Australia, We Have A Problem And It's Making Us 'Insufferable'
Australia, we have a very serious problem that’s threatening our beloved way of life. And boy, it’s a doozy.
It’s not political correctness, which is apparently strangling to death our once-famed larrikin spirit, making us all terrified of doing or saying something at the risk of offending just about everybody.
No, it’s not that treating people equally under the law has opened the door to all manner of social warrior identity politics.
It’s not even to do with so-called safe spaces, a push towards decency or, hell, just the basic expectation that people not be assholes when they speak to or about others.
No, Australia. The simple fact of the matter is that somewhere along the line, we’ve become a nation of insufferable and relentless whingers.
We are addicted to whinging. We can’t get enough of sounding off about everything these days, no matter how trivial. It doesn’t even matter that the topic of the whinge rarely, if ever, actually directly impacts the person having a whinge.
We whinge that you can’t call people fat on trains. Political correctness gone mad! We whinge that certain races don’t enjoy the fun little nicknames that we’ve invented for them. Bloody snowflakes, coming in here trying to make Australia their old country! We moan and moan about relatively painless efforts to save our species from destroying itself.
Seriously. Can we just stop and listen to ourselves? Maybe, if we’re quiet and not whingey for just a moment, we’ll hear how tedious we’ve become.
The biggest indicator of how low we’ve sunk is that phasing out free plastic bags at the supermarket has become a political issue.
Plastic bags. Political issue. Are you freaking kidding me?
No, newspaper column and late-night opinion show banshees, ‘banning’ the use of plastic bags at grocery stores is not some left-wing conspiracy to shove environmental activism down the throats of the general public. It’s not greenwashing by stealth. If it was, it would go much, much further.
Encouraging people to bring reusable bags, as painful as that apparently is, is because our oceans are full of single-use, non-biodegradable plastic that’s choking sea life and polluting otherwise pristine coastlines. Have you seen that video of a diver swimming off the coast of Bali, wading through an actual sea of plastic? Shame on us!
Even if they don’t care about the animals or the reefs, surely the talk-back set care about not ingesting bits of a Coles shopping bags while tucking into their John Dorey at Aria?
Funnily enough, the same people who are whinging this week about the excessive banning of things are the same ones who were either vocally supportive of, or totally silent about, the night time lockout laws in Sydney when they were brought in.
You know, that legislated banning of people from doing things.
But hypocrisy in the whinge-sphere is not uncommon. Just this week we saw Australia’s favourite Christian crusader Lyle Shelton frothing at the mouth over an article raising questions about a senior figure from the Australian Christian Lobby being appointed to a university position.
Just questions. Not a campaign to have him sacked. Not even an online petition!
Shelton argued that trying to cost someone their job just because of their associations outside of their day job is scandalous. It’s a sign, he says, of the slippery slope of marriage equality.
He’s the same bloke who advocates sacking teachers who are LGBT, simply for being LGBT, so excuse me while I choke on that unhealthy dose of irony.
Yes, the irony of it all is that those whinging loudest are the ones whinging, usually about the whinging.
We are in the midst of a whinging epidemic. It threatens not just civil discourse, but also frankly my sanity and willingness to engage with people. I’ve started looking on realestate.com.au at those underground houses in Coober Pedy. They’re not that expensive. And the lifestyle sounds very appealing.
What do we do? Are we too far down the whingey rabbit hole to correct our course and stop giving so much of a shit about things that either don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, or don’t matter to us?
We’re not, and you can do your part. You can help me stage a national whinger-vention.
The next time you accidentally flick onto a cable news channel or hit the AM band of radio where chatty old people live, keep flicking. Don’t stay. Don’t get outraged. Don’t buy into their crap and amplify it. Just keep flicking.
When you see someone on social media whinging – that’s literally everyone, so you cannot miss it – send them a GIF of a puppy gently rolling out of a barrel or a kitten mischievously winking. It might just give them enough pause to consider how pointless and annoying their crusade is.
Stop reading the media that trades in outrage and definitely don’t engage with those trying simply trying to get you hot and bothered. Simple!
But what about if you encounter a whinger in real life… out in the real world? Don’t worry. You almost certainly won’t. The whingiest of whingers tend to exist only in marginal media, on Twitter and Facebook, or in the comments section where no reasonable soul should venture.
Let’s just leave them to it, shall we?