The Americanisation of Australia 

How has this happened?  How have we let it in to such an extent? 

Last week I kept getting “Black Friday Sales” on my phone.  Black Friday? Black Friday?  (John Cleese intoning.)  I didn’t understand it.  It wasn’t Friday the thirteenth coming up.  What’s going on?  Then I found it was some wonderful Friday after Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving?  (John Cleese again.  Thanksgiving is an American celebration.  It’s not Australian.  Give us a break.

Then, to top it all off, the Black Friday sales had been extended to Cyber Monday!!!  I googled it to see what Cyber Monday was and found it was somehow attached to Amazon and its greedy cancer-like spread over this country.  I used to buy the occasional book from Amazon, they were very professional, but on principle wouldn’t buy anything from them these days and as for Cyber Monday - Go Home where you belong.  I wouldn’t touch any of those sales with a forty foot pole.  If I remember rightly, one of them even called it “the frenzy of the Black Friday Sale.”  So much for marketing.  There’s nothing that would turn me off quicker than “frenzied buying’.  Am I in the minority?  Am I just from the dinosaur age where we were taught to save out money and make purchases with care, because we were going to keep them, savour them. 

I do remember reading about after Christmas Sales in Sydney where people queued for hours and then pushed and shoved their way into stores after these “bargains”.  I’ve never been to one in my life and in fact, don’t personally know anyone who ever has been.  I’d rather pick my way casually and without fuss, through an Op Shop.

Halloween is another commercially driven celebration which has become so because of America.  Admittedly, it used to be around in Ireland to begin with but never with the fervour with which the Americans celebrate it, not to mention the money and greed.  Why would people teach their children to have greedy little hands stretching out to get a “freebie’.  I read somewhere this year where one group of children went to 76 different homes to get a treat.  What?  That’s obscene.  Who needs that many treats?

And this is not to mention the shops selling outfits for Halloween.  How much does all that crappy stuff cost?  Expensive landfill, but still landfill.

The day after Halloween is All Saints Day.  No money to be made here so that one is not pushed to celebrate.  The next day is All Souls Day.  Even less to be made out of the souls who have passed on.  No one gives a fig.  Perhaps if ghost outfits became available people would all get out in them, (vying for who’s is the best and most expensive of course), and gather to light candles in graveyards to show these souls are remembered.  This is done in other countries every year (without the outfits), just the gathering.

The same goes for Australia Day.  Commercialism again.  Just enjoy the day, celebrate and love it.

Christmas has also become the same experience, with lights and Christmas trees up in the middle of November, mountains of presents piling up all the while and by the time the Day comes, everyone is over it and no one remembered what the religious celebration was for in the first place.  No, now religion is money and acquisition, even though most of those acquisitions aren’t even wanted. 

Then of course Easter is just around the corner and hot cross buns and Easter Eggs are suddenly visible almost before New Year is over.  Another religious celebration where the point of it has been forgotten.  People have even started giving gifts at Easter.  Which left field did that come from?  What happened to hard boiled eggs carefully painted and hidden, to emerge as the sign of new life on the Sunday when we celebrate new birth.  Would that we could all be reborn each year and our thoughts brought to ponder on what the whole thing means, even for a short while.

However, the love of money and the infiltration of America, takes precedence over all, chocolate coated of course.

In the nineteen seventies Gough Whitlam told us we were “asleep at the wheel”.  This century John Howard told us we were “relaxed and comfortable”.  Is this why this infiltration of the dreadful American culture has  come about?  Have we just been too laid back and “she’s right mate”?

When I look around and see the evidence that it is already here, I cringe.  When I think of all those trash American movies and TV shows with their canned laughter (do we have to be told when to laugh for heaven’s sake?) and their obvious humour, fed to our children over a few generations I can see how and why these children think it is all okay.  Give me BBC1 with its subtle humour, any day. 

I wouldn’t say nothing good comes out of America but there is very little, if any, that makes its way here.