Member Rara Avis
OK - here I am, taking time out of my busy world. I just noticed RSWell's comment that America is representative of the world. (I didn't read anyone's replies yesterday...)
Well...I have to say my first thought was...oh really - is it??? Is that right? Where does your evidence come from? You know...NZ has only 3.5 million people but within that population - and particularly within my city of Auckland (1.4 million people) - we have multitudes of other ethnicities (not race - because I object to that word) represented. We have a large Asian population - Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani etc. We have a huge community from the Pacific Islands (Tonga, Nuie, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa)...a large population from the United Kingdom, Australians, People from the Near and Middle East, Dutch people, Mexicans, South Americans, Canadians, Russians, Africans. We have a very successful refugee program for people who suffered in the Balkan Wars...yes, we even have many Americans...
I think your statement RSWells is ridiculously inaccurate..perhaps because of the sheer size (and I don't just mean size of the land) of America it looks like you represent the world. NZ has been referred to as the ultimate melting pot by dint of it's small population accomodating so many ethnicities. But my point is not to create a competition..
But aside from your first blanket statement, frankly, this one:
In this capacity it is representative of the entire planet, all it's peoples and all it's cultures, as well as all it's religion
The entire planet huh? Yes, I wonder how many Bambuti tribesmen you have living in America? How many Peruvian shamans inhabit American soil...??? I'd be interested to know your definition of 'religion' - or were you referring solely to the world religions such as Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism etc? (You will find all of those in NZ btw - in fact, the latest reincartion of the Tibetan spiritual leader is a 7 year old boy who was born here.) Do you believe that expressions of magic and myth count as religion?
Simply, you will not find all the world's religions in America because there are thousands and thousands and thousands of them...
You might like to think about what you mean when you use hyperbolic statements such as 'entire world.'
Brad - what happened to your spelling mate? Heh. Here my opinion?? Off with you to CA please...you need help. HAHAHA. j/k. I just like getting in cheap shots...
Well. I don't have time to write an essay here though I could (and want to heh). Firstly, it's difficult to view the institution of America without attaching some arrogance to it I'm afraid. There we have all the presidents of America sending aid all around the world, making patronising speeches about how brother America is there to hold the world's hand....
The thing for me is that I know that foreign aid is actually a capitalistic ideological function...so I can't help but view America as the biggest capitalist criminal in some ways - continuing the cycle...Just as third world countries are dependent on the first world, it is true to say that the first world depends on the third world for their continuing economic superiority.
Yet, to be fair, NZ sends 'aid' regularly to Tonga...Tonga's infrastructure has changed markedly since NZ started 'helping.' And not really for the better either.
I agree that America bullies when it needs to. I believe that America manipulates regularly. For example, I have had a recent discussion with a middle eastern friend about Saudi Arabia's relations with America during the gulf war and after: He claims that they are in serious debt to America because America stripped their resources considerably during the gulf war. His major gripe - why doesn't America help with the Israeli and Palastinian situation???
It's undeniable that we live in a world economy now - of course the country with the most moolah is going to influence all other countries...
Where does that leave the opinions of the everyday NZer then??? This is what NZers see: (I've had many discussions with many NZers with America so I'm not just talking from my opinion), America is a country that divides its central govts up from state to state - where is the cohesion? America refuses to convert to the metric system like the rest of the Western world - hence you distance yourself from international relations. You have scores and scores of homeless people. The drug problem is off the wall. Racism is ridiculous. Americans speak of control...sometimes it's hard to see it.
Basically, people here who have never been to America view the country and inevitably its citizens as a bunch of people who just don't have it all together yet claim they do.
Americans are loud.
Americans are selfish.
Americans are fat.
You name it - it's been said. (The latter statements are NOT my personal opinions).
A lot of it stems from the media and ignorance like I said.
It's unfortunate but a country's leaders - especially of a country the size (and again I don't just refer to land size) of America - really do colour the way the ordinary people are seen.
And when all we have on our 4 little non-cable tv stations are American cop and lawyer shows can you blame NZers for thinking America is utterly violent??
There you go Brad - an elaboration...
[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 08-11-2001).]