Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What people think of Aussies

I just read an article on I had to laugh at the in your face rhetoric of the author who was counter arguing against the criticisms of an English journalist. Persoanally I don't care what the world thinks of Australia. Every country is misunderstood until some one takes the time to live there. The greater the cultural gap, the longer it takes to understand a new culture.

Anyway have a read:

We're not like Neighbours, By Anita Quigley
March 14, 2007 12:00am

THERE is a well-known newspaper term used to describe where unwanted stories go - they are spiked.

A story is spiked when it is deemed not newsworthy, badly written and researched, or if there is simply not one spare column centimetre left in the paper to run it.

This week I discovered another spiked which, according to its mission statement, is "an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms".

All it needed to say is that it is a website at times dedicated to publishing rubbish written by British social commentator Patrick West.

His latest drivel Life in Oz: Nothing like Neighbours is most certainly worthy of being spiked.

West pontificates: "Answer me this - if things are so great Down Under, why do so many Aussies leave?"

He then attempts to answer his question: "It's because Australia is not the paradise it is portrayed to be on Neighbours. One of my Aussie colleagues is often asked why she chose to live in miserable, rainy Britain ... her answer was simply: Australia is nothing like Neighbours. It's more like Kath and Kim."

West continues: "She went on to explain that the land Down Under is not populated by the hearty, the gregarious and the welcoming, but by white trash ... Australians are some of the most coarse, racist people on earth, as Kath and Kim rightly portrays.

"For example, an American girl who seeks courtship will tentatively ask you for a meal and weeks of getting to know you; an Australian girl will come up to you at the Walkabout bar in London's densely Aussie-populated Shepherds Bush and inquire, 'Would you like a f...?"'

Quite frankly, I'm relieved Australia is nothing like Neighbours, with the likes of busybody Harold popping in and out of your home all day.

Give me Kath and Kim (who are not racists, by the way) any day.

Unsophisticated, perhaps, to Londoners -but racist? How? When?

Strangely, West makes no mention of English soccer fans banned from Europe because of their racism and violence over the years.

Ever heard of an Australian sports supporter being banned overseas?

We all know Kath and Kims. Every city has them - New York's live in Queens, London's reside in Essex and ours in Melbourne's Fountaingate.

Yet however they may dress or speak, most Kath and Kims would be the first to support their neighbours and complete strangers - more so than the sophisticated inner-city slickers (like West) that look down their nose at them.

It is also a gross over-generalisation to say Australia is full of white trash.

But West's argument collapses when he says all the "clever" Australians flee to Britain.

"Because despite all of their protestations against Barry Humphries' character Sir Les Patterson, Oz's own farting, swearing reprobate cultural attache, Australia remains a philistine country," he writes.

"Think about it. Who do the Americans celebrate as national heroes? George Washington, George Gershwin, Ernest Hemingway, Franklin D. Roosevelt and so on.

"We Brits revere Chaucer, Shakespeare, Elgar, Nelson and Churchill. And who do the Australians put on their postal stamps? Ned Kelly, a murderous bandit who famously put a metal dustbin on his head and tried to kill coppers."

And to think all this time I thought modern Britain worshipped Posh and Becks, reality TV stars such as Big Brother's resident racist Jade Goody, and the articulate Gallagher brothers.

But West, who is also the author of Conspicuous Compassion - which was reviewed in Britain's The Times (by one of his own countrymen) as "utterly devoid of insight ... nonsense ... pandering to the fashionable pull your socks up, preachy attitude" - continues with more gibberish.

"This is why all the most cerebral Australians, such as Clive James, Germaine Greer, John Pilger and Peter Singer, have lived for so long either in the UK or the USA. They all wanted to get away from the land of Kath and Kim," he adds.

How does he explain then how England got Pete Andre and Jason Donovan? What West should have said is not necessarily the smartest Aussies flee to Britain, perhaps just the most opportunistic.

And what he doesn't acknowledge is that your Clives and Greers are caught in a time warp. They think Australia is still the Australia they left decades ago, ensuring most of what they say is irrelevant.

As for Singer? The US can keep the academic who in 2001 stated that "mutually satisfying activities" of a sexual nature may sometimes occur between humans and animals.

The immigration department granted 28,821 working holiday visas for Brits in 2005-06. In the same period a further 32,152 UK residents gained permanent residency here.

For "the most coarse, racist people on earth"' we've sure got something going for us that Poms love.

Maybe West could come and investigate in person. I know some welcoming B&Bs in Fountaingate where he could stay.

* Anita Quigley is joint Australian/British passport holder who lived in London for six years.

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