We were interested to find out from Saturday’s [18/6/2005] Sydney Morning Herald that according to Dr Clotaire Rapaille, a self styled marketing guru and “cultural psychologist”, Australian’s can be defined by the “key word”, “invincible”. Dr Rapaille says we are tongue in cheek Crocodile Dundee men, due to our origins [think convict settlers], our participation in various wars and, of course, “the bush”. Whether or not his views are based on any actual research, Jungian style, or simply his own deduction, the article does not make clear. ‘Crocodile Dundee Man’ is an archetype that we would like to see the early death of, not because it is outdated, or because its sexist, or because it is an artificially created Americanised version of Australian national identity, but because it is simply incorrect.
As Hugh McKay so rightly points out in the same edition of the SMH, “our identity is still evolving and we’d be foolish to try and define it prematurely”. We would like to think, together with McKay, that we side a little closer with Canada [even if we do lock our doors in some suburbs of Sydney] who completed the statement “as Canadian as...” with “...it’s possible to be in the circumstances”.
Yes, we are undergoing a time of self assessment - what does it mean to be Australian? Or, for that matter, un-Australian. But this is all part of our coming of age. Hopefully our sense of humour will not be lost when we finally get there, though I’ll be happy to plant a cross on the grave of Crocodile Dundee Man sooner rather than later.
22 June 2005
Posted by Stephen Byrne at 10:14 AM