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We are the exact opposite of what we think we are

Can you imagine trying to have a sensible conversation with a redneck? Matt Hurley considers how it might pan out.

It’s not an unusual sight to see a ute with a plethora of nationalist, jingoistic sentiments and country pub stickers plastered all over it. Today I saw such a ute with several hundred of these stickers, some of which got me thinking. I wondered how a conversation between myself and the driver might play out.

“I see your sticker ‘If you don’t love it, leave!’ on a wavy Australian flag. Tell me what is meant by this.”

“Yeah, nah, mate, it jus’ means anyone who don’t like our way of life should just go back to where they came from, ay”

“What if I told you that I don’t like our way of life? Should I leave too?”

“Whadayaonaboutmate?”

“Well, after much observation and subsequent introspection, I have concluded that I don’t much care for what it is to be Australian. Essentially, as a whole we are a nation of lazy, apathetic philistines.

We allow ourselves to be governed by psychopaths who will knowingly place an infant in a third world prison camp, and no one seems to give a shit. Those who do give a shit because they have witnessed it, and have the courage to speak up, do so facing mandatory prison sentences under the Border Force act. Our leaders lie through their teeth and tell us this infant was an ‘illegal’, as though that justifies it, and we believe it.

They know we don’t give a shit and will believe their every word, so every day they erode our scant liberties little by little, to the point we will hardly notice our transition to slaves under a fascist totalitarian corporatocracy. Don’t believe me? Within the last few years we have gained data retention laws, website blocking anti piracy laws, a whole swathe of absurd terrorism laws, and various anti association legislations across the country, just to name a few. Google the TPP. They’ll sign it. And that will be the final nail in the coffin of democracy.

Why don’t we give a shit? Because we are well provided for and very well distracted. We have food and shelter, so we want for nothing, and we are entertained by a hopelessly bland culture of celebrating mediocrity and worshipping celebrity. We are scarcely afforded a chance to simply observe and think with all this stimuli. We are merely a product, being constantly advertised to, in the most insidious of ways, manipulated and implored to consume more and more.

We have an obesity epidemic and global warming crisis imminent but it’s OK, we just have to keep consuming. We must press on with this unchecked capitalism thing, give it ‘fair go’, give the Gina Rineharts and corporate multinationals a ‘fair go’, because the ‘fair go’ is part of the Aussie character, yeah? Our perceived national character of the larrikin Aussie is an absolute joke.

We are miserable dobbers and beige do-gooders with a raging fetish for law and order. Utterly submissive to and grateful for an increasingly militarised police force, we seem to get off on seeing others on the receiving end of a dose of fascist oppression. How else would you explain the proliferation of vapid bullshit TV like “Highway Patrol”, “RBT” and “Gold Coast Cops”?

Ned Kelly, Australian icon? Rubbish. If he were alive today we’d all be masturbating furiously to TV footage of the cops tazering him half to death. We are the exact opposite of what we think we are. If we had a modicum of the national character we claim to, there wouldn’t be an infant in ‘detention’, and we certainly wouldn’t be glad about it.

So if that’s what I have to love, count me out. As I can trace my roots back to the colonial era, and according to your philosophy I should leave, where is it I should leave to, exactly?”

“Yeah, nah mate I’m jus’ talkin’ bout them bloody ragheads, ay.”

It is probably better if I don’t cross paths with him or his ilk.

 

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24 comments

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  1. mars08

    Ah…. that courageous, individualist, independent, plucky, laconic, insubordinate, laid-back, boisterous, irreverent bronzed ANZAC spirit lives on. How glorious…!!!

  2. Itsazoosue

    Unfortunately, I share a postcode with many of his ilk.

    I’m thinking Costa Rica or Belize sounds nice.

  3. Emmee Bee

    You would have lost said redneck at ‘Well, after much observation and subsequent introspection…’. All the rest would have sailed right over his head.

  4. keerti

    Unfortunately it is not only the redneck element that thinks this way. It is most of australia. If it wasn’t most of australia then there would be a mass outcry about illegal detention, of building fascism, of weird statements by abort, …Freedom? A fair go? No the common denominators of australian-ness are apathy, ignorance, laziness, selfishness and greed. Fortunately i don’t have to live in australia right now(my career has taken me o/s for a while)

  5. ABroad

    I used to work with the Canadian diplomatic service and lived in a handful of countries. I have travelled to 26 countries. I married an Australian. After 5 years of living in Oz, I have had difficulty finding work, have no real friends (South Australians are generally mistrustful of outsiders) and am lapsing into a total funk.I despair at the wilful ignorance, hatred and overt aggression that is displayed almost on a daily basis. No, my homeland isn’t perfect – far from it- but it appears to be a hell of a lot more tolerant and educated than here. The Dawn Fraser fiasco made me cry. Your country is so beautiful but I cannot understand the nastiness that permeates throughout this land from the top down. Oh, and I believe Abbott is on the low end of the autism scale! I’m sorry, I really wanted to give it a go, some Aussies have been terrific.

  6. mars08

    “Your country is so beautiful…

    Ah…. that would be the country we stole from the traditional owners… just before we tried to eradicate them…

  7. Baz

    Don’t suggest Abbott is autistic. I have an autistic grandson and he is a beautiful person. An autistic person is incapable of lying. Unlike Abbott who is on the high end of the psychopath scale. As for the rednecks you come across.

  8. Baz

    As for the rednecks you come across, you used three and four syllable words. I even saw a couple of six syllable words. What chance would they have of understanding you? They’re rednecks.

  9. Harquebus

    Hard times are coming. I think that we have yet to see us at our worst.
    All that crap about Aussies supporting each other in times of crises will be proved to be just that. It will be every man for himself as per the example currently being set by our nation’s inglorious leaders.

  10. MahliaG

    So sorry to hear that Abroad. After years of living in Asia, I returned to this country as a ‘born again’ Australian- so enthusiastic about the possibilities and happy to be home. That was 20 years ago. Now I’m sad to call this my country.

  11. Educated Country Bloke

    You would have also seen a sticker on many a ute: ‘DILLIGAF’ – ‘Does It Look Like I Give A F*ck’. Charming, isn’t it? And it says a lot about the mind of the country hick. These bogans don’t think about politics for more than a minute, every 3 years. Life for them is going to work, watching commercial TV and maybe playing footy on the weekend. Nothing else enters their minds.

  12. mars08

    Oh gosh and jeez ECB… you just know someone is going to accuse you of being elitist, don’t you??

  13. MahliaG

    The author raises a fundamental point that puzzles me daily. Where is the national outrage? Are we all so worn down? Let’s not demonise any group of people. Apathy is the dark fog that smothers many of us.

  14. Harquebus

    The dumbing down of our nation was no accident and would it make a difference if we weren’t?

    “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” — Adolf Hitler

    Number one on the news tonight was the murder of a sporting coach. This how politicians get away with it. A complicit media helps distract us from other more serious matters.

    I’ve put this up before however, I feel it is relevant.
    Propaganda and Manipulation: How mass media engineers and distorts our perceptions
    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfo5gPG72KM

    Seen on a ute sticker.
    “Stop inbreeding. Ban country music.”

    Cheers.

  15. shamed

    It’s by no means just rednecks. I live on the beautiful Northern beaches of Sydney. An affluent area. An astounding amount of people up here have the same sentiment as the rednecks in your article although they package it differently. A Facebook post about an outdoor chair gets 354 likes – a post about children in detention may get 1. It’s bizarre and sad. Please Google ‘Avalon now’. It depicts this area beautifully And backs up your article around consumerism and the sticker DILLIGAF.

  16. mars08

    @shamed… “I live on the beautiful Northern beaches of Sydney. An affluent area…”

    Are the people you describe “old money” or educated professional? I suspect might be what my daughter and I refer to as CUBs… cashed-up bogans.

  17. Andreas Bimba

    A while ago when I couldn’t find an engineering job or indeed any job I drew up a list of friends and former workmates and went through that list asking if they knew of some way I could find work. Near the bottom of list one of my university friends offered me some basic trades level work in a factory he part owned which I was grateful for.

    Some of my observations may of interest:

    To the other guys that worked there I was just a friend of the boss who needed work and I was accepted as part of a brotherhood of workers which was good. Much later someone found out I was an engineer and I suspect it was resented that I was taking one of their jobs and I was eventually cold shouldered out of there. My point is that these people often help each other a lot but restrict this to their circle of like minded friends.

    Life is particularly tough at the lower skill end of the workforce often with tyrannical bosses, basic safety being ignored, no job security, a lot of pressure to be as quick as possible but retribution if any defect was noticed and as for unions, they are for big businesses. I think when I was young things were not nearly as tough.

    Whenever businesses struggle like now, everything gets cut to the bone, everyone is under stress and are just trying to survive. Not paying debts and shortchanging workers also becomes commonplace.

    So don’t blindly blame the ‘bogan’ for the way he behaves as he or she has probably been given a raw deal by our neo-liberal economy and resents those that apparently have an easier life because of money or connections. “As for Greenies that prevent new forestry jobs or mining jobs …… ”

    You get the idea.

    As for the more affluent, many just resent the higher taxation and extra red tape that they expect from left of centre governments. The Greens and progressive political parties should appeal more to their selfish motivations by demonstrating how they can deliver a stronger economy for example by implementing the MMT economists job guarantee scheme and offering a sound alternative to the fraudulent philosophy of neo-liberalism.

  18. Elly

    Oh so much i want to say but that makes me no less narrow minded than either the individual the author details nor the author himself. What a horrible piece of writing, so narrow-minded, elitist and condescending. One is as offended by this elitist do-gooder attitude as they are by the apathy displayed by others.

  19. Tony

    Australians hate it when you point out their many short comings, they would prefer if they are seen as progressive and a smart culture when reality shows the opposite. Many Australians i have encountered just don’t care at all about anyone except themselves. Its frustrating and depressing encountering this attitude on a daily basis and when you call out this behavior you are attacked and treated as if you are the problem.

    A nasty and vindictive culture that is based on lies and deception.

    Australia is a beautiful country with some amazing people, sadly it seems the lazy untidy selfish and jingoistic aussie rules the roost and hence why corporations and governments pampers to their ignorant ways. It’s power by numbers and you have no real option but to keep to yourself as to avoid the risk of coming across as negative.

    But damn is this country in for a decade of massive hurt.

  20. dicehex

    “Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinion as the result of their own thinking – and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as this of the majority.” – Erich Fromm

    The search for a stable identity, and sense of belonging, is sociobiology at it’s finest.

    Sadly, cultural identity has become a commodity. A cultural currency, which fuels PR and propaganda, by preying on a person’s want to belong. Opinion is just another commodity now. Everyone feels powerless, so a sense of belonging to a supportive group, is more appealing than feeling threatened and alone. We do not like to admit how much we will dilute our own reasoned righteousness for this belonging. We do not like the idea that invoking nationalism really works as political leverage… but it does.

    Nationalism, is the marketing of this product. The product does not resemble the picture on the tin. That’s the big lie. Chanting how awesome a thing is does not make it true. The scary bit, is that everyone thinks they are immune to such banal pressures, as the threat of social exclusion, or the need for a supportive group. Those of us who know the contract has been breached, that the advertisement misrepresents the actual product, are still dueling with the idea that attacking the sales pitch is often seen as an attack on the identity, the self worth, of the buyer.

    Being critical becomes an attack on the egos of the faithful. Conforming to the lie, is an affirmation to those who unwisely or even accidentally, bound their identity, to a fiction.

  21. Harquebus

    “That animal instinct frightens us, because as humans, we like to believe that we are so far above everything else – smarter, faster, educated, cultured. But we’re not.”
    http://www.marxrand.com/archives/898

  22. crypt0

    Oh so much I want to say but I’ll just leave it at this …
    When Australian settlement was taking place, the Aboriginal people were slaughtered in their thousands …
    on the mainland.and Tasmania
    This was never referred to in my time at school. Australia likes to keep these things very secret.
    Lately, we are witnessing asylum seekers being kept in offshore
    detention camps … any staff revealing what goes on there
    are liable to be jailed. Australia likes to keep these things very secret.
    I could go on for ages, but these two examples give you a clue
    as to the character of a large % of the Australian people.
    If you think it’s in doubt, just look at the current LNP government they voted in at the last elections.

  23. gangey1959

    Hmmm.
    I fly the Southern Cross on my Holden wagon. And a Eureka flag. And the Indigenous flag. And I was born in a “Hat Town”.
    I think. I vote with my brain. I employed myself when I lost my last job, I don’t own a gun. I respect my Elders. I can “speak” the Latin I was taught at State High School. I can and do a lot of other things too.
    I have been abused by various people, both locally and offshore born and bread for showing my colours.
    I am quite proud to call myself a red-neck, but I am an Australian above everything else. And proud of it.

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