22 January 2007
Big Day Out Bans The Australian Flag!
Now that I have your attention, the organisers of the Big Day Out have banned the Australian Flag at their festival!
Well, actually, no they haven't. But that's not how you're going to see it reported.
Following last year's festival, where aggresive punters forced other concert goers to declare their allegiance to the Australian flag, BDO organisers have simply asked people to leave flags at home this year. But that's not as exciting a headline as Race Hate Flag Ban, is it?
I don't listen to talkback radio - as a regular user of public transport, I already get my fill of idiots blathering nonsense. But I can just imagine the frenzy they must be whipping themselves into over this one. And the conservative bloggers can't be far behind. Hark to their refrain - "IT'S UN-AUSTRALIAN!"
I'm sick of the way that "un-Australian" has been adopted by these people as an insult to slather over whom or whatever they don't agree with. Anyone who dares criticise the way things are done in this country or suggests any change (apart from the strengthening immigration laws) is "un-Australian". There's never any actual debate about what being Australian really means or what Australian values actually are (let alone whether or not "Australian" as they see it is a good thing). And in doing so, they've hijacked the term "Australian", turned it into something all open-minded people should feel vaugely ashamed of.
Am I proud to be Australian? Sure. Do I love this country? You bet. But I'm not proud of intolerance and bigotry being used in the name of protecting it, as is increasingly and depressingly the case these days.
Another thing I can't understand is why the right-wing pundits are so angry these days. Australia is sliding further and further to the right, so why are they so determined to present things as being much worse (from their point of view) than they really are? Oh yes, that's right - fear. They rely on peoples' fears to fuel their bigotry. It's a lot easier to create panic over Muslims, dole bludgers, gays or whomever they pick on, than it is to ask the bigger questions, like where we really should be headed as a nation. Maybe we should put valium in the water supply so everybody can calm down. Well at least the right-wingers are soothing people's nerves about one issue - climate change. Because naturally, they deny that climate change exists.
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