The Art of the Australian Insult

Firing up downmarket nationalism
February 19, 2009, 7:15 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie | Tags: ,

The media have engaged in ambulance chasing on a grand scale over the appalling bushfires. It is accompanied by flag-draping nationalism of the “Aussie spirit” type.

Why can’t we mature a bit and recognise that in adversity the best and sometimes the worst is brought out in people? It is not an “Australian” thing when good deeds are done, but a reflection of our shared humanity. This is universal. We don’t cite the misdeeds of looters, arsonists and scam artists as reflecting the Aussie spirit.

Maybe one day we can aspire to something a bit higher than downmarket nationalism.”

David Barr Balgowlah, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Banging on about mateship
February 14, 2009, 1:12 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie | Tags:

“Is it really necessary for politicians and commentators on the bushfires to bang on about Aussie mateship and how Australians know how to overcome hardship, as though those traits do not exist outside this country? Resilience is a common thread for people throughout the world.”

Con Vaitsas Lakemba, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Unsporting behaviour
February 4, 2009, 2:19 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie, Sport | Tags: ,

Two comments on the behaviour of the crowd watching the match between Jelena Dokic and Alisa Kleybanova at the Australian Open:

The Herald describes the crowd rising to their new champion (“It’s Jelena’s day”, January 26). In fact the crowd were disgusting in their bias. They applauded Alisa Kleybanova’s faults and roared with appreciation at unforced errors. There was hardly a murmur when she levelled at 6-6 in the third set. One felt the crowd would have thrown their chairs at Kleybanova if they hadn’t been screwed down.

Max Perry Maroubra

Sorry, Alisa Kleybanova, for the bias, the jingoism and the rotten sportsmanship you had to contend with at the Rod Laver Arena. You may be surprised to know that most Australians believe in “a fair go”, and commend your play and behaviour under the most difficult circumstances.

Lois Pembroke Killara

Well, he would know
February 4, 2009, 2:09 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie | Tags: ,


“Much as I love Australia Day, celebrating it by attending an official ceremony seems somehow, well, unAustralian.”

James Cook, Kalaru, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

An un-Australian use of the flag
February 2, 2009, 4:08 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie, State of the nation | Tags: , ,

“I AGREE there is something un-Australian about driving around with an Australian flag flying from a ute or four-wheel drive (First Byte, Letters, 26/1). I suspect it is an expression of red-necked in-your-face aggression rather than pride in being an Australian. This idea seems to have come into vogue about the time of the Cronulla riots.”

Michael Stanbridge , Bonnet Bay, NSW, letter to The Australian, in response to this earlier letter:

“There is something very un-Australian about vehicles, mainly utes and four-wheel-drives, being driven around with flags attached. Australian culture is fast being diluted by imitators of anything American. What’s next, gun racks?”
R. Elphinstone, Ormiston, Qld.

Don’t look at moi

“NBC sent the first two episodes of Kath and Kim, and both were jaw-dropping in their awfulness. In fact, by the end of the second episode, a stray thought occurred: Maybe an apology to Australia is unnecessary because the American version misses the mark so badly that it’s barely recognisable as a distant cousin to the original.”

Television critic for the San Francisco Chronicle ,Tim Goodman, pans the US version of Kath and Kim. Mike Kelly, critic for the Toledo Blade , was not convinced that the original could have been funny, either:

“The series (…) is a remake of a popular Australian comedy program, but if stuff like this is considered funny Down Under, folks there probably think that Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, and Hugh Jackman would make a terrific lineup for an updated version of the Three Stooges.”

“Some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens”
September 9, 2008, 6:17 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie, Ethnic Insults, Religion | Tags:

“Why is that racist? Why is it discriminatory? It’s very simple: people like some things but don’t like other things. Some of us like blondes, some of us like brunettes. Some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens. Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice? If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast.”

Emil Sremchevich, president of the Camden/Macarthur Residents’ Group, which notoriously rejected a proposal by the Quranic Society to build a school in the area. The Residents’ Group has subsequently welcomed a Catholic organisation’s plans to build a 1000-student high school nearby.