Friday, 15 August 2008

Pity your American friends

... because they are citizens of the world's most embarrassingly nationalistic country.  Oh sure,  there are countries out there which engage in more horrible displays of nationalism or are more belligerent;  there may even be countries where there is more mindless flag-waving.  But when it comes to sheer infantile behaviour designed to massively shame any thinking citizen,  it's surely got to be USA!  USA!  USA!  all the way.

The latest evidence?  Something that's been right in front of my face for a few days now,  every time I log out from my  (American)  Yahoo!  email account,  but it wasn't until I read this little article in The Guardian that I found out.  All the mainstream American news outlets have,  through some unspoken yet universal agreement,  moved the Olympic goalposts.  Faced with the appalling prospect of another country winning more gold medals than them for the first time in decades,  they've rearranged the medal tally so that it's now ranked by total medals - because that way the USA has a better chance of coming out on top.  CNN's way of doing it is particularly neat - not only is the total medal tally in bright red and in the first column,  it's augmented by bars.  You have to look really quite closely to notice that China is way out in front in golds:

Needless to say,  this is a very new development in the American media,  and every other nation in the world is still counting the traditional way.  Which makes the world's greatest nation look utterly pathetic.  I liked the comment by the author of the Guardian piece:  "Perhaps the US networks should start celebrating bronze medals as the true sign of Olympic achievement?  Because there the USA team still has a big lead."

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The "Aussies" in Beijing

Yeah,  just killing time on a lazy Saturday morning,  clicking on whatever brightly-coloured item pops up on Yahoo when I finish checking my email... well,  I didn't see much of the ceremony yesterday,  so I was feeling the need to catch up with the three billion people who did,  or however many it was.  (click images to enlarge)

Gee,  their sandals might be very summery and Australian and all,  but in those outfits they could be mistaken for New Zealanders...
(takes closer look at flag)

The people at Yahoo USA did do some research - they carefully looked up the name and details of the flagbearer:

... they just failed to notice this was not in fact the guy in question.  Despite that nifty Polynesian accessory he's been draped in  (hey,  are those things kiwi feathers??  Were any endangered national symbols harmed in the making of this opening ceremony?)

You know,  I really don't mind.  It's just like the Canadians and the Americans.  I think the New Zealanders have more cause to be offended for being mistaken for Australians.  I'd love to have people thinking that we were seriously committed to environmental goals,  dead against genetically modified food and nuclear weapons,  and fully in favour of gay civil unions and protecting the dignity of indigenous people.