There has been some disquiet in the Neocon media of late concerning the exploits of Tasmanian Aboriginal “historian” and author Bruce Pascoe.
The hullabaloo began with the publication of Pascoe’s bestselling book, Dark Emu, in which he makes some pretty wild claims to the effect that Aboriginals lived settled lives in large villages and had sophisticated agricultural practices, as opposed to the commonly accepted view that they were isolated palaeolithic hunter-gatherers.
This theory, or rather story, has been shot down along with Pascoe’s credibility, for those interested in reading up on the Dark Emu saga there are extensive rebuttals to the book available here.
Further to that controversy, it would appear that Mr Pascoe is not, in fact, an Aboriginal person at all; his detractors among the First Peoples have employed a genealogist to draw up the author’s family tree and as far as can be discerned, he is of solidly British stock.
Most of the clans to which he has claimed an attachment have rejected his aboriginality based on their own tribal genealogy, however, the Yuin people of southern NSW still recognise him as one of their own.
According to Yuin elder Pastor Ossie Cruse, Bruce Pascoe has helped identify “a lot of culture of significance to our people”. That idea presents a problem since, to a White Australian, Pascoe’s historical works read as exactly the type of thing typically written by “do-gooder” Whites within the genre colloquially known as Black Armband History.
These fictionalised accounts of Aboriginal life and their “rich and vibrant” pre-contact culture are aimed at bolstering the quasi-religious bourgeois cult of White guilt, rather than bring forth any new understanding of traditional Aboriginal life.
There is already extensive historical and anthropological data available to attest to the hunter-gatherer lifestyles lived by pre-contact Aborigines, eyewitness accounts abound, however, the implacable view that the old pioneers, in collusion with the colonial authorities, conspired to erase the true history has taken hold among the chattering classes.
Dark Emu, is not a history book, it is historical fiction based on wishful thinking by an apparently well-meaning author who had a very hard upbringing and seems to have had a lifelong and desperate need to belong to a wider social structure.
If the Yuin wants to treat Bruce Pascoe as an Aboriginal kinsman and hold onto his observations as tribal lore then that is their business, but what has to be understood by Whites is that this is an innovative, rather than a historical approach.
Aboriginal tribal lore has no bearing on we Australians, the information contained in Dark Emu is about as realistic as the Dreamtime stories handed down through the generations; it is unlikely to be used in any future legal proceedings since it would be useless as evidence, so there is no need for the level of outrage displayed by Andrew Bolt and his Sky News colleagues.
It is true that Bruce Pascoe, as a darling of the bourgeois luvvies, has been the recipient of some taxpayer-funded largesse and this is the hook used by Newscorp to rope in their hoople-headed viewers, Aussies have to reject this “taxpayer vs parasite” sledge in all its forms and see it for what it is, a method of dividing the working classes and turning us against each other.
This is the real story of the Dark Emu controversy, the constant conservative attacks on people who are availing themselves of state support in one form or another.
Aussies should see it as a sacred duty to extract as much benefit from the state as they can. Pascoe may be a fraud but at least he has worked at it, if you don’t want to be a taxpayer and have “your money” piddled away on the arts and humanities projects then get married and have a tribe of kids, you’ll be a net receiver of public money in no time at all.
From this position, you might then start agitating for more public money to be directed to parenting payments and less on dubious professorships and tax breaks for multinational media empires.