On the national civic* day – 26th of January – we had become accustomed in the past few years to being bombarded by ambitious politicians, academics, and advertisers for their various purposes. In many cases this was driven by lust for power and money. At least when the CWA and local kindergarten were involved.
Then there was a spate of excoriating those with European background for not being Australian enough. Or for being British. Every sin and misery for the past two hundred -odd years was seeded home to the Dreadful British and compensation demanded. Compensation, guilt, and obeisance. If you couldn’t manage the guilt and obeisance, at least cough up the money…the lawyers had sent in their bill.
Arrived late? Not British? Never had a hand in oppressing anyone? No matter. As long as you had money they’d let you on the tumbril.
This year it seemed to be different. Very few ambitious local councillors fronted the television cameras weeping. Few calls for the scrapping of the day emerged, and those that were repeated came from the established disestablishment. Most people seemed set to do their citizenship ceremonies, watch the fireworks, get drunk and sunburned, and let it go at that.
My local hobby club even garnered an award from the city of Bayswater for not being as dangerous as they might have been. I shall share in the honours as long as there is cake and coffee involved.
* The national military day is later in the year and it will have it’s own set of special detractors – though oddly enough there will be many of the same names bitching about the past then as do now.
One that reflects the fact that we have stopped being a country that takes its instructions and orders from Great Britain and now takes them from someone else. The main problem will be to decide who this currently is.
The United States has less influence here than heretofore. The careful work of the Soviet Union in propaganda from 1945 to 1989 and China in industrial seduction from 1973 to now has weaned us away from much of the companionship we once had.
Europe has emigrated since the 40’s, of course, but done so wisely – leaving the poorer relations back home in the mud and stepping out to cleaner ground here. The descendents of those early migrants go visit the various Old Countries whenever the dollar peaks and the Euro descends, but they keep a tight clutch on their Australian passports as they do so. They ain’t dumb.
South Asia would like to come to visit, and then stay, and largely do… It is rare to see them pulling up Australian stakes to go back to any part of the subcontinent, islands, or archipelagos unless they have been naughty or unwise whilst here. For the most part they are content to live peaceably, knowing what life there was compared to life here.
Ditto South and Central America, though I am not sure about this. I see the occasional migrants who work hard and do very well. Did we have a common border with them we might see very different characters present themselves for emigration…but the Pacific Ocean is wider than the Rio Grande and no-one has yet swum the entire thing. Perhaps it will come if Greta Thunberg cannot hitch a boat ride to Sydney…
To deal with the flag again, I think we will just have to go with the design featured in the heading image. I researched the composition of the Australian population and the flags of the constituent migrants as well as the local indigenous people and combined the symbols of their various faiths, political parties, families, and diseases and got a shade of grey. The shape of the new flag is still under debate, but the design bureau suggested a light portion for night and a dark one for day would look well. See what you fancy.
4. Driver’s license.
6. University fees.
11. New clothing.
12. Medical expenses.
14. Job applications.
15. Relocation expenses.
Welcome to the world of adulting, teenage justice warrior. You may not have time to march in front of the state legislature/parliament house/television cameras/iphones of your friends for some time as you are now required to show up and do something worth getting paid for. Hint: keep your receipts and pay slips as you’ll need them to pay your taxes. If you do not wish to pay taxes remember that there is always the Al Capone Option. They have closed Alcatraz but Leavenworth is still going…
You may note that I have left out marriage and babies from the list. You’ll learn about them when you grow up.
And don’t you forget it, Grandad. Don’t try that old business about having seen it all before just because you did actually see it all before. If I didn’t think of it after watching YouTube, it doesn’t count.
And don’t try rolling your eyes at me, old man. None of that senior sarcasm or you’ll be sent to your room with no supper. Wait? What do you mean it’s your food? Just because you’ve paid for it and cooked it and served it at your own table doesn’t mean you have a right to enjoy it if I disapprove. There are principles involved and the main one is I am young and right and you are old and wrong. And I am the judge of it all…I’ve got the internet.
And in a few years I’ll be able to vote and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and get the dole and post angry memes on social media whenever I want to. I got rights.
Are you bored? Is the pace of daily life getting you down? Has all the Zip gone out of your Zipcode? Well do what trend-setting modern royalty do – hyphenate your name!
You don’t even have to actually be connected to a royal family – or a noble one – or any family whatsoever. In fact, if you have barred your door to all your relatives, hyphenating your name can be a fun way of sniping at them from cover.
Heretofore the hyphenated name was used by European nobility to notify their peasants that two groups of overlords were combining by marriage and that revolution was a bad idea because now there were two lots of armed guards on call. It worked well, and social media influencers ( aka priests and scribes ) were paid to insist that this gave greater dignity and legitimacy to the ruling classes.
It became such a sign of status that lower-born types also decided to adopt it. In Great Britain it became somewhat of a rage in the Victorian era as newly-rich landowners and ironmasters lumped together whatever surnames they had been given to make new imperial ones. The advent of Wilhelmine Germany and the realisation by the British ruling monarchy that that was, indeed, their circus and those were, indeed, their monkeys, led to the Anglicisation of Battenburg to Mountbatten and the brigading of the thing to the location of one of the castles – Windsor. Largely a public relations move, it was probably unnecessary as the British could have been counted on to die for the Manchester Board of trade or the London Stock Exchange just as well.
But what of today? If you have a reasonably presentable name like Smith and have contracted marriage or a social disease with a person named Jones you may apply to a magistrate to have it changed to a joint Smith-Jones….though the beak will probably smile at your folly. Don’t smile back. If you have a perfectly reasonable Indian name like Bhattacharyya and fall in love with a Finkleberg you can also brigade up the two but expect a louder guffaw from the magistrate. And from everyone else. Humans can be like that.
So ask yourself….
Will your new surname be a help to you in life? If you expect it will gain you admission to the Old Boy network if you are not one…no. The Old Boys and Old Girls know their own and guard the compound gates zealously.
Will it look well on a book cover? ” Tales Of Death And Bloodletting For The Shut-in ” will sell well in Japan but you need a local author’s name as part of it – consider marrying a Japanese person.
Will you be forever leaning over a clerk’s counter correcting their spelling of it? Wladislxvch Wczyzchchev-Prmzelyic led a life of hell when he moved to the Dutch East Indies…
Finally, think through your amours carefully before the first button is undone. If your surname is Getts and hers is Tuft, you would do well to shake hands now and part before morning.
I have no idea why I do these things…except I am too old for playing truant to march to parliament house to see if I can get my picture on the news broadcast. Were I younger I would be at the barricades…selling half-bricks…
Anyway, I looked up ” noble ” in the computer’s internal dictionary. It divided the information into two parts:
a. A member of an aristocratic system of government.
b. A good or superior form of anything – a tree, a person, a metal…
I think I’m reading a crock. As far as I can tell, the nobles and royalty everywhere are no different from the common herd of sinners, except in having more opportunity to practice abominations and a get-out-of-trouble bloodline that they can flash at the police when they get caught. Nobility would seem to be anything but good and superior.
Yet, we are stuck with them. The worship of the King, Emperor, Sheik, Sultan, or whomever is carefully taught and rigorously enforced by the people in whose interest s it is to be obeyed. Solemn oaths of fealty are demanded, even when the people to whom loyalty is to be given are vile. I’m stuck with one oath myself, contracted for in 1970 when I became and Australian citizen. The ” Heirs and Assigns ” clause and so on.
I am going to get as much advice as I can about the effect of the Australia Act of 1989 and whether it legally absolves me of having to be obedient to the coming king, his sleazeball brother, or any of the other choices that are on the platter. I don’t mind being loyal, faithful, and law-abiding to a mythical construct, but let it be a figurehead rather than some other portion of the body…
Or ” Now you see it, Now you don’t, It’s all the fault of the Prime Minister…”
But don’t you worry, Folks. As soon as we get the set adjusted you can go back to hating Trump again. This is just a temporary technical malfunction.
Well, the UK election is over, and the verdict is in – and all the British voters will get to share in passing the sentence. I believe the Queen is preparing a black cap to wear for her opening of Parliament. It will also come in handy when she has Christmas dinner with Prince Andrew. Hint: don’t sit too close to the carving knives, Andy…
It will be interesting to see whether trendy Australian social commentators pick up on the UK election in the way they did the last US one. And in the way that they never do for Canada, India, South Africa, Andorra, Iceland or anywhere else. I do not blame them for this lack of interest- they only respond to the prompts from the media, after all. If it becomes politic for them to be whipped into outrage or ecstasy, the mechanism is in place and needs only to be switched on.
For myself, I shall be very interested to see how the negotiations to remove Great Britain from the clutches of the Continentals conclude. I would be all for fortifying the coast, dynamiting the Channel Tunnel, and starting nightly bombing raids over the enemy capital, but I doubt the Belgian Air Force has enough planes to do the job efficiently.