Monday, January 29, 2007

Big Day Lout

Chomsky tells The Beast:
A crucial totalitarian principle is that the state is identified with the people, the culture, the society. For those who adopt that principle, criticism of the state is hatred of the country. In the old Soviet Union, for example, dissidents were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "haters of Russia," because they condemned policies of the Holy State...The US is alone, to my knowledge, outside of totalitarian states, in that concepts like "hate America" or "anti-American" are adopted...
I can't speak for the rest of the non-totalitarian world, but we certainly don't go in for that sort of thing in Australia. Oh, but wait:
Police sniffer dogs roamed trains looking for drugs, while wide-eyed neo-patriots did their best to sniff out un-Australian attitudes at the Big Day Out in Sydney yesterday.

Thousands defied organisers' suggestions that they leave their flags at home, turning out loud and patently proud with their nation's ensign.

Some appeared willing to fight for it, others used it as a citizenship test on a T-shirt. Many wore the flag with the words "Support it or f..k off" or a caption: "If you don't love it leave".

Little trouble was reported during the event, with few willing to challenge the aggressive sentiments. Most of the 50,000-plus crowd was white Anglo-Saxon Australian, and any minorities kept a low profile.

BDO attendee and "wild-eyed neo-patriot" James Hirst, 28, told The Australian:

"I'm a proud Australian, mate. If you're not in it to win it, what are you doing here? If you don't root for your own, who do you root for?"
Sorry - "root"? Unless Mr Hirst was suggesting a quickie behind the porta-loos, his usage sounds suspiciously un-Australian to me. I hope somebody Aussie and proud smacked him one for that.


Tim said...

Note the headline: I'm trying to get a job at the Herald Sun.

TimT said...

Very good, but don't ever get a job at The Fin Review, it would be a waste of your talents, in every conceivable way.

I must admit, I don't quite get that Chomsky quote. What else are we going to identify the state or the nation with if not the people? The Government? Some set of abstract political principles? He's showing his prejudices here, I think - the implication is that the state exists for something other than extending individual rights and liberties. Now that's quite close to totalitarian thought, I'd say.

Tim said...

He's arguing for freedom to dissent, hardly a totalitarian notion.

TimT said...

Indeed not, though Chomsky's quote still seems a tad strange to me... in retrospect my original comment may have been a little overhasty, though.

Tim said...

Happens to us all. Chomsky's quote probably makes more sense in the context of the original interview. I chopped a lot out of it, and I probably should have just used the last sentence.