Today’s amusement is at the expense of the
regressive progressive Legacy Press (c) and their take on the Commonwealth Games, currently taking place on the Gold Coast of Australia.
For those unfamiliar with the Commonwealth Games, think of them as the Special Olympics for countries that were colonised by Great Britain with the exception of the USA and basket case countries like Zimbabwe (although Myanmar is still competing).
To underline the purpose of the games, the original name in 1930 was The British Empire Games. Basically, it’s a way for all the athletes who would normally do “a Brian Jones” (i.e. not exit the pools) in the Olympics to get a medal. Which is pretty sad really, given the fact the Olympic Games itself is just a convenient way to bundle into a single event a collection of sports nobody normally pays to watch.
If the Olympics and Commonwealth Games’ actual sporting events are relatively pathetic spectacles, the opening ceremonies are even more tedious. It’s as if the event organisers sat around the planning table and said to each other, “I know what’ll liven up the prospect of a couple of weeks of synchronised diving and rhythmic gymnastics; a West End musical-style opening ceremony! Someone get Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John on the phone, stat!“.
The problem is, of course, if you have signed up to the entire list of left-wing “correct” positions to take on everything, yesterday’s opening ceremony at the Commonwealth Games puts you into a tight spot, logically.
The Aboriginals; yesterday’s song and dance show was heavily-influenced by Australian Aboriginal dancing, music and ceremony.
On the one hand, commentators such as Phil Lutton want to underline the message that it’s time for Australia to ditch the historic links with the UK, that a constitutional monarchy is an anachronism in the 21st century, and that things were altogether better before Australia was colonised. On that theme, many of his colleagues from his newspaper have campaigned vociferously to change the date of the national day, Australia Day, from its current date of January 26th (the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet) to show solidarity with the oppressed first people.
On the other hand, many of those Aboriginal people willingly took place in the opening ceremony of an event which celebrates Australia’s history as a member of the British Empire and, latterly, the British Commonwealth, and yet there was a small group protesting outside the stadium.
What is the correct position to take without destroying one’s progressive credentials? It’s a fine line to tread and one for which Phil has our deepest sympathies, after all, he desperately wouldn’t want to express the “wrong” sentiment and incur the wrath of the Twitter pile-on crowd.
What results, of course, is an article brimming with cognitive dissonance, probably not helped by the late evening hour that he had to file his copy and the, presumably, free-flowing Aussie beer in the press room;
He starts in rambling, grammatically-clunky style, desperately trying to keep the representation of the para-athletes in parity with the able-bodied, and doesn’t improve much from there;
“Surely, this is not the time for jingoism in our fragile sporting climate.”
A statement he then quickly goes on to disprove, of course, dismissing the link to England as an anachronism whilst cheering the kilted Scots. News flash for Phil, it was called the “British Empire” for a reason; many of the more successful colonial masters weren’t actually English; Hong Kong’s Jardine (Scottish), Australia’s Macquarie (Scottish), New Zealand’s Hobson (Irish), for example. Further evidence might be found by perusing the place names of countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where there will be plenty of instances of Aberdeen, Hamilton and Perth. The monarch of the empire may have been
German English, but a large proportion of their subjects probably only stepped foot in England to travel to a port of emigration.
Then we get an anthropological history lesson, which is a nice touch from the Sydney Morning Herald’s sports correspondent;
….but, if we agree that the first people to arrive in Australia landed 65,000 years ago, they’d have done very well to have settled 2,700km away within the same year. Oh well, it’s a sports journalist we’re reading here, after all.
The article continues by celebrating the beaches of the Gold Coast and a cursory nod at some local government corruption in the 1980s, which is, well, obscure and not relevant.
At least we can all agree that Prince Charles and his wife did look out of place. Well, overdressed compared to the dancers at least. Actually, overdressed compared to any resident of the Gold Coast of Australia, a place where “singlet” is considered appropriate wardrobe regardless of the social appointment; beach, bar, court appearance, state funeral, etc…..
Sometimes a sporting event is just a sporting event and doesn’t really need to be used as a cultural guilt weapon, especially as very few Australians are even related to anyone who has ever oppressed an Aboriginal, let alone actually been personally responsible for such oppression.
Also, regardless of how one feels about the relevance of the role of a monarch in 21st century Australia, surely the one person who looks least out of place at the
British Empire Commonwealth Games is a member of the British monarchy?
Lastly, could someone also please have a word with the Aboriginal people of Australia and get them to agree on whether the Commonwealth Games are a good or a bad thing so that we can all virtue signal in the correct manner, please?