National identity: who are you, really?


I read in the Sunday paper today that a journalist, Mia Freedman, was subject to intense abuse after she made a comment on radio about the victory of Cadel Evans in the Tour de France.  She stated that she was happy for him and commented on her feelings about the adulation heaped on sports people and not on other people who do extraordinary things in non-sport areas.  Most of the abuse was horrendous, most of it via cyber space (yep, gotta admire those brave(not) people ).  At one point she was branded “un-Australian”, whatever that means.   Mia pondered the strong association between being “Australian” and sport. If you want to read the article in full, here is the link – http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/mia-culpa-cadel-evans-and-my-week-from-hell-20110730-1i5lx.html

I’m with Mia on that as I have never understood that link either (the sport and national identity one, not the one to the article).  I am not a sporty person, I don’t follow a team sport, I don’t have any interest in attending sporting events and haven’t played any competitive sport for approximately 12 years.  Even then I did it for fun, fitness and a bit of socialisation, not to win.

 Many years ago, when I was in my first year of Uni, one of my assignments was titled along the lines of “What event has occurred in YOUR lifetime that made you proud to be Australian?”. Predictably, most were on sporting moments with the vast majority of those on Australia’s America Cup win (don’t ask me when, I can’t remember the year!).  Anyway, when I received my marked assignment back, the lecturer had left a comment after the mark that it was “refreshing” that I had NOT chosen a sporting occasion.   Actually, I really struggled to find something that made me feel proud to be Aussie – maybe it has to do with no history in this country until after WW2?  Hmmm…No, it is more that most of what is publicised is sporty stuff and the real important things, achievements, events, etc aren’t given due credit.  Does this mean I am, shock, horror…UNAUSTRALIAN?  Will I be deported to a country of one of my parents’ origin?  And, if so, ………. which one???

I came across the following quotes  -  not sure what the first one means.  Maybe you do.

“Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.” 
Marshall McLuhan

“I come from a country and also a continent whose identity is in the making. We’re a very young culture, and I think that things are not yet crystallised.”
Walter Salles     

What are your thoughts??????

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2 thoughts on “National identity: who are you, really?

  1. Hi Steve,
    It is interesting that sport is so highly regarded and yet all the great inventions, the technologies, the everyday things we take for granted and think we can’t live without were not created by sportspeople.

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