Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Monday, May 05, 2003

ALISON BROINOWSKI, diplomat, writer and academic, is interviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald's weekend review section, Spectrum (May 3-4, 2003, no link available) about her new book About Face: Asian Accounts of Australia:

Australia, she claims, is seen [in Asia] as a second-rate Western country still tainted by memories of the White Australia policy, lacking culture and history, racist, inept in negotiation and image-promotion, "large, lucky and lazy"...

Asked why we should care what the neighbours think, Broinowski has a chilling, one-word answer: Bali.

In other words, We Brought it on Ourselves.

I agree we've done a poor job in negotiation and image promotion. But when negative stereotypes lead to acts of terrorism, that sounds a lot like...racism. And not ours.

LAST NIGHT'S heartbreaking ABC docu-drama Love Letters from a War told the story of an Australian family during World War II through their letters. Fortunately I didn't let the preview by Sasha Molitorisz in the Sydney Morning Herald TV guide (no link available) turn me off:

There are two approaches to history. One is the studious, respectful approach, in which history is consumed in any one of a number of ways: reading books, attending lectures, undertaking research. The other is the American approach - in which history is completely ignored. That way yesterday's hero (Osama, Saddam, etc) can become today's villain.

And then there's the Sasha Molitorisz approach: 'The Yanks are bad. The Yanks are bad, mmmkay?'