‘Australians may well love their sport, but why don’t we delight in success elsewhere?‘ The Conversation, 6 September 2017
The Australian nation and nationalism, we often proclaim, began at Gallipoli. This is a nonsense, as that sets aside the previous 129 years of (white) history as nothing. But it’s a good story and it explains a key component of the warrior nation: tough, rugged, aggressive, competitive, resilient, essentially manly and matey.
We boast of our warrior participation in every major war since 1899, and in every modern Olympics since 1896 …
So, the question becomes: how do we define ourselves as a nation?
As progressive, liberal-minded democrats, and good colonists? No. We are so very much more conservative than progressive.
As a cultured and civilised society? You’ll have to ask the Aborigines, immigrants, refugees, the homeless, the indigent, the aged and those on the poverty line about that.
As warriors? Yes, and yes again.
“ANZACkery” insists that we were only born out of the crucible of war at the start of the 20th century, and Olympism tells us that we “punch above our weight” compared to other nations, or we want to be seen that way.
We also spend untold millions in an effort to keep it that way, even if only for a transient moment. Oi, oi, oi.