Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: What was lost

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    In the 1960s, a lot of Baby Boomers were disrespectful of World War II. Gee, Mom and Dad, why do you keep going on about the war? It's over. Get with the '60s, you squares. It's the age of Aquarius.

    Which is why Slaughterhouse 5 is such great art. It cut right through all that bottled-in damaged pain and self-absorbed bluster. No wonder it's still being banned.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    That does not conform with my family experience at all Joe- my father couldnt serve overseas (he was found to have a dickie heart, that killed him when he was 42.) My beloved uncle couldnt serve overseas with his best mate - he was discovered to have tubercular-scarred lungs, and was limited to 'home duties.'
    Some people - all women I'm afraid to say, were extremely rude to "a fit young man not doing his duty." And my uncle, knowing about his father's 2 younger brothers who had served overseas in WW1 - one is atoms over Paschendaele, the other came home 'a bit wonky'- died a little inside each time.

    We didnt forget them, we honoured them. But we didnt glorify the wars either -
    Anzac day was just a day. And, as someone who was born 2 years after the WW2 ended - I vividly remember the shit that came from 'the veterans' towards the next generation.

    It literally is only over the past 30 years that ANZers are having a closer look at our involvment in other nations' wars.

    Slaughterhouse Five is a great great work of art. Should be compulsory reading, along with Kurt Vonnegut's history...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Islander,

    We didnt forget them, we honoured them. But we didnt glorify the wars either -

    I can't claim to have been quite so noble, especially during the Muldoon era. Still I do find it useful to remember, when people talk about the collective sins of "baby boomers", that there were times that I wished that "these old bastards that fought the war" would get off our backs.

    I grew up hearing those stories about people who received anonymous - and sometimes not-so-anonymous - white feathers. As even those who "honorably served" were scarcely able to talk meaningfully about their experiences, so many poor bastards would, as you said, have had to carry the godawful injustice of how they were treated for the rest of their lives. Still, I don't remember anyone who'd really suffered in conflict or capture ever condemning those who didn't go. Certainly not when they were sober.

    Most ANZAC day speeches from my schooldays were empty bombast, exhorting my generation to be part of a death cult. It wasn't often that people were prepared or even able to talk about what really happened. I remember a guy in the Blackball pub in the early 70s launching into his reminiscences about driving ambulances in blackout darkness in the North African desert. He had the usual three-beers blowhard's tone of having told the tale more times than he'd found a willing audience, until someone asked if he'd been scared. His tone changed instantly. To tell the truth he'd never thought about it, but now that it'd been mentioned, yes, he was probably bloody scared. And come to think of it, they probably all were, as were the Germans he once helped capture.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    My uncle's best mate, Tui McNeill (possibly best known for being busted to the ranks from being a lieutenant *- or maybe for being part of the gang that had a dead pig on a rescue stretcher, hurried in from a front line in Italy) only ever made sure my uncle felt throughly supported (we had quite a bit of Tui's war souvenirs round the Moeraki cribs** over the years - all gone now.) The people who fought knew about why the people who didnt get to fight - especially during the WW2.

    *He was part of a group that dis-assembled a German officer's staff car and got it back as far Australia.

    **The Black bach was wrecked during the last storm surge. I 'own' it, and am really upset. But, at the moment there's not much I can do. Uncle Bill & Tui built that iconic crib. Occurs in a certain novel.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    In the 1960s, a lot of Baby Boomers were disrespectful of World War II. Gee, Mom and Dad, why do you keep going on about the war? It's over. Get with the '60s, you squares. It's the age of Aquarius..

    Gentleman: Don't take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort.
    Ringo: I bet you're sorry you won.

    The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night - 1964

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2292 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Heh. I forgot that line. That film is so fucking ace.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Danielle,

    I recently re-watched Help!

    My 8-year old self enjoyed the Ker-Ay-Zee!!!11!1!!! antics a lot more than his older counterpart....

    But I'm prepared to forgive them, because 'Yellow Submarine' is Teh Awsum.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2292 posts Report Reply

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