Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We should be proud to shag beneath our flag

Ooh! Let it burn!
So now we can't be intimate with a loved one beneath the Australian flag? I'm outraged!

If I was getting any at the moment it would be an honour to be covered by our national symbol; and I'm not even that fond of its design, if I may say so without being offensive.

If the real Julia Gillard - whichever one is real - was to drape herself in the flag in her intimate moments with the first bloke, I'd think that shows excessive patriotism, rather than disrespect - but that's the joke right? Was tonight's episode of At Home With Julia any worse than wearing an Australian flag bikini, which risks getting the wrong kind of salute on a summer’s day?

Well we can't joke about the flag it seems, according to certain members of parliament and the RSL. These pouty conservatives! First they seek to put the brakes on (same sex) love, now they decry (flagged) intimacy! How bleak their hearts?

What's in a flag anyway?

Is it really something sacrosanct that soldiers fight and die for - symbolic of a world divided? Well, no. I'd like to think it's more positive than that. It's meant to represent the people - as well as perhaps the character and values of those people - that soldiers sometimes fight and die for. Values like freedom, characteristics like poking fun at ourselves with good nature. Let's not insist on defining it by war and conflict, please.

John Forrest even called for tonight's episode of  At Home With Julia to be pulled... what was that about fighting to protect our freedoms?

Where was Mr Forrest during the Cronulla riots when the flag was being proudly brandished as to reaffirm an anglo vision of Australia while chants of "Fuck off, we're full" rang out? Thing is, as disgusting as that display was and as much as I await the inevitable day when the union jack is removed from our flag, those bogans had as much claim on the flag as any other Australian. It represents us all ... even if it does a fucking poor job.

People who invoke dead soldiers to back up their own opinions are being a little disrespectful, not to mention presumptuous, I'd think. Who's to say what any soldier's point of view is on the design of our colonial flag, let alone the use of it in a sitcom. Not me, not John Forrest, and I dare the the views are as varied as they are in the community.

So why do people get so precious about the flag? Sometimes moreso than the treatment of real, actual people?!

I haven't found At Home With Julia particularly funny, but far from offensive. It can't be pulled from air, just as we can't ban bogans from wearing the flag as a cape. And more offensive to the office of Prime Minister than a sitcom is the carry on by both sides of politics every day in Parliament.

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t much care for our current flag. I respect it as our flag, but it makes me cringe a little seeing that it carries the symbol of a colonial history that is now dwarfed not only by our significant indigenous history before it but the impact of the multiculturalism we've embraced since. And while I do I love singing along with Peter Garrett in Truganini – “I see the Union Jack in flames; LET IT BURN!” – but I’d never actually burn the flag that represents my country (right or wrong), flawed as it may be.

Of course, a new design is a massive ask of a designer. But I reckon, keep it simple; don't try to include everyone, just focus on something simple that can unite people of varying cultures who live together (ideally in harmony!) on the same land. Like Canada's!

A flag we can all be proud of. So proud we want to roll around naked in it!

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