Stephens, David: Anzac and Anzackery (Kogarah speech)

Stephens, David

Anzac and Anzackery: speech to Kogarah Historical Society, 14 May 2015‘, Honest History, 9 June 2015

Honest History’s secretary speaks on the contrast between an Anzac ideal and the bloated caricature that is ‘Anzackery’. There are many resources on Anzackery on the Honest History site (use the Search engine). We have found it both instructive and a pleasure to skewer Anzackery. We have also worked with others to produce a draft definition suitable for dictionary purposes:

Anzackery ~ n. 1. a nationalistic, laudatory and distorted portrayal of Anzac history with little regard to accuracy or context;  2. hyberbolic rhetoric extolling the Anzac place in history. 3. the use of these approaches to promote patriotism, and national or personal agendas, as in inflating the contribution of the Anzacs and their native-born commanders in campaigns without regard for the contributions and achievements of allied commanders and nations. 4. arrogant, jingoistic praise of Anzac exploits and myths, usually at the derogatory expense of other combatants, especially the British;  5. the shameless exploitation of Anzac commemoration and sentiment for commercial gain.

There may be related definitions available elsewhere. Amanda Laugesen of the Australian National Dictionary has written about the word also.

The Kogarah speech contrasts Anzac and Anzackery in a number of respects then concludes, ‘I think it is a characteristic of Anzackery that it persists, that it tries not to change. It wants us not to change. I think Anzackery builds in the possibility – even the probability – of war in the future.’

There are related pieces on reasons for downsizing Anzac and ways of ‘rebooting’ Anzac as a useful force in the 21st century.

Read more …


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