Monday, January 22, 2007

a nation of mates and larrikins

on january 26, we will celebrate australia day (commemorates landing in sydney in 1788). in doing some reading with the hope of better understanding these people, i've come across an interesting classification of a type of australian - a larrikin. a larrikin is defined as "a person given to comical or outlandish behavior and not at all fazed by authorities of all kinds, including whatever power or authority they may possess themselves, and must not take themselves too seriously."

and from the age (melbourne's major newspaper) i found this illuminating description of australian character :

“Now, as Australia Day approaches, clich├ęs about national characteristics remind us of those qualities of which we’re justifiably proud: energy, openness, physicality, irreverence, larrikinism, anti-authoritarianism, a desert-dry sense of humour, corrugated and piercing irony, uncommonly successful multiculturalism, and of course, genuine mateship.”

“But the flipside of our often sardonic self-evaluation is the tall-poppy syndrome, the self-deprecation that radiates outwards, an anti-pretension missile ready to seek and destroy those who believe just a little too volubly in their own publicity. The peculiar discomfort we feel for excellence or even, at times, earnestness, might explain the long decade of political apathy and our longstanding anti-intellectualism. An unwillingness to think outside the square for fear of being regarded as pompous or attention-seeking also explains the seemingly uninterrupted dominance of traditional voices, the boys’ clubs in politics, media and the arts.”

1 comment:

james said...

That writer seems a little full of themselves...but seriously, Geoff, love your guys posts and pictures. I especially liked the link to the map you included, being a geographic thinker myself. I'm always thinking of where on the map you guys are in your posts. I've also been watching a little of the Open and tring to wrap my mind around the fact that you guys are in 90 degree weather. . . I always appreciate larrikiness and over all matesmenship.