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27 August 2011 @ 03:16 am
Cross Cultural Tips  
Still plaguey. Will be fine once I can sleep without any coughing. Way behind in sending out flist love, but LOVE!!!! to all of you, especially the ones having crap weeks.

Very shortly, I have noticed that Australia and America have been exerting cultural influences on each other more strongly of late, and just wanted to share a few hints on the topic.

Things Australians SHOULD do more like Americans
* Personal and corporate philanthropy
* Respect for and interest in the arts
* Recognition of people achieving in academic fields and celebration of those achievements

Things Australians SHOULD NOT do more like Americans
* Politics (I'm looking at you, Tony Abbott!)
* Health care (Still looking!)
* Pop music (OK, this time it's whoever that crap was on 2Day that was playing in the Turkish pizza place. But I feel certain Tony Abbott's probably bought the CD.)

Things Americans SHOULD do more like Australians
* Irony. Some of you have the hang of it, but it needs wider acceptance
* Health care
* Media critique (there's not enough mixed ownership here, but there is a solid focus on cross-checking and making loud reports about perfidy when certain outlets are crap)

Things Americans SHOULD NOT do more like Australians
* Constant natural disasters
* Wear flipflops to work, even if they have some sparkly bits glued on. They're not professional. And I have been here too long as I originally wrote thongs and then realised the enormous potential for cross-cultural confusion.

Stay safe you East Coast kids. That earthquake looks like fun in comparison, I'll bet.
Lapin Agile: gobsmackedlapin_agile on August 26th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
No, clearly 'thongs' of either sort (your meaning or ours) would not in anyway improve professionalism at most workplaces I can imagine. The imagination revolts at the inrushing images!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 26th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think a jewelled thong of the US type would hurt!

You do see them over here quite a bit. I cope with them on my staff if there isn't any chance that they'll be dealing with anyone important, but it's not a great look for going into client meetings or catching up with PR people. Some days when it is 40 degrees C and the air con is struggling, I suppose they are a logical option ...
Nennenenne on August 26th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
I think it's hilarious that you native English speakers have cross-cultural confusion. :D Where does that leave the rest of us I ask. How are WE supposed to keep up?

Everyone should, by the way, have more irony in their lives. It is survival mechanism number one. *nods solemnly*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 26th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I usually understand Norwegian cultural quirks (indeed, most Scandinavian ones) more easily than American ones. I think that's because while we all had about 1000 years of cultural development together, over the last 250-odd years Britain and Scandinavia have had to work well with each other on any number of big issues, while the Americans of been of cheerfully forging their own path, sometimes wonderful, sometimes wacky.

Of course, when it comes to this all coming out in English as a language, we're all doomed :-)

And YES!
(no subject) - nenne on August 26th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nenne on August 27th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kitten Kommissarchickenfeet2003 on August 26th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
I'd argue that, at least, some parts of Australia have far more respect for and interest in the arts than most parts of the United States.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 26th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
Not at a governmental level. Don't get me wrong, there are some BRILLIANT companies over here and a lot of really fabulous practitioners, but when you talk to the average taxpayer about what should be supported by government, the arts rarely comes up. And when you look for governmental interest, you might find the odd tax break to encourage film, and then everyone else just hoping their not noticed so their funding isn't cut.

In the media, there is still an incredible amount of time and space given to American film stars and very little given to our own, let alone the people doing great things in literature, theatre, dance, opera and music. And then when you talk about supporting local performances, it's seen as the sort of thing you do if it's a fundraiser or someone you know is involved, but why would you otherwise?

Admittedly it's nearly 10 years since I was last in the US and I have a very New York/Berkeley/Boston/San Francisco skewed peer group there, but my impression was that it was more of a national priority.

Of course, there are only 22 million Australians, and we do require an awful lot of them to support all the sport ...
(no subject) - chickenfeet2003 on August 26th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 26th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rickey_a: tater budgie smugglerrickey_a on August 26th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)

* Media critique* but, but, we have Jon Stewart ;P

* Constant natural disasters and vice versa
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
You do have Jon Stewart and he is one of your finest journalists. The problem is that he is meant to be a comedian.

And as for these constant natural disasters, don't think the Aussies haven't noticed that you are stealing their schtick! This is meant to be a land of drought and flooding rains, apocalyptic storms and fires from hell. You're meant to be the land of opportunity. Now our economy is going gangbusters and you're being blown over every second week. The natural order has been overthrown!
suttonwritersuttonwriter on August 26th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
The politics is definitely true, as is the wearing flip-flops to work. As far as the natural disasters go, I'm afraid we're catching up. . .
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
And, alas, we're catching up in idiotic ideologues trying to determine policy in this country :-(

I say that we both give all the negative lists up as a bad job!

Push reminded me that you guys do refugees far better, too, which is true!
Dedicated Escape Artistjadzialove on August 26th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Flip flops to work are already prevalent in warm climates (such as mine). Men and women, in the right work atmosphere. Though the men mostly tend to wear less sparkly ones...

We're about to get an epic storm too, here on the east coast. We've had tornadoes, an earthquake and now a hurricane all in one week.

I'm not arguing your points - I think you've got something here! I just wanted to tell you about my exceptions. :D

blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC)
Don't think the Aussies aren't aware that you're trying to gazump them in the epic storm stakes. It's right out of order, they have had years of establishing it as their 'Thing' and then you come along and try to hog all the glory.

We'll let it slide as long as you lot all stay safe this time, OK? None of this dozens dead rubbish, it's just overdoing things ridiculously.

We have your booming economy at the moment, BTW. We also have Tea Party-like loonies who insist that despite said booming economy, we're all doomed. Did you lot ever develop a spray to deal with them?
(no subject) - jadzialove on August 27th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα_inbetween_ on August 26th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
Haven't been to America but the one thing I noticed most in OZ was how many people were active and interested in art. Maybe more craft than the art you are thinking of, but I've been to a lot of homes and there seemed an individual, idiosyncratic interest of arts/crafts I haven't gleaned from the US from the countless films and books I took in.

ETA: right, I saw you meant gov spending, but also that someone else agrees with my assessment on the personal level!

Hey, you are MAKING your storms and floods? I only knew about the fires. Did you send those two months of rain to me?

Yeah, thongs. Today I noticed I was the only person in this international city suffering in skin-hurting sweaty sandals while every single other person looked breezily health-footed in thongs. Had to ask a shop assistant if the plastic bit was meant to be taken off the string. Still haven't got any (can*t buy shoes).

ETA: but since there were mostly winter boots in the shops now, the only thongs on sale were plastic - and outnumbered by Crocs or Croqus which ... yeah, even if they cover yucky toes, they are still way worse. Summer-wellies. Heavy heavy plastic shoes with holes that look like wooden clogs only heavier and less cool.

Really feel for you - can*t sleep for the cough, cough can*t better with lack of sleep. Drug yourself and get better.

Edited at 2011-08-26 07:40 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
I think there is a strong crafts movement here, and would agree with you on that. But I would disagree about The Arts, as I think that it ranks further down on the average Australian's list of daily things than it does on the average Americans. Even just little things like supporting community theatre and belonging to a book club are more prevalent in the US than in Australia.

I think it's because Australians work ridiculously long hours, despite cultural stereotypes, and when they get home they want to do something physical or something silly that requires no brain. So they turn to sport, craft, hanging around outside, the pub, TV (mostly imported shows) ...

Poor In's feet! You know, I think in the actual tropics, I would probably make an exception for thongs. As long as people keep their feet nice ;-)

And I got nearly seven hours last night! A record! Alas, the drugs all make me feel worse :-(
(no subject) - _inbetween_ on August 27th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on August 26th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
As usual a rather insightful assessment (from my biased Aussie point of view) and once again tea (very nice tea at that) went up my nose as I chortled reading your comments about Tony Abbott. I really should learn that it is dangerous to drink tea when reading your posts. I also think it was incredibly sad and highly reflective of govt attitudes toward art that Simon Crean and Malcolm Turnbull were unable to attend Margaret Olley's (for non Australian's - a national treasure and amazing and influential artist) state memorial service due to Abbott's petty postering this week in Parliament. What he (and many other pollies of various flavours) doesn't seem to realise is that art (in its many and varied forms) nourishes the nation's soul.

As for the thongs/flipflops argument - I wouldn't ever wear that type of footwear to work and I don't want to think about my colleagues underwear choices, though the thought strays across my mind that my military colleagues may find it difficult to tuck their t-shirts into a thong as required by their 'how to wear your uniform' guidelines.....

Edited at 2011-08-27 02:54 am (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
You know that I am sitting here nodding at all your brill points, while laughing at the idea of servicepeople with their shirts tucked into their undies, right?

And YES! The memorial service had me raging! God he's a knob-end! As a Rudd supporter, Gillard is not my fave, but I tell you that I am supporting her more and more as Tony goes on. The last thing I want is to be living in a country where Alan Jones determines policy!
(no subject) - shu_shu_sleeps on August 27th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
drgaellon on August 27th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
It's going to be STORMAGEDDON!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
It IS! Stay safe, you lot. Big storms are not cool!
george pushdragonpushdragon on August 27th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Lovely. And can I add to the last list 'Callous refugee policy'. Perhaps if Australia had land borders, we'd lose our terror of immigration and stop describing desperate refugees arriving in numbers too small to make a decent Sheffield Shield crowd as an 'invasion'. Why can't we swap Tony for 4000 refugees from the Malaysian camps? Probably Malaysia knocked that back as a bad deal.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
YES! Good grief, I can't believe I forgot that. Americans have much better refugee policies, bless em.

Surely we could convince Malaysia on that one, his ears would make useful weather vanes and I am sure he would be a wiz on the seniors triathlon circuit!
(no subject) - pushdragon on August 28th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
lokifanlokifan on August 27th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Oh Tony Abbott. Such a wanker. People who ask for a SHANDY on the Australian campaign trail - with LIGHT BEER - do not deserve to be elected!!

Irony and healthcare are necessary parts of life :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 27th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
You know, the day he asked for a shandy, I thought 'Hmmm, he appears to be a bit of a wanker' (because if he didn't want to drink, he should have just asked for a soft drink! None of this foot in both camps nonsense!). His epic and ongoing dummy spit since then has proven me right, alas!
(no subject) - rubyemerald_1 on August 29th, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
subtlefiresubtlefire on August 27th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
Still with the sleep-deprivating cough? Ugh, I'm so sorry.

I was going to comment on the other things, but my sleep deprivation just kicked me in the general facial area. How about: I agree with a lot of it, some of it I need to look up to know what you're talking about, and I'm sorry about the flip flops! They're comfier :)
uminohikariuminohikari on August 27th, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
I missed the earthquake, but I'm flying home during the hurricane! AWESOME.

I agree about the flip flop thing though. :T Unless it's super hot, in which case, I can understand.
Ali: jandalalicambs on August 27th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC)
I thought I had foot wear sorted, we Brits worse flip flops (well other people wore them I hate them), Americans and Aussies referred to them as thongs which was a bit bizarre cos we Brits knew that thongs were actually bits of string pretending to be knickers. Then I arrive in New Zealand to find that said footwear is called neither flip flops nor thongs but jandals! :-)
Ali: jandalalicambs on August 27th, 2011 07:55 am (UTC)
I thought I had foot wear sorted, we Brits wore flip flops (well other people wore them I hate them), Americans and Aussies referred to them as thongs which was a bit bizarre cos we Brits knew that thongs were actually bits of string pretending to be knickers. Then I arrive in New Zealand to find that said footwear is called neither flip flops nor thongs but jandals! :-)