Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 13:02 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 13:02 | SYDNEY

Do we still have a cultural cringe?


Sam Roggeveen


25 July 2011 15:03

Alan Davies at The Melbourne Urbanist notes the Americanisation of Australian place-names (new Melbourne inner-city developments called 'The Madison' and 'Tribeca'), and asks whether it's because Australians feel second-rate, by world standards.

Maybe 'Manhattanisation' would be a more accurate phrase than 'Americanisation', since advertisements for a number of new residential towers along Sydney's Hyde Park draw on New York Central Park iconography. And there's a new apartment tower going up in Canberra called Manhattan on the Park.

But if it makes Alan feel any better, Australian developers don't automatically reach for Gotham to try to talk up their plans. I once saw an ad for an apartment block located on Canberra's main drag, Northbourne Avenue, in which that grey and lifeless strip was referred to as 'Canberra's Champs Elysees'! So it seems we're equal opportunity genuflectors.

Speaking of the Champs Elysees, this is a scene that should warm the hearts of anyone who thinks Australians don't believe in themselves:

(But returning the Americanisation theme, why does our national anthem have to be sung like it's a soul number?)

UPDATE: This Sydney Morning Herald article from last Saturday about London's Olympic Games preparations cannot go unmentioned. The craven, pathetic neediness of it ('''They always acknowledge Sydney did very well,'' Coates said of the organisers behind London.') is something to behold.