For the past few years the annual Australia day celebrations have troubled me. Each year I see more displays of a false, in-your-face aggressive patriotism, particularly by younger people. There are more flags – as flags, as beach towels, stubby holders, eskies, underwear and bikinis. I’m waiting for the Australian Flag glow-in-the-dark condom.
This year I was reminded of some scenes from Mad Max as I stumbled across several drunken, aggressive groups of half naked youth with ‘tribal’ Australian makeup over their faces. The words “Australia – ya fuckin’ beauty” were scrawled in letters five feet high on a wall near my local beach.
From an esoteric viewpoint what I perceive is the partial manifestation of a dark, violent undercurrent within the group soul of Australia. After all, our young nation still carries the scars of the violence and racism which allowed colonization (or invasion) in the first place. The shallow grave of our violent, racist past spills open periodically and we are then all aghast at the results – such as the Cronulla Riots in 2005.
Australia Day, rather than being a day of unity and expression of a collective – the nation – which transcends the self towards a higher, social goal, is becoming a festival where the shadow is allowed some form of expression. In the guise of celebrating the nation, acts like public drunkenness, nakedness, aggression and scapegoating are legitimized. It is all rather like the medieval Feast of Fools or the ancient Roman Saturnalia.
I really do not want to sit back and just let this happen, but am at a loss of where to begin a critique, let alone how to help change the situation. Of course, I could be wrong here. But my reading of the nature of our group soul and the occulted violence within it tells me that one year, quite soon, Australia Day will be marked by some shameful, bloody happenings. Any ideas, anyone?