Australia. For all its excellence (the beaches, the cafes and restaurants, the properties, the music, the gardens) is troubled by a few nagging negatives (the bureaucracy, the backward notions, the political mudslinging and the lack of curries available after midnight… I’m sick of processed meat when the sun, moon and stars go down!). We, the supposed lucky country, have hit those crossroads that Robert Johnson sung about many score ago…
Still, my love for this country is large. The smell of coffee and urine early on a Sunday morning when the only people who walk the streets are either the walking dead (those who haven’t slept yet) and the far too awake (those who are still enjoying the remnants of the night before or those who have already had a yoga session and a walk in the park with their two dogs, Larry and Sammy). Those beautiful Friday evenings when the chatter in the city and surrounding suburbs is deliciously optimistic and the laughter is chaotic. The charm of this country extends to the long, deserted roads in the middle of nowhere to the thriving beach scene up the top end of Queensland. Am I lucky? Sure. But something has been pushing me in the throat and clutching my nether region as I consider the future. Ah, ye olde scary future that presents so many pathways, or crossroads if we come back to that brilliant tune. Expensive property, cities that can only expand so far and THAT FARKIN’ CARBON TAX! Alright, I am very indifferent to the Carbon Tax and the very mention of it in a conversation is enough for me to gouge another man’s eyes out. Yet, as quickly as these problems present themselves, the pace of our frozen continent pulls them just as quickly back into line.
Now, I understand the system. We wait upon those that we elected to respond to the calls of the community to create legislation to enable or deny something and then we hope for the best. We are represented by a particularly diverse group of white men from the far reaches of the private schools of Australia who understand our culture. Okay, that is unfair, they obviously have to be educated and it just so happens that money is a huge enabler for men and women to receive power. There are genuine outcasts in this generalisation who have become very serviceable politicians. But then they become members of a political party and they mock each other and jeer and sling a bit of mud all in the name of representing the people of Australia. Politics continues to present itself as a very unenviable job in the public eye.
To me, the internet has made democracy in action that much harder to control. Everyone has an opinion and the internet has made it far more accessible. Rapid responses to movements in parliament, to judgments handed down the courts, to crime waves or fraudulent activity, or Chris Judd’s game on the weekend are as common as a man with a beard ordering a pint of an obscure boutique beer in a Fitzroy pub. I have no problem with people expressing their opinion but we, as a collective group, have become OBSESSED by outrage to the point that legitimate public debate is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. We are outraged by people starting debates about things, we are offended when someone makes a lewd comment in poor taste, we can’t even handle people around us talking about sex. WE is of course, a general target for my criticism. WE are not living in a time when topics that are sensitive and taboo, we are simply living in a time where mainstream journalism is being influenced by PR and prudes. We live in a society, an international society, where porn, shock and awe are all parading around our computers at a touch of a button and we are affected by comments about somewhat sensitive issues. Open debates have become so watered down by self-interested parties protesting against the need for a debate due to the presence of ‘far more important issues’ that will also be trampled by the need for political correctness and uninteresting bureaucratic red tape.
We live in a time when public debate has become so watered down by butchered priorities that comedians and radio hosts are the only ones who can speak frankly without having to justify their opinions. But even that is under threat. Tom Ballard makes a joke about the Holocaust that offends people. Sure, it was in bad taste, but the whole point of comedy is to be able see what stretches a boundary and then assess if it was too far. He’s not a politician or someone that represents us, he’s a radio host. If he offends you, then he is doing his job. He is exercising free speech. Why does it offend you? Because the Holocaust is the single most tragic human event in modern history. Did he err in making light of the situation. Maybe. Are you offended on account of it being brought up or are you genuinely offended by the content of the joke? If you use a little perception and not get sucked into the attitude of ‘THIS IS DISGRACEFUL BECAUSE YOU CANNOT MENTION THE HOLOCAUST IN A MOOD OTHER THAN IN ABSOLUTE CONTEMPT FOR THE NAZIS AND GENOCIDE’ we could actually have a legitimate debate about this issue. They’re just words. He’s not endorsing genocide and Hitler, it’s comedy. It’s free speech. And it is fucking important.
If you were offended by my use of fuck, then fuck you. We have the most amazing ability to express ourselves and to have people attempt to censor the content of this tool is to strike at the heart of human civilisation. Sure, use discretion, use tact but explore it. And listen to others explore it too.
It is the backward notion of an unknown quantity of people that is one of our gravest afflictions. Skepticism on climate change, complete contempt for ‘boat people’ and the denial of rights for homosexuals frustrates me and many others. I completely understand that climate change is still a topic up for discussion but we still find ourselves stuck in this damaging cycle of the influence of our very rich being spouted and soaked up by far too many of our populous thus halting any serious developments. There are so many deliciously talented scientific minds here and across the globe who are dedicating their lives to exploring how our weather has changed, whether we are under immediate threat and the consequences of human indifference. The opportunity to enrich ourselves with knowledge on the planet we reside on should be a compelling one but there is a real desire to shut that door and look away from the problem here. This is a human condition issue first, a political one after and we cannot be struck down by those attempting to dismiss the idea of climate change as simply a ‘myth’. That is an unbelievably reckless risk to take.
Same-sex marriage is the next issue. I don’t need to say much on this issue. We are denying the rights of a large group of people and it is disgusting. There is no solid evidence that it is unnatural. There is no text that can convince me it is wrong. There is simply nothing that supports the anti-gay marriage side that could change my opinion on the matter. So you’re offended by homosexual relations. Well, I’ve seen some fucked up shit on YouJizz and it couldn’t be much worse than that. So the bible says it is wrong and unnatural to be homosexual. The bible says a lot of shit and there is no concrete evidence that it was written by anyone with a particularly strong knowledge of the human condition. So it may take us on a slippery slope to bestiality, pedophilia and polygamy? You could say marriage between a man and a woman could have led to any of these. A man and a woman getting married has only become natural through tens of thousands of years of homosapien existence. We have a penis, we need to insert them into something, that is a natural, innate feature of our kind. Being married to one woman throughout your whole adult life? Well, there are 6 billion people living on this earth, I’m not really sure that marriage between a man and a woman is as natural as we think it is! It’s not the 1950s, it’s not the 1300s, it’s a time when we know more than ever despite all our attempts to deny that fact. If two men or two women are in love, they should be able to do this officially if they want to. Marriage, although not the natural union that some may argue it to be, is still one of the most uplifting social ideas. Two consenting beings together. That does not include dogs, cats or parrots and a human. And you know what, without the use of manipulation, threats and violence, if you still want to get married to someone who has another wife, all the best to you! That is a culture thing, human intervention again at work. I can happily date four different girls at once or the girl can do the same to me and it would not be illegal. Why bother paying thousands in administrative fees, church hire, child care, food, properties, eventual divorce fees when you could just date a bunch of people at the same time without that hassle!!! So I don’t really see the plausibility in that argument.
Boat people. This is as much a fear of the other as it is a state of our political system. When two major parties attempt to win votes by ‘stopping the boats’ above care for their own lives and presenting them with options other than this is when you know there is a major lack of empathy in our world. Only the other day I scrolled through a ‘news’ website to look at an article about the plight of a boat full of smuggled people where the predominant attitude was one of indifference to their fate. ‘Let them drown’, ‘It’s there (sic.) own fault’ and ‘I hate gays’ were all thrown around. This issue is a global issue. We have come to that stage of our human community where we are overpopulated and inundated with countries that are so poor that they require immediate help from richer countries. Australia is in a reasonably privileged position. We are not afflicted by poverty and disease. We are politically stable (minus the points I made in my left-wing rant above) and we have many people chasing a life on our soil. The tragic truth of the matter is that we cannot avoid the issue as people are dying to leave their homelands as the situation is so pitiful there that they need respite. So why do we care? It’s not our problem? Well, it is. It is a human issue that should affect you and your heart strings. Decisions are hard to make with a heavy heart though. How do we handle this issue? I personally don’t know, but I do feel that educating yourself on the issue, opening up the channels of communication will inevitably be a shit load better than just screaming out that the ‘BOAT PEOPLE!!!!’ are basically the incarnation of the devil. These ‘boat people’ are humans who are in the most vulnerable position possible and to avoid even contemplating this is the biggest sin of all.
Anyway, for all the negativity and challenges we face, it is still a pretty complete country. One that should always be striving to get better, to communicate better, to live together. Bigotry and idiocy could be the very root of our destruction. So Educate yourself, the opportunities are everywhere. And if you disagree with me, let’s chat brah!