Australia and America
In Rabbit Syndrome Don Watson takes an analytical look at the ways in which the Australian imagination has always been dominated by America. Why are they so much better than we are? Even when it comes to producing books like the Updike "Rabbit" sequence that tell us what we are like? Why are they also a land of executioners who have nevertheless created the least bad empire the world has seen? Can we really expect to be deputies to America? And what about our own sacred story (the progressive one) that we have sold for the sake of the Americanisation of our own society? If we can't have a friendly independent relationship with America, why don't we go the whole hog and join them?
In a dark, brooding, moody essay, Don Watson plays on the paradoxes of Australia's feeling about America and offers a scathing view of an Australian culture that is asking to be engulfed by its great and powerful friend because the mental process is already so advanced. This is a brilliant meditation round a set of paradoxes that are central to our long-term anxieties and hopes.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 4, Rabbit Syndrome:
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... this is a Quarterly Essay that plays on our most fundamental fears, including the most terrifying of all, that we shall cease to exist because we have never been.
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