Waving the Aussie flag….. Somewhere across your torso!

Australia Day has changed a bit since I was young and free. We’d rejoice by going down to the Perth foreshore and watching the sky light up while a local radio station did live simulcast with INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue and ACDC.  I’m sure that plenty of Perth’s population continue to do just that. It’s a fun day that includes a picnic with friends overlooking a stunning horizon.

The difference is…  Back when I used to go, I wore what I wanted.

Over the last decade I’ve noticed a very interesting trend on Australia Day, and one which I believe started after the spike in patriotism during the Sydney 2000 Olympics…

Hmm. What to wear today…. I know…  A flag!

Yes that’s right. I’m talking about the hillbillies who cover their skin with temporary flag tattoos, not content with the massive Aussie flag-cape draped across their shoulders. Who do they think they are? Oz-Man? Here to save the country from foreigners or migrants; one Tooheys New at a time?

Or the flag wearing slappers who think wearing the Aussie flag around their boobies makes them look super patriotic. Hell Yeah it does, because look!  They’re wearing flag earrings, and red thongs to match the union jack, with their miniscule denim shorts that go right up their clacker separating the 2 sides of their brain; shorts that should probably stay in their wardrobe until they’ve spent 4 weeks with Tony Ferguson.

But not everyone has access to a flag. They’re the ones who rummage through their closet to find anything green and yellow. Not gold. Gold is a precious commodity. BRIGHT Yellow synthetic polyester fabric that if you ask me; should be reserved for emergency and road workers. Then for some reason they team it with a wig. At least they recognise they look like clowns.

Look I don’t have a problem with our flag. Or the Australian colours. I have cried watching that flag wave. I have had proud patriotic moments seeing my flag flap about in the warm breeze. The Sydney Olympics was one of those moments. Anzac Day is one of those moments. The time I was in a Thailand 7/11 and saw an Aussie flag that led me straight to the packs of Tim Tams and Cadbury chocolate was one of those moments….

And watching some of our athletes wear green aqua and gold yellow have been some of the most inspiring, capturing  and memorable experiences of my life. Like Cathy Freeman’s run at the Sydney Olympics. Or Tim Cahill’s goals in the World Cup. Or The Wallabies beating England… any time really.

Or Matt Shervington.

I’m not judging those who embrace Australia Day as a day to celebrate our incredible country. And it really is. You only have to look at the last few weeks following the flood disasters in Qld to realise what a generous, friendly, and supportive bunch we are.  Our nation is young, and we’ve been built tough.  We’re informed, we’re savvy and we don’t like taking crap from our own, or anyone else.

And our land, despite the erratic biatch she’s been lately, is remarkable.  Just ask Oprah.

So who wouldn’t want to get out there and celebrate and get smashed and have a barbie and eat lamingtons and adorn themselves in patriotic paraphernalia because we’re bloody A-strayan, and f**** oath mate, we’re proud of it!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in 4 different states of this country, and each capital city seems to have their own way of celebrating Australia Day.

Perth as I already mentioned – was based around the evening fireworks with a game of cricket in the park and a picnic while we waited for the sun to set.

In Sydney, it was more of a day event and we would take the boat out and eat French cheese, crudités with hummus and Italian sausage, and watch all the other boats and people while floating along the harbour.

In Melbourne we did picnics provided it wasn’t raining.

And in Darwin? Well most people go the pub or have a barbecue at home while listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100, because it absolutely IS raining, and unless you want to “Picnic At Water-logged Rock” outdoors is no place to be.

And in every state, there is certainly flag presence. We see the flag being dragged across a perfect blue sky by a chopper, or watch the flags rise on either side of the Harbour Bridge, and we cheer. We might even break into a chorus of Waltzing Matilda, because we like to remember that in this country – you steal, you die!

BUT – the overbearing presence of flag-wear is to me a little disrespectful. Like blasphemy. Misguided nationalism. Using it as an excuse to everyone you come into contact with today that – “Yes, you’re celebrating, and you’re going to be very drunk and disorderly later, but it’s ok because I bear the Southern Cross” Or “Yes, you’re celebrating so you have every right to walk the streets being boisterous and disrespectful and a general pain in the arse because see that? That’s a wig. A green one!”

In Australia we are lucky to even have the option of “donning” the flag. The US Flag Laws and Regulations, states: “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery . . .”

In China wearing the flag is seen as form of major disrespect. And although Australian’s are much more laid back when it comes to matters of national patriotism; and banning the use of our flag for apparel might seem ridiculous and OTT, you have to recognise a greater level of respect for a flag that’s not made into string bikinis.

Vegemite wrestlers wearing the flag. Just.

I probably sound like an uptight, stuck up judgmental cow about now. Actually, when I was younger, I’d be the first one in there – looking for an excuse to ‘dress up for the occasion.’

But how we dress affects how we act, (I’m not even going to qualify this well know fact with research or stats. It’s proven ok?) And I don’t know why, but people who wear the Aussie flag on Australia Day act like big tools.

How about this: If you’re going to make or sell anything bearing the Australian flag, you attach a label that reads as follows:

WARNING: This item of clothing may cause the person wearing it to act like a complete yobbo, drink too much, be offensive and possibly get arrested.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean. Don’t bother. It’s probably covered in beer, piss and vomit and should be discarded immediately after use.



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