Home again after spending the last two weeks in Australia, dividing my time between Brisbane, Melbourne and then finishing up with a few days in Sydney.
My ostensible purpose was business, but my hope was to eat and drink with as many of that rarified group of people who identify themselves as “Burgers” – people I’ve met via Journal Space (now defunct) and then via the website entitled “Cheeseburger Gothic” – as possible.
What a lively, articulate, educated, interesting and generous group you Burgers turned out to be. Although my visit was fast and restricted to three cities, I was fortunate enough to eat, drink, talk and laugh with the following exceptional people (in quasi chronological order):
JB (and wife and kids),
Monster Yuppy (and wife),
Quokka (and husband),
Greybeard (and wife),
Big Bad Al,
Hughesy (and husband),
Damian (and wife),
Barnsem (and son),
Albion Love Den,
You all showed me a very good time that exceeded my hopes – which isn’t easy to do.
I fell in love with your country, your people and what I believe is a nascent, yet distinct culture. What I did, saw and learned convinces me that Australia embodies much of what we here in the United States once took so much pride in showing, but which we no longer seem capable of manifesting and are losing even an interest in maintaining the pretense of projecting.
I very happy to be home, again with my wife whom I so deeply missed, but I am left somewhat bitter and somewhat jealous that you have so much materially, spiritually and culturally that we do not, that we once had or at least pretended to have, that we’ve lost and may never recover. I have concluded that early events shape cultures and national character.
You were founded by forced colonization. To survive, the prisoners of Botany Bay created a communal society that resented those with guns who took the lion’s share for themselves. In vast contrast, the first Europeans to our shores were Puritans in the north who sought to crush freedom of thought through harsh theocratic rule, and by businessmen in the south who sought to accumulate vast wealth through slave labor.
I will undoubtedly write more about this, but for now all I can do is express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the warmth and kindness y’all showed this progressively aging and often foolish seppo. I look forward to my next visit, which will be around the same time next year, but will include stops in Canberra and Hobart and, if at all possible, Perth.
Again, thank you all.