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Famous last words: "So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?"

In the movie Wag the Dog the hurling of shoes was used to show support to a cause.  Cultivated by White House spin doctors, the action was reported in the media and thus spread far and wide.  In a bizarre twist into the "reality" of war propaganda, shoe-hurling has taken another form.  In a carefully controlled media event, after all the participants had been searched several times for possible weapons, a pair of shoes have expresed the scorn and contempt of Iraqis for the US invasion.

Bush, ever the masterful diplomat, skipped passed rehearsed media "answers" expressing the reasons for being there.  It was less important to discuss "an Iraq that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself" than to get back to talking about the shoes: 

" It is one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you.  It's like driving down the street and have people not gesturing with all five fingers. It's a way for people to, you know, draw -- I don't know what the guy's cause is. But one thing is for certain -- he caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it.

A digression:  I organised a little event to celebrate Australian Prime Minister John Howard's visit to Adelaide not long after the invasion.  An unintended result of tipping-off media and activists to an unscheduled stop was the arrival of people to throw eggs at Howard's limo.  I wonder what he thought as he heard, from inside, the "thwack, thwack" of the missiles hitting their target?  "No worries, it'll only be eggs" would certainly not have been my first thought.   Anyway, the egg-story made an otherwise fairly unreportable event travel quite a distance.  I'm pretty sure that these were the first missiles thrown at a Coalition leader.

So, while Bush was ducking that first shoe, do you reckon he was thinking "No worries, only a shoe" or "what the hell was that?"  No wonder, then, that discussing the event was more important than explaining his improvements to Iraqi security and freedom.

These journalists here were very apologetic, they were -- said, this doesn't represent the Iraqi people. But that's what happens in free societies, where people try to draw attention to themselves. And so I guess he was effected, because he caused you to say something about it. 

 Bush has obviously forgotten that beautiful component of the "Saddam Toppling" scene that was supposed to be the media's perception of the end of the invasion in Iraq.  According to CNN at that time:

Iraqis had begun tearing down portraits of Saddam and throwing shoes -- a grave insult in the Arab world -- and chipping away at the base of the statue with sledgehammers after a column of Marines advanced into the square Wednesday afternoon. 

A person who witnessed this event once explained to me that much pertaining to the scene was paid for with AK-47 rounds.

It wasn't long after this, it seems, when the U.S., quite aware of the propoganda implications, were removing evidence of another President Bush copping a shoe to the head.  The BBC's Martin Asser explains:

But it is worth mentioning that there is quite a rich history when it comes to shoe-ing incidents involving Iraq and the Bushes.

The first was the floor mosaic at the front door to Baghdad's Rashid Hotel depicting the first President Bush.

Its location meant visitors to the hotel - frequented by top Baath regime officials and visiting VIPs - had to step on George Bush Snr's likeness, in revenge for alleged "war crimes" committed during the 1991 liberation of Kuwait.

The mosaic was reportedly dug up after the US military took over the hotel, following their overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

In that year the Iraqi shoe was much in evidence during popular protests against the fallen Iraqi ruler, being used to hit the posters and statues dedicated to him around the country.

You can be certain that if Bush Jnr understood Arabic,he might have thought twice before belittling and dismissing the event.  Perhaps, in hindsight, he might have been better off had he first been given the media pool translation (perhaps by the apologising Iraqi journos?) of the words hurled with the shoes:


"This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog,


"This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq,"

 In the worst of bad luck, Bush's comparative of a "two-fingered salute" commits a cultural denigration in belittling the magnitude of the audio-visual, "made for television" epithet.

 And now, according to today's SMH, the U.S. and Iraq have a martyr in custody:

Al-Zaidi's protest was praised in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Jordan. A Libyan charity nominated him for a bravery award. Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein's former lawyer, offered to represent him; about 200 others also offered their services.

In Sadr City, thousands burnt US flags and called for the release of al-Zaidi. In Najaf, several protesters threw shoes at a US patrol


 Once upon a time, as the Coalition forces gathered at the Kuwait/Iraq border, a publicist brought along some representative national flags and placed them in the hands of invading soldiers.  This provided an image of international unity behind the invading of Iraq to sieze Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Now, whether it be by accident or design (I prefer to think the latter) the Iraqi cameraman has given the U.S. a living flag, representing resentment of perceived injustice.   Worse, there's an associated physical action that can be used to show support of Al-Zaidi, something that anybody can do, and with something that can't be regarded as a weapon.  They can throw a shoe.

How many shoes can be thrown at how many American targets?  How many Americans can voice their final disapproval of what Bush has done in their name by taking shoes to their local congressman's office, or to a television or radio station?  How many Australians can dump their old sneakers in front of their local U.S. embassy or consulate, or (as Darwin has used for a substitute) KBR office?

And what's the bet there's a video game on the net in a few days?  How far will the world travel in Al-Zaidi's footsteps?  I can't wait to find out!  It would be, given all the spin and lies the Bush/Cheney Administration has peddled these last eight years, a more-than-fitting method of ensuring that these people depart the world stage with the contempt that they deserve.

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Heres' s a good myth

Refugees are "illegals" and catching a boat to Australia to seek asylum is "smuggling".

Even though the courts, the Senate and everyone else has agreed since February 2000 that there is no smuggling because the passengers are desperate to be found to seek asylum.

But after 50 years of acceptance that refugees can arrive to seek asylum Ruddock turned that on it's head and claimed that people are only refugees when we say so, not when they leave the place of persecution.

It's like the myth of peace in Iraq when "only" 18 or so people are killed with a car bomb somewhere.

It's also like the myth outlined in my case for Akram Al Masri who was brutally slaughtered when any reasonable person could conclude that seeing his mother murdered and carrying a chunk of bullet in his own head would have made Akram a refugee.

A myth for our times

"It's like the myth of peace in Iraq when "only" 18 or so people are killed with a car bomb somewhere."

That's a bit like the myth of Iraq being at "peace" under Saddam Hussein when "only" 100,000 Kurds were murdered during the Anfal genocide.

Extraordinary, Eliot

I am well aware that Kurds were slaughtered by Saddam Hussein in 1988.   And in 1989 James Baker went to Iraq to assure them that they still loved him.

Allow me to salute your courage, power and indefatigability

Marilyn Shepherd: " And in 1989 James Baker went to Iraq to assure them that they still loved him."

So, that was about five years before this picture of George Galloway, the millionaire oil smuggler and 'peace activist', shaking hands with rapist/murderer/ torturer Uday Hussein, Saddam 's son.

As George said to Saddam that year: “Sir, allow me to salute your courage, power and indefatigability.”

A proud moment for the 'peace' movement, that. Says it all, really.

26677297 virtual shoes hit Bush in support of "Baghdad Clogger"

Interestingly enough, mostly from the U.S., followed by France, Australia, U.A.E,  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the United Kingdon.  I can still only manage nine hits at a go.  Tip: aim from the right hand side of the head.

A note to foreign readers looking at Justin's mental picture of Marilyn throwing thongs at Bush.  Over here it's a piece of footwear.

Eliot, I'll have to hunt the source of that sentiment you concur with.  I'm pretty sure it was the White House, maybe even the lady who copped the shiner.

Anyway, from the Guardian:

According to Dargham, his brother suffered a broken arm and ribs, as well as injuries to an eye and a leg after being beaten by security officials, and was treated at the Ibn Sina hospital, in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

There are also reports of a broken hand and internal bleeding.

I bet Visiting Hours are fun, especially when the judge comes to you.  I agree with al Ziadi's bro, there's no way that a beaten-up face would be let out to appear on world television.

As you'll see by my next post, the story is still rolling.  I'll give you this, Eliot: this story has a good chance of eventually becoming enshrined in mythology.

Iraqi parliamentary President (maybe) resigns

From AP:

In Iraq, followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as well as other Shiite and Sunni groups have staged demonstrations for the last three days demanding al-Zeidi's release.

The Sadrists particularly hope to exploit public sympathy for the reporter to regain political momentum they lost after their failure to stop the U.S.-Iraq security agreement, which parliament approved last month. The deal allows U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until 2012.

On Wednesday, al-Sadr's supporters in parliament interrupted a session in which lawmakers were to review a resolution calling for all non-U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of June.

Several Sadrist lawmakers interrupted, demanding that the session address al-Zeidi's case and allegations that he had been beaten in custody. A noisy argument broke out after other lawmakers shouted that the case was a matter for the courts, according to Wisam al-Zubaidi, an adviser to Khalid al-Attiyah, parliament's deputy speaker.

With legislators screaming at one another, speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni, shouted: "There is no honor in leading this parliament and I announce my resignation."

Al-Mashhadani, who has not taken a public position on al-Zeidi, has a history of eccentric behavior and it was unclear whether the resignation was serious."

Naturally, there's more to the story:

[Kurdish Gobe]

"Al-Mashhadani said that he will offer his resignation to the parliament presidency," said Mahoumd Osman, a Kurdish lawmaker from the Kurdistan Coalition list. Osman conveyed the speaker's threat quoting him as saying, "I cannot lead this parliament, half of it is with the government, a part of it is with the political parties and another part has no loyalty to the people."

The Kurdish lawmaker explained that the speaker was frustrated for the moment as he was offering his resignation because of arguments earlier among parliament members while reading a law project on the withdrawal of the U.K. forces on the Wednesday session of the assembly.

Some members warned they will not vote for the law, some other said it required more discussion, while a group of others left the hall after harsh argument with the speaker, Osman said.

"I don't know whether Al-Mashhadani will officially offer his resignation or he just threatened to do so in anger."

However, a leader from the Accordance Front, the list Al-Mashhadani is from, assured for the Aswataliraq news agency that the speaker really intended to offer his resignation.

The parliament did not complete the talks about the withdrawal of the U.K. forces and postponed the discussion for another session.

It sounds like the al-Zaidi incident was more of a catalyst; the straw that broke the camel's back.

Naturally, there's more to the story...

Richard: "Naturally, there's more to the story..."

I'll say...

Up to 35 officials in Iraq's Ministry of the Interior, including four generals, have been arrested for plotting a coup to reinstate Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, according to reports....


Shoes? Which grasping, selfish, lucky bastard has shoes?

Bush got it right.

(Finally). As Bush said, the shoe throwing incident is an excellent example of democracy. A single person, with a bit of will-power and ingenuity can make a powerful statement to the world (and suffer only a few broken ribs – With Saddam, Al-Zaidi's whole village would have been razed.).

And all the terrorists please note – the statement does not need to hurt others. I was less than ten at that time, but I still recall Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest the Vietnam war.

I look forward to Hamish’s piece on Democracy.

Dancing Thief

While rewriting the song, I realised the second verse was already fine 

Sunday night and the lights are low
Gonna make up a TV show
Do a bit of pop media
make yourself look fine
Georgie, you look divine

Anybody could be that guy
Screaming curses, shoe held high
Then he throws another
(any shoe will do)
You're in the mood for a dance
and as you start to prance

You are the Dancing Thief, Boss of Iraq!
You're the World's Top Chief
Dancing Thief, dodging shoes
of Iraqi giref     (oh, yeah)
You can dance, you can deny
How many people must die?
See that Bush! Hail to the Chief!  Dig it, the Dancing Thief

You're a teaser, you turn them on
leave them burning, then you're gone
Looking for another, anyone will do
You're in the mood for a dance

And when you get the chance ..(repeat chorus

Channeling Marilyn Sheppard

George W Bush should thank his lucky stars our Marilyn wasn't there. She would have thrown him a thong or two!

Why nobody takes Barthes seriously

Paul Walter: "As Roland Barthes and others have explained, the reason myths are so pernicious is because they operate below the level of consciousness."

So, how do they know about them? Or how they work?

It works like this - but silicon and duct tape fixes it.

It works like this:

Myths are tiny creatures that live in pillows. Sometimes you can hear them walking around inside your pillow; especially if your ear is pressed up against it. Myths make a sound that goes: boom boom, boom boom, boom boom.

Sometimes these tiny creatures escape from your pillow; always while you are sleeping, and crawl into your ear where they travel all the way to your brain.

Sometimes they crawl up your nose but those guys end up in your stomach. They're the ones that make people fart. And some crawl into your mouth then hide in your lungs - they make you cough.

NB. Some people actually believe that Myths also cause hiccups - but in reality that is a myth or more a wive's tale really (some people really are stupid).

The ones than get into your brain occasionally appear as dreams while others tend to make your believe stuff that is not rational. Like your cat loves you, or your wife thinks you are the best looking dude in the universe, or you really do care about the 30,000 kids that died from hunger today, or alcohol is bad for you, etc.

In general I don't have any problem with Myths for the simple reason I don't know what is real or what is not real anyway - so it makes no difference to me.

The cure for Myth infestation is quite simple; before you retire at night shove silicon plugs into your ears and nose (make sure no air can get in for Myths are very very tiny) and then tape up your mouth. Problem fixed - and you will have a really lovely long sleep.

Now Eliot, is there anything else I can assist you with?

I salute you, Roland Barthes

"Now Eliot, is there anything else I can assist you with?"

No, that's fine.

Talking about Barthes and myths, my favourite Barthes myth concerns his elaborate deconstruction of the Paris Match magazine cover showing a picture of a French West African soldier saluting, eyes uplifted towards the French flag.

Barthes unravels in precise detail the semiotic significance of the soldier's gesture, his salute and gaze toward the flag, in terms of the prevailing dominant bourgeois assumptions about race and empire.

I am at the barber's, and a copy of Paris-Match is offered to me. On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his soc-called oppressors.

- Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957

Great stuff, isn't it?

The famous picture , oddly enough, doesn't itself actually appear in Barthes' Mythologies, though.

Here's why...no French flag is actually evident in the image.

Oh, well...

Pictures never lie

Loved the Paris Match picture, Eliot Ramsey. You are perfectly correct that there is no French flag in the picture.

What (or who) do you reckon the soldier is saluting? My guess is a very tall officer, but he could have just been seized by a sudden urge to gaze into the air and salute.

Roland Barthes gets a haircut

Mark Sergeant: "What (or who) do you reckon the soldier is saluting?"

Well, if the picture was posed by the photographer, probably nothing specifically. Which also might explain why we can see only one soldier in the frame.

My guess is the photographer, while carefully posing the soldier for the photograph, said something like this...

Photographer: "Okay, now what I'd like you to do is sort of salute, nice and smart. Chest out. Look proud. Gaze as if looking at some existential but Ideal Other representing the imperial Gloire."

Soldier: "Like this?" (salutes)

Photographer: "Oui, that's good, mon petit Poilu. Perhaps a bit more iconic in the semiotic sense, though. Maybe 'old your head a bit higher." (click) (click) (flash)

Soldier: "Like this?" (salutes again, with chest out and head held higher)

Photographer: "Excellent. (click) (flash) (click) (flash) (bzzzztttt)  Your mother back in Senegal will be sooooo ver-ry proud."

Soldier: "Well, actually, monsieur, my mother is no longer in Senegal, but is living in a squalid refugee camp across the border in Camaroon. Anyway, a single copy of Paris Match in Africa costs the equivalent of a week's salary for a plantation worker over there."

Photographer: "That's true. Mind you, the cost of a haircut on the Champs-Elysées costs the equivalent of a week's salary for a photographer over here."...

(one week later in a barber shop on the Champs-Elysées ...)

Barber: "Take a seat Professor Barthes. I'll be finished with this other chap in about 15 minutes. How are you today, anyhow?"

Roland Barthes: "Not bad. I am attempting to bridge the hiatus between my authentic being and that other, merely socially contructed consciousness by which I mediate with the objective world of class relations. And how are you, Gaston?"

Barber: (sighs) "Here, read this magazine till I'm ready for you. Okay?"

Roland Barthes: "Oh, thank you. Nice picture on the cover. And rather than project my a priori assumptions on it like any normal reader, I will penetrate to it's objective underlying 'meaning' as it exists in the transcendent."

Barber: (sighs) 'Sure. Won't be long...' (rolls eyes and thinks about jacking up prices again).

The present and the absent

Profound insights, Eliot.

Photographer: "Okay, now what I'd like you to do is sort of salute, nice and smart. Chest out. Look proud. Gaze as if looking at some existential but Ideal Other representing the imperial Gloire.

Soldier (thinks, saluting): "The bloody flag again!"

Or, in the alternative: "General de Gaulle!" (Now there was a very tall officer, and the embodiment of imperial Gloire as well).

Just some picky details:

  • Senegal is not a source of refugees. It has been mostly politically stable since independence, including peaceful and fair democratic transfers of power.
  • Even if his mother was a refugee from Senegal, she would not be "across the border in Camaroon". Cameroon is almost half way to Capetown.
  • A single copy of Paris Match would cost the equivalent of a few cents, pre-torn, and would be adequate as toilet paper for more than a week.
  • Senegal doesn't have plantations. Maybe a few big cotton farms, but not like the Old South. There's not much plantation agriculture anywhere in West Africa. Mostly small farms with a cash crop, not much more than subsistence, even for palm oil and cacao.


The local ABC have politely declined my idea of their office being a drop-off point for shoes.  A beautifully diplomatic email reply wondered if I was really serious, and suggesting I would know why such a thing wouldn't be possible.

Ok, I'm caught out - I was only half serious, having been pretty sure that this would be a political activity well outside their charter.   At any rate, it's more of a commercial radio stunt.

C'mon Austereo.. I dares ya!

The Bush Shoe

Remember in the 70s?  "Mum Yvonne Goolagong wears Volley Internationals!"  It was Michael Jordan who was the "face" of Indonesian sweatshop constructed Nikes.  Now, though there's a new fashion trend:

A new run of 15,000 pairs, destined for Iraq, went into production on Thursday, he said. A British distributor has asked to become the Baydan Shoe Company’s European sales representative, with a first order of 95,000 pairs, and an American company has placed an order for 18,000 pairs. Four distributors are competing to represent the company in Iraq, where Baydan sold 19,000 pairs of this model for about $40 each last year.

Five thousand posters advertising the shoes, on their way to the Middle East and Turkey, proclaim “Goodbye Bush, Welcome Democracy” in Turkish, English and Arabic.

 The dog's still wagging.

A historical image

The Herald-Sun's Peter Coster has nailed it:

... like Monica Lewinsky's seriously stained dress, which became a symbol of the Clinton presidency, George W. Bush will be seen forever standing up to the shoes in Baghdad on YouTube.

The New York Times reports that "Explosives tests by investigators destroyed the offending footwear."   One can only imagine...

The Judge's Visit

From AFP:

Investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani said Zaidi acknowledged during questioning that he understood the significance of his act -- a grave insult among Muslims.

"When he was asked whether he had acted on the orders of a political party or for money, he said 'no.' And when asked if he was aware of the effect of his gesture, he answered 'yes'."

The judge said the fact that Zaidi failed to hit Bush -- who dodged the throws -- could work in his favour.

Kenani said he "refused the request for the release on bail of Muntazer al-Zaidi for the sake of the investigation and for his own security."

If Zaidi were "out on bail, there would be a risk of homemade bombs or attacks. And there would be journalists who would go after him."

He said Zaidi has "signs of blows to the face" but is otherwise in good health and does not appear to have a broken arm as reported by his brother.

The judge said Zaidi was injured "when he was being arrested, not afterwards," rejecting suggestions he had been beaten in custody. "He was not beaten during interrogation."

The judge, who interviewed Zaidi for four hours on Tuesday and again on Wednesday, made no comment on claims of broken ribs or an injured leg.

 I'm a bit suss of al Zaidi's request for a pardon, but who knows.  Also, this looks a bit dodgy:

"The shoes were examined by the Iraqi and American security services and then destroyed," the judge told AFP.

However, he said the lack of the key piece of evidence in the case would not prevent the investigation from proceeding.

"I would have preferred to have had the shoes as evidence for the case but since Muntazer al-Zaidi has confessed to his action and that the television pictures confirm it, the investigation can continue," he said.

Do these folks realise how much those shoes would've been worth on Ebay?   It looks like they do.

The virtual shoe-hitting on sockandawe.com has reach 47 million.

Bush to get shoe in face on Afghani TV- who's wagging this dog?

From Telegraph.co.uk

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush is to be celebrated in an Afgahn comedy show.

But in the satirical series, Zang-i-Khatar (Alert Bell), rather than duck the shoes Mr Bush will be hit squarely in the face.

The US president is highly unpopular among most ordinary Afghans and footage of him ducking as an Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi hurled two shoes in his direction at a press conference on Sunday has been shown repeatedly on television.

Now the country's favourite comedy show will use actors to reconstruct the bizarre press conference, ensuring that this time the shoes hit Mr Bush.

Hanif Hamgaam, the show's producer, said he wanted to send a message of solidarity to Iraq.

"The aim of the programme, besides making people laugh ... is to convey solidarity with the people and journalists of Iraq," he told the AFP news agency.

Zaidi became an instant star in the Muslim world when he threw his shoes at Mr Bush on Sunday during the US leader's farewell visit to the country invaded by US forces in 2003.



So when did Afghanis start watching television again?

So they have television in Afghanistan these days? I thought the Taliban banned television?

Oh, wait....

Deconstructing Eliot

Eliot's capacity not to see to the forest for the trees continues to truly dumbfound me.

We have the blog equivalent of someone who, on seeing Christ walking on water, can do no better than grumble at the colour of the thongs he's wearing during the event.

But I will stay hopeful against all odds. If Barthes can't, nobody will.


I understand the fellow who heaved his shoe at Bush copped a right walloping in the cells afterwards.

The ghost of Hussein looks on, a wry smile on that mustachioed face. He sees the triumph of US policy in Palestine, Iraq, Afghnistan, etc and revels at his own posthumous dark victory.

Enough now.

Am waiting on news concerning whether the Webdiary equivalent of Stuffy  Derma or Bob Cratchett sleeps under the Ovingham bridge  or in the Parklands tonight .

Nessun Dorma.

How myths start...

Paul Walter: "I understand the fellow who heaved his shoe at Bush copped a right walloping in the cells afterwards."

It's interesting you should say that.

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at US President George W Bush has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by Iraqi security agents, his brother told AFP on Tuesday.

Durgham Zaidi was unable to say whether his brother Muntazer had sustained the injuries while being overpowered during Sunday's protest against Bush's visit to Baghdad or while in custody later.

If what you say is true, and I don't condone such a thing in the least, it would seem that not everyone in Iraq was so delighted by his actions.

Imagine he'd thrown his shoes at Saddam Hussein.

Cold comfort

I've read similar sentiments to yours elsewhere, Eliot, along the lines that you can tell that Iraq's a democracy because this bloke only copped a rifle butt to the head and a broken rib (not to mention Bush's spokeswoman copping a black eye) whereas under Saddam his village would've been razed to the ground.  For some reason I find this cold comfort.

Bloody good thing "my" egg-throwers weren't doing something similar in Baghdad.  They would've been machine-gunned down by Blackwater rent-a-soldiers, and I've had my balls wired to a battery at Abu Graib.  

A note on the shoes, Geoff.  Al-Zaidi apparently went and bought a new (Iraqi-made) pair that day, especially for the occassion.

Paul, glad to see you survived the night at the Gov.

Good point

"...whereas under Saddam his village would've been razed to the ground."

Good point.

Found the game.. getting better with practice.


As Roland Barthes and others have explained, the reason myths are so pernicious is because they operate below the level of consciousness. They form thought without informing it; give it the appearance minus the substance.

So great to see Germaine Greer's dismantling of exploitationist Langton and her infatuation with Howardist white armband/ black shirt history in the SMH this morning. The last thing Australians need is Luhrman/Kidman Mills and Boon soap opera reinforcement of Australian history and mindset.

Everywhere, there is evidence of Australians living in gross fantasy worlds, some utterly grotesque in their dishonesty, come to think of it...

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