November 01, 2005

Two Stereotypes

Australians in this part of the world typically meet two very different types of Americans who always tell you they want to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand: fundamentalist anti-government right-wing gun-nuts, and the leftist sick-of-it-all go-somewhere-congenial-before-it-all-goes-bang! types. It goes without saying that neither type knows much about their intended destinations, and that their conceptions of Australia or New Zealand say much more about themselves than either country, but it's a strong and enduring phenomenon.

It's sometimes fun to indulge the idea for a while, but the reality is, neither's likely to find any sort of Utopia there. Both types have such strong images of Australia and / or New Zealand that any attempt to spell out just how out-of-place (or even despised) the average US gun-nut or condescending Berkeley do-gooder is going to be in the place of their fantasies just goes in one ear and out the other.

Americans like this tend to see Australia and New Zealand as either the last frontier or as outposts of decent liberal civilisation; in both cases they can only see Australia and New Zealand as being what they think the US should be (a frightening thought). That is, they're really not interested in either Australia or New Zealand, but in America.

(Part of America).


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