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Friday, February 16, 2007

Pride of Australia

Germaine Greer’s portrait in the Australian National Portrait Gallery in Canberra has been replaced by one of Steve ‘most annoying voice in the history of time’ Irwin. He's the chap who was killed by a stingray a while back, having made a career out of taunting and poking dangerous animals with sticks, his arms, and – on occasion – his infant children.

Oh well. Can’t really see Germaine losing sleep, over it, god love her, but given that they appear to have done it in response to Greer having slagged off the late, permanently be-shorted Irwin, it’s just so bloody typically small-minded and tedious, isn’t it?

‘Steve Irwin has replaced Germaine Greer - who caused controversy by criticising the TV presenter after his death - in Australia's National Portrait Gallery.
After Irwin was killed by a stingray last year, Greer wrote that the animal world had "taken its revenge", saying he manhandled and distressed them.
A spokesman for the Canberra gallery said the removal of the Greer portrait was not linked to her comments.
He said they often rotated pictures - but the "irony was not lost on us".
The gallery, based in Canberra's Old Parliament House, only has space for 100 portraits to be displayed at any one time.
Spokesman David Edghill said the decision to swap the photographs was "not politically motivated".’


What’s most surprising about this, of course, is the fact that they need to rotate pictures AT ALL: I mean, bless ‘em and love ‘em, they might only have space to exhibit 100 at a time, but it’s not as if the world is so crammed full of Australian men and women of note and fame that they’re vying for space on the gallery’s walls, is it?*

I’m not Australian myself, and nor am I someone who’s really ‘into’ the idea of national pride. However, were I to think about it in any detail, rather than demonise the genuinely interesting and free-thinking Greer - one of the 20th Century’s most intelligent and influential feminists - I imagine I’d feel far prouder of her achievements than I would those of many other high profile Australians. The croc botherer, the cross dressing comedian, the womanising pasty-faced cricketer and the bearded “can you tell what it is yet?!” cartoonist included…

* See, I’m not sure I even really mean this. I say it because I know how much this sort of statement upsets Australians, and as such, winding them up is a temptation I find impossible to avoid. It’s so easy, I SIMPLY CAN’T HELP MYSELF.

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