Is This the Australia We Really Want?

Is This the Australia We Really Want?

We are or soon will be living in a country that has a diminished national broadcaster, will be an international arms trader, have a real-time facial recognition database and new powers that allow police to stop and ask you for your papers every time you step foot in an airport (at this stage).

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On ANZAC Day

 Private Billy James

Private Billy James

I’m starting this post by talking about Australia Day. What should be a national day has now degenerated into a divisive farce. It is the wrong day. It is a day where white history puritans choose to ignore the hurt, the pain and the suffering that was inflicted on Aboriginal people at the hands of the British. It’s day that still tacitly gives a wink and a nod to Terra Nullius. A day where the depth of thinking of proponents of the national holiday extends as far as, ‘what have the Romans ever done for us!?’

ANZAC Day is different, or at least it is for the time being. As Richard Flanagan highlighted in his excellent address to the National Press Club last week, there is a growing fundamentalism around ANZAC day that seems to miss the point. 

First and foremost, it is a day of remembrance, a day to remember the fallen and a day to also  remember and ask ourselves why over 100,000 of our fellow country men and women died for what were by and large pointless pursuits. Remembering the pointlessness of war is something we also owe to those that have sacrificed their lives, we also owe them and ourselves to think about ANZAC day in a nuanced, non-linear way. 

That nuanced discussion has dissipated in recent, as veterans from the First World War have died out and the ranks of World War 2 veterans have thinned. The vacuum left by the loss of the first person experience, of the actual warriors has been filled by shock jocks and keyboard warriors on both sides of the political divide.  

Already this ANZAC day I have seen people on twitter making cheap shots just so as they can get a hit of dopamine. The fundamentalist toing and froing does us all a disservice. We are no longer in an environment where we can have reasoned discussion about whether we should commemorate the fallen in the frontier wars. 

The answer is of course yes we should. However, this means that we’re all going to have to take the pointless heat out of what is becoming a more and more divisive day. We laud the fallen, as we should, in conflicts that have had no impact on the actual defence of our homelands, see Gallipoli, Vietnam and the forgotten war Korea. It is estimated tens of thousands of Aboriginal women died in defence of their actual homelands.  

This of course means we have to move well past where we are now in our understanding and acceptance of our own history. Our view of ourselves in the world is deeply rooted in the view that we are a colonial power, a subset of western super powers. First as a member of the British empire and over the last 70 years as America’s ‘closest ally’, an alliance that has lead us down some rat holes that we follow unflinchingly and without question.

It is just accepted that when America enters an armed conflict,we follow. We have done this because we see ourselves as part of the American empire and culture. We need to start to see ourselves as no more and no less as Australians. This means acknowledging our history, acknowledging the dark side of our history, acknowledging that modern Australia is a continuum of what has been the most successful ongoing civilisation that humanity has ever seen. A civilisation that was nearly wiped out but has survived, in large part because of those fallen warriors that have defended their homelands, our homelands. They too are heroes and deserve our remembrance and thanks on ANZAC day.

For this to happen we need to become bigger than we currently are. 

Respect For Recognition

Respect For Recognition

We were told to go away, in the spirit of self-determination, and come up with a proposal to forward the constitutional change agenda. Invited to participate, to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from across the land to form a position, both leaders from our major political parties declined, didn’t want to impose themselves on the machinations of our important work. 

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Simpleton Podcasts is on Patreon

As some of you may be aware, I have a little podcast network over at simpletonpodcasts.com. It’s just a little comedy network meant to be fun and give people some entertainment as they go about their daily lives. 

We want to take it to the next level, so to help us do that, we’ve set up a Patreon account patreon.com/simpletonpodcasts. Go and have a look. There are a number of options you can select to make a small financial contribution to help us mainain the website, upgrade our equipment and to buy us some more time to produce more content more often. 

We really enjoy doing it and we get great feedback from our small but ever increasing audience. Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated my friends. 

DJ 

Finally

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Finally I'm in pre-production for the recording of my new album. I have a bagful of songs, ideas and lived experience to put into this next effort. It's going to be a cathartic, exhilarating and at times emotional but aren't those the main elements that anyone should have in their life for it to be full and rich.

I will most likely keep a recording diary or some such and in the coming weeks I hope to start performing at some open mic nights to hone my performance and craft my songs. 

 

Ten Blues Songs You Must Listen To

Ten Blues Songs You Must Listen To

I’ve listened to this powerful genre since my teen years and seeing a legendary exponent of this somewhat mystical art has given me pause to reflect on why I’m so attached to the blues. What better way to reflect than to share with you my favourite blues songs! It is by no means a definitive list and I realise that there are probably readers out there who have more knowledge in there little toe than I do in my entire body, however I know what I like and this is them.

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Chicken and Chips and Multiculturalism

Chicken and Chips and Multiculturalism

I live a pretty exotic life. Over the years I have refined my tastes and have educated myself in the ways of art, music, cinema, literature and of course world cuisine. So the other day when I was in Red Rooster having just ordered a classic quarter with a rooster roll on the side I was contemplating the fact that the city I live in has made it so much easier for one to gain such knowledge when residing in a truly multicultural society. As a Melbournian I think it’s reasonable to say that I do indeed live in a resoundingly successful multicultural metropolis, a point that was just about to be reiterated as I dined on what I believed to be some sort of bird, most likely chicken with some chips that were almost undeniably made with real potato extract.

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Bob Dylan at 70

Bob Dylan at 70

For over fifty years Bob Dylan has been honing his craft, not afraid to turn his back on his audience physically and metaphorically to follow the path and to remain inspired.  He has sat at the knee of folk and blues giants to give voice to the human condition in a way few others have, in fact too few to mention over such a sustained period of time.

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Jeff Beck Review – Palais Theatre – March 26, 2010

Jeff Beck Review – Palais Theatre – March 26, 2010

Jeff Beck returned to Melbourne last night just over 12 months after his previous appearance in this city and fresh from winning a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental for his moving version of the Beatles classic  A Day in the LifeThe Palais Theatre was the perfect venue to see Beck and his band of funky virtuosos entertain a packed house of mainly youthful baby boomers. Beck has a reputation for pushing the envelope in his live performances sometimes with mixed results, this was not one of those nights.

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Burke and Wills and Statues

Burke and Wills and Statues

Been reading some Australian history recently and it’s really quite interesting. I mean, when I say interesting, I don’t mean good or enjoyable. The basic two tenets of European/Australian history seem to be racism and incompetence. Racism intended, incompetence unintended and then denied. There is no more prime example than the story of Burke and Wills. For those of you who are fortunate enough to reside in Melbourne, you can see a giant erection of the two pricks at the corner of Swanston and Collins.

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Daniel James, why I must eliminate him

Daniel James, why I must eliminate him

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve been known as Daniel James. In fact to this very day I go by the same name, like many others, it was decided that I shall have two first names. It’s a not so exclusive club however I am among the likes of Daniel Craig, Steve Martin, Cliff Richard and Alexander Bunyip. I don’t have a problem with having two first names or anyone that is in the same club, except for one person – Daniel James!

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