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Preview: Comments on: Getting here from there

Comments on: Getting here from there

Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:55:05 +0000


By: The one day of the century | Airminded

Sun, 03 May 2015 08:34:11 +0000

[…] Anzac Day from when I was a kid, which seems bizarre to me now given its present prominence and my own war obsession.) That has changed utterly: an incredible 128,000 people turned up to the dawn service in Canberra, […]

By: Airminded · Companions

Thu, 04 Oct 2007 07:47:41 +0000

[...] 50 years since Sputnik I lifted off. Although I was airminded as a kid, I was much more spaceminded. So 1957 was always a crucial year in my understanding of [...]

By: Chris Williams

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 10:50:17 +0000

An anecdote - a few months ago I was helping my Australian neice (13, knows a lot) with her homework, on the Middle East in 1941. I pointed out that it was a bit complicated, and illustrated this by saying "Remember who your great uncle was fighting when he got that medal." Her reply: "The Turks, wasn't it?" I responded that it was the French Foreign Legion, but that she wasn't to worry overly, cos she stood in a great Australian tradition of thinking that all history is Gallipoli.

By: Brett Holman

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 14:31:29 +0000

Chris: Yes, the ABC is a reliable source of British shows, but if it's on the ABC that's because the commercial networks don't want it, and few people want to watch it. Unlike (as I understand it) the BBC, ABC shows get low ratings compared to the commercial stations, usually coming fourth out of the five free-to-air networks. (About the only British shows shown on the commercial stations are murder mysteries.) Regardless, the British content does help me understand things like why Adam said "Am I bovvered?" over and over during the Fear Forecast of The Runaway Bride! Jack: I knew about the bird-watching but not about the meltdowns! He always did seem highly-strung ... I will take your other suggestion under advisement :) Gavin: I haven't heard of them, which doesn't prove much either way. Interesting question! I'd say yes, but it's even more true of WWII, and in a different way. Australians do criticise the British over WWI, but it's like an exaggerated form of the "lions led by donkeys" myth: stupid British generals sending brave diggers to die for no good purpose. It's more tactical and operational, it seems to me ... whether or not Gallipoli (which is all most people know anything about) was a good idea overall is not of interest, but that it was botched is: while the Anzacs were being slaughtered in a diversionary attack at the Nek, the bloody Poms were sipping tea on the beach at Suvla instead of advancing inland. It's true, Peter Weir made a movie about it and all. In WWII, it's the opposite. Even though an entire Australian division was lost in the Malayan campaign, there doesn't seem to be much attention paid to the possibility that the campaign could have been fought differently, and more successfully. Instead the criticism is more strategic -- why was Singapore so weakly defended, but even more bitterly, why did Curtin have to force Churchill to let us have our divisions back from the Middle East, when they were needed for the defence of Australia against the Japanese? One popular book on the subject is even called The Great Betrayal (ie of Australia by Britain). Doesn't matter that it's basically rubbish, as one of my fellow PhD students will show in his forthcoming book ... I'd suggest two reasons for the difference. First, the incompetence of the British generals in WWI needs to be emphasised, as Gallipoli is our great national myth, it's when we first made our mark on the international stage, showing that we weren't just a transplanted piece of Britain. Just as adolescents pick fights with their parents. Second, the "great betrayal" in WWII was played up in order to justify the transfer of our allegiance from Britain to the United States. Like a teenager inventing an excuse to leave home ... Well, those are completely IMHO, given my extensive ignorance of Australian history :)

By: Gavin Robinson

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 10:17:23 +0000

"Go ahead and laugh! This is a drawing I did when I was 9 or 10." I would've laughed more if you'd said "and I was 28 years old. Aaaah!". Have Stewart Lee and Richard Herring ever made it to Australia? They're undeservedly obscure even in Britain. Dan can probably say more about this, but I get the impression that when it comes to WWI there seems to be a lot of anti-British sentiment in Australia. Or is it just a British popular myth that Australians are critical of the British role in WWI?

By: Jack McGowan

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 10:03:09 +0000

('Fascintating'? Tsk. Typo - not Scottish vocabulary.)

By: Jack

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 09:41:06 +0000

Fascintating stuff, Brett, which I've linked from my blog. Not sure if you know that Bill Oddie has carved out a second career as a wildlife/bird-watching TV presenter in the 'Great' 'English' 'eccentric' 'tradition' of Magnus Pyke and David Bellamy. However, his public delving into his troubled childhood has led to some recent, bizarre televised emotional melt-downs... Love the drawing. You've saved yourself a fortune in fees - when the thesis becomes a book that _has_ to be the cover!

By: Chris Williams

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 08:59:43 +0000

Brett, you can pick up with yr British popular culture by listening to Radio 4's _I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue_, which usually features Garden and Brooke-Taylor, as well as the funniest man on the planet, Barry Cryer. My impression of the ABC is that there's quite a lot of British stuff - from Da Bill to the Katherine Tate show.