(Main image: AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS ON THE KOKODA TRAIL- PNG, WWII “THE TRUE ESSENCE OF AUSSIE MATESHIP” – Photographer: Damien Parer -July 1943 Private Wally Johnson.)
By Marcus Honesta.
As last year creaked and groaned to its inevitable end, reflection is just one of the things that you do; and as Australia Day is looming it got me thinking just what is it to be Australian.
In 1908, an Australian poet of no particular renown named Dorothea Mackellar submitted a poem called “Core of My Heart” to the “Spectator” magazine in London. Retitled “My Country,” it has since become probably the most beloved poem, certainly the most memorized and oft-recited by schoolchildren, in Australian literature, almost entirely because of four lines in the second verse:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges.
Of droughts and flooding plains.
But is this really Australia today?
It was on a hot summer’s night in December 1964 that Donald Horne gave the nation to use and much more frequently to misuse the famous words by which he will be best remembered.
“I was about to write the last chapter of a book on Australia,” recalled Horne, who died at the age of, 83. “The opening sentence was, ‘Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.’
With all the potential of the New Year before us, with all that it has to offer, the countless resolution’s and promises to make this one (2018) the best yet, I couldn’t help but wondering have we truly lost the essence of just what it is to be Australian.
Bill Bryson in his book In “A Sunburnt Country” wrote about the Australia he sees:
“There are other reasons as well, of course, and I am pleased to put them on the record here. The people are immensely likable — cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Rupert Murdoch no longer lives there. Life doesn’t get much better.”
“It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures — the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish — are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. Pick up an innocuous cone shell horn a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It a tough place.”
Unhappily, Bill neglected to mention to most deadly of the lot, the “Doo Gooders.” That insufferable group of left wing pseudo academics who seek to inflict their own personal predigest, myopic views and political claptrap upon us, a weary and despondent society. Their messages their views are all to often commonly given vent through “a not so social media”, Government instrumentalities, Universities, Safe Schools Programmes, the public broadcaster (ABC) and most Fairfax publications.
Sadly the traditional personification of the larrikin (the foundation of the Australian spirit) is now frowned upon by them.
So what does it or does it mean to be a larrikin? To understand its true nature, I have turned of help of two of the greatest Australian poets, Henry Lawson and CJ Dennis (The Sentimental Bloke) they both have romanticised the notion of the larrikin to mean a relatively harmless person who displays traits of mischievous anti-authoritarianism, operating outside the norms of so called polite society. Hence we even have even called several of our Prime Ministers larrikins.
However the leftists café late swilling set abhor any attempt to turn the spotlight upon a society who has become so concerned with political correctness that it is destroying the very soul that made this Nation great; the ability to laugh at ourselves. This essential human quality has seemingly vanished.
If you really need any further evidence of the “PC Brigade” having taken leave of their collective senses, then you need look no further then the up and coming “Commonwealth Games Handbook”. This genius initiative was given to 15,000 volunteers, official staff and contractors. It instructs workers and volunteers at the Games to call people parents, rather then mothers and fathers, and partners, rather then husbands or girlfriends.
Defending this lunacy, the CEO of this extravaganza Mark Peters said: “We have a number of people with different backgrounds and multiculturally different experiences and also we have athletes, officials and spectators from 70 countries.” “We’ve been getting a lot of questions already from volunteers on how to address people from other countries and regions, they’ve been a bit nervous themselves about the protocols, so we’ve developed a multifaceted training program”. “The handbook has a been a direct response from questions we’ve got from our volunteers it is not compulsory, it’s a guideline.”
In response to whether he believes the volunteer training takes political correctness “too far”, Mr Peters further said, “it is the way society is at the moment”.
The insanity manifests itself further into an 88-page handbook that includes, discouraging the use of gender-specific job titles, such as policeman or policewoman, instead using police officer.
“Swapping gendered words for gender-neutral ones can make everyone feel included,” the book said. WHAT?
“We can avoid words like guys, girls, ladies and gentlemen, and instead use words like students, everyone, folks and all.”
The handbook also offers a lengthy list of instructions to avoid causing embarrassment to the physically impaired.
Games volunteers and staff have also been ordered not to tuck their shirts in, not to ask for autographs or selfies, and not to express their opinions on politics or social issues.
Ok, so its official, society has gone completely stark raving bonkers, the lunatics have taken over the asylum. These people are not fit to run a chook raffle at the local pub, little own an international sporting event. What next the appointment of a “Fun Police Brigade” issuing fines, or warnings for having too much of a good time, or making to much noise, by cheering enthusiastically, where will it end?
The problem with contemporary ideas about happiness is their intolerance of discontent, anything that might be out of what they see as their norm. Happiness has morphed into a personal responsibility to avoid negative, critical responses to the external conditions of our lives. We court depression, anxiety not to disturb the tranquillity and happiness of others, yet we are told to deny our own need to look at the absurdity that is present in every form of day-to-day living. From the insane policies of all forms of Government who burden us with their stupidity, to the hair raising screams of special interest groups with their cockeyed personal agenda’s and prejudices, what are we to do as we Aussie Crawl our way through this quagmire of swill.
If we are unhappy, the problem lies with us, and not our job, family situation, neighbourhood or rulers.
In this individualised but mass-marketed therapeutic iteration, happiness is too often construed as a form of quiescence, of contentment, acceptance of social norms and conformity to the status quo.
I want to recast happiness as a form of carnival, a subversive, rambunctious style of happiness derived from trangressive art and “art of the self”, a comedic disruption to conformity that destabilises complacent authority, producing new ways of seeing and being.
The Life Of Brian Three Wise Men Visit
Since we’ve just gone through the festive season “the birthday of the baby Jesus”, I dusted of a much loved and very Politically Incorrect movie the “Life Of Brian”
I just wonder if one of the scenes that I love and laugh at could have been written today, in this most intemperate world. I refer to “What Did The Bloody Romans Do For Us”.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, please see it here below:
WHAT HAVE THE BLOODY ROMANS EVER DONE FOR US
REG: They’ve bled us white, the bastards. They’ve taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers’ fathers.
LORETTA: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
LORETTA: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
REG: Yeah. All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
XERXES: The aqueduct?
XERXES: The aqueduct.
REG: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.
COMMANDO #3: And the sanitation.
LORETTA: Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like?
REG: Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
MATTHIAS: And the roads.
REG: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads–
COMMANDOS: Huh? Heh? Huh…
COMMANDO #2: Education.
REG: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
COMMANDO #1: And the wine.
COMMANDOS: Oh, yes. Yeah…
FRANCIS: Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
COMMANDO: Public baths.
LORETTA: And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
FRANCIS: Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it. They’re the only ones who could in a place like this.
COMMANDOS: Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
XERXES: Brought peace.
REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!
Could this comedy skit be penned today regarding Governor Phillips little jaunt to our Great Southern Land in 1788 without the other thing that the Romans gave the Jews, Crucifixions? I think not!
So we go about the process of kowtowing to lunatic minorities, with agendas such as abolishing Australia Day and replacing it with Invasion Day. Covering, defacing or better still removing statues and monuments in our public parks that remind us of our roots; but to what end, to erase our past!
It is as fanciful as the story of St Augustine who apparently whilst out for a short walk on a beach thinking and contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity came upon a small boy who had dug a hole in the sand and was going to and from the ocean again and again bring with him a small bucket of water from it and pouring it into the hole in the sand. St Augustine asked him “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That’s impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you’ve made.” said the Saint. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Holy Trinity into your tiny brain.” The story concludes by saying that the boy then vanished because St Augustine had been talking to an angel. There was no mention of him coming from a tavern at the time or other miracles, such as turning water into wine in the account.
Let us try in 2018 to restore some balance back into our community. Live and let live. Lets learn to laugh at ourselves.
Laughter is one of life’s greatest gifts. It makes our complex and often confusing existence decidedly more tolerable. There’s nothing more satisfying than laughing until your stomach hurts, and there’s an inexplicable power in sharing laughter with others, even complete strangers.
Humour and laughter are restorative forces and, even in the darkest of times, can help us find meaning and purpose. To borrow from Mark Twain:
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter”.
The benefits of laughter are instantaneous. There’s a great deal of evidence laughing improves both our mental and physical health.
For example, research shows it greatly reduces stress, while strengthening our minds and immune systems in the process.
Thus, laughter not only reinforces social bonds, it’s essential to our survival. When life gets tough, laughter is often the only thing that makes us feel better.
My 2018 New Years resolution is first and foremost “Laughter is the best medicine.”