Thoughts on colonialism (but really just two sweet blog discoveries)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Currently the Commonwealth Games are being held in New Delhi. I had already written this blog post when an American friend, having listened to BBC a little too much in recent weeks, asked me about these strange, pseudo-Olympic, Games;

Is it me or are they weird? Isn't it a weird thing to do? "Hey, Britain used to rule all of you, very brutally, and you only play these sports in the first place because of said brutal rule, so why don't you try to assert your independence now and compete against each other to see who has made it farthest in recovering from colonization?"

While I am not going to open the 'To Republic or not to Republic' can of vexatious worms, this is a pretty apt (and awesome) take on my view of the Games. And it tied in well with what I had already written (pre-laptop death, hence delayed posting), on what the Games means to me: the occasional lofty click on an article featuring a vaguely familiar athlete, reflecting on how bizarre the whole blast-from-a-colonial-past event actually is, but also, a quiet time at work.

For the odd reader who doesn’t know what I do/who I am, I work part-time at a media intelligence company where we basically monitor what’s being said in the Australian media. And because of the Games, what’s being said is ‘not much’. Instead the shows I monitor are streaming live coverage of swimming, high-jump and a few not-quite-Olympic-quality-but-good-enough-for-the-Commonwealth-Games sports. While New Zealanders seem to be quite indifferent to the whole affair, Australia is embracing the Games. It’s probably got something to do with the 60-odd gold medals they won in the first week. Anyway, regardless of why Australians are so excited about an event that is rooted in an imperialistic past, it has meant that for ten hours last week I got paid to sit and find fodder for this blog.

So my two new favourite blogs, thanks to my kind employer and this outdated mass sporting event:

HiLoBrow slightly bewilders me. I’m not sure I entirely ‘get it’ but that’s the whole point; there’s nothing to ‘get’. I think. I keep trying to summarise the tone in a nice, tidy description, but it’s impossible. Again, this is the point, I think. Basically, put aside an hour and spend some time roaming around this brilliant site. It has the best slogan for life, if I ever heard one: ‘Middlebrow is not the solution’. Indeed.

Cake Wrecks is much easier to describe, but of a similar level of awesomeness. Cakes that are wrecks! I’m laughing already. It’s meant to be a blog on ‘when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong’, but it contains some absolute gems from amateurs as well. This brutally honest depiction of winter is my personal favourite. I like to imagine a cake-decorator snapping one day when asked for yet another ‘seasonal cake’ in mid-December and coming up with this. Awkward staff Christmas party, right there.

Actually, this post could act as an allegory on internet trawling. You start off contemplating colonialism and issues that call into question the entire constitutional framework of your country, and end up looking at photos of hilariously tragic cakes.


Ally said...

I was actually just thinking about the Commonwealth Games this morning when I was monitoring all of these news stories that had used the phrase "Australia continues to dominate the Commonwealth Games". It made me feel kinda uncomfortable, like oh great Australia, good on you, dominating heaps of third world countries in an event underpinned by colonialism. Bad language choice, journalists!

Ally said...

Also, cake wrecks rules. That is all.

Di said...

UGH. YES. Exactly. The Commonwealth Games are so awkward. Such an elephant in the room situation. You're almost waiting for someone stand up (preferably at some important medal ceremony) and be like, guys, really? Why are we glorifying what is actually a really disgusting part of our history? And then, in this imagined moment, everyone would clap and emphatically agree and I would miss all the mentions because I was too busy reading about awesomely awful cakes.

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