Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Australian Way

Masochistically, this morning I was reading the great Australian columnist Greg Sheridan who, in an article of unusual mawkishness even for him, reveals this deep truth:

To watch the Bali memorials and commemorations this past week was to be struck by their quintessentially Australian quality. There was no great poetry but there was great sentiment.

and concludes:

The Australian way is the undramatic way, and our politicians have reflected that in normal times and, above all, in times of crisis. The undramatic, hard-headed, practical way sometimes annoys our scribblers and seers, who yearn for more drama in the public square. But the Australian way, magnificently on display in the reaction to Bali, may be, for all its faults and limitations, among the very best that mankind has yet devised.

Scribbler and seer that I am, this heroicisation of our great national virtues makes me feel mordantly depressed. The best that "mankind" has to offer is it seems a simplistic hardening of the intellectual and artistic arteries, liberally aneasthetised with hogwash and prozac sentiment, and best expressed by our nationalistic will to fight "evil" (as defined by the US).

Like I heard on a train once: "Is the human race worth saving?"

(Pause for thought)


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