January 29

The nineties cultural cringe: where is it now?


Social analyst David Chalke says we were witnessing the end of our culture cringe, reports Edith Bevin, in a piece in the Daily Telegraph, 27 January 2006,“Flying in the face of opposing opinions”: http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,20281,17947066-5001030,00.html

In her report in the Telegraph, which is well worth reading in its entirety, Ms Bevin says that a survey commissioned by the National Australia Day Council (NADC) finds that 92 per cent of us say we’re proud to be Australian.

This does not surprise me at all.

 A survey by the ANU after the referendum concluded that those who voted "Yes"  were less proud of being Australian then the "No" voters.

 The sort of person who begins his or her letter to the press with the whinge that he or she is ashamed to be an Australian is, I have no doubt, also in favour of a new flag and a changed constitution.

Thus the leading republican, Mr Greg Barns, who was one of the promoters on the ABC of the "mate for Head of State campaign", recently declared Australia to be a "pigsty"( see this coumn, 11 January, 2006 :http://norepublic.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=443&Itemid=4)

The NADC survey also finds that those who support the Australian flag outnumber those who want to change it by eight to one. Mr Chalke says mainstream Australia embraced diversity and welcomed immigration but also insisted on a level of integration.

"The flag has now gone full circle," he said.

"During the culture wars of the 1990s, with ‘Invasion Day’ and republicans wanting a new flag, it became almost embarrassing to admit you liked the flag in polite company."

Indeed. As it was , and to a degree still is, if you say you support the existing constiution, without even daring to mention our constitutional monarchy . That really makes the eyes of your average inner city elite roll.

"But that was really the affectation of the well-educated "left-of-centres". The great suburban unwashed never bought a bar of it, as became apparent when they gave the republic the flick," Mr. Chalke continued.

"Since then support of all traditional icons – the monarchy, the flag – have grown and strengthened until we’ve got to today where people are proud of their flag and of their country and they want to show that.

"They’re happy with the fact the Union Jack is on the flag – it’s great because that’s the origin of our country.

According to Ms. Bevin, Mr Chalke said the Sydney Olympics, in which Cathy Freeman won the 400m before draping herself in the Australian and Aboriginal flags, served as a point of unity for all Australians.

"It was us talking to ourselves, it wasn’t us pretending we were American. We didn’t care whether the rest of the world got it because we did."

"It was really symbolic of the end of an almost destructive self-loathing that was growing in the 1980s and 1990s and now we’ve rebounded back and we’re celebrating all that is Australian."

Link to Daily Telegraph


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