Monday, April 25, 2005

Lucky country

Anzac Day seems a good day to ask, Why is the blogging vice so strong in the two countries at the top of the world that celebrate it? First let me ask this: how many Aussie or New Zealand bloggers do you read? Over the years I've regularly or semi-regularly perused (in no order) Silent Running, Whacking Day, Tim Blair, Professor Bunyip, Slatts, Currency Lad, Evil Pundit, John Ray, John Ray, John Ray and (very infrequently), John Ray. God help me, I've even learned to enjoy the inadvertent comic stylings of she who flushes not, Margo Kingston.

Per population or whatever the term is, I read more Australian blogs than I do those from any other country, including my own. And I know more about Australian politics (they're a mess) than is really decent for a foreigner.

Why so many strong voices from such distant and relatively unpopulous places? Like the U.S., Australia (and of course New Zealand) is becoming blighted by a bureaucratic political correctness in media and government that seeks to prescribe how people should live, what they should believe, and what they must "tolerate." These prescriptions, seemingly in passing, also rule out actually voicing pride at the unique achievements and freedoms of Australian society.

Working against this political correctness, though, is a parallel rambunctiousness, a rude, self-mocking, utterly Australian sense of freedom, of possibility, of the value of calling things what they are--of common sense and of don't-fuck-with-me. All these bloggers seem to breathe this sense from the antipodean air (yes, even Margo), and to express it with passion. I wish I could remember what blogger it was who said, proudly, that Australia is "one of the meanest democracies in the world." Whoever it was, these bloggers love that it is, and remembering Anzac Day, so do I.

Update: God, I actually included Margo in the category of Australians with common sense. No excuse for that. I therefore quit blogging.

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