Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


Kiwi Anti-Americanism

The cover story of the latest Listener magazine "Upping the anti - the new Kiwi Anti-Americanism" (not available online yet - you have to wait until the 13th) is an interesting read.

Included is an observation from an American living in NZ: that kiwis (in general) consider that all Americans have roughly the same political views, so we tend to blame all of America for the actions of the current administration.

I can relate to that - until I started reading blogs, I didn't realise how much of a gap there was between democrats and republicans in the USA, or between the north and south, or whatever. I guess we assume that countries tend to be relatively homogeneous... this comes from our experience of Europe, where each country occupies a relatively small area, and is fairly proud / defensive of its own individuality / personality. Locally, there are differences in political opinion to be seen everywhere, but I don't think it's on the same scale as in the USA.

One funny point was that kiwis tend to think of America as ugly and polluted. I guess this is because we're continually told by Americans (and Brits and Japanese, etc etc) how beautiful and unspoiled a country New Zealand is.

I'll let you in on a secret: NZ cities are pretty much like cities of a similar size anywhere else in the (western) world -- we have pollution, smog, landfills, water you can't swim in, etc -- and while our countryside is pretty cool, you should be able to find equally beautiful countryside in any other region with a similar climate (Washington State, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and many others).


Not quite related point: Everywhere else in the world, red is the colour of socialism (French radicals/socialists since the 1848 revolution, UK Labour Party, NZ Labour Party, Chinese communists) and blue is the colour of conservatism (UK Conservatives, NZ National Party). Apparently this is because red represented "the blood of angry workers" for the French in 1848, and was adopted by the UK Labour Party, forcing the Tories to use blue, the other usable colour in the Union Jack. Why is it the other way around in the USA? (Seems like D=blue and R=red is a new thing - is that right?)