And Those Who Are You Want To Further Debase…?

The forecast said rain, but anyone with any shred of national pride knew it was bullshit. It never rains on the twenty-sixth of January, and quite frankly the Bureau of Meteorology is farkin un-Australian to even suggest it. The glittering expanse of Bate Bay is languid, glassy in the windless morning, the gentle swell lapping at the edge of the hot sand of Cronulla Beach.

The ever present knot of surfers sit on their boards, disappointed, and two men walk the length of the beach, back and forth. They are not locals, usually a dangerous proposition. It’s alright but, they look enough like locals – which is all that really matters – and they’re dispensing flags… for a fee, of course.

Somewhere they’ve managed to get their hands on nearly three hundred of the bloody things, and in the great Australian spirit of ingenuity, looking for an extra couple of bob, with flags in hand, they’re trawling Sydney’s Sutherland’s most Australian beach. [Proper Australian that is. None of this farkin bleeding-heart liberal, multicultural bullshit round here.] The flag-floggers are greeted like national farkin heroes, great white mobs of sheep, their necks getting redder beneath the sun by the minute, surround them, clamouring for their own little slice of patriotic heaven.

Now and then some brave, or stupid, soul, with the wrong shaped nose, or a tan that’s just a bit too bloody dark, wanders close, hoping to get their hands on their own little stick sporting its limp scrap of Australianness. The vicious glare of the sheep points them quickly in another direction. And a good thing too. Sheep might be farkin stupid, but there’s no denying they’re dangerous in numbers. It’s before midday though, and despite the heat and the glare of the sun, nobody has got real stuck in to the stubbies yet. Things are pretty relaxed… for the moment.

Off in the distance, the first trails of barbecue smoke are drifting up to hang in the suburban air. Give it another hour or so, and it’ll be a fully fledged haze, heavy with the nostalgic smell of overcooked meat, Australia’s contribution to world cuisine. It’s a heart warming scene, replete with white picket fences, and all the trappings of what makes this country great: VB, thongs, footy jerseys and eskies… Oh, and the flags.

Yeeeeewwwww! It’s farkin ‘straya day.

Or, as those of us who didn’t cry foul at last night’s academic suggestion that the rampant displaying of flags is a tell-tale sign of racism might call it: Invasion Day.

Many have been the filthy looks I’ve copped for the use of the moniker, a reaction I find endlessly amusing, given that the same people who don’t give a shit about the past (and continued) debasement of the country’s indigenous population, are the ones that cry loudest and longest about how we’re being invaded! By asylum seekers, by Asians, by Muslims… by pretty much everyone other than, say, the 10,000 odd Brits & Irish that stay illegally here every year… but that’s alright, at least they look like us.

“Racist?!?” is the cry. “Don’t farkin call me racist, just ‘cause I fly my flag, ‘cause I love my farkin country. You can’t tar everyone with the same brush, you know. Besides, everyone’s a bit racist. Everyone wants to see Australia as really Australian.”

Yeah, maybe everyone does, you fucking (yes, fucking, not farkin) red-neck, but my definition of what’s really Australian is a bloody continent away from what yours is, and mine’s got fuck all to do with what anyone looks like, or who they pray to, or don’t pray to, or what their anatomy consists of, or what they like doing with it, or who they like doing it with. Mine doesn’t need to be displayed on a fucking pennant.

On the other hand, maybe I am a little racist. I certainly find myself having a harder and harder time being in the presence of other Australians… or, rather, other white Australians. I know, I know, you can’t tar everyone with the same brush, and I don’t really, it’s just that, well, so many of us are such Dickheads.

Once upon a time I wandered about being incensed at the behaviour of the backpackers that crawled like plague-ridden rats through the gutters of Sydney’s beachside suburbs. There was even suggestion of making t-shirts that read: Fuck Off Back To Ibeefa. That, however, was prior to venturing into the world myself, and witnessing the great viral spread of Aussies overseas. Bugger the Brits, Australians are worse… shit, I was probably worse.

There’s nothing like broadening one’s horizons to change one’s attitudes and ideas. I wonder, however, if mine haven’t got a bit too broad. Not long before moving back to Oz, I saw Powderfinger play in Glasgow, and found myself wondering very seriously whether I actually wanted to be going “home” at all. I mean how many bare-chested, Essendon-Footy-Jersey-clad, Aussie-flag-draped wankers can you squeeze into one room? Not as many, apparently, as you can squeeze onto Cottesloe beach. Why the fuck would you need to try so hard to establish your Australianness? You’re at a fucking Powderfinger gig, there’s no one here but Australians. By the same token, why the fuck do you need to drape, shade, dry or tattoo yourself with a fucking Australian flag on Australia Day?

Given the number of people I know who have a great old time on Invasion Day, who get happily plastered, eat meat that’s been barbecued to within an inch of its life, drink fucking VB, or Carlton, or even bloody XXXX, who are Very. Clearly. Australian and quite rightly proud of it, but manage all of that without the need for bandying about the fucking flag, the only conclusion I can come to, is that you’re flying a flag because you’re (at least a little bit) fucking racist.

* Thanks to The Herd for the title:

“You’re not even from here in the first place,
And those who are you want to further debase.”

~ by Gethin A. Lynes on January 25th, 2012.

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