The Null Device

Bloody oath

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)

There are 8 comments on "Bloody oath":

Posted by: alex Wed Jan 15 15:41:49 2003

the sooner it hits the schoolyards, the sooner the land's finest satirists and anarchists will turn it into something more befitting a daily recital. just like matt groenig's 'life is hell' schoolroom pledge of allegiance mutations.

'with yellow sharks and hot rats for all.'

hooray for fan sites

Posted by: acb Wed Jan 15 15:46:03 2003

And the sooner we'll have patriotic bullies beating the crap out of nonconformists; the other side of the coin. Then again, perhaps that'd be better for Australia's culture than its present lackadaisical "relaxed and comfortable" culture of apathy and mediocrity.

Posted by: mark Thu Jan 16 01:54:34 2003

We've seen what can happen if a country becomes blindly patriotic: if flag-waving is embedded in the souls (heh) of children from an early age, and that form of patriotism that Orwell so hated - Nationalism - becomes a virtue.

Before we even *think* about instituting something like this, we should think that America - for all its faults - is not the worst nation to make unMyNationRightOrWrongism (ahem) a very suspicious activity. Think Nazi Germany. Think Imperial Britain. Think running away, now...

Posted by: kenny http:// Thu Jan 16 02:54:53 2003

'National Security, in practice, must always fall short of the logically Empedoclean infinite regress it requires for perfect "security." In the gap between the ideal "One nation under surveillance with wire taps and urine tests for all," and the strictly limited real situation of finite resources and finite funding, there is ample encouragement for paranoias of all sorts to flourish, both among the citizens and among the police.' -- Robert Anton Wilson, <i>Prometheus Rising</i> (p 244)

Posted by: alex http:// Thu Jan 16 07:12:32 2003

we're damned if we do and damned if we don't, how supine.

Posted by: Graham Thu Jan 16 08:05:27 2003

Fortunately, hardly anyone goes to Australia Day activities anyway.

Posted by: Ben the REAL Ben http:// Sat Jan 18 04:47:26 2003

Indeed most of the sheeple don't even know what it's supposed to be celebrating. Remember when they had that hoo-ha a few years back for the Centenary of Federation (which was a cheaper version of the Bicentennial just a few years before) and they found that only 1 in 10 people knew that Barton was the first PM? (Not that it's a terrible important thing to know).

Posted by: acb Sat Jan 18 13:04:17 2003

Then again, as anybody who studied Australian History in an Australian high school will attest, it's bloody dull. The Seppos had George Washington and Ben Franklin, the Poms had Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, whereas we had a bunch of convicts and sheep farmers; and we were supposed to memorise how many sheep such and such had in such and such part of Victoria/NSW/wherever. Stirring stuff.

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