Category Archives: Patriotism

Apparently Ball-less Corporation caves to Clarence House

The ABC is supposed to be an independent public broadcaster. So is the BBC. And yet the royal family – our royal family, still – can apparently exert so much pressure over the two public broadcasters that they will cancel a program that might satirise a public event:

New wedding coverage conditions issued over the Easter break state that footage cannot be used “in any drama, comedy, satirical or similar entertainment program or content”.

The restrictions were agreed between Clarence House, the private office of the Prince of Wales, and the BBC.

With the consequence that, in Australia:

The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary was due to air on ABC2 from 7:00pm AEST on Friday, offering viewers a satirical take on the royal extravaganza.

But just two days before Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot, the one-off live special – promised to be “uninformed and unconstitutional” – has been cancelled due to restrictions imposed by the royal family.

Oooh. Because the BBC has control over all footage of central London taken on Friday.

There will be no other people around here with video cameras on Friday

I don’t care whether The Chaser are still funny – that’s not the point. The point is the extraordinary attempt to impose control over a public broadcaster in relation to a public event, and its craven caving to that pressure. Oh, the BBC threatened to refuse to let you use its wedding footage? So bloody what! It’s being broadcast on every other bloody channel. Call their bluff! Go in much harder! Have some bloody balls!

The ABC’s credibility as an independent and fearless media organisation is at stake here. Because if the pathetic would-be autocrats in Clarence House can get this sort of leverage by threatening to withhold footage of something that’s going to be on every Australian TV channel anyway, then what will the really powerful get away with when they’ve got some serious leverage to wield?

ELSEWHERE: Joshua Gans is likewise unimpressed.

Land of the sheep, tormenter of the brave

Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who is being held in cruel conditions barely distinguishable from torture for allegedly releasing classified US documents such as the Collateral Murder video, has now been charged with 26 counts, including one punishable by execution.

And yet his fellow countrymen, for whom he released the material – so that they would know what is being done in their name – are not rising up in anger about his treatment. Far from declaring him a national hero and a brave fighter against the abuse of government power, they are contentedly sitting by while their government uses its immense power to crush him in a solitary prison cell. Even those who claim opposition to government tyranny as their most important principle, seem to have little problem with how this man is being treated – being treated, mind you, before even being tried.

Apparently Americans would rather not know in future what is going on. They’d rather whistleblowers were bullied in to keeping their bloody mouths shut, so the rest of the country could continue not to care what goes on around them.

The price of liberty is eternal what? Quiet, we’re watching TV to check that our politicians are wearing flag pins.

UPDATE: And now Manning’s being stripped every night because he made a sarcastic remark. They’ve decided he’s a risk of suicide – but they haven’t placed him on “Suicide Risk Watch”, probably because that would require an actual assessment by a mental health professional.

It’s punishment before trial, clear as day.

Spotted on a t-shirt in Cronulla

We Aussie patriots only came to the conclusion that this is “the best country on Earth” after careful study and research

Once again, only a few days before Australia Day, the ABC publishes the views of a traitor:

I know there are those who think it a form of disloyalty to not believe that Australia is the greatest country on earth. Certainly, they have their counterparts across the world. There is a strange correlation between being born in a country and believing that it is the greatest country in the world. This hasn’t yet given pause to the super-patriots here and elsewhere. Yet this is suggestive that patriotic fervour is not always entirely rational, or motivated by a sober evaluation of the merits and flaws of one’s homeland.

Oh, and I suppose Mr Brull also thinks it’s revealing that the vast majority of religious people happen to have chosen the religion of either their country or their family (or both).

Correlation does not equal causation, mate. I bet if the patriotic Aussies had been born in America, they’d still have grown up declaring Australia “the best country on Earth”. Just like if Jim Wallace had grown up in Iran to a Muslim family, he’d DEFINITELY still be a fundamentalist Christian because his chosen religion is the result of years of careful research and study. Seriously, we’ve watched TV programs about other countries. Jim met a Jew once.

To suggest patriotism is as shallow and empty as “I like the people and places I know and I’d like to feel special and virtuous for having this ordinary human feeling” is beneath contempt.

Time for us to dismantle the ABC for publishing it.

UPDATE (25/1): Dave and I discuss what’s great about this country in a special, early edition of The Pure Poison Podcast.

Advance Australia… girt?

I wasn’t born in 1974 when it was chosen as the national anthem, so I can’t say I’ve ever really looked into “Advance Australia Fair” in all that much detail (other than cringing at those musically-awful opening notes) – but I must say I was surprised, reading the original lyrics, that, in the seventies, we took our Australian song from such an the utterly unpatriotic, Britain-fawning hymn to colonialism and cultural cringe.

Check out, via Wikipedia, the original second verse:

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
“With all her faults we love her still”
“Britannia rules the wave.”
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Please, don’t think we’re not really British!

And then the third and fourth:

Verse 3
While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We’ll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England soil and Fatherland,
Scotia and Erin fair,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Verse 4
Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore,
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Though oceans roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.*

Funny those were excised from the official version, isn’t it? Oh, and that “for those who come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share” bit that we’re no longer all that keen on? The original is much more in keeping with our current attitude: “For loyal sons beyond the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share…”

As for this “lost” verse that the fundamentalists want “re”inserted, well, you’ve amazingly found a way to make it even more objectionable (GO THEOCRACY!):

With Christ our head and cornerstone,
We’ll build our Nation’s might.
Whose way and truth and light alone
Can guide our path aright.
Our lives, a sacrifice of love
Reflect our Master’s care.
With faces turned to heaven above
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair!

And if you think that’s far-fetched, remember that they still open Parliament every day with the Lord’s Prayer…

But I apologise if I’ve got the dirge stuck in your head.

Here, let’s replace it with some slightly less horrible music. (Or, at least, slightly less horrible music, horribly performed.) How about, talking of song lyrics, I point you towards (via @FundiesFirst), this video of the “Catch The Fire” nutters warming up for ranting incoherently on the steps of parliament on Wednesday (sorry, “speaking in tongues”) by singing Amazing Grace, only with all the (apparently insufficiently Christian) words in it replaced by the name “Jesus”. As in, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” GENIUS.

Now, can you imagine their preferred National Anthem? Sing it in your head – Advance Australia Fair with the word “Jesus” repeated over and over.

…Turns out they’re right – there is a hell. It’s echoing in my brain right now.

National pride wounded

There is nothing whatsoever “Kiwi” about this. Apart from the fruit on the top, obviously. And the fact they apparently made it first.

Australia’s mighty heart is breaking, for the second time today:

Many Australians and New Zealanders both claim to have cooked the first pavlova. But in its relaunched online edition, the Oxford Dictionary says the first recorded recipe appeared in New Zealand in 1927.

So, the New Zealanders must have paid off those crooks at Oxford.

There’s only one thing for it: they must become part of Australia.

Not that they deserve the compliment, of course.

WHICH OF COURSE FOLLOWS: Having been built up by the commercial media into a state of unrealistic optimism about having the FIFA World Cup held here, the same media are now enthusiastically playing off our excessive disappointment. And then this pavlova thing. And apparently we’re not doing well in the Ashes.

What is happening to our beloved country?

I blame the Greens.

ELSEWHERE: And in a further blow to our national self-esteem, two Australians have produced the fourth episode of the Pure Poison Podcast. Will this terrible day never end?

A different day

If, as according to all the rhetoric, ANZAC Day is about remembering those who’ve died defending this country (and not celebrating militarism), then shouldn’t we pick a meaningful date from the Second World War, when they actually did that?