I imagine it would feel rather nice to be proud of the part of your story that you didn’t really have any choice in. The country you were born in, the state, the region. The people group you were raised in. Parents and the generations that preceded you, your family, your heritage, your culture.
I imagine that if you were so blessed to be of good stock, then you’d probably be delicate and defensive when that story comes under fire - whether it’s comedy or outright slander.
I imagine that’s why I’ve upset friends and lost social media klout this week after joking about the UK and how it didn’t meet the hype, in my ever so humble opinion.
Friends and strangers let me know how they felt about it, and it honestly left me stunned. But as I watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace yesterday it all fell into place for me. These people, Brits, people who like the Brits, people who love London and the UK, all this pomp and bullshit from the royals to the status quo is an essential part of their story. It’s who they are this external force of nature.
You dare make a joke about London, and you’re attacking their identity.
I see myself as blessed because I know exactly who I am. I’m the Gold Coast born, Central Queensland raised white boy born with colonial blood, entering the world not into the lands of my people but someone else’s land. Born of convict blood, sent from England to the stolen land down under generations ago. I’m the abandoned son, a homeless teen, who got by the only way available to him, working.
My birthplace, my country, my people, they don’t know me. There is a small group of friends and family who stand with me, but we could fill a minivan. If I was to die tomorrow my funeral would be a lovely occasion for the small group attending. They’re a good lot.
But my culture, my family, my tribe is a single generation old, my generation. With my wife I have drawn a line in the sand and said it ends with me. Britt and I, we’re starting new.
I also know how few people read my words or see my art. I’m no Shakespeare or Monet.
I have nothing to be precious of but my wife and children, my work, my words and my art, my relationships and my reputation.
Make a funny joke about them and I’d probably push back hard as well.