Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"America" in Australia.

I know this blog has been discussing quite extensively the subject of anti-Americanism, and I don't want to seem obsessed about it (well, maybe I am - only a teeny--weeny bit!), but I came across yet another article dealing with anti-American sentiment, this time in Australia.
What I think is new is that English speaking world now also faces a significant increase of anti-Americanism like never before. It is rather new in Britain - at least at this level - and it is rather new in Australia. (The Australians used to like to hate the Asians and the Southern Europeans earlier in their history). The rise of anti-Americanism in countries that share (more or less) the same language and have similar cultural references - more similar at least than with other countries - is something that needs to be considered seriously by the US government and the American people.
Barry Hing, a Sydney writer for The Australian, who has formerly worked as a journalist in Asia and Europe notes [in his article here] that across the political spectrum - Australians have been...
blaming the US for everything from the rise in obesity rates to the emergence of homegrown Christian fundamentalism to outbreaks of racism to the problems affecting the development of local television drama.
There is a ferocity with which Americans are being lampooned, and it can apply to anything - accents, food, entertainment, social graces, fashion, weight, as well as their supposed lack of intelligence and insensitivity to other cultures.
On the other hand, despite what Hing said, I don't have a problem with people poking fun at the Americans for being stupid hillbillies, wild cowboys or just plain dumb. It can be fun just as poking fun at the the French for being cowardly, dirty and eating frogs can be funny at times IF it's done with humor. Those are pbviously stereotypes with little or nothing to do with reality. We know that. (I must say some French or American-bashing jokes can just crack me up at times - it requires a few cent worth of humor and some sense of self-derision - something SuperFrenchie seems to lack at times).
What is more annoying is when any
"agreement with the US automatically implies subservience and that the mere idea that we could share common interests is judged as impossible". This is true for the Australians but also for the French or the British.
As much as I have the greatest contempt for GW Bush - probably as much as for Chirac - I continue to believe that there needs to be separation between normal criticism of the US,
including opposition to the war in Iraq and specific dislike of George W. Bush and the appreciation for a country, (some of) its people and (part of) its culture. Let's not become what we reproach the Bush administration with - simplistic people with a black and white view in which no middle-ground, no moderation and no subtlety is possible.

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