Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cute, and helpful, even if misdirected

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cartoon by Bill Leak, The Australian, Monday 25th October 2010"][/caption]

Today's cartoon in The Australian is cute, but a little misdirected. I don't think it is the Lutherans of Woodside that are making all the noise against the proposed assylum seeker processing centre (Woodside was not one of the 19th Century SA German settlements, although of course, there are lots of descendants living there). Although the historical reminder is worth taking note of. I tell my children that some of our ancestors came to Australia as religious "assylum seekers". George Fife Angas, a Baptist who sponsored their settlement in South Australia, saw their plight as not unlike that of the dissenters of Great Britain. The South Australian colony at the time welcomed the newcomers as they were a good source of labour and were productive farmers providing much needed food for the new settlement. In the 19th Century, South Australia was one of the most multi-cultural colonies in Australia. Bill Leak's humour, though misdirected, should at least be a reminder to South Australians that "we've done this before" and benefited from it.


At Tuesday, October 26, 2010 7:09:00 pm , Anonymous Schütz said...

I hadn't picked up the connection to Merkel's comments about multiculturalism. I am having a hard time working out if Leak was being really clever, and trying to kill two birds with the same stone, or whether the connection was not in fact intended.

It seems however that if Leak did intend to address both the Woodside assylum seeker centre AND Angela Merkel's comments on Multiculturalism, then the cartoon is really misdirected.

The South Australians of German descent have nothing to do with modern Germany. Zilch. They left there 150 years ago. 99% wouldn't know a word of German, and 75% would barely be aware of their ancestory. 10% (perhaps less) might still go to a Lutheran Church once in a while. While it is quite likely that they drink beer, the lederhosen outfit was never worn in SA (it's Bavarian, not Silesian).

I really don't think Bill Leak is THAT ignorant. I don't think reference to Angela Merkel's comments were intended.

At Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:19:00 pm , Anonymous acroamaticus said...

A cartoon loses its punch if it tries to address two issues at once (a bit like a sermon). Leak is too good for that. Yes, it is misdirected in this case, but then from Canberra (or Sydney?), I suspect all villages in the Adelaide Hills look the same.

At Wednesday, October 27, 2010 8:55:00 am , Anonymous Paul G said...

If Bill Leak based his cartoon on recent hostility to migrants, his characters should be Dutch, French or (dare I say it), English.


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