Australian culture: servile and shame-based

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The Sydney Morning Herald 18.02.15

‘Gallipoli’s ratings fail highlights Australia’s inferiority complex’ Craig Mathieson

The concluding paragraphs of an article about an eight-part television series ‘Gallipoli’:

‘Australians have been eager adopters of the prestigious American cable drama series, with laudatory debates about whether The Sopranos is better than Breaking Bad and aficionados proudly boasting about being an early adopter of The Wire. But while those shows are among the medium’s very best, there’s also a part of us that bow down to imported acclaim and refuses to believe that we can make truly great television drama in this country. Presented with a worthy Australian program some television consumers prefer to wait online in case a new Game of Thrones trailer drops.

One of Gallipoli‘s story strands is how the Australian military was a misused tool of wasteful British generals, and while we bowed down to the British a century ago our empire of choice now is American. Gallipoli‘s falling ratings tells us that Australia’s sense of cultural inferiority is as strong as ever.’

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3 thoughts on “Australian culture: servile and shame-based

  1. I am not sure if “Gallipoli‘s falling ratings tells us that Australia’s sense of cultural inferiority is as strong as ever”. For me Gallipoli does not mean much positive for Australia, but a servile obedience to a master (namely Britain during the World War I) to engage in an entirely self-serving cause.

    Like I said before that self-respect and self-esteem does not come from what we tell ourselves what we are but from what we do. The servile and shame-based culture in my view comes from too many abusive and cowardly actions it has committed, and a lack of moral guidance to lead the nation to engage in noble causes.

    The Australia mainstream has been proud of its self-claimed tough survivor identity, underneath this identify I see a pitiful coward desperate to please strong masters such as UK in the past and US at the present for protection.

    If the media continue to use Gallipoli to brand Australia, I am afraid that Australia will never stop being servile and shame-based. It is time to honour real warriors, and my personal favourites are the likes of Whitlam, Assange and Pilger.

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    • Hi Yi Ping Wang,

      thanks for your comment. In my view, Australia’s involvement in Gallipoli and that this be put at the heart of ‘what it is to be Australian’ is indicative of the depth of sickness of Australian culture – a sickness which must be confronted.

      Australia’s campaign in Gallipoli was a military disaster on behalf of a dominant power attacking another country.

      Are Australians so dominated, so insecure, that they can’t even find the meaning of their culture in their own land rather than in the military service of others elsewhere (obviously continuing with the US – from the skirts of one nation to the coat-tails of another)?

      And why prioritise failure and loss? Why not prioritise spiritual and intellectual achievement?

      One of the reasons I did this post was to give yet another example showing that Ozzie cringe has not gone away.

      Not only does the writer point to Australia’s servility to and domination by both England and the US, he bemoans the poor ratings of a series ‘celebrating’ and reinforcing this through ‘nobility in defeat’, seeing evidence in this (poor ratings) of further cringe!

      Ozzie cringe will not go away until it is confronted and stared down. It is a sickness with no objective basis.

      Phil

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      • “Are Australians so dominated, so insecure, that they can’t even find the meaning of their culture in their own land rather than in the military service of others elsewhere?” – Definitely agree!

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