It’s that time of year again, when a large chunk of the population get way too drunk, wave their flags and engage in casual racism thinking it’s the same as patriotism, and another large chunk write leftist articles, go on protest marches and/or put up memes and too-long-to-read-posts on social media to show not just how progressive they are, but how bad we should all feel for revelling in a day off from work, because of things a bunch of 18th-century Englishmen did and that we had no control over.
Then there’s the other group, and dare I say the most Australian of all – those who just don’t give a shit.
That’s right, it’s Australia Day/Invasion Day/Citizens Day/January 26/Tuesday/Whatever the fuck you need to call it to feel better about yourself and the world.
I’m not going to get into a debate about whether the whole thing should be renamed or the atrocities that were and still are perpetrated against Indigenous Australians, because everyone on both sides gets a bit stupid about it and I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of bogan ‘took our job’ deadshits and hypersensitive leftists who just can’t let things go. You’re all as annoying as each other and I’M ON HOLIDAY (for 24 hours). Maybe I’ll touch on the issue somewhere, but my main aim is just to ramble about the first things that come to mind when I think about Australia Day right now, this second.
Beetroot – It’s well -known around the world that Australia is one of the only places where you get beetroot or ‘beets’ on your hamburger by default. Even McDonalds now adorns some of its burgers with that vegetable that makes them look like they’re menstruating (you’re welcome for that visual). For my 30 years of life I’ve avoided beetroot on burgers, not just because it looks unappetising but because it makes an already-messy experience much messier and it overwhelms the taste of the other components. That was until the other week, when I forgot to order a burger without beetroot and thought ‘stuff it I’ll eat it anyway’ (how Australian is that attitude?). Turns out, it was DELICIOUS! Maybe my tastebuds have matured, maybe it was actually just some really off tomato, but I will never look at a slice of beetroot on my buns with revulsion again. Straya!
Lleyton Hewitt – Despite being a sport loving nation, apart form the cricket the only sport we have in this country in January is the freaking tennis. Australians love a sporting hero, and for some reason I don’t understand, many found this arrogant little shit a legend because he would yell ‘C’MON’ whenever he won a challenging point. Yes, he was alright back in the day, and celebrating juvenile fuckwits is an Australian tradition I guess (and it still continues to this day with Nick Kyrgios), but in this respect I must be deemed un-Australian. Maybe it was because he yelled ‘C’MON’ instead of ‘C’AAARN’. Either way the merciless social media fapping that has gone on since his underwhelming retirement shows me another aspect of the Australian character ‑ we’re a fickle bunch, and we LOVE a bandwagon. I fucking hate them, but I hate watching tennis too. Both of these hatreds are closely intertwined.
The Flag – As hotly-debated an issue as the day itself, many see the Australian flag as the visual representation of colonial oppression and cultural insensitivity. Authorities have previously been concerned that it could incite violence. Yet come Australia day it’s FUCKING EVERYWHERE. A quick gander online will show you enough pointless Australian flag merchandise to have you screaming ‘Struth! Stone the flamin’ crows’ quicker than Rolf Harris getting thrown in jail, yet it’s almost all made in China. Do I own any Aussie flag merch? No, but we have a very old Australian Flag beach towel that we put at the back door to wipe our shoes on when it’s been raining! Straya! People want the Union Jack and colours gone because of their ties to the mother country, but there’s no mention of removing the Southern Cross, which is what you find stuck on the back windows of the Utes and tattooed on the shoulders of racist bogans all over this proud land. Banning colonial symbols is one way to try and lessen tensions, but THOSE THINGS SHINE IN THE SKY EVERY NIGHT BRAH! Straya!
Meat on the ‘barbie – If you believe the ads, lamb has become synonymous with Australia Day, even if I have no fucking idea why. Once again it’s back, front and centre, after a bunch of vegans went absolutely bananas (HA!) over an Michael Bay-esque advertisement involving a military operation to get Aussies living abroad back home for a chop on Australia Day. One character living in Brooklyn responds that he’s ‘a vegan now’ which is met with cries of ‘abort!’, a plate of kale being set on fire and a disparaging harrumph from a newswoman. This apparently resulted in OVER 600 COMPLAINTS to the Advertising Standards Bureau from pissed off vegans, saying that it glorifies violence toward them and makes them a laughing stock. See for yourself.
This ad and the subsequent outrage is worthy of an entire blog in its own right but I think it just hurt more because the vegans thought someone like Lee Lin Chin was on their side. The ad is pretty stupid anyway. Thankfully the ASB didn’t bow down and told them to get a sense of humour, and when you see complains like the one below it’s easy to understand why. All they’ve done with their ridiculous gripes is show that some of them are as bad as ill-informed people like to think they are. Surely there are more important things in the world to be outraged about? In a way the ad and its response are another indication of what mainstream Australia is becoming, an over-sensitive ‘complain first and sign my online petition, discuss later and realise we probably over-reacted’ society. I have vegan friends who I love, but if they wanted to discuss this with me and try and change my opinion I’d disappoint them. Calm the fuck down. If you can inundate social media with videos of animals being slaughtered in an attempt to scare or guilt us off meat, you can deal with an ad on television (which no one watches anyway) obviously taking the piss. Aaaanyway, I’ll probably just have sausages and steak…. Straya.
Racism and the big questions – From the UN to North-freaking-Korea, everyone knows that Australians can be ‘a bit racist’ – we don’t need a national day to remind us of that – but are patriotism and racism synonymous? Does saying you’re proud of your country automatically make you ignorant to the less than admirable parts of our history as a nation? Or should we all be ashamed of our history by default? No matter how much we change or progress, history remains an unchangeable constant. Is someone enjoying Australia Day with friends and a BBQ in the backyard, criticising this year’s Hottest 100 and feeling no guilt about the past the same as the drunken yobbo draped in a wife-beater and an Australian flag ranting that there are too many Indians? No, and if you think ‘yes’ I’ve no problem calling you a dickhead. Racism is another issue entirely and has little to do with January 26. It’s a year-round national past-time and can’t be dealt with by symbolically changing the flag or the name of today to something ‘more inclusive’. Shut up, appreciate the day off with family and friends or even just sitting around the house in your undies. At the very least try not to fire up when no one gives a shit about your social media post.
If you don’t, that’s on you.