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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 04:33 am
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Australia Day editorial:
As the fireworks explode this evening to celebrate Australia’s national day, the crowds, the anthem-singing and the flag-waving camouflage an emptiness at this country’s heart.
(Via Scott Wickstein)
..an emptiness at this country’s heart.
Aaah the old literary staple – the empty heart of Australia as a metaphor for the empty heart of Australian society.
I had to read many books at school and uni that had this central theme. For a student, it was a faithful standby in the exam in one form or another, so you could just about write your essay in advance.
Kangaroo and Wake in Fright are just two novels that explore this theme.
I’m not sure whether the laziness of the cliche or the age of the concept are more offensive.Posted by The Mongrel on 2006 01 29 at 12:01 AM • permalink
Even so, the nation remains torn. It has been that way since November 6, 1999, the day Australians, a majority of whom wanted and expected this country to become a republic, voted in a referendum against the model that was being offered to them
You win a referendum- “Hooray the nation has spoken”
You lose a referendum- “the nation is torn”.
- A classic case of projection—the Herald is denying the emptiness of its own ideology by perceiving it as a fault of Australians in general.Posted by Evil Pundit on 2006 01 29 at 12:14 AM • permalink
- I hope the rest of the SMH editorials don’t sound as whiney as this one. I could practically imagine the editorial staff laying on their backs, and kicking their heels in the air.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 01 29 at 12:14 AM • permalink
- Damn the emptiness at my heart.Posted by Harry Buttle on 2006 01 29 at 12:40 AM • permalink
- Spot on, you guys.
The ‘Great Australian Emptiness’ is time warp Patrick White 70s stuff and says more about snobbery and moral vanity than the real state of Australia.
Tut-tutting over the ‘ballyhoo’ is also tell-tale. When social inferiors come out to play their fun is empty and vulgar. My orgies are bohemian and ‘suhbversive’, in a tasteful kind of way.
Love the apocalyptic use of ‘torn’. This, like ‘wedge’ is used to point out the society-wrecking harm that comes from disagreeing with People Like Us.
Now, the spiritual emptiness of left mandarin elites – that IS a subject.
- I can’t understand why more Aussies don’t subscribe to the Herald…Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 29 at 01:31 AM • permalink
- Yes, it’s quite the quandary. Society has stepped around the boomer generation and has moved on. Meanwhile, academics, teachers, journalists, politicians, social workers et al who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s are all trying to influence a younger generation that is quite successfully seeing through their veil of bullshit.
‘Veil of Bullshit’. Good working title for the soon to be written societal Australian polemic ‘Empty Land, Empty Heart’.
- So that’s where that empty feeling comes from. I thought it was because I forgot to have lunch today.Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 01 29 at 01:59 AM • permalink
- Emptiness is a good description of Fairfax’s bank accounts.Posted by swassociates on 2006 01 29 at 02:01 AM • permalink
- Sounds like a country song. There’s an emptiness in this country’s heart and it can only be filled by booze, blokes and gettin’ in my ute and going to Queensland.
The Mongrel – lovely name – has hit upon a constant theme in Australian literature and fillum for that matter. The outback as metaphor. Of course, as long as it produces, ahem, fine works such as Japanese Story, I won’t complain.Posted by Major Anya on 2006 01 29 at 02:12 AM • permalink
- No country with as much color as Australia could possibly be empty at it’s heart.
Can a people who have sayings like ‘that’s a right prawn’, or ‘crack a tinny’, or ‘a few Kangas loose in the top paddock’ be considered lacking in heart?
Whilst trying to keep up with binge drinking Aussies is probably a lost cause and an invitation to lose teeth, you can always fall back on the standard way to rate a civilization…how well do they drink, fight, and fuck.
No worries there, mate!
- Oh the poor buggers at the SMH. The Australian people didn’t want the republic as supported by them. So naturally, of course, and without any doubt NO means YES, so we must reorganise and re-vote until we get the correct decision.
Well at least the SMH is Internationalist in its approach. They just sound like Quebec Separatists or Europhiles on the results of EU Referenda or good old Soviet style voting. No doubt that’s just what we need until we get what’s good for us right. Thanks SMH.
- Met an Ozzie bloke at my local <strike>bar</strike> pub, tonight.
Not at all unusual here in Hollywood, really…
But I decided, this time, to poll the bloke.
Q: Did he vote for Howard?
A: Yes, although he couldn’t quite remember. [?!?!??!!]
Q: Was his extended family affected by the “riots” of recent past?
A: Much ado about very little. He’d heard far more about it since coming to the states than he had heard from folks back home. Admitted, his mate’s car was bashed, but still, the whole thing was over in a day…
Q: Did he read the SMH?
A: Eh… once in a blue moon [my words].
Q: Did he watch Media Watch?
A: Watch what?
Q: Had he ever heard of Margo Kingston?
Hee.Posted by zeppenwolf on 2006 01 29 at 04:00 AM • permalink
- Poor SMH – still living in the 1960s, when Robin Boyd’s The Australian Ugliness was published. Boyd’s book was a pathetic, meaningless whine 40 years ago, as the SMH is still whingeing and moaning.
This mindset – that of the the inner-urban intellectual – is infantile and limited. Phillip Adams is a good example of it. Still, good for a giggle.Posted by walterplinge on 2006 01 29 at 04:05 AM • permalink
- OK SMH – if we have a republic, can we then ask for a vote every 5 years until it changes back again? No? Didn’t think so.
It’s a one way street with Quebecois separatists and SMH republicans. Keep hacking until you get your way.
That is a pathetic editorial, a sad indication of the low ebb at the 175 mark.
- The republic debate has been handled shambolically by the SMH and its MSM mates.
It was never high on the agenda amongst the Australian public – to suggest we were somehow being oppressed by a foreign occupier was just ridiculous. But the MSM got it on the agenda thru its own publicity efforts. They had one shot and they blew it.
How did they blow it? Extreme arrogance, appointing airhead journos and celebs to speak for the issue when not a single one demonstrated understanding of the real issues. A lot of it was just stupid pom bashing, which is fun at the cricket but not useful when discussing the country’s political and legal heritage.
They ran poll after poll asking Australians if they want a republic, without realising it is a stupid question. There is no such thing as ‘a republic’. There are lots of different types of republics, some benign (e.g. having a figurehead president like Ireland) to the downright dangerous (e.g. Zimbabwe, Cuba). Right up to the date in 1999, the republican movement never had this issue sorted out amongst themselves, and to this day still don’t.
And of course, the SMH still refuse to address these issues and then scratch their heads wondering why nothing is happening. They use disgraceful editorials like this to provoke emotion but refuse to really discuss or debate anything.Posted by Flying Giraffe on 2006 01 29 at 08:11 AM • permalink
- Don’t break my heart,my achey breaky heart..
Wake in Fright finished last week as Radio National’s Book Reading-good timing eh.
Perhaps SMH is feeling surly about a news article referring to Bob Hawke and his penchant for suing for large amounts of cash.
Apparently he used to say “and this is my SMH swimming pool” etc.
…or perhaps they are looking inward at their own moral vaccuum….
- … Australians, a majority of whom wanted and expected this country to become a republic, voted in a referendum against the model that was being offered to them
The cognitive dissonance generated by writing that utterly contradicting sentence is probably enough to power Byron Bay’s sewage treatment plant…
- How is it that the ones screaming for everyone to respect the Hamas election and to recognize and deal with these murderers and child-sacrificers, scream most shrilly against the outcome of the last Australian election and denounce the present government to the point of promoting treason? You all are not alone with this type. I just heard Jimmy CAHTAH proclaming that the Palestinian election was without violence. I guess he hadn’t read the blog below dealing with the murder of a Fatah candidate after he yelled out of his window that the HAMAS thugs stop shooting at his house. Cahtah calls for financial support of the new Hamas government; he just wants to give these good people a chance, but he goes around the world denouncing Bush and the USA government as unacceptable.
- PW — du lieber Gott! Don’t tell me Halliburton is cornering the market on Irony, now, too!
Er, I mean, good one, Dark Master Karl…Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 29 at 05:57 PM • permalink
- How about we have a referendum to ship these leftist fools to North Korea? I am sure their Great Leader could do with a bunch of idiots to help him with his propaganda campaign- being totally blinked in their views- they will have no trouble.Posted by Wylie Wilde on 2006 01 29 at 06:38 PM • permalink
- Quote: “How did they blow it? Extreme arrogance, appointing airhead journos and celebs to speak for the issue …”
The most annoying of the lot was author Tom “Motor Mouth” Keneally, who is highly talented and sells a lot of books. Why doesn’t someone tell him to put a sock in it? He was off again in the op-eds in The Australian on Australia Day.
To give Tom his due he’d be one of the very few authors who make a nice living from writing without sucking on the public tit.Posted by walterplinge on 2006 01 29 at 07:56 PM • permalink
- It is all of a piece. If you are a socialist you think you can build better buildings, get the trains running on time, organise the police (including and invariably secret police who CAN control thought). If you are of that mindset then you will believe that there is one superior model of government and that it is a tragedy caused by the philistine voters that we do not have it.
The alternative is that of the Liberal party “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
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Guess we poor old numbskulls will just have to continue on our heartless mindless ways—-like the ones that have made this country as good as it is. Poor us.