Sunday, October 17, 2004

Unhappy musical

I'm glad that Andrew Bolt has stuck the boot into the new musical Eureka. The musical yet again follows the line that Anglo-Australians are wicked oppressors, whilst Irish Australians are nation building freedom fighters.

The Easter Uprising in Dublin during WWI did lead to a brief period in Australian history when there was a sense of division between Irish and British Australians. Amongst rank and file Australians, this division has long ago disappeared. Ridiculously, it's been kept alive by an element of Australia's political class, particularly among the right-wing of the Labor Party.

It seems likely that Mel Gibson was influenced by this tradition during his time in Australia: it would explain the tendency to vilify the English in some of his films (eg Braveheart and The Patriot).

The attempt to define an Australian identity through hostility to the British seems hopelessly ill-conceived to me, given that the vast majority of Australia's settlers were themselves British. It would mean that the average Australian would have to be self-hating in order to participate in the national identity.

Eureka might appeal to a sense of patriotism to stir the emotions, but it's a kind of patriotism which lost all relevance to most Australians generations ago and which ought to be decisively rejected.

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