The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'jingoism'
There's an opinion piece in The Age's blogs about how the rest of the world is sick of travelling Australians, who, after long years of being regarded as lovable, are getting a reputation as the "New Yanks":
Firstly, we're suffering from a serious case of overexposure. The fact that Australia is so far away from anywhere else used to mean that not many of us made it to foreign shores. Now, not only do we have air travel, but we have extremely cheap air travel, meaning that any wanker who can manage to scrape together a few hundred dollars can go and prop up the tittie bar industry in Phuket for a week or so.
We're now seen as the arrogant, loud twats who complain when everything's different to how it is back home. Australians always had a reputation for liking a party, but now we're the obnoxious drunks, abusing the bar staff because their English sucks, whingeing that we'd kill for a Carlton Draught instead of this crap we're being forced to drink.Though to be fair, crap Australian domestic beer is a notch above crap British domestic beer. A Carlton Draught or Toohey's may not compete with the best of the Czech Republic (or, for that matter, a pint of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery), though it's decidedly more drinkable than Carling (which has a monopoly on live music gigs over a certain size) or Foster's (which nobody in Australia actually drinks; much like various TV soaps, it's a product made primarily to be passed off to foreigners).
Another reason for Australia's declining image could be its politics. Whilst Australia has traditionally been such a minor player on the international stage to evade notice, the present government's determination to be a cheerleader for everything that pisses off liberals, from the Iraq war to blocking the Kyoto protocol, may have created an impression of Australia as the Big Red State Down Under. And then there is the rise of a rather ugly strain of muscular nationalism among young Australians these days (witness all the flag-waving, the stereotyped chants of "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" — incidentally, is there a more aggressively mindless national slogan anywhere? — and other generally boorish behaviour), which may be a cultural artefact of the Howard Culture War and the vanquishment of the more thoughtful (if sometimes woolly) liberal/cosmopolitan Whitlamite values of the previous few decades by an atavistic right-wing jingoism — the values of idiot certainty backed with force.
But yes, here in London, the stereotype of an Australian about town seems to involve drinking vodka by the bottle, cracking onto every available-looking female, talking loudly about how much everything is better in God's Own Country, and passing out in one's own vomit in the gutter outside Walkabout at 3am.
Meanwhile, readers have posted their own anecdotes about Ugly Australians to the article:
As an aussie living in London, I find nothing more embarassing than walking past the pub on my local high street (the slug and lettuce in fulham for any fellow londonites- aka the 'sl*ts and legless') where any night of the week you'll find it packed by 8pm with slaughtered aussies singing along to ac/dc, bryan adams or - way too frequently- country roads drinking snakebite and black (lager, cider and blackcurrant cordial). You'll also find the aussie bar maids and mates will stand up on the bar with their tops off on regular occassions. And people wonder why we're getting a bad rep abroad...?
I agree completely... My friend from Montreal started calling us 'pigeons' because we are everywhere... not that like the comparison but I would have to agree with him.
As I read this article I was having flashbacks of living in the Lakes District and attending an Australians-only party (shows how good we really are at assimilating). One of the head honcho Aussie jocks was running around the village with an Australian flag draped over his shoulders and a plush crocodile under an arm, shouting 'Crikey!' to the unimpressed townsfolk.
As a long-term Londoner I have to fully agree with Damien that John Howard has done more to harm the image of Australians than any drunk in Earl's Court or Shepherd's Bush. He has made Australia so isolated with his unquestioning (and unthinking) blind allegiance to Gerorge W. and his attacks on basic human rights that Europeans now believe that Australians care about nobody but themselves. Until you guys vote John Howard out and rejoin the rest of the world nobody wants you!Which reminds me of a joke I heard. There's a Londoner, an Australian and a South African having a drink in a pub. The Australian finishes his drink, throws his glass in the air, pulls out a gun and shoots it. "In Australia, the lucky country, we're so rich from our natural resources, we never need to drink from the same glass twice", he says. The South African finishes his drink, throws his glass in the air and shoots it. "In Sarth Efriker, we're so rich from our diamond mines, we never need to drink from the same glass twice", he says.
Then the Londoner finishes his drink, and says, "in London, we've got so many Australians and South Africans, we never need to drink with the same ones twice." And with that, he pulls out a gun and shoots them.
Super Patriot American Freak; think Beck meets Toby Keith or something, only taking the piss. (via the English Manager)
After an Intel engineer pleaded guilty to terrorism charges for (donating to the wrong charity/taking up arms alongside the Taliban), Ian Clarke, inventor of the anonymous peer-to-peer filesharing program Freenet, has announced his intention to leave the US:
As an Irish citizen living in the US - I have decided that it is time to leave this country - it is starting to look, smell, and act as Germany did during the 1930s. I wish you Americans luck in regaining civilized justice in your broken country, if not, I hope that the EU will be accepting of political refugees from this brave but failed experiment.
Paranoia, common sense, or somewhere in between? Meanwhile, the Slashdot replies are divided between the usual poorly-spelled "good riddance traitor scum/the Irish are all drunken cowards who supported Hitler" flamage and "USA sucks/Bush is a moron" counter-flames.
Funny how for the FOXNews-following Patriot Pack, it's pretty much an article of faith that Hamidi took up arms alongside the Taliban against the U.S., whereas the goddamnliberals asert that he was railroaded for (a) being Middle-Eastern and (b) doing insufficient research before donating to a charity.
A US toy company has released a George W. Bush action figure. The Elite Force Aviator George W. Bush figure depicts the Leader of the Free World in naval aviator uniform, modelled exactly on the one he wore on his heroic landing on an aircraft carrier off the Californian coast. (via jwz)
A Canadian journalist comments on the one-sided and gleefully lascivious coverage of the war in the US media:
Every station has its own war logo (Target Iraq, Attack on Iraq, Strike Against Iraq.) A more appropriate logo for CNN might be The Joy of War. With a CNN reporter describing an American tank rushing towards Baghdad Thursday night as the most lethal killing machine on earth, CNN anchor Aaron Brown could hardly conceal his excitement. Are you dazzled by what you see? he asked, turning to CNN in-house general Wesley Clark. Together the two men marveled at the American killing machines visible speeding across the sand.
Then there was Rumsfelds vow that setting oil fields on fire would be punished as a war crime. Those Iraqi barbarians! Clearly, its one thing to drop mega-bombs on people, quite another to do something really evil like destroy a perfectly good oil well. Lets not allow things to get out of control.
Via our regular correspondent Lisa, Give It Back, a US petition to give the goddamn Statue of Liberty back to the French.
It's probably a good idea; the Statue of Liberty doesn't really represent the core values of Bush's America. Though what would be a good replacement for it? I was thinking of a gigantic constructivist statue of an eagle, or perhaps something like the statue outside the Ministry of Information building in Brazil? They could call it the Statue of Total Information Awareness or something.
And here's another page, who want a statue of Ronald Reagan put in its place. (Does this remind anybody of the Colossus of Yorba Linda Society from Illuminatus!? I wonder if a misanthropic dwarf is behind all this...)
And then there are these nutjobs who object to San Francisco containing 'Franc' in its name. Though why not rename it to Norton City, after its most famous citizen (and a US imperialist to shame all others, to boot)?
And now the US neoconservative answer to all those Islamic cola brands that have shown up over the past year or so: Star-Spangled Ice Cream, with flavours like "I Hate The French Vanilla", "Smaller Govern-Mint" and "Iraqi Road" (and upcoming flavours like "Cowardly German Chocolate" and "School Prayerleens"). And 10% is donated to military service charities, not "wacko left-wing causes" like Ben & Jerry's.
How long until there is a separate set of grocery brands for each side of the political spectrum?
Another reason to be glad you're not in Texas: A man was assaulted and told to "go back to Iraq" for remaining seated while a "patriotic" country song played at a rodeo. (via The Fix)
(Since 9/11, country music has made a resurgence as a sincere voice of American nationalism, and is now well back in the mainstream in the US. I wonder how this will affect the cultural stock of alt-country among hipster types; I can't see the twang having the same amount of ironic cachet in the age of Toby Keith and red-blooded patriot anthems all over Clear Channel.)
Australia is moving one step closer towards developing its own version of a US-style culture of jingoism, only combined with the "unique Australian national character" endlessly waffled on about by the Professional Australians: a group is planning to distribute a commitment oath on Australia Day. The oath itself, which is inoffensively content-free, has attracted support from everybody from the conservative RSL to the go-getting trendies in the Republican Movement. I wonder how long until schoolchildren are reciting something like this every day, with the magic of peer pressure and herd psychology ensuring compliance.
And does anybody else consider the idea of an oath pledging tolerance and openness a bit ironic, if not hypocritical?
"What's the biggest lie the political and cultural ruling class tells itself? Where's the greatest disparity between image and truth? What are the attributes which any self-respecting Professional Australian boasts about the most -- and possesses the least? ... Suspicion of authority. Independence of spirit. Nonconformity."
-- Greg Egan, Distress (pp120-122)
Here it comes: hip-hop goes patriotic; "Fight the Power" is out, and now the only colours are the stars and stripes (which dissident rappers The Coup, incidentally, call "violent gang colours", but they're not getting any MTV airplay, so they're irrelevant). Even former gangsta personnel are lining up behind Dubya's Crusade, with Dr. Dre (whose "F*** Tha Police" caused much uproar in the early 90s) toying with a track named "Kill Bin Laden", Death Row boss Suge Knight stating that there is no place for protest lyrics or disunity, and Canibus (whose name, apart from being a marijuana reference, is Latin for "His Doggness") releasing a song titled "Draft Me", about his desire to fight for America. Even radical Black Muslims such as Wu Tang Clans, formerly militant critics of the US establishment, have been getting on the bus. Meanwhile former rapper turned cable-TV salesman MC Hammer has used this as an opportunity to make a comeback with an album titled Active Duty, presenting himself as the patriotically-correct spokesman for hip-hop.
David "Davey D" Cook ... puts the blame on disproportionate reporting. "The whole point of propaganda is to eliminate voices of dissent," he says. "If you tell everybody that 90% of people are pro-war, then people who don't really feel that way think, 'Well, maybe it's better to keep my mouth shut.' There are opinions across the board, but it's really a question of who gets the most time on the microphone."
Curiously enough, the only major dissent, other from the usual suspects such as Chuck D, comes from a niche subgenre of hip-hop, known as "backpacker hip-hop", and marketed predominantly at white left-liberals.
The Onion's back in fine form, with pieces like Area Man Not Exactly Sure When To Take Down American Flags:
"I don't want to be the first to take one down and look like an ass," Wenger said. "When I put the flags up, I was saying, 'I support America.' If I take them down, some people will probably think I'm saying, 'I no longer support America.'"
And then there's this ever-helpful collection of Dating Tips:
- Ladies: Your date's salary divided by your own equals the base you should let him get to on the first date.
- If you are overweight and socially awkward, consider "online dating." You can go on a dragonslaying adventure instead of to a movie, play games on Pogo.com instead of dancing, and masturbate instead of having real sex.