Friday, July 30, 2010

The answer is a lemon

My ex-wife Christine, who reads Antipodes regularly, seems to imagine that I've built up some kind of diabolical hate-system against my native land, Australia, as if obscure psychological urges were forcing me to rage at my motherland in the style of a psychotic offspring intent upon eliminating his/her genitors. This cursory analysis of my relationship with Australia is ridiculous, and Christine should know better than to talk that way. After all, she has had a ringside seat in all my dealings with Australia, she has known for ages that Australia is a shallow nation, and she should also know a little about the nature of my profound Francophile motivations. Now, having said this, I hasten to add that Christine's criticisms will continue to merit my attention, but they won't stop me from saying anything and everything that I wish to say about my land of birth. What have I to gain from being falsely and insipidly polite?

At present, there have been major political upheavals in Australia (about which Christine, like most French people, knows almost nothing). I have the impression that many Australians have the impression that the entire world has the impression that, somehow or other, a handful of mediocre individuals—named Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Keneally, etc—would appear to be exerting a meaningful influence upon the destiny of mankind. I am not of that opinion. To my mind, individuals of the caliber of those I've just mentioned are trivial pawns whose only aptitude consists of trying systematically (as they say in French) to fart higher than their arsehole. They are not statesmen, stateswomen, merely egoistic puppets, with limited power to impress us. Lemons? Why not?

The thing about my native land that irks me most (and Christine is totally incapable of detecting this facet of my concern) is that I'm convinced that little is likely to evolve there. The rich will grow richer, and the poor, poorer. And the apathetic hordes in the middle will remain firmly in place. Politicians will remain just as superficial and ineffectual as they've always been. The infrastructure (roads, railways, defense) will remain just as lousy as it has always been. The Australian environment will continue to degrade disastrously. Culture will remain eternally just as narcissist (admiration of one's belly button) as it has always been.

I would jubilate instantly if ever I saw reasons to believe in a bright future for my motherland. Honestly (forgive me, Christine, and others), I don't. I find it less and less possible to take Australia seriously as a role model for the 21st century.

I should add that many of the negative "waves" behind the present article were propagated by a trivial article in the French press, this evening, about planned investments for a future French airport on the Atlantic coast, near Nantes. The airport won't become a reality before 2017, but all the investment discussions are being conducted seriously, of course, at present. I ask myself rhetorically: What infrastructure investments for the horizon 2017 are being discussed today in my native land?

BREAKING NEWS: A startling article in The Sydney Morning Herald entitled Parties bet they will lose [display] reveals that Australian punters (including some senior party members) are starting to gamble massively on the outcome of the forthcoming election, even if this means betting on the defeat of their own party. They're encouraged by the dominant role of voter-intention polls in the Australian political domain. To my mind, non-stop polling and gambling create a really weird and unhealthy (indeed insane) slant on democracy… but I've become an old-fashioned French citizen.

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