Tim Blair's been busy ridiculing Jonathan Green (that's nothing new) over the Meanjin cover storm in a (not very important) tea cup, but this time he has a point. He notes that Warren Mudine, who has drifted so far Right that he attended the Friedman libertarian/we-hate-taxes/climate-change?-meh conference a couple of weeks ago, has joined in ridiculing the rush to apologise for a bit of magazine cover art that obscures an aboriginal word. I don't trust the judgement of Mundine - I think he's auditioning for the role of aboriginal Mark Latham - but as with Blair, despite this, he has a point.
The aboriginal cultural grievance industry can get quite ridiculous. And, as I noted in a post earlier this year, it seems that some aboriginal groups are increasingly radicalised in terms of expectations of some sort of self governance within government, and the making of treaties that would mean some sort of land rights/compensation way beyond Mabo. It isn't going to happen.
As I've said before, I would not care if Australia Day is moved, given that it's a poorly historically justified day for celebrating the start of a new nation.
Beyond that, there comes a point at which activists and their supporters need to be told they're denying the obvious - that cultures blend and change all the time; the symbolism of the change of place names does extremely little for the well being of people; cultural pride does not extend to being able to stop other people using parts of it creatively. (I heard on some Radio National show earlier this week a familiar female aboriginal activist talking about the upset that tribal elders had years ago when they realised how many European people, including women, were using didgeridoos for busking and general entertainment, and they discussed it for years before finally realising that the cat was already out of the bag, and what can you do to stop people playing them anyway. I could have told them that at the start.)
To have sympathy to the genuine problems of aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders should not require that you have to lose sight of common sense and obvious facts about the nature of culture and unrealistic expectations as to control over it. Yet that is what is a large part of aboriginal advocacy now insists upon, and the likes of Jonathan Green are too happy to go along with it.