returning to the glory days of the 80s is rather appealing.
There’s quite a few talented youngsters in the team. Give the another season or two and I’m pretty sure we’ll start seeing the results.
What a weekend! I forever bemoan the fact that I never have two seconds to just sit down but when you’re having this much fun it’s hard to care.
Firstly, Mix Master Mike. What. The. Fuck. So, so, so good. Seriously, I’ve seen DJ Craze, Q Bert and many others and MMM was as good, if not better. Big arsed party set with seamless scratching all over the place. His set was chopped up like a trick set but flowed like a party set. Oh to be a ‘music journalist’ to be able to explain it just that little bit better. I was even punched in the face mid-set by a stray left-hook after a scuffle broke out on the dance floor. But even that didn’t bother me in the slightest as I was having such good fun. (He mixed Smells like Teen Spirit, into a Killing in the Name/Sound of Da Police mix, into War Pigs!! What. The. Fuck!)
Then, on Saturday night I had my belated house warming party. Good times had by all and massive amounts of alcohol consumed. In fact, as a household we supplied literally a bath full of beer. I’m pleased to report that it was all drunk. The rain stayed away and we rocked it until the next morning a which point I passed out only to wake up a few hours later with that familiar sense of ‘oh fuck, I’m going to spew’.
So what do you do after a good spew and trying to deal with a massive hang over? That’s right kids, drink some more. So I went to the footy with my Dad and Bro and proceeded to get quite pissed there. Hawkers lost in the last 30 seconds of the game but it was a great game of footy and we played pretty well – can’t ask for too much more than that.
Of course my gout it now giving me hell to remind me that I really shouldn’t drink so much.
And finally, this morning I got the opportunity to photograph my house mate’s tits. A rare pleasure and should I ever be called upon to do it again I will happily oblige (she’s rackolicious!!). In order to increase the chances of this happening again I will not be posting the photos here.
That is all.
Hi all. I know you’ve all been a little upset about my lack of blogging of late. My apologies.
I just thought I’d mention that i decided that my categorisation of links was far too artificial which may have elevated some and degrade others. For example ‘My friend’s blog’ seemed to say to me that the only reason they were listed is because they are friends of mine when most of them are quite good blogs whether they are friends of mine or not. Now they’re just all lumped in together and ordered alphabetically (mental note – if you ever rename your blog rename it ‘Aaron’s Armadillo’ or something else that will always be listed first).
Thank you for your attention.
I don’t read Andrew Bolt’s column. Why would I as the chances of him saying anything remotely enlightening (whether I agree with it or not) are simply so slim it’s simply not worth my time.
(As an aside, I was discussing Geoism with someone the other day. I disagree with the ideas of Geoism but the discussion the points this person was making actually had a strong argument. It’s really not hard!)
Unfortunately someone occasionally sends me a link and I read it. Like this little gem: Perk up – it’s safe. I repeat to myself over and over: don’t react, it’s not worth it. But this one is particularly bad.
In short, Bolt is advocating women get breast implants with a hint of concern about body-image related issues and then using it to attack the left.
I’ve no problems with people presenting a right-wing view. But at least provide one that has a strong argument and is free of contradiction. Its an embarrassment to all.