Wednesday, January 24, 2007

flag elation

I'm as Australian as the next person. That is to say, I'm an immigrant. Yet I've never felt the slightest bit inspired to brandish the flag in order to prove my Australianness to anyone. It makes me shudder to have the flag rammed down my throat purely for political purposes as has been happening lately by both parties.
It's interesting to read in news stories that sales of flags and related imagery have gone through the roof since the Cronulla riots.

Sydney tattoo shops have expeienced a surge in requests for patriotic designs since the Cronulla riots in December 2005...[Quotes a tattooist:] "Ever since the Cronulla riots, we are just doing heaps."...

The pollies are certain there is no dark jingoistic element to all this newfound flag-loving?
Another interesting thing to note is the importance of symbolism here. Voters might remember how the Liberals managed to weasel their way out of dealing with Aboriginal reconciliation over the past decade with Howard claiming he is not interested in symbolism. But then, when it comes to the Australian flag, the Liberals are utterly obsessed with it. I mean, what is a flag but pure unadulterated symbolism?
Today, Peter Debnam has issued me with the following warning:
"I want to send a strong message to those few individuals that have not embraced the flag that the rest of Australia does."

Ok, ok, I'll embrace the flag already! Pass it here and let me make love to it, lest I be considered unAustralian.