– violence

Australia day is the most publicly violent of all the Australian national holidays I feel. As a sign of our insecurity, teenagers are out there representing us, wrapped in Australian flag beach towels, tottering about from the bottle of vodka just drunk, declaring they won’t get on the train or else they’ll spew. All blonde, too. Why is that? Young, 13, 14, eldest look about 16. Guess that’s why they’re taking the train now, in the late afternoon. I wouldn’t want to be catching the public transport later as their older cousins and brothers and sisters smash the glass, rock the carriages, stop trams on the tracks.

The middle-aged too, sitting at cafes with plastic pork pie hats emblazoned with the flag – baby carriages with little plastic Made in China flags fluttering. Such desperate attempts at validation seem more about contriving and enforcing identity, to me, than growing into one, and letting it evolve over time. An elephant doesn’t wear a sign saying it’s an elephant. Likewise, a drunk Aussie certainly doesn’t need the flag to drive the point home.

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