Sandra Lee writes about 'cultural cringe', seeing this expressed in the "self-flagellators flooding the talkback radio lines moaning about what they saw as Australia's and Prime Minister Howard's misplaced but slavish devotion to the US and President Bush".
I don't understand this argument. Aren't her 'self-flagellators' actually condemning cultural cringe themselves? Aren't they demonstrating pride in our own culture when they criticise the expectation that we swear unquestioning loyalty to another one?
"The Cringers apparently forgot that the alliance and friendship between Australia and the US did not start with Messrs Howard and Bush, nor will it end there."
Precisely why it should be okay to criticise the 'extraordinarily close relationship' the two men have without being accused of being anti-American in general, let alone anti-Australian. Their enmeshed relationship, closer than those Howard has with other delegates, is surely why the US alliance was so salient to the public. Our policies, thanks to Howard, are very closely tied up with Bush's. To criticise the Bush-Howard alliance is the opposite of cultural cringe, I would have thought. Ironically, it's Lee who is embarrassed and cringing at her bolshie compatriots.