Monday, April 26, 2004

Anzac Day thoughts

A couple of letters in today’s Age sum up my reservations about the sacred spot Anzac Day has in Australia’s national psyche.

Genevieve Rogers reminds us of the ironic turnaround in the fortunes of the Day over the last 30 years or so – ironic because the current juxtaposition of Anzac hoopla with the Iraq war seems not only (bizarrely) appropriate, but as if it it were always so. In reality, of course, “Gallipoli” the destination is now just another de riguer pit-stop, with cheap piss and lodgings, for tertiary-educated GenX Australians on a reverse migratory path back to the Old World. From full moon parties on a Thai beach, to the dawn service at Gallipoli – life’s just one big orgy of forgetting (and war vets hardly have a monopoly on that).

Meanwhile, Dallas Fraser, a vet, asks “What about the civilians?”. Fair call. If you stripped Anzac Day, pre mid-1990s, back to its bare bones, all you would get is a bit of homoerotic bonding, combined with the dubious advocacy of large amounts of alcohol as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, at least on one day of the year.

Fuck that, and fuck the new kinder, gentler Anzac Day. And especially fuck the boomers, whose platitudinous opposition to the Vietnam War has seen the post-1975 world disintegrate into a state of near-continuous carnage, while the official line remains incapable of admitting this fact, thanks to the pervasiveness of the boomer melioration'n'triumphalism global hegemon.

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