We Australians do a fair turn in kitsch, as evidenced by the lawnmowers and Hills Hoists at the Sydney 2000 Olympic opening ceremony and the flying tram at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. But those kitschy fragments were nothing compared to last night.
The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was wall-to-wall kitsch. This was the large scale, globally-televised equivalent of Mrs Slocombe’s hair or Tim Brooke-Taylor’s Union Jack boxer shorts in The Goodies.
Olympic host cities have the opportunity to tell us something about their countries in their opening ceremonies, which is the world’s most-watched TV event. Sydney’s ceremony was about youthful optimism, and though we didn’t know it at the time, the message had extra resonance given it was the last Games before 9/11 and the era of the War on Terror.
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While some argue Tony Abbott has “opened up the culture wars” by declaring the practice of respecting traditional Aboriginal land owners at official gatherings as “out of place tokenism”, you can’t deny that though controversial, the Ab-Blaster has a point. These repeatedly enforced preambles for the Whatever Tribe Of Wherever grow ever more meaningless each ensuing shindig, and are at best, descending into farce.
It isn’t culture, it’s clutter. PCYC CEO Chris Gardiner has also picked up the dustpan and brush, declaring kicking off parliament with the Lord’s Prayer is not only intolerable, but “anachronistic at best… superstitious at worst”. The message is clear – it’s time for a clean out Australia!
This is a big, brown and far too dusty land, and there’s plenty more mouldy, moth-eared, curry-stained tokenistic traditions still loitering about the flat, in desperate need of either chucking in the wash, or just a good old chucking out.
Anzac Day marches:
This bizarre annual tradition of old blokes marching up and down city streets, blocking shopping access to discount fashion outlets and electrical goods warehouses, has surely done its dash.
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There is nothing more certain to generate cynicism than having to suffer political correctness in full force. When the experience is compounded by the paternalistic condescension of those who don’t really believe what is being said or done but in their generosity are reaching down to those they really see as simpler than them, it’s intolerable.
The idea that you must open your gathering and deliberations by paying lip-service through a ceremony or incantation demanded by vocal spokespersons for what amounts to sectional interests, should offend most citizens.
For many, when the ceremony invokes a cosmology or belief system that they consider anachronistic at best, or superstitious at worst, it is particularly galling.
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