Saturday, January 26, 2008

The fireworks are so loud I feel as though I should be able to see them – just above my tv.

National holidays, in fact public holidays, really aren’t my thing. Almost without exception they celebrate, or should that be commemorate, things that I either do not believe in or find fairly abhorrent. Even when I, ah, approve of them I find the timing and placement rather odd. Surely the Queen’s Birthday would be more fun on [well, possibly not for her, the official business would surely cut down her boozing up time] or even near the Queen’s birthday and the less said about Labour Day the better. Not being a Christian I find Christmas and Easter some nice and, in the case of Christmas at least, constant holidays but get rather bored with the religion and carols and massive consumerism everywhere. As the child of a veteran I have a thing about Anzac Day and tend to feel a bit bad if I don’t attend a dawn service and/or an RSL. Anzac day just isn’t Anzac day unless you’ve been groped by an old digger.
Australia Day, though, I am quite happy to let just pass me by. Let’s face it, the timing is, as I’m sure Phillip and co. thought at the time, complete shit. It’s the middle of summer, it’s hot, really hot, and really too hot to do anything much. As far as I can make out it is a day that celebrates, on all sides, people thinking ‘oh fuck’. And then getting rather cranky and thinking ‘oh fuck’, for various reasons, on the same day (successive generations, that is, the people who were there in 1788 are pretty much dead now) for the last couple of hundred years. Now, I admit that it really is very Australian to think ‘oh fuck’ a lot but having an entire day to get drunk, celebrate, and say ‘fuck’ a lot seems excessive.
Worse, I think, is that the day is generally seen as a state sanctioned excuse to let out the inner bogan of, oh, just about everybody. Actually, I think I’m insulting bogans. This is a day of green and gold and dress-ups and really appalling face paint and people wearing flags and making much of things that, rather too often, mean nothing to them and/or that they don’t understand. Here I shall wave my little flag and display my gazillions of prejudices and, no doubt, be raked over the coals for my evil, evil viewpoint. The thing is, you see, I’m not keen on nationalism. (Shrieks of horror, I used an –ism.) Strangely enough I’ve spent rather a lot of time wrapped up in history books and, well, displays of nationalism, and I’m not fussy it’s all displays, kind of give me the heebie-jeebies, even boring little holidays.

P.S. It’s flat white and Semillion, thanks, though usually tea and beer (and, yes, I am fussy about how I have my tea and which beers I drink). I’m also a snob about manners and like taking long walks in the park (okay, that last one was a lie).

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