Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Flag burners unite

I wasn't able to come up with anything clever, insightful or helpful to contribute to the storm in a teacup that is the Australian polity's new-found passion for defending the honour of the Australian flag – against rock festival organisers.

Instead, I urge you to go read Tim's great tongue-in-cheek post on the matter over at Sarsaparilla. He just captures it so well.
If popular music is about anything, it’s about conformity, obedience, and respect for the values of the broader community. Waving an Aussie flag while moshing is a time-honoured tradition.
Do you recall any commentators or politicians condemning the Aussie rioters at Cronulla beach in 2005 for demeaning the flag with their racist violence?

Now, in case you think I'm exposing a double standard here – defending the right to free speech over t-shirts while suggesting that the Big Day Out organisers had some grounds to ban festival goers from waving around the Australian, or any other, flag – I'd like to draw a distinction between the freedom of
political expression and jingoistic, flag-waving ultra-nationalism – of the type so inextricably linked to white racism that we saw in Cronulla, or the Croatian and Serbian ultra-nationalism seen recently at Melbourne's Tennis Open.

For more context, I suggest you check out antipopper's 'Let it burn'.

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