Cultural Cringe 2011

Cultural Cringe 2011

Submitted by James Purser on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 10:44

"So enough about us, what do you think about us?"

Okay, how many of you reading this have watched question time in federal parliament?


How many of you think that question time is in fact a useless piece of perfomance theatre designed not to ask genuine questions, but to score points and futher political goals.

Right (please note I am assuming that there are large numbers of people agreeing with the above statements. I can't actually see who's raising their hands).

So given that this state of affairs has been going on for years and that in fact question time has become the political equivelant of an american sit-com (complete with laugh track, crap acting and a predictable plot), why is it suddenly news when someone from outside says this?

Iain Dale, a political blogger and radio presenter is over from the UK doing a bit of speachifying and presenting on things politechnical. On arrival he decided to watch a bit of question time to compare it against the UK system.

He was gobsmacked, and he tweeted it:

"As Dame Edna might say, I say this in a caring manner, but Question Time in the Australian Parliament is absolutely shameful today."

And of course no one was surprised. Most of the replies he got from Australian followers agreed with him and that, really was that.

Except it wasn't.

The local media jumped on his comments as if he was the child who dared declare the emperor's clothing was a little minimalist. This despite the fact that every sitting day you can get hundreds of people declaring exactly the same sentiments on twitter or hell you could go down to the pub and get pretty much the same views expressed in much more earthy tones.

I've met with Iain (I was invited to a dinner with him on Tuesday night) he's an interesting guy with a passion for politics, and he does have interesting ideas about politics and technology. However the only difference between his comments about question time and many, many others is the fact that he comes from far away.

Of course the Iain Dale fuss isn't the only example of cultural cringe that we've been subjected to over the past couple of weeks. The Economists series of articles spawned dozens of self-important articles about how Australia is percieved in the world, despite the fact that by and large, the Economist essentially stated what we already know.

For crying out loud, as a country we're 111 years old, you'd think by now that we'd have outgrown the desperate need for outside validation, but apparently not.

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