Australia – The Game

So it takes this to inspire me to write

Australia – the Game.

Yes, it’s a viral game about Australia, made to promote Australian tourism and Baz Luhrmann’s new film.

I refuse to let my home be driven to stereotype. Bad enough that the Ozmusic stand at conventions have blow up kangaroos. Luhrmann, how I have hated you for years, but this takes the cake.

When I grew up in Oz, I did not get raised on a farm. I remember the bicentennial, in ’88, and promoting of Australia as multicultural and modern. Larrikin culture, although having a place in our history, is as dated as the drunken Irish or pencil moustaches on Frenchmen. We used to be proud of our pacific nature. We used to be proud to be a young country, making our mark, with little burden of history.

Howard did more than anyone else to destroy this, and he brought back the white Australian Policy in culture if not in law. Australia is stuck – there’s no racial minorities on Neighbours or Home And Away, nothing in our culture that reflects us. It’s just an easily digested cliche.

The game has a Drover (as one newspaper put it, that’s Aussie-speak for Cowboy), chasing cattle around. Oh, what to do, for that country I love so much. Rehional Australia is dying a slow death. I’ve heard some commentators say this this summer will make or break. More farmers are packing it up, the culture is dying. And someone has put a $130 million bet that tourism is the answer?

There’s so many problems here. Someone has to save the outback for one. But that is such a huge issue.

Australia’s cultural image is still stuck in the past, and doesn’t reflect the 85% of the population who do not live on an cattle ranch in Kimberley. Yes, the Australian sun burnt landscape is lovely, but it’s really nothing but cool looking dirt. What about the culture, and the people.

The two films that most spurred on tourism in my time is Notting Hill and Amelie. Both were small stories, and love letters to something particular about a culture. Both were modern. And yes, both were cleaned up, idealised versions too. But both are also great movies (kind of) beyond their postcard nature. There was at least a plot.

Australia needs help. And maybe all is not lost. This could be the prog rock before the punk. Maybe it will inspire a generation of Australian film makers, writers, musicians, actors, painters and people to not sell a cheapened version of our culture. Fuck pandering to the cliche, I’m going to tell my story.

Anyway – enjoy the game. If you like driving cattle.

Danny

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