This article, although focused on classical music, at its core is a brilliant exposition and exegesis of the current state of affairs in our society.
From the transience of experience and rampant individualism, through to a constantly thwarted search for Australian identity, the observations in the middle section are rich and incisive.
“Last year, at my son’s primary school Christmas concert, the children did not sing a single Christmas carol. I thought this might have been because the word “Jesus” was verboten, but the principal later reassured me that it was not. …
I had recently returned from Germany, where a woman had asked me whether Christmas in the Australian summer could possibly be gemütlich. I sang one of the confected Australian carols I had learned as a child…
“Oh wow,” she marvelled. “That sounds really awkward.”
This awkwardness was writ large at my son’s concert. It was a Christmas concert in search of identity; never mind Christ, there were not even any references to Christmases past. It spoke to me of a larger Australian malaise: because we dare not confront the realities of our own past, we prefer to imagine there was no past. Instead, we busy ourselves with our home renovations and hero ingredients, and forget the Western humanistic tradition. We celebrate culture if you can eat it. (If we do acknowledge a heritage, it is frequently one of failure: Gallipoli, the Eureka Stockade, a suicidal swagman. This might look like the championing of the underdog, but nothing in today’s national actions suggests that we champion the underdog.)”
Its a long read, but worthwhile. Read it now: https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/october/1443621600/anna-goldsworthy/lost-art-listening