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Don’t listen to Robyn Archer until she fixes her “diaspora” nonsense

I-filed 6 April 2012 21

Robyn Archer got national media on Wednesday telling Australians to stop Canberra-bashing (do we care what Sydneysiders say about us? and Melbourne likes us heaps, thanks to our shared political history).

I’m not sure that we should welcome Robyn Archer’s attention. After all, she is responsible for the insult and travesty that is the Canberra “diaspora” website [canberradiaspora.com.au], giving anyone who has ever visited Canberra licence to give themselves “Canberra diaspora” status. Anyone with a basic command of English should know that the Canberra diaspora is Canberrans not currently in Canberra. By definition. Definitively.

Robyn, your website’s an insult to Canberrans, frankly. I don’t want tourists and parvenus hopping on the “diaspora” website claiming some kind of local status. Get stuffed!

Try spending a week in Jerusalem, returning to Australia, and then claiming that you’re part of the Jewish diaspora. Or spend a weekend at Uluru and come back to the East Coast claiming to be an Aborigine. Robyn: seriously, rename the website something along the lines of “I’ve visited Canberra”. You’re an outsider and you are embarrassing us!


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Don’t listen to Robyn Archer until she fixes her “diaspora” nonsense
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thatsnotme 10:27 pm 07 Apr 12

I-filed said :

thatsnotme said :

I simply feel that if you’re so outraged by misuse of a word that you choose to ignore the intent of a site like this, that you must be quite a sad individual.

It isn’t just the misuse of a word in isolation – I think you’re confusing this issue with people on the internet who grizzle about petty grammar & usage issues. This is a whole website that is skewing the meaning of a Canberra identity through ignorance. That’s a pretty big mistake with pretty big implications. The fact that Robyn Archer and the C100 crew “mean well” doesn’t make it OK.

No, I get it. I understand that you’re upset about more than just a grammatical issue. Yet I still feel that your outrage is laughable. I feel that the implications you mention are actually insignificant, because the vast majority of people who visit this website will take it on face value, without trying to analyse the meaning of its title, and what implications that title has on the messages contained within it.

I’d be interested to hear just how you think a website like this could possibly ‘skew the meaning of a Canberra identity’? Is our identity so fragile, that a website with a misguided identity can force it to shift? I think that many many more people would need to be aware of it, and take every aspect of it as gospel, before that could ever happen.

I dunno, I’ve listened to a few of the stories on there, and if these ‘big implications’ you’re talking about include more people speaking about Canberra in the same way that the people on this site do, then they’re implications I’m willing to accept.

GardeningGirl 1:18 pm 07 Apr 12

Deckard said :

Who gives a toss!!

It’s her website, she can do whatever she wants…

From the website, “The Canberra Diaspora is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government.” It’s about us and funded by us, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but I think we ought to give a toss how it’s done.

I’d like to see Canberrans and people who liked visiting more clearly defined as separate groups. The word diaspora is bothering me too. At first I thought okay, perhaps it’s being used in its purest original sense whatever that is. But like Wikipedia says “the word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of people with common roots, particularly movements of an involuntary nature” which is the impression I’ve always had of it. It doesn’t fit people who have chosen to leave and are free to come back any time, it doesn’t fit people who have chosen to settle elsewhere without any desire to return, it certainly doesn’t fit people who weren’t ever Canberra residents in the first place. I find it rather disrespectful to people who have actually experienced a diaspora in the sense of mass involuntary dispersion. Why not just call the website Memories of Canberra or Why I Love Canberra or something and split it up into easy to identify sections for residents (current and former?) and visitors? Diaspora sounds a bit too clever and fancy, it’s wrong anyway, and it has a negative feel about it which surely wasn’t the purpose.

I-filed 9:26 am 07 Apr 12

thatsnotme said :

I simply feel that if you’re so outraged by misuse of a word that you choose to ignore the intent of a site like this, that you must be quite a sad individual.

It isn’t just the misuse of a word in isolation – I think you’re confusing this issue with people on the internet who grizzle about petty grammar & usage issues. This is a whole website that is skewing the meaning of a Canberra identity through ignorance. That’s a pretty big mistake with pretty big implications. The fact that Robyn Archer and the C100 crew “mean well” doesn’t make it OK.

Jethro 6:04 am 07 Apr 12

thatsnotme said :

I-filed said :

thatsnotme said :

I read the post. I looked up ‘diaspora’ in the dictionary. I decided that you don’t know what it means either.

Did you investigate the “widening definition” of diaspora? You might try Wikipedia. The meaning has gone nowhere near “anyone who has visited a particular location”. In any case, you’re ignoring the point of my post, which is that the website is based on a linguistic error, by a government or consultant ignoramus, and it does Canberrans no favour.

Oh no, I’m not ignoring the point of your post at all. I simply feel that if you’re so outraged by misuse of a word that you choose to ignore the intent of a site like this, that you must be quite a sad individual. I’d prefer to get behind someone that chooses to actually raises the positives of Canberra – despite any errors in language – than slam them over a technicality.

If you seriously believe that the potential misuse of a word is enough to portray Canberrans in a negative light, then all I can say is welcome to the internet. I’m sure you’ll find your stay very frustrating.

+1

Anything that challenges the slurs Canberra receives is a good thing. We live in a fantastic city and should support people who are working to share with the rest of the country how great this place is.

c_c 1:59 am 07 Apr 12

I know what Robyn Archer is trying to do, but the way she’s going about it makes her look like a total fool.

I heard her asking rhetorically in what other countries in the world are governments referred to by the name of the capital? Well the answer is plenty, from “Washington” to “Damascus”. Needs to get the dial of ClassicFM a bit more often.

Anyway, I don’t hold much hope for the Centenary anymore. The initial program looks threadbare and boring and the list of sponsors is tiny, less than for a typical art exhibition in Canberra. Between a penny pinching government, a failing retail chain and shrinking media company, there’s not a heap of backing.

thatsnotme 8:22 pm 06 Apr 12

I-filed said :

thatsnotme said :

I read the post. I looked up ‘diaspora’ in the dictionary. I decided that you don’t know what it means either.

Did you investigate the “widening definition” of diaspora? You might try Wikipedia. The meaning has gone nowhere near “anyone who has visited a particular location”. In any case, you’re ignoring the point of my post, which is that the website is based on a linguistic error, by a government or consultant ignoramus, and it does Canberrans no favour.

Oh no, I’m not ignoring the point of your post at all. I simply feel that if you’re so outraged by misuse of a word that you choose to ignore the intent of a site like this, that you must be quite a sad individual. I’d prefer to get behind someone that chooses to actually raises the positives of Canberra – despite any errors in language – than slam them over a technicality.

If you seriously believe that the potential misuse of a word is enough to portray Canberrans in a negative light, then all I can say is welcome to the internet. I’m sure you’ll find your stay very frustrating.

stirred408 7:42 pm 06 Apr 12

I think Robyn Archer is an awful choice for the 100 year thing. How boring does that program look? Every month a different form of basket weaving.

What a missed opportunity…

Deckard 7:15 pm 06 Apr 12

Who gives a toss!!

It’s her website, she can do whatever she wants…

I-filed 7:08 pm 06 Apr 12

thatsnotme said :

I read the post. I looked up ‘diaspora’ in the dictionary. I decided that you don’t know what it means either.

Did you investigate the “widening definition” of diaspora? You might try Wikipedia. The meaning has gone nowhere near “anyone who has visited a particular location”. In any case, you’re ignoring the point of my post, which is that the website is based on a linguistic error, by a government or consultant ignoramus, and it does Canberrans no favour.

arescarti42 6:55 pm 06 Apr 12

dtc said :

arescarti42 said :

Actually that is probably right. I withdraw my previous statement on rents.

You clearly have no idea how to behave on the internet

I like to eschew normal social customs both on the internet and in person.

thatsnotme 6:53 pm 06 Apr 12

I-filed said :

vg said :

Having heard the passion with which Robyn speaks about Canberra I can categorically say the only person embarrassing us in this thread is the OP.

Born and bred are you OP?

Absolutely. I don’t think you’ve read the post. If you don’t know the meaning of “diaspora” you might look it up in the dictionary. Robyn can be as passionate and positive as she likes – that doesn’t make it OK for her to classify any casual visitor to Canberra as a Canberran. That would kinda devalue your own “born and bred” – no point using it as a claim of some kind if you are already agreeing that any blowin can appropriate your status on a C100 website!

I read the post. I looked up ‘diaspora’ in the dictionary. I decided that you don’t know what it means either. Then I also decided that if you’re going to try to raise such outrage over the misuse of a word, that I’d be better off worrying less about you than Robyn.

dtc 5:10 pm 06 Apr 12

arescarti42 said :

Actually that is probably right. I withdraw my previous statement on rents.

You clearly have no idea how to behave on the internet

arescarti42 4:07 pm 06 Apr 12

Tetranitrate said :

But rents in Canberra ARE higher than Western Sydney.
Looking at say, 3 bedroom houses, there’s basically nothing in Canberra bellow 400/week.
You can get as low as ~320 in some areas (Campbelltown) depending on what you consider “western sydney”. Norm would be a bit higher (360?), but Canberra is definitely more expensive.

Actually that is probably right. I withdraw my previous statement on rents.

I-filed 3:33 pm 06 Apr 12

vg said :

Having heard the passion with which Robyn speaks about Canberra I can categorically say the only person embarrassing us in this thread is the OP.

Born and bred are you OP?

Absolutely. I don’t think you’ve read the post. If you don’t know the meaning of “diaspora” you might look it up in the dictionary. Robyn can be as passionate and positive as she likes – that doesn’t make it OK for her to classify any casual visitor to Canberra as a Canberran. That would kinda devalue your own “born and bred” – no point using it as a claim of some kind if you are already agreeing that any blowin can appropriate your status on a C100 website!

Tetranitrate 3:13 pm 06 Apr 12

arescarti42 said :

Imagine what would happen if the mass that is Western Sydney figure out what a shitty deal they are getting, they’ll bring all their crime, traffic, expensive prices, higher rents, lower wages etc. etc, with them here.

But rents in Canberra ARE higher than Western Sydney.
Looking at say, 3 bedroom houses, there’s basically nothing in Canberra bellow 400/week.
You can get as low as ~320 in some areas (Campbelltown) depending on what you consider “western sydney”. Norm would be a bit higher (360?), but Canberra is definitely more expensive.

and don’t even think of comparing to Melbourne or Adelaide.

thatsnotme 2:08 pm 06 Apr 12

vg said :

Having heard the passion with which Robyn speaks about Canberra I can categorically say the only person embarrassing us in this thread is the OP.

Born and bred are you OP? I am

+1

Someone actually trying to give Canberra a positive impression gets your knickers in a twist? You must be a heap of fun at parties…I think I’d prefer to hang out with someone who lived here for a little bit and has something positive to say.

vg 12:33 pm 06 Apr 12

Having heard the passion with which Robyn speaks about Canberra I can categorically say the only person embarrassing us in this thread is the OP.

Born and bred are you OP? I am

GardeningGirl 12:28 pm 06 Apr 12

I hadn’t heard about this so I took a look.

“To celebrate this significant moment in our nation’s history, we want to gather the stories of The Canberra Diaspora – all those people who have passed through, worked in or studied in Canberra, whether as a student, a politician, a public servant, a scientist, a doctor, an architect, military personnel, a musician, or as a student on a school trip or with their family on a holiday visit. It will also be people who have a great story about parents or grandparents who made a significant contribution to the making and growing of the nation’s capital.”

Thanks for making my family who have been here since the 40’s an afterthought while bored brats on a ‘school trip’ are rated right up there in the first group with the other passers-through like ‘politicians’. Honestly, who wrote that, it’s weird!

steveu 12:05 pm 06 Apr 12

arescarti42, agreed. Also if they find out that he have highest per capita public housing of any capital city (happy to be corrected here) then it will be on….
If I recall correctly when Carnell was pushing heroin injecting room, and there was the impression that cannabis use was decriminalized etc, we seemed to attract an increase in those who partook in drugs of dependence…

What cracks me up if how there are alot if people who think all the politicians live in Canberra! I often take great joy in pointing out how under represented we are in terms of elected representatives etc.

Nickamc 11:56 am 06 Apr 12

There are alot of ex-canberrans on the site, which I believe is somewhat more to the point, maybe you could watch a few of them and see what they have to say.

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