October 28, 2004


Nice crowd at the taping of SBSís Insight program the other night. The subject was Australia's relationship with the US. Check out the interjections when a sound problem occured:

JENNY BROCKIE: We are going to have to move on because we're running out of time, and I'd like to get back to the US election if we can because it is just a week away. I wonder, George Friedman, we talked about whether there's a difference - you're smiling there, what do you make of all of this, when you hear this kind of discussion going on? Does it give you an insight into what Australians are thinking a little bit more?

MAN: He's asleep.

JENNY BROCKIE: He's not asleep.

MAN: He's a good last speaker.

JENNY BROCKIE: No. Can he hear me? Can George hear me? George, can you hear me in Texas? No! Martin, you can hear me, can't you?

MAN: That was censorship by Murdoch.

Read the whole thing. The gibberish from Chris Haywood and Richard Neville is fantastic.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 28, 2004 02:52 AM

Australia is high on the list of places they'd like to go if they ever got around to going somewhere, but most Americans never leave their own state.

Can we PLEASE put this ridiculous lie to rest? I'm a 27 year old "average American" from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I've been to every state on the eastern seabord from Maryland to Florida. I've been to Ohio and West Virginia more times than I can count, and I've been to Canada twice and Mexico once.

I'd love to ask any of those twits to point out PA on a map, see how long it takes them...

Posted by: Syd Barret at October 28, 2004 at 03:44 AM

I agree. It's a silly stereotype. I've been to 22 of the 50 states, Canada, Mexico, 7 European countries, 4 Middle Eastern countries, and even lived in Iran for 18 months. Australia is, sadly, not one of the countries I have visited thus far, but it -is- high on my 'to do' list.

Posted by: Vicki at October 28, 2004 at 04:16 AM

Whenever I hear someone dismiss Americans because very few have passports (I don't remember the %), I laugh to myself because they're showing their ignorance of the US, once again. In order to visit some truly wonderful and spectacular places, Americans don't need a passport. We can stay in the US and see the glaciers and wilderness of Alaska, or lounge on the tropical beaches of Hawaii. (Not to mention one of my favorite vacations - a road trip across the country.) If we want to travel outside the US, we have 2 very different (from each other) countries on our borders, and neither one of them requires a passport to enter.

Plus, most Americans just don't have the vacation time available to take long trips outside of the US. So, when weighing the options of staying in the US and visiting some place easy to get to and interesting and fun or face the hassles of long overseas flights with less time actually spent in the destination, the choice is pretty easy.

Posted by: Polly at October 28, 2004 at 04:31 AM

These people can follow that complain up with the one where you can't go anywhere in the world without running into a band of fat, badly-dressed, obnoxious American tourists without even batting an eyelash. There simply are no synapses connecting there. (Not to mention I didn't realize Iraq was just up the road. I guess all those maps showing it to be a far away land in the Middle East are misprinted.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 04:33 AM

Hey, Tim! I've made official endorsements for every race in the United States election! That's every candidate in every state, plus Puerto Rico and California. To my knowledge, no blogger has ever done this before. Or shall again.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at October 28, 2004 at 04:36 AM

I expect that less than 50% of Americans have left the country, but that very few adults have only been in one state.

Posted by: Larry G at October 28, 2004 at 05:26 AM

Well, I'll say this much, having read that transcript.......

It's very clear that Chris Hayward has lost his battle to prevent American culture from overwhelming Australian culture. Most of the comments in that transcript would go over well in any left wing political group here in the United States.

So give it up, Chris! Go for the American look....whatever the hell that is.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 28, 2004 at 05:31 AM

There is some truth to the notion that Americans are not well traveled. But there are simple expanations for this - such as the time/space continuum. The country is hugh and so is the Atlantic ocean.

The US is also diverse. If you live in Ireland let's say and want to take a winter holiday, you damn sure are leaving the country - it's miserable there in the winter. If you live in the US you can head to Florida, like millions of Brits, Irish and Canadians do. Ha, but this makes them well traveled (read sophisticated) and Americans self absorbed hicks.

Posted by: Eddie Graziano at October 28, 2004 at 05:33 AM

This business about the US being the world's big bully gets very tiresome. The US has borne a huge responsibility for decades now, and a thankless task it is.

For example, the US has 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea alone. We spend over $150 billion annually on NATO. These are huge commitments even for a large, rich country. How many America taxpayers actually complain about such costly commitments?

Oh, and if there were ever a serious threat to Australia, I don't think there would be any hesitation among Americans to come to her defence. Like Britain, Australia lives in a rough neighborhood. Unlike Britain, Australia has never lied to the American people, as the British did during WW1.

Posted by: Butch at October 28, 2004 at 06:05 AM

Apart from the nauseating renarks by richard neville about the ugly bullies there was little to make one reach for the prozac.
Surely this guy is a pom?
I can imagine him behind John kerry 30 years ago,telling crowds of peaceniks that US Vietnem personel are war criminals.

Posted by: davo at October 28, 2004 at 06:34 AM

I can imagine him standing on a street corner screeching that the world is run by Zionist Space Monkeys.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 06:39 AM

"Australia lives in a rough neighborhood."

The sharks in the pacific and the snakes on land ?


Well speaking about Korea I wonder how it feels to live within the range of 20000 + artillery pieces and xxxxxx number chemical grenades in the hands of a "great leader" ? Atleast some of the world is very greatful for what the US does.

I grew up during the cold war knowing that my hometown was the target of 2 Soviet nukes - we knew that dunno how maybe someones lucky guess - but it was later confirmed after the wall went down and the strategic plans of the soviet army was revealed. 1 for the harbor. 1 for the NATO headquarter.
Without the US I would have been a Soviet citizen probably till 1989. But unlike a lot of Eastern Europe we were so lucky as to actually become liberated.
I think a lot more people appreciate what US has done and is doing than meet the press tells you.

Posted by: T Hansen at October 28, 2004 at 07:37 AM

Note, too, that Americans don't need a passport to enter Canada, several of the Carribean islands, or Mexico(?) for short duration visits.

I've been to 23 states, Puerto Rico, and three Canadian provinces, and I haven't been trying particularly hard.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2004 at 07:39 AM

Grateful that was but let me just say Greatly grateful instead.

Posted by: T Hansen at October 28, 2004 at 07:39 AM

Neville's a nutter. I'm surprised he wasn't wearing a hat he made himself from day-old Twinkies he scavenged from a dumpster, in order to show his solidarity with the oppressed Twinkie Junkie demographic...

Posted by: mojo at October 28, 2004 at 08:06 AM

Not having had a passport does not mean a person has never been to a foreign country. There have been millions of American servicemembers who have been stationed in foreign countries, and they didn't need a passport to enter those countries.

And they still don't need one.

A soldier who's assigned to US Forces-Korea, for example, does not need a passport to enter South Korea. They'll need one if they plan on visiting other nearby countries, though.

A soldier assigned to US Forces-Europe does not need a passport to enter Germany, or any other NATO countries.

Considering that the minimum length of an overseas assignment is one year, a soldier probably has a better idea of that foreign country than some tourist who blows in for two weeks.

Posted by: David Crawford at October 28, 2004 at 08:12 AM

Syd Barret, Eddie Graziano & Polly, probably without realising it, have confirmed everyone's stereotypes about americans. Anyone who can (on an australian blog site) talk about HOW FAR *guffaw*guffaw* USA is from anywhere else has to be on something. Ever tried flipping your desk globe to where New Zealand or Australia is on top, then look down & can you see ANYTHING besides water? The average airfare from almost anywhere in USA to "europe" is LESS than than half the airfare from my town to my state capital.

Keep in mind that USA is the only developed country which routinely elects representatives who have NEVER held a passport. No developed country or member of the anglosphere does this. Everything you have ever heard about the american lack of geographical knowledge or experience is TRUE.

In my travels to 35 countries (& incidentally 33 american states) I have ONCE, outside of USA encountered a citizen of the USA. This is despite the american population being so large that only a small portion of them need to travel, meaning that there are still enough of them on the road for us to meet them almost anywhere. All americans whom I have met while travelling (except the one) when stating where they are from, have quoted their state, or quite often, even their city. When puzzled as to my location, they become heated & sometimes even enraged, to discover that I have matched them by telling them by saying I am from "Queensland" or if appropriate, the name of my town. There has NEVER been an american, (among hundreds) who has got the point when I match "Queensland" to "Arizona", or "outer barcoo" (just say) to "Denver".

Geographically pig ignorant? You betcha they are. Every one of the 35 countries I have visited has displayed similar ignorance, but NEVER outside of blue collar barrooms, & certainly NEVER among university educated.

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 08:20 AM

Let us be clear on one point, Richard Neville is a national disgrace, we all have those (ie, michael moore, OK...???? ) Chris Haywood is most welcome anytime he likes to return to ENGLAND

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 08:23 AM

The Insight program can guarantee to provide a veritable smorgasboard of circus freaks, including the program's host.

Posted by: bad templar at October 28, 2004 at 08:32 AM

I live in San Diego, California, USA, and the closest place where anyone would care to see my passport is in Guatemala, some seven hours away by jetliner. Europe and Japan are 12-hour flights, low fares notwithstanding. Those are long hauls.

It costs me about $300US to fly to London one-way. Steve at the Pub, does it really cost $806AUD (twice as much) to fly to Brisbane from your hometown? I know Queensland is a big state, but still. Have you tried shopping around for a better fare?

BTW, I've met lots of Americans during my trips overseas. Lots. I'd describe most of them as pretty nice people, and certainly not pig-ignorant.

Posted by: Butch at October 28, 2004 at 08:53 AM

Steve at the pub wrote:

"In my travels to 35 countries (& incidentally 33 american states) I have ONCE, outside of USA encountered a citizen of the USA."

(It's "American states", asshole.)

So then, all of the other Americans he has ever met, he met in America. And so, when he is in America, speaking to an American, asking them where they are from, he blows a gasket when they don't respond with "America".

Further, he knows that, when he is in America, talking to an American, that asking an American where they are from will get him a response that will be that American's hometown (and sometimes his home state). Knowing full well that when he hears that American's reponse of their hometown it will cause him to blow a gasket. And yet he continues to do so. You sound like one of those miserable gits who just love to be pissed off, and who purposely sets up a situation that will make you so.


Posted by: David Crawford at October 28, 2004 at 08:59 AM

Well, Steve at the pub, I do my best to reinforce the American sterotype whenever and wherever possible. Glad I didn't dissapoint you. It's interesting you get people enraged at you while discussing where you're from. That sounds like it would be very difficult for a person to do. . . unless he's a complete asshole.

Funny enough, in my trips to Australia, and other parts in the South Pacific and Asia, one of the things I like to do is talk to folks about where they come from, and we have a pleasant conversation about the similarities and contrasts between my home and theirs. I don't think I've ever had anyone get mad at me while doing so. One such conversation took place in Bundaberg. In case you don't know where that is, it's a nice little town on the south end of the Barrier Reef, hometown of Banjo Patterson, if I remember correctly.

Posted by: Polly at October 28, 2004 at 09:02 AM

Steve at the pub too much: You have confirmed my stereotype as well Ė that people who travel frequently portend to have gained a sense of worldliness and sophistication even while they engage in negative stereotyping and using expressions like ďpig ignorant.Ē

Posted by: Eddie Graziano,USA at October 28, 2004 at 09:02 AM

Steve at the pub gave me a great laugh with his perfect example of those who like to proclaim their sophistication based on the amount of travel they have done. I have serious doubts as to whether he has really visited the much boasted of 35 countries.

Between a life in the Australian Army and having a wife who is a flight attendant I have visited more countries than our boastful little friend and I must say that none of those countries stack up to Australia or the USA.

Most straight out suck and the people are savages, especially the Eurotrash. The more you travel the more likely you are to become a bigot.

I live in Townsville, which is over 1100km (700 miles) from my state capital. To fly there costs me $42.

Posted by: Crusader at October 28, 2004 at 09:18 AM

You got that right, Crusader. The more I travel, the more I appreciate the USA and Australia. Both are safe, free, clean, and prosperous. Plus, everything works (the phones, the electricity, the clean water supply, stuff like that). I like a lot of places I've visited - South Africa, Ecuador, Scotland - but there aren't any other countries in the world where I would actually want to live.

Forty-two from Townsville to Brisbane, eh? Where does this guy live (besides the pub)?

Posted by: Butch at October 28, 2004 at 09:26 AM

"Where does this guy live (besides the pub)?"

Probably in the gutter.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 28, 2004 at 10:18 AM

So Steve, you spent a good portion of your life sitting on an airplane. How interesting.

Posted by: Fiona Connally at October 28, 2004 at 10:22 AM

I live in Townsville, which is over 1100km (700 miles) from my state capital. To fly there costs me $42

Crikey! Who'd you fly with? In April it cost $340 to fly on Qantas, one way, advance booking, economy, from Townsville to Darwin via Cairns (about 1900km / 1100 miles).

Posted by: Janice at October 28, 2004 at 10:30 AM


Keep in mind that USA is the only developed country which routinely elects representatives who have NEVER held a passport. No developed country or member of the anglosphere does this.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? And no, I've never been there either.

I actually like that statistic though, I hadn't heard it before, it shows that one doesn't need huge wealth and a leisure-class life style to participate in government.

I am like alot of Americans I think, in that when I can string four consecutive days of leisure together, my last real vacation was February 2001, I like to stay on this continent.

Ive been to around thirty states here, and mostly those trips were on my employers dime.

I havent the faintest interest in seeing Europe, England maybe.
I know how most Europeans feel about the likes of me, they feel like you do.

When I finally do see another continent, it will be Australia. But not until I have both the wealth, and the time that you obviously possess, so I can take in as much as possible.

Posted by: Thomas at October 28, 2004 at 10:36 AM

Steveatthepub says:
The average airfare from almost anywhere in USA to "europe" is LESS than than half the airfare from my town to my state capital.

Well, mate, you surely must live in Birdsville or some such place. I live in Darwin and can fly to Brisbane, a distance of 3,500 km, for about AUD300 (USD220) return on a "normal" fare and for as low as $80 on a "red-hot" special.

Somehow I find your claim about the fares from your town to the state capital costing more than twice those from the US to Europe hard to believe.



Posted by: JPB at October 28, 2004 at 10:49 AM

Oh, no! I've only got a 3,000 mile wide continent to run around on and I've never been to Antwerp! I'm so deprived!

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 28, 2004 at 11:11 AM

Further to Mr. Neville's comments about America being the world's biggest polluter, it's important to point out that America also contributes 25% of the worlds goods and services.

Posted by: gaz at October 28, 2004 at 11:31 AM

Well Steve at the pub, the reason why you seem to have not met many Americans outside of America is probably because whenever they meet jerks like you, the response of most Americans is to say they are Canadian. (This usually results in a blank stare and an "Oh, excuse me" followed by a half-stifled bored yawn and a quick exit by the jerk, I'm not sure why. I think Canadians are fascinating myself. Anyway, it worked for my mother and I when we were in Europe.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 12:33 PM

Alien Greys just endorsed Neville for any public office he so chooses to run for. I ran into a few Yanks while in Australia. Also quite a few in Europe on my various soujourns. Never was I ashamed to admit that I was an American. There is alot of blue water under Australia Steve, but may I remind you that it took me almost 15 hours to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney! Geez.

Posted by: YoJimbo at October 28, 2004 at 12:39 PM

Chris Hayward is the typical buffoon I have either listened to or met from the film and tv industry. Always blaming someone else for the their own dismal efforts to create quality products. Not wasting another word on those barge-arse bludgers.

As for Australia's relationship with the US, it's pretty good and reading the posts from you Americans over the last few months only makes me feel we have more in common than I thought. Sure, maybe a lot of Americans donít recognise us as anything but a quaint little people if they even think of us at all but, big deal, Iím not going to go off and have a sook. And who gives a stuff if we're out of step with world opinion on various issues (eg Israel's wall building effort), all that matters is that we try to do what is right, no matter what the consequences.

And despite what the rag jockeys and clowns on the idiot box tell us about how our alliance with the US has soured relations with east Asian neighbours it is far from the truth.

Posted by: Lofty at October 28, 2004 at 12:41 PM

Dude, I don't think of Australians as quaint little people. Tim looks pretty tall to me. (Then again most men are taller than me.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 12:58 PM

I meant to say quaint to those Americans that don't have any knowledge whatsoever of us, except that one of us has a big "knoife". As for little people I meant in population. That'll teach me not to think out properly what I want to say. Might as well join the Labor Party with the effort I put in!

Oh, and Tim might be tall but my wife's tall and scary!

Posted by: Lofty at October 28, 2004 at 01:23 PM

Let's see, I live in the US. I can drive two days from my home, max, and hear any language IN THE WORLD spoken, eat any CUISINE in the world, drink any BEVERAGE, meet PEOPLE from any culture, find any CLIMATE, see any FILM, read any BOOK, practice any SPORT... and I can shoot guns and hardly ever have to worry about meeting people who read the Guardian, Le Monde, Spectator or SMH. If you people would just hand over the oil and quit whining, I'd never have to leave.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 28, 2004 at 01:35 PM

hey vicki

as an american how'd you get a visa to iran, let alone one that lasted for 18 months??? when i was there last year there was an american dude who had been trying unsuccessfully to get a student visa for 5 years, and when it finally came it was only for 6 months ...

Posted by: chris at October 28, 2004 at 02:14 PM

Australians don't all carry big knives? *frown*

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 02:19 PM

Hi Tim. You should have seen the Insight program about a week before the election was held. They were talking about which party the undecided voters would vote for and had the audience consist of "undecided" voters from Brisbane (where I live).

Well, all I can say is I spent the next hour trying to count all the "Wilderness Society", "Triple J" and "Save the Gay Whales" t-shirts! Yeah, maybe these people were undeciced...about whether to vote Green or Democrat...or Labor (if it meant getting Howard out).

At the end, a representative of Labor and the Coalition was asked to give a brief summary of their party's policies, etc. When the Liberal guy finished his summary, there was a cold silence. When the Labor guy finished, the room erupted with applause. The host (Jenny Brockie?) even seemed a little 'embarassed' by the obvious bias displayed by the audience, and all she could say was something like 'well, I guess these studio debates are always going to go one way or another'. LoL!

Anyhow, anynoe out there who actually believed that such an audience was an accurate sample of "normal" Australian voters must have been sorely surprised come October 9. :-)


Posted by: Richard at October 28, 2004 at 02:31 PM

Crocodile Dundee. Wouldn't he be the most known face of Australia in the US?

Posted by: Lofty at October 28, 2004 at 02:36 PM

Well in my part of the US we have alligators.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 02:55 PM

Mmmmmm. Well, youíve nearly stumped me with the little version of a croc that you find in Florida. Ok, so Iíll say this is the best known Aussie in the US. And don't tell me you've never seen this little Aussie, he's a true bottler!

Posted by: Lofty at October 28, 2004 at 03:24 PM

I'm proud to be Australian when we help fight fascists, pack people smugglers off to jail, kick their bludging clients out, give the UN and the Norwegians the finger and support Isreal. One thing makes me cringe- it's the pathetic desire amounst our fucking media to worry abour what foriegners think of us.

The first thing any foreign celeb is asked as he comes off the plane is "So how do you like Australia?" He/she's always too polite to say "I've only been standing on Australian tarmac for thirteen minutes you antipodian yokel, how do I know?"

Who cares what people think, can we just stop with all this nonsense? Do the Belgians care what people think? No, they know they're nobodies. This country is tiny, it's enough that we punch way above our weight, an Australian ownes Fox, for fuck sake.

If we had a couple of hundred million people we'd be a terrifying and short-tempered superpower, we don't, we're not, get over it.

Wecome to Austalia, enjoy your stay, here's a beer and a reminder we don't like whiny jet-trash so you better have a good time. And that's it, screw you, SBS.

Posted by: Amos at October 28, 2004 at 04:16 PM

Butch, it is $950 return airfare from my town to Brisbane. *sob*sob* Shopping around is only possible if there is more than one airline flying the route.
JPB, get a grip on reality! You think all air routes in Oz are as cheap as those linking the major cities to each other? I find it hard to believe that you are so insular.
Polly I believe Bundaberg is home to Bert Hinkler. Banjo Patterson is a native of Orange.
David Crawford, for a loser I suggest you look in a mirror, & terming me "asshole" for not putting capital A in America, well that says more about you than it does about me.
However, david & Andrea Harris both should read my initial post more closely. I have rubbed shoulders with many many citizens of the USA in all parts of the world, but only ONE has said was from the "United States". All others have identified themselves as being from "Montana" or "Phoenix" (state or city) This is fine, perhaps they are simply jumping ahead to the supplementary question most people ask "yeah, but WHICH PART of usa are you from?" However, when I (wickedly) reciprocate with my own state or town, (instead of saying "I am from Australia") the reaction is invariably downright hostility, (that I DARE to equate my hick state/town with theirs?) or blank incomprehension of what my point is.
Then again, perhaps these Americans all thought they were dealing with a fellow American, as most were taken aback (even after lengthy conversation) to discover that I was NOT an American! This even happened to me in most parts of the USA.

So there you go, the native chatter of my part of Queensland sounds American to American ears?

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 04:26 PM

Er... Amos, I believe an Ex-Australian owns Fox. We gave them Rupert Murdoch, they sent us Gus Mercurio..... hmmmmm, those crafty American wheeler dealers gypped us again!

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 04:29 PM

So, Steve at the pub, what is your home town? You've piqued my curiosity, being an aficionado of Queenslandia.

Posted by: Butch at October 28, 2004 at 04:38 PM

This pig-ignorant Yank was in Queensland last year, on a boat to the Reef, and met a Brit whose accent I guessed was from Newcastle. He's from Bradford - 75 miles away - and the guy seemed totally miffed.

Do you suppose he might guess that I'm from Brazoria County, Texas, rather than Harris County, Texas? I wouldn't exactly think him pig-ignorant for it.

Posted by: Butch at October 28, 2004 at 04:49 PM

Gosh, Butch, you have created history, a Texan referring to themself as "yankee". How the world HAS changed!
Where am I from in Qld? Errr... Queensland may be 3 times the size of Texas, however most of sunny Qld is populated by only a few hundred thousand people. (Most of the state population of 3 million or so live along the coastal strip from Brisbane to Cairns.) I am one of the sparsely scattered few....

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 05:48 PM

Actually, Steve at the Pub, it's most likely you're an ass that most people dislike on first sight.

Posted by: John Nowak at October 28, 2004 at 06:10 PM

Like you would have ANY idea about that, John Nowak. :-) :-) :-)

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 07:22 PM

My family emigrated from a Mediterranean island to Australia in the 1950's. During WWII a German blockade nearly starved my family and their country to death but the Americans undermined the blockade and saved us. When Communism threatened the Mediterranean in the 50's the Americans 'stuck their nose in' again (thank God!) and we were able to get out. Thanks to America this wonderful country had also been saved from invasion by the Japanese...a story I was privileged to hear first hand from an Australian WWII veteran. ps...I LOVE America!
You were right to give Insight a serve Tim. I'm just surprised there was not more of a focus here on the eminently ridiculous Michael McKinley, but along with Neville and Haywood there was so much to choose from. That filthy sleaze bag McKinley is a standard feature on a program that sets out to do a job on it's subject the way Insight did this week, and in fact, the way it does every week. Someone really hit the nail on the head when they referred to the program as a "circus". Actually, all of SBS is!

Posted by: Brian. at October 28, 2004 at 07:50 PM

Amen to that Brian

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 08:03 PM

This is my favourite exchange:
CHRIS HAYWOOD, ACTOR: In terms of values, in terms of a free and open society, why have we just signed up to a trade agreement which gives the Americans control over our cultural identity? That's not a free and open society, is it?

ALAN OXLEY: It doesn't do that at all.

CHRIS HAYWOOD: Yes, it does. It restricts how much we can see of our own cultural production, it leaves new media totally open with no control over what goes into that.

ALAN OXLEY: No, it doesn't do that at all. This concern about our culture - if we produced more cultural products more Australians would be watching it. The big problem are our Australian cultural indices - you're not producing stuff Australians want to watch.

CHRIS HAYWOOD: No, that's not true.

Yes it is Chris. "Something In The Air" wasn't pulled so it could be replaced by a cheaper import, it was pulled because it was shit.

Posted by: Elliott at October 28, 2004 at 08:20 PM

Well, Steve at the Pub, at least I'm not ignorant and unobservant enough to claim that I've only met one American travelling abroad.

Come on. Do you really think anyone buys that nonsense?

Posted by: John Nowak at October 28, 2004 at 08:50 PM

John Nowak, you are illiterate enough to have not read my post. I repeat again for the COMPLETELY BLIND that I have only met one American abroad who claimed to be from the USA, all the rest claimed to be from various states or cities.

I see your hands are shaking, perhaps you should come into the pub for a few rums to settle you down a bit? ;)

Elliot, very well put. Chris Hayward states that the free trade agreement RESTRICTS how much local content we can have? My understanding is that it restricts only the so-called "arts" community from having a free run at shoving unwatchable rubbish down my neck.

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 28, 2004 at 09:05 PM

Steve at the pub, I'm not sure I follow you. Why is it so upsetting to you that Americans tell you what state they are from? We have fifty of them after all. And why do you think that the reaction (when you would tell them the Australian state you are from) was "hostility"? It sounds more like you misunderstood their reaction due to some regional difference in mannerisms between Americans and Australians. By the way, I seriously doubt that any American, unless he was so drunk he was nearly comatose, would mistake an Australian for a fellow native-born American. Your accents are distinctive.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 28, 2004 at 10:08 PM

The gibberish from Richard Neville and Chris Haywood is fantastic

You mean this?

JENNY BROCKIE: Chris, can I put a devil's advocate argument to you which is that the reason - part of the reason that there is so much American product is because people want to watch it and they watch it in massive numbers?

CHRIS HAYWOOD: Well, I mean -

MAN: Who are you to determine what people want to watch?

CHRIS HAYWOOD: It was said just now that if you've got a $3 million product and you dump it here for $20,000, if you're a television station that works to the single bottom line, you're going to take the $3 million product for $20,000 over the Australian $400,000 product that's going to cost you $200,000. That's going to be an impact.

MIKE NAHAN: Business doesn't work that like. You'd only get a fixed price no matter what you show. If you come out with a good Australian version of something, and you make good numbers of people watch it you get more than $200,000. And...you can also sell overseas. What we have to worry about here is, in fact, this triple bottom line is used in means of protecting, in fact, dumbing down culture. limiting it.

RICHARD NEVILLE: Please don't start talk about dumbing down...


Posted by: TimT at October 28, 2004 at 10:35 PM

Steve, when multiple people misunderstand your writing, maybe it isn't their fault.

Personally, I assumed you actually had a point; instead you were simply babbling about something about as important as the way Americans use silverware.

Posted by: John Nowak at October 28, 2004 at 11:16 PM

I must admit I also can't quite fathom Steve's experience...with a large majority of Americans I've met in the last few months, the conversation went approximately this way: "Where are you from?" -- "Germany." -- "Oh, that's nice...where from in Germany?" Followed up by my telling them the name of my hometown, which most of them don't recognize immediately, but that's okay. :) At any rate, most people do seem to be interested beyond the simple "Germany" answer, so I suspect that Steve's encounters aren't exactly indicative of anything about those he encountered.

Besides...Steve, regarding the one guy you met who flatly stated that he was from "the USA", I assume you didn't follow up asking him where he's from exactly? That would make you a rather uncurious person, and just might be part of the reason you apparently haven't had a whole lot of luck in your conversations with other American tourists.

Posted by: PW at October 29, 2004 at 12:40 AM

Steve too much in the pub: the reason people are misunderstanding your comments is because you are a wretched writer. If you would take the time to make yourself clearer, there would be fewer misunderstandings.

But it does sound as if you're the kind of guy who always finds the cloud behind the silver lining. Your pub must be a fun place.

When I lived in Australia, and people would ask where I was from, I would always say, "From the US." They would always act a little exasperated. Duh! They knew that! Where in the US? (I always hated answering this question. I was born in one state, grew up in another and had been living for five years in a third when I moved to Oz. Which one should I mention?)

I got into kind of a long conversation at a bus stop with a guy who asked where I was from, and what my family did there. I told him I'd grown up near St. Louis, Missouri (he thought he'd heard of Missouri) and that my dad used to work for an auto manufacturer. He was concerned about the "used to", he said. "You know, in some of those little places, when the one business in town leaves, the whole town just dries up and blows away." I allowed how this was true, but not really relevant to St. Louis, since it had three million people. (This is the whole metropolitan area, you understand.)

That's the size of Sydney. His eyes glazed over at the thought that there was a town the size of Sydney in the US which he'd never heard of.

This happens a lot. People outside the US think they know a great deal about it, when in fact they know very little. And why should they be experts? No reason at all, except some think they are, and form very definite opinions based on incorrect information. When facts conflict with those opinions, they discard the facts.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at October 29, 2004 at 02:20 AM

The whole thread is rather OT, Polly began it with comment rationalising the low rate of passport application by USA citizens, & it rolled along nicely from there. Now that the usual intolerant rantings from enraged Americans has subsided, some objectivity may be sneaking in (in a BLOG???) Although John Nowak is still talking like he is working his way through his secong bottle!
PW can't quite fathom that Americans blithely assume that when abroad it is natural to say one's town or state of residence instead of country of residence? Certainly most Americans are confused if one reciprocates by supplying a state/town of residence with no clue as to which country I may be from. Curiously, Americans who give no country of origin (USA) & just announce their state or city, are unimpressed or irate if someone else skips the country & just tells them which town they are from. PW, I can't fathom it either.
Andrea, it is not remotely upsetting to me that when everybody else in the tour group/hostel/whatever is saying "India", "Wales", "Denmark", "Singapore", that Americans will come out with "Buffalo", or "Delaware" . Perhaps this has never happened to anybody else? Perhaps nobody else has noticed it, as tour coach drivers & hostel staff tell some real shocker stories about Americans (possibly even some of their stories are true!)
I share your puzzlement Andrea that Americans, especially in their own country, will confuse me for one of them, as to my ears I sound NOTHING like one. But friends of mine in USA do tell me that as soon as they hear "that Alabama drawl" on the phone they know it is me!
Gosh, haven't we got way off the Chris Hayward/Richard Neville wankfest on SBS!

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 29, 2004 at 02:21 AM

Angie Schultz... er, interesting experience you had. I have met lots more dumber ozzis than that. There are plenty who have little or no concept of the world outside their own little patch. The more urbanised they are, quite often the more ignorant they are of even their own country, never mind what is in other countries.
Gosh, the most ghastly people I have ever had the misfortune to meet overseas have been ozzis. Not only can they be incredibly rude, uncouth & downright embarrassing, they will be loud, clumsy, self-centred, etc etc etc.

Yes, my pub is a fun place, people don't seem to ever want to leave :-) :-) :-)

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 29, 2004 at 02:39 AM

Stevie dear...if it pisses you off so much the way Americans answer your questions I suggest an appropriate solution :

1) shut up and stop pestering people for their place of origin. Silence is golden and some people just don't want to share. You, in your rancid view, probably wouldn't understand anyway. Oh, and by the way, I'm TEXAN...and that should mean enough for a clod like you. Most Australians understand that concept as well, as they are "just Texans with a funny accent" (to borrow someone else's explanantion.)

2) stay the f*ck at home, where ever it is that you wish to call home and be happy with your provinciality. No one cares to be like you.

As for all the other Aussies : I love you guys.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at October 29, 2004 at 03:03 AM

"Now that the usual intolerant rantings from enraged Americans has subsided, some objectivity may be sneaking in (in a BLOG???) Although John Nowak is still talking like he is working his way through his secong bottle!"

Man, Steve, you are one spectacular butthead. You have made yourself thoroughly unpleasant here, and you seem to think that that is not only okay, you can't seem to get why people think that you are a rude jerk. And don't foist it off on "ozzies" -- your behavior is your own to control.

And now it comes to an Administration Announcement: quit being rude, or you will be banned. Capisce?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 29, 2004 at 03:14 AM

So now it's the old "enraged Americans" thing, this after pronouncing us pig-ignorant people who supposedly refuse to state specifically where we hail from. Well, I live in San Diego, California, USA, two miles east of Balboa Park.

Steve at the pub, I asked you where you're from and haven't received a reply. If you live in one of those small towns with only one pub, then I suppose I could understand, because if you were to tell us the name of the town, then we would know where you live. It is not to worry, old sport; at $900AUD a pop, I for one am highly unlikely to make the trek for any purpose, nefarious or otherwise.

So, Steve, where in beautiful Queensland do you live, where it costs $900AUD to get to Brisbane. I'm just curious, in a friendly way.

Posted by: Butch at October 29, 2004 at 03:41 AM

Andrea, you want to see a "butthead", I suggest you look in a mirror! I feel for you & the let downs you must have had in life to be so embittered.... *Poor Andrea*

Butch, it is not a one pub town (one pub town would be unlikely to have scheduled Qantas flights) I am not remotely concerned about you knowing where I live, but about my clientele discovering that I am making enough money to surreptitiously globetrot. I have spent years hoodwinking the town into believing I am broke, have the 10yo car, the hand me down clothes, etc etc.... The $950 is of course return airfare, perhaps you would want to stay (new price, one way only $475!) You are most welcome to come anytime, visitors welcomed overwhelmingly, you would not be the first American to come here, but still they are rare enough to be a huge novelty!

Sharon Ferguson, gosh, don't you have it bad! What do you drink to get you into such a twist? Nowhere have I said it pisses me off that lots of Americans are short of manners, I could not care less what some travellers do, it is upon THEMSELF that their behaviour reflects. The thread was about Americans (supposed) relative lack of international travel. I have never pestered anybody for their place of origin, to think otherwise you have 2+2=5 perhaps you figure things out like that? Sorry to disappoint you, but I will travel where I please & when I please. Perhaps you are embittered because you cannot travel? Perhaps you are embittered because I can post a comment without including a swearword? :-) :-) :-)

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 29, 2004 at 04:21 AM

So there you have it, Andrea, the old *I know you are, but what am I* retort. I guess he really got you good. You may as well surrender to his superior intellect now.

Posted by: Polly at October 29, 2004 at 04:25 AM

Polly, you *sweety* XXXX

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 29, 2004 at 04:31 AM

Let's see, Steve: you're "not remotely concerned" whether I know the town where you live - an interest based solely on sincere curiosity - and yet complain about geographically pig-ignorant Americans supposedly refusing to state specifically whence they come. Seems you yourself are unwilling to do said same. Do I detect a whiff of hypocrisy here?

Oh, and I think it's OK to open up to your neighbors about your globetrotting. Otherwise they might think you're going on those creepy sex holidays or something.

Cheers, Butch

Posted by: Butch at October 29, 2004 at 04:42 AM

Butch! Like I tell anybody where I am going, most of the staff are totally unaware that I am absent. I could not care less what the neighbors think, but the perceptions of customers are VERY important (I am doing business la)
Er... & another thing Butch, my thread (weak though it was) actually revolved around Americans being a shade too micro when revealing the geographic location of their home. Of course I am a hypocrite, but it is for making money from drinking & gambling without doing either of those things myself!
Being believed to off on a creepy sex holiday could only improve my image :-) Perhaps I should drop a few hints to this effect?

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 29, 2004 at 05:00 AM

Regarding the man at the bus stop:

I have met lots more dumber ozzis than that.

I don't think he was dumb. Why should he know where and how big St. Louis is? My point was merely that a fellow who was interested in and friendly to Americans didn't know nearly as much as he thought. This is also true of the hostile, but they're not so willing to learn.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at October 29, 2004 at 05:32 AM

Well okay. The Mr Steve At the Pub Show is over: his IP has been banned. I warned him, and he didn't take me seriously. Have a nice life, Mr. Pub.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 29, 2004 at 05:56 AM

Well, God knows, we tried to carry on a meaningful, civil exchange with him...

Posted by: Butch at October 29, 2004 at 06:06 AM

As an Aussie living in the US, i hang my head in despair at the pig ignorant views expressed in the Insight program. It's a great reason not to come home to be subjected to the boorish, outdated and terribly parochial views of a bunch of stupid lefties. For the record, I've met lots of Americans who have been to Australia and want to go back. I met lots of their friends who would love to go. But, hello Australia, you are a long way away and expensive to visit, compared to Europe or Latin America. Get over it.

Posted by: Mike at October 29, 2004 at 06:48 AM

Mike, I can say from experience that a visit Down Under is worth every penny and every hour in the air.

Next year I plan to drive across the whole continent, from Perth to Melbourne. (Plus Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands) As you well know, we Americans make long road trips, so I'm sure I'll feel right at home.

Posted by: Butch at October 29, 2004 at 09:22 AM

"hey vicki

as an american how'd you get a visa to iran, let alone one that lasted for 18 months??? when i was there last year there was an american dude who had been trying unsuccessfully to get a student visa for 5 years, and when it finally came it was only for 6 months ..."

Hi Chris, sorry it took so long to respond. I lived in Iran way back in the dark ages, when it was still run by the Shah, Reza Phlavi. My family and I were actually supposed to be there for 3 years, but political unrest caused us to leave early. I'll never forget spending 3 fearful days in the airport, wondering if we would be allowed to leave. This was still several years before Khomeini took over. I have no doubt performing the same feat (living there for any appreciable length of time) would be next to impossible these days, but not so in the early 70's. It was a lovely country, and the people were some of the nicest I have ever had the pleasure to be around. I hope one day to be able to travel there again, and possibly meet up with old friends.


Posted by: Vicki at October 29, 2004 at 11:45 AM

Grrr, that'll teach me to -preview- before posting. :) (Guess that makes me just another dumb American, eh, Steve?)

I meant Pahlavi, not Phlavi. That was a typo. All other mistakes in my post were caused by my own ignorance.

Posted by: Vicki at October 29, 2004 at 11:50 AM