Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where do we fit?

Context, everything must be in context. My context is being born in 1957, Australian, no that is not Austria in Europe but down under, and growing up on a farm and being quite innocent and ignorant about the world around me.
I am left leaning and voting in the United States, should I be a citizen, voting for the Republicans is beyond my imagination. When the US elected Obama, I felt proud of my fellow humans. This is rather odd as he is not my country’s leader. I think from Europe, to Britain, to Australasia , we would like to have him as our head. He maybe black on the outside and white on the inside, nevertheless, he is a caring person who wants to make the US a better place, for everyone, not just for the rich and comfortable middle class, as Republican leaders do.
Along with Australian made tv, I also grew up on a diet of English and US television. US shows were more sophisticated than anything made in Australia and Britain. Mr Ed, Petticoat Junction, My Mother the Car, Greenacres, I Dream of Jeanie, Gilligans Island, Bonanza, Littlest House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Lost in Space.............too many to remember.  Later came Streets of San Fran, Columbo etc etc, but at some point I stopped liking American tv. My partner was today watching an old episode of a show, and I have forgotten his name. No I haven’t, Charlie Sheen and it is an awful tv show, unwatchable for me, yet my partner finds it quite amusing.
Step forward some twenty years and our present young people absorb US culture like a sponge, to the disadvantage of our Australian culture and our predominantly English heritage. While people like me think it is a problem, if I look more closely, while America seems to dominate our culture via television and to a lesser degree music, it does not in other ways. I consider English made tv is generally superior to American made tv. There is still and strong English aspect to Australia but perhaps ameliorated mb the European culture brought into Australia mainly of the past 7 decades.

While Asian, Sub Continental, Middle Eastern and African food has been embraced, I can't say the same about their culture and apart from the richer Asian countries having some minor influence, I doubt any of the above will have much permanent influence.

Has Australian white culture changed that much in my life time? It has changed in many ways, but I am inclined to think the more things change, the more they stay same. What do you reckon?

(I am away at The Bellarine, so you get this very old unpolished post, but I have checked the spelling at least)

22 comments:

  1. I hear you. On so many fronts - including much preferring English made tv. Though mind you I don't like much of any tv - regardless of where it was made.
    The soaking up of American culture bothers me. We seem to take from the lowest end of the pool...
    And no, apart from the food (which is more than welcome) we don't seem to have absorbed very much from any cultures other than British and American. Which is possibly a sadness.

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    1. EC, perhaps it is all ok about not absorbing other cultures if we appreciate the multi cultural parades on our festive days.

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  2. Andrew, everything is in a context it's true and what's more you are right that American culture is everywhere. But not everything which comes from US is good. Europe and its heritage is much older so it's definitely better than American one. Probbably Austrialian culture has changed but you have possibility to choose. Which option is the best is you choice and lifestyle. You are a unique as a human so it's the most imoprtant.

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    1. Gosia, I can't agree that Euro culture is superior just because it is older. Ok, Euro culture is superior, but that is just my opinion, without a basis for saying so. Just instinct.

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  3. I accidentally saw an ad on tv last night (I normally avoid all ads like the plague) about an exercising machine to make your legs fitter and sexier. It had a car with a left hand drive, they spoke about pounds instead of kilos and cookies instead of biscuits. The grammar was horrible and the American accents worse.

    Now I do NOT mind tv programmes and ads being played in the countries they were made for. They are designed to be culturally sensitive to the home country. But this ad was culturally INsensitive and bloody annoying.

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    1. Hels, while I haven't seen such ads, I have heard they are around. I heard they use a mirror image to make a left hand drive car look right hand drive. I really hate the way we are going backwards with metric because of American influence.

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  4. It's interesting to compare notes about what we think is a significant part of a culture. I very much like the clever word play of a lot of British humour, or the ability of the British to laugh at their own foibles, very much in evidence in TV shows. On the other hand, I'm not impressed by the British class system, nor by the Puritanism of many Americans.

    Have we developed a notion of what white Australia is because there was a vacuum left when we found ourselves less tied to Britain and more open to US media product? Or did we always have a notion of what white Australia is, but that notion is constantly evolving? Does it's evolution reflect our own growth, or is it evolving because we passively accept increasing quantities of media based garbage?
    Which culture – British, American or Australian; pink, purple or green – is responsible for reality TV?

    Perhaps I'm turning into one of those jaded old farts who drone on about the youth of today… or perhaps I'm right when I suggest we have less of a sense of who we are, a lot less sense of community or belonging, a lot less respect for life, and have lost the art of communicating at a personal level without some electronic device acting as the carrier pigeon.

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    1. PS apologies for the apostrophe

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    2. FC, the British class system is appalling. I saw some things there that I cannot express in writing. Just too demeaning. Lucky I am an Australian and the English snobbery towards us falls on deaf ears.

      Do Americans actually have sex? They seem to be, if you go by tv, to be asexual.

      At your age of life, you are obliged to complain about the young. There is a very long history to it.

      My jury is out on electronic communication. Would I want to know you or you want to know me if we facing each other?

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  5. Growing up on American shows and with a few English shows too but now I think our own shows have grown up, I now check out all the new Australian shows.
    Some I like some not so much but they are worth a look now and some are ones I will not miss.
    Merle..................

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    1. Merle, we can make really good tv shows, but all we seem to be known for is Neighbours in the UK, and Crocodile Dundee in the US.

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  6. Andrew, It's interesting but slightly concerning how American tv shows are saturating our Sky tv menu's.There's literally several new US tv shows turning up every week. I don't know how anyone can keep up with them all. And in a way it does tend to drown out our own British tv culture.
    Odd that I cant really think of many Australian tv shows that we get over here. I can only think of your two top soaps Home and Away and Neighbours plus maybe a couple of Bondi Beach type rescue shows. I noticed that we are now getting an Aussie version of my favourite tv show Grand Designs.
    So whats the percentage we're getting I wonder. 65% of imported US tv shows and about 12% of Aussie shows. As a western English speaking country that doesn't seem right to me.
    David.

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    1. John, the shows you mention from Australia are not ones we watch but I think some of our shows would export well enough, such A Place Like Home.

      I did learn in England that generally in Australia we see your cream of the crop and there are a lot of pretty ordinary shows on English tv.

      Grand Designs, Australia, was on pay tv here, and so we didn't see that. We saw most of the English ones on free to air.

      65% of your tv from the US is alarming.

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  7. I adore British TV! American stuff is so in your face & they explain everything. The Brits let you use your imagination and their humour is far superior. In my wee opinion anyway!

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    1. Fen, you have summed it up really well.

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  8. I have heard on more than one occasion that English made TV is now superior to ours in the states. I really need to check it out! I have heard that Dr. Who is amazing, and also Sherlock Holmes.

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    1. Keith, they really do excell at classy tv and humour, in my opinion. I have seen some Dr Who, but it is a bit way out for me. I haven't seen any of the Sherlock show.

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  9. I simply cannot think this deeply today.
    TV? Mine is off 95% of the time now. I look at the TV guide and see nothing worth turning on for. Even the dvds are getting a rest.

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    1. River, if I lived alone, I expect I would be a radio person.

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  10. Andrew you must go and see 'Le Weekend' if it comes your way, of course it'll come your way.. An English movie set in Paris, how much more perfect can you get.. it's fantastic..google it!

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    1. Grace, it looks awfully like what is described as a chick flick, but no doubt worth watching for the scenery.

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  11. No way Andrew.. but now that you mention it there weren't many men around :) Watch it when the DVD comes out, honestly its really good, lots of deep and meaningful stuff :)

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