Apr 22, 2010

The PR campaigns driving Anzac Day

For many Anzac Day is a solemn day of remembrance, but much of what Australians believe about it have been products more of recent PR and propaganda than of memory, writes Noel Turnbull.

In Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys one of the characters says: “The best way to forget something is to commemorate it.” Nothing exemplifies that more than the way that Anzac Day commemoration has resulted in Australians either forgetting what they knew about Gallipoli, or never learning the truth.

For many returned servicemen and women and their families Anzac Day is a solemn day of remembrance, but much of what Australians believe about it, and what images and ideas it inspires, have been products more of recent PR and propaganda than of memory.

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128 thoughts on “The PR campaigns driving Anzac Day

  1. Holden Back

    Thankyou for putting some meat on the bones of my suspicions. All of this activity to shore up the tradition will of course be conveniently unmentioned in any discussion of its centrality in Australian life. You unfairly mentioned facts.

  2. Victoria Campbell

    Any reason for leaving out the other half of ANZAC in this story? More than 2700 New Zealanders were killed in this useless battle. Interesting the use of the word ‘celebrate’ in the eighth paragraph but unfortunately it’s the operative word for ANZAC nowadays – school kids with Australian flags on their cheeks saying ‘Happy ANZAC Day’ to the TV cameras. Puke.

  3. Skepticus Autartikus

    Heh. They got nowhere with the bourgeois phoneys Reynolds, Lake, and the other superannuated Commie “historians” so they’d try another tack. At last this bloke has a bit more personal credibility. But still as clueless about social dynamics. Hint, hint. The government is the follower on this one, not the leader. 😉

  4. Graeme Orr

    More French died at Gallipoli?? I had no idea. Thanks for this Noel; it is reminds me of my uncles, WWII volunteers all, who all rejected the one-size-fits-all RSL approach to commemoration.

    Remembrance day – with its accent on the lot of soldiers in all wars, everywhere, has a meaning that needs no mythologising, and no narrative of putting one battle above all others.

    Jingo-heads like ‘Skepticus’ can keep their myths of ‘diggerism’. Militarisation of Australian history has political purposes, as it has everywhere. It’s especially dodgy in Australia, which is the only continent to never face a real war on home soil.

  5. Skepticus Autartikus

    Graeme, the only politicking here is – as usual – the ageing marxist academics and their interminable culture wars. Nobody’s listening anymore. They lost. Give it a rest.

  6. AJK

    Do you really think the ex Service community give a hoot what pollies, journos and academics have to say about the way we remember our losses, victories and deceased friends?
    The only opinions that matter are the ones Veterans share among themselves.
    If you are not part of that group, why bother to make you understand, because the chances to really listen are well and truly past. AJK

  7. Graeme Orr

    Skepticus, you are anything but skeptical. Spend some time with school kids for instance and you’ll see that genuine interest in Anzac day lies only with an minority.

    I’m not interested in political correctness, left wing or right wing. Imagine if State governments and education departments pumped up say Labour Day (winning the 8 hour day was no less an ‘Australian’ achievement as fighting overseas). Or the Queens birthday. We’d ask questions.

  8. adrian

    Excellent article which deserves a wider audience.

  9. Daniel

    One day SkeptAutart will actually construct an argument and present it with words. I look forward to that day.

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