Saturday, October 4, 2008

It Might Seem That Way But Maybe It's Not

I read two blogs this week that made me think of perceptions.

One was from someone who declared, in their comments, that  the whole world loves to believe in Israel's myths.   This is in terms of the whole Israeli-Palestinian thing.  It seems in his eyes, we're all on the side of the Jews and have no sympathy for the Palestinians.

The other was from an American living in Australia who believes Australians are Anti-American.

The Israeli thing kind of surprised me because in MY perception, I've always felt that most people are on the Palestinian's side when it comes to that conflict.   The exception would be right-wing Christians, who are waiting for Jesus to return, and Zionists.    I thought it was kind of funny that this guy thought one thing and I thought the opposite.   I decided to Google to see if I could find statistics, and it ended up that I was more right than him.

More countries, as a whole, support the Palestinian side and not the Jewish side.    Unless I'm reading the statistics wrong.   ?????

As for Australians hating Americans..... Let's suspend reality for a moment and pretend that Australia and America are NOT made up of individuals who have a variety of beliefs and opinions.  Let's just make one blob called Australia and one blob called America.   We'll pretend they're people.

I see the relationship of Australia and America as being very similar to my relationship with a certain person.   I shall not mention any names.   In our relationship, I feel like the Australia while she is the America.

We are both totally cool people.   We're both smart.  We're both creative.   We're both talented. We both know we're awesome.  

 The difference is that I notice her.   She doesn't notice me.   Or at least she gives me the impression that she doesn't notice me.   I'm very resentful about this.   I feel hurt that she doesn't notice me or appreciate me.   Not only do I resent her lack of attention towards me, but I resent that she's noticed by others while they ignore me.   Like America, she tends to be the center of attention.   If she's not around, I seem to exist.   If she is around, I feel invisible.

A part of me hates her.   I'm angry at her.  I don't like certain parts about her and it bothers me that not only does have these bothersome traits, she doesn't seem to realize it. 

She is very high on herself.  Sometimes, I really want to send her a mean and nasty email.  You are not as great as you think you are!  Get over yourself!     The thing is though...another part of me thinks she IS incredibly cool.   I just wish she'd act a little less stuck on herself, give me some attention, and fix some of the negative aspects of herself.

I think in very general terms, Australians resent America because while they know so much about us, we pretty much ignore them. We pretty much ignore everybody until they're doing something that bothers us and we feel we might need to invade them. We can be pretty damn ethnocentric.

The relationship between us and Australia would be less complicated if we were just that annoying powerful country with the evil president that started a war that was killing thousands of innocent people.    The problem is that while Australians are angry about this, they're getting our music, they're reading our books, they're watching our TV shows, and they're watching our movies.    
It's a total love/hate thing.    And when there's a love/hate thing.....I think sometimes the hate part becomes even stronger.    If our culture wasn't so infiltrated into their culture, I think they could just ignore us and hate us a little less.

Before I came to Australia, I worried (I guess from reading the Internet and hearing the complaints of expats) that Australians hated us all.   I feared as soon as I opened my mouth and let my accent be heard, I'd be shunned.

So, here I was thinking that Australians were going to be making negative assumptions about me because I'm American.   Okay, but who was REALLY making the negative assumptions?

I don't think it's fair to generalize and say all Australians hate Americans.   BECAUSE if you say that, YOU are the one generalizing.

I know I provided a little analogy in this post about how Australians feel about Americans.   But it represents only how SOME Australians feel about Americans.

I think there's a huge variety of Aussie opinions regarding Americans.

Some might fit the analogy above.

Some might love Americans.  Hell, they might even love George and all who voted for him.

Some might not give a crap or have an opinion.  They might not have any prejudices.

Some might hate American government, but understand that Americans are not their government.  As individuals, we DON'T have that much power in who becomes the president.

Some might be nice to Americans and say nasty things behind our back.

Some might hate Americans and will automatically hate me as soon as I say I'm American.

I personally am not offended when someone makes critical remarks about my country.    I think people have a lot of valid complaints right now.   Our government IS causing a lot of problems.  Some of us ARE very ethnocentric.   We DO spread yucky things like McDonalds around the world.

If  some Australians say ALL Americans are horrible, and if they hate me automatically because I am American, than I say that minority of Australians are not worth my time or energy.   And I DO think it's a minority that feel that way.    There are ignorant closed-minded people in every country and culture.   But if I assume that because some Australians said some negative stuff about Americans, that MOST Australians feel that way about Americans, than I think I'm being unfair and hypocritical.

Anyway, if you think there's tension between Americans and Australians, it aint nothing compared to the tension between Palestinians and Jews.   Hey, but even there we have no absolutes.   Not all Palestinians want to blow up Jews.   And not all Jews want to make the Palestinians vanish from the earth.    I personally think that NO people should live on that little tiny piece of land.   I think it should be like Antarctica.  Scientists and tourists only.    The Israeli's and Palestinians can go live on the moon together.   Wouldn't they look cute jumping around in their spacesuits?!