Monday, January 22, 2007

Banning the Sydney Big Day Out?

I feel sorry for the (boomer!) promoters of the BDO. After an unhappy recent legal stoush with eBay, in which the BDO was mainly representing its customers’ best interests and not its own, this morning NSW Premier Iemma was muttering on breakfast TV about banning the Sydney show, scheduled for this Thursday. (The BDO Sydney Showgrounds venue is quasi-publicly owned. Federal parliamentary secretary for immigration Andrew Robb also this morning called for the Sydney BDO’s banning, but presumably only rhetorically – if he meant to imply the banning of the overseas acts from entering the country, he was too late.)

A few hours later, the show appears set to go on. It would be a shame, however, if Morris Iemma’s ugly threat is quickly forgotten. Quite apart from the underlying issue of the Australian flag’s current political baggage, Iemma has shown himself as a populist who will do almost anything – anything – to appease the tabloid barrators and brayers. Another name for this is “fascism”.

On the underlying issue, my own feelings are surmised here: the Australian flag is, post Cronulla riots, a stupid medieval rag. I would insert a contextual qualification, however. Just as the Nazi swastika has some non-offensive uses – such as on the set of The Producers – so does the Australian flag. But being worn by White youth at a Sydney youth event is clearly not a non-offensive such use – its meaning here is as subtle as a swastika spray-painted on a synagogue.

Update 24 January 2007

In today’s Oz, John Birmingham takes up the anti-BDO cause, with a rather off anti-boomer rant. I say “off” because Birmingham is an Xer through and through (a few weeks younger than me), yet his OpEd ends as a self-immolating paean to GenY, aka the Howard Youth. I have no idea why Birmingham thinks that boomers’ ingrate teenage spawn – rather than his and my generation – are the natural enemy of boomers. Xers of course resemble neither of their next-door cohorts; in turn boomers and GenY have more in common than they usually care to admit. Maybe Birmingham is having a mid-life crisis, or maybe he has just had one too many bucket bongs.

Also today’s Oz is a strong suite of letters to the ed, most of which tacitly endorse the BDO’s apprehensiveness about the Australian flag. Philip Cole reminds us that the English flag was similarly commandeered for a period by that country's far Right. The difference is that England launched a grass-roots “reclaim the flag” campaign in response – while Australia’s response has been the opposite; viz any use of the flag (including being worn by drunken, violent thugs at a rock concert) is automatically a noble thing, and anyone who says otherwise is Howard-hating scum.

Michael Swifte’s letter also has a choice turn of phrase:

“The BDO organisers’ decision to discourage flag-wearers stems from the fashion of wearing the flag as a kind of super-hero cape that started at the Cronulla riots in December 2005”.

I do believe it was Nietzsche who drew the first antecedents between super-hero capes and fascism.

Update 28 January 2007

“Birmo” asks in the comments:

"What did we x-ers ever achieve?"

I give a bit of a smart-arse answer in a reply comment, but more speculatively, and less wearing my Year-12-debating (if my school had had it) hat, I’d suggest Xers do, and have done sadness better that any other generation in human history.

Akin to a lopsided version of rock/paper/scissors, sadness trumps everything else.

Better yet, we Xers have a bottomless reservoir of the stuff. Don’t worry about saving it up, all you Xers, hoarding it like you’re boomer property investors gloating over Xer tenants and locked-out would-be purchasers.

So spread the sadness round. Yes, you can howl for days and days, and there will still be plenty more on tap.

Yeah, but what did we x-ers ever achieve? the boomers treat us with contempt. Those Y fuckers though, they're SCARED of them. With good reason.
"What did we x-ers ever achieve?"

To use literary fiction as a convenient and/or cutting example, *we* did grunge-lit magnificently, perhaps to the point of OD, in the early/mid-1990s.

Indeed 1991's Vogel-winning "Praise" was such a stand-out that the judges saw fit to confine themselves to urban-Xer-irrelevant peasant (wog-trash and white-trash) lit for several years running after "Praise":

1992: "The Mule's Foal" by Fotini Epanomitis

1993: "The Hand That Signed The Paper" by Helen Demidenko (sic)

1994: "Swimming In Silk" by Darren Williams

And to their credit, at least two Xer grunge-era authors (Andrew McGahan and Christos Tsiolkas) continue to churn out quality lit-fic to this day.
Keep up the good work.
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