To begin with, you can call Australia: ‘Oz’ (not that you needed my permission). It seems to mean a lot over there, and reading further will divulge reasons why.
In Australia there’s not much to do but be very alone in Asia, pretending that you are a continent nearer to Europe that it actually is. And since it isn’t, you have to insist that you are Australian at every turn.
I can only imagine that it is very lonely being so far from the rest of the white people, and so acting as though you are a people unto your own is possibly simply a means of coping.
Or maybe it’s the heat.
Either way- referring to this place as ‘Oz’ is smiled upon by the more-recent of the local population.
In ‘Oz’ you also have the option of insisting.
Insisting on history and insisting on identity. In my opinion, although this might seem absurd to some, in life you need more than Steve Irwin to know yourself and get ahead.
The man is idolised. His figurine is adorned in gold and made for taking the pride of place upon the mantle-piece of all those that visit the continent, because…why wouldn’t you want to have a golden Steve Irwin on your mantle-piece? I do believe that was his true message: ‘buy me’.
I feel that the people of ‘Oz’ want to be associated with the man in the same way that most British people don’t want to be associated with the Queen- in case Americans ask if you know her.
However, there’s not a lot of Australians, so in his time, you probably did know him fairly well.
Australians know how to accept company. They are a nation built for two things: tourism and trying to find the other thing. When they’ve found it, you can be sure that you’ll be able to purchase a tea-towel that sums them up perfectly.
Australia also has Aboriginal people and, as a people, those Aboriginals really could not be more fucked. Even more fucked than Native Americans, which must really sting after a while.
In terms of a national outlook they really aren’t fitting into the traditional and successful European franchise. For example, just take the previous sentence- “in terms of a national outlook”- Aboriginal ‘Ozzies’ were never a nation- they were a bunch of people that came from a place, having no idea that there were other blokes at either end of where they came from.
Poor buggers. They just don’t fit there anymore, and regrettably, they have to, and…currently…they never will.
This is extremely similar to the First Nation people of the US- everyone but them assumes that they aren’t around anymore.
So here’s an evil truth- the Aboriginal should be dead for the ease of the actual Australian people (Aboriginals are NOT Australian in the same way that the French are not German- they are simply near one another).
The injustice should have finished by now, the lingering of the race is against the benefit of the Australian progression and that progression is to sell, sell, sell the national identity. It would be much easier to sell some of that identity if the Aboriginals were all gone so that (1.) they could indulge much more heavily in the bullshit that equates to a paying audience and (2.) people wouldn’t see how poorly the Native people are currently handling themselves.
This is common knowledge- if the native people weren’t around- it would be much easier to get along with them. Aside from what is listed above, you have to consider that if the True Locals were already dead and gone, the white people wouldn’t feel so guilty, and they could make up some mysterious shit about who they were and how their souls are still ‘blood in the land’, ‘voices on the wind’ or ‘semen in the billabong’. You can make what you want of the dead. They’re dead- fighting back is a little beyond them.
As for the actual Aboriginal folks, I think they may be even a little more doomed than they were prior to the recognition of their ‘cultural contribution’. Before the assimilation of their art and history in the European selling machine- they were seen as a sub-race requiring decimation on the grounds of there not being enough room…in Australia. Following this process, the True Locals are now seen as a people…well…not quite a people- more of a ‘cultural aspect’ that offers the chance to demonstrate aspects of modernity, such as political correctness, and flogging didgeridoos.
Ultimately, the Aboriginal Natives of this continent are a property of the Australian nation. Not slaves, but their image is owned as much, and used in the Australian identity to suggest that there is more to it than is really there. Aboriginals are their own, and are much left to their own historically crippled devises, whilst their history and culture are assimilated into the Australian output that can be snuggly fitted onto that afore-mentioned tea-towel.
The insects are also really something else on that continent.
They regard you.
When I was out walking one day, a bug paused to let me pass before it went off on its way. I’m not saying that this beetle-like little boulder of a bug was being polite, but it had the worldly know-how keeping out of the way of the bigger guy.
Not that it would have been squished if I’d have trodden on it. It would probably have made a rude gesture and walked away from me, swaggering as it actually seemed to. That’s the kind of intelligence that comes with size, normally because the brain just follows along in the fashion of the rest of the body. This is in the same way that elephants and dolphins are witty- owing mostly to the rest of them being fairly large.
Humans, however, are ahead of the fashion curve in terms of brain size- clever enough to presume a beetle might have good manners.
It is undeniably odd that to reach this country, you have to cross many social, cultural, political, religious, geographical and actual borders- the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
It is strange to pass through a country that forbids music and dancing, to then arrive in a nation extremely similar to your own, just…as it is…on the ‘other side’.
I think that the problem might be that Australia doesn’t contain enough Australians. Perhaps if there were more people, and perhaps if there was therefore more history- there might be a little more of everything that I’m looking for here: The Confidence of Culture. The balls of history being in your favour and fearing no future that could be worse than the worst that most societies have already suffered.
Australia has strived through colonisation, exploration, immigration, racial injustice, ethnic cleansing, two world wars, yet throughout all this the overwhelming suggestion from the national Australian demeanour is the insistence on their being something in the culture worth your time and money of visiting and, once again, that bloody tea-towel. As opposed to their being able to relax to the degree of self-assuredness that comes with having a hell of a past that has a ‘you’ve probably heard of me’ attitude (e.g. the entirety of Europe), Australia has an attitude of swelling itself up to appear storied and historical, therefore bringing about a means by which actual stories and history do not happen.
Aside from this one.
Imagine if there’d never been Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee movies.
Maybe you’d be thinking that Australia was that country near where ‘Lord Of The Rings’ was filmed.
So, I guess entirely, what I’m saying is…watch out ‘Oz’…New Zealand is coming.
But, if I were to permit this nation of good, bright and adventurous people one reason as to why this is how they are, it would be TIME. Or rather the lack of it.
TIME is the thing that made Britain a little country that was known simply for being a place that Julius Caesar wanted to have for himself.
So, after only a few hundred years of colonised history, when ‘Oz’ has a couple hundred more- it will be a place that no longer feels such a desperate need to ask you to visit.
I truly hope that one day I shall hear a recent-local of Australia utter the words: “Yeah it’s a kangaroo. So fucking what?!”
P.S. You are a beautiful country, filled with fun, clever, hard-working and exciting people. Keep it up and you’ll rule your world, like the Aboriginals one did.