Thursday, April 03, 2008


At the risk of stooping to the level of culture warrior by broad-brushing an entire subgroup of the community, it must be said that the chest-beaters on the Left and Right of our national discourse are surprisingly naive in the ways of politics. They think governments run nations when, in fact, they manage them as best they can. They mistake the limits of power for cowardice and think the exercise of policy reform is an exact science.

This isn't a comment against individuals, but against a style of writing that assumes only one version of Australia, be it Left or Right, is the true expression of national identity. Australia is open and closed. It has three established mainstreams: the traditional white male, the tertiary-educated woman and the Australia-born children of immigrants. Each brings a slightly different perspective to national identity, depending on the topic.

This level of complexity escapes the cultural warriors because they need caricatures of good and evil.

George Megalogenis in the Australian Literary Review.

Got that everyone? To understand Australian society in all its complexity, one stereotype is not enough. You need three.

1 comment:

tigtog said...