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How America’s Cultural Insularity Had a KFC Cricket Ad Pulled Off Air and Australians Misguidedly Accused of Racism

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Of all the classic examples of Americans viewing the world only through the blurred prism of their own cultural experience, this one takes the cake: an uproar in the US during the past week or so that saw bemused Australians once again accused of racism, this time over a KFC advertisement.

The offending TV ad depicts a lone Aussie cricket fan sitting among a large group of raucous West Indies fans and is one of a cluster that ran during the recent Windies cricket tour of Australia as part of KFC's summer "Cricket Survival Guide" campaign.

In the ad, Aussie cricket fan Mick hands out KFC from a Crowd Pleaser bucket so he can watch the game in peace. In the other ads running in the series, grateful beneficiaries of Mick's fried-chook largesse include his in-laws, his mates, other Aussie fans, and a member of stadium security. Each of these seemingly generous acts has an ulterior motive: Mick just wants to watch the cricket without too many distractions.

No one in Australia would have given the Windies ad a second thought until last week, when US media picked up the story from Internet video hosting sites. At one stage, as the furore grew, it had been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube.

The issue for Americans: it plays into a couple of racial stereotypes unique to the US that are largely unknown to Australians.

The first, if you believe the endless howls of protest from Americans flooding the Internet to moan about the ad, is that of the lone, uncomfortable white guy supposedly feeling threatened by a large group of blacks.

Mick, finding himself in an "awkward situation", hands out fried chicken to keep noisy opposing fans quiet, and having accomplished his goal, says: "Too easy" (a term used often in Australia in a whole range of situations from doing the banking to getting the kids to sleep and which means "sorted that out without any dramas").

In fairness, given the history of racism and white treatment of blacks in the US that saw some African Americans unable to even use the same bus seats or diners as whites until the mid-1960s in some southern states, you might have some idea of why Americans could find it offensive.

But be that as it may, cultural context here is everything, a point that seems to have been sorely missed in the US.

Dr Brendon O'Connor, an associate professor at the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre who is writing a book about US stereotypes and insularity, says Americans have a tendency to think "their history is more important than that of other countries", while adding that in an American context – which in this case is out of context – the ad could look racist.

"Americans would find the ads racist mostly because they don't realise the context that the West Indies team was here to play cricket," he says.

To further support his case in regard to America's cultural insularity, O'Connor cites the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, during which he claims many high-ranking US officials had no understanding at all initially of the Sunni-Shia divide, which is key to a historical understanding of Iraqi politics.

He points out America is not unique in regard to its lack of understanding of others, but believes it is important for Americans to be more aware given the size of their country and the major role it now plays on the global political stage.

In the latest drama over the cricket ad, most Australian viewers would have understood immediately the "awkward situation" did not involve skin colour but the lone Aussie fan in a large group of passionate supporters from another team.

In this case, it was the West Indies, regular and much-loved visitors to Australia, who incidentally mainly happen to be black given the ethnic make-up of the Caribbean islands.

Which is probably why it went straight through to the 'keeper here.

Most Aussies, too, would have been blissfully unaware until now that in the US, some whites have stereotyped blacks over a supposed love for eating fried chicken.

And therein lies the problem: the ad (now pulled by an apologetic KFC Australia, who went to pains to spell out that no offence was intended) was never screened in the US nor intended for an American audience.

It was created in Australia for Australian consumption during the Test series against the Windies (who are sponsored by KFC) and only came to American attention on the Internet.

Americans also seemed not to understand that Aussies wouldn't have a second thought about the skin colour of Caribbean calypso cricketers and fans given that Australia has been playing the Windies in exciting and, dare I say it, colourful (and colourblind) cricket for decades.

And never mind that the ads featured Australians and West Indians, not Americans, and especially not African Americans.

Part of the problem is that it follows the ill-conceived Channel Nine Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion Jacksons blackface skit last year which so offended visiting American crooner Harry Connick Jr, a guest judge on the Australian TV show's Red Faces "gonged-off" segment.

That led to accusations of racism too but Connick accepted there was little or no understanding in Australia of the history of blackface which, because of the racist sensibilities of 19th and early 20th century all-white vaudeville audiences, denied African Americans the right to perform as themselves whilst lampooning them at the same time.

The consensus in Australia on the Hey Hey furore seems to be that it was firstly dreadful comedy, and being oblivious to US cultural sensitivity was only half an excuse for screening it on prime time TV.

It's worth noting, however, that the performers won the show's Red Faces segment with a similar skit 20 years ago whilst studying medicine, and one of the performers (who'd painted his face white to look like Michael Jackson) was actually of Indian background, and five of the six appearing on the Red Faces skit were themselves of multicultural background.

Yet, despite an apology from mortified Hey Hey host Daryl Somers, Americans, generally (and probably understandably in this case), weren't so forgiving and the uproar raged for weeks in the US media. I can understand that furore, although the performers appeared to be genuinely mortified too as they'd meant it as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

However, the KFC ad is something else again. Daniel Tencer, blogging on The Raw Story as though every non-American might understand the history behind the uproar, headed his piece, "KFC ad: Placate threatening black people with fried chicken".

He wrote: "Perhaps Australia somehow missed the memo that linking black people to fried chicken can be considered offensive. Or maybe, down under, playing up stereotypes to sell fast food just isn't a sin."

Yes, Daniel, we probably did miss it, especially as we're in a different country – different continent, too – where the same cultural experience doesn't apply. Just in case you missed it, this is Australia, not America, and the black cricket fans are from the Windies, not New York.

However, some august US publications jumped in on the action too. The Baltimore Sun's website asked: "How do you survive a crowd of `awkward' black people? According to KFC's latest advertisement, a bucket of fried chicken will do the trick."

To its credit, the Sun suggested context might indeed be everything, asking readers to ponder whether the awkward situation might simply have been the lone fan in the wrong group.

By week's end, Tencer, too, seemed to soften his stance slightly, perhaps swayed (or swamped) by a deluge of comments from angry Aussies moved in droves for once to switch the cricket off the TV and leave their opinions on his and other US sites.

Most suggested Americans should think outside their own square; plenty used irreverent Aussie humour to make a point (which is possibly where the other problem arises in any cross-cultural exchange with Americans).

"Daksian", commenting on The Huffington Post site, wrote: "Since KFC has pulled the ad … I'd like all American TV and movie production companies to stop using phrases like rooting for a team … please use the term `barracking' instead. Since American social mores have been dictated to Australia it is only fair that the reverse holds true as well."

Whether Americans accept such advice or not, the episode does appear to underline the way our brethren over the big pond appear to buy too easily into what might best be described as the myth of their own exceptionalism.

While the short history of the US doesn't wholly support the view, many Americans nevertheless like to think of themselves as the beacon of hope, the light on the hill … and, falsely, the only light.

In that light, pun intended, some Aussies might now suggest it's more a case of Americans collectively believing the sun in the US shines from a part of their anatomy where it usually don't, and it's blinded them.

(Interestingly, comments on the Internet also indicate Australia's cricket-loving mates from the Caribbean, where KFC has a history of supporting cricket in the islands, appear just as bemused as their Aussie counterparts by the uproar. Among a host of others on various sites, Espada12, commenting on Gamespot, wrote: "Nah, that ain't racist … and we are in the West Indies.)

The big winner here of course is KFC itself, which has accidentally stumbled, whether it now likes it or not, onto a de facto guerrilla marketing campaign that will have the cash registers ringing across two continents.

Now wait for America's legion of conspiracy theorists to come out of woodwork with their ideas on that one.

(This is an edited version of an article by the silver surfer that appeared in The Sunday Telegraph, Sydney, on January 10, 2010).

Footnote: This writer, a cricket fan, must have viewed this ad at least a dozen times during the recent Test cricket series between Australia and the West Indies, and not once did he register "black people" instead of "West Indies cricket fans". He believes all people should be in touch with all the facts before they begin levelling charges of racism at an entire country over a cricket ad.

The writer also suspects that the latest uproar says a wealth about a) American cultural insularity and b) its own baggage regarding racism rather than anything about any supposed entrenched racism in Australia, which remains, in his opinion, one of the world's most tolerant, colourblind, and multicultural societies (over 200 different ethnic groups are represented in Australia, and roughly one in four Aussies of all colours, races, and creeds were born somewhere else, while a large proportion of the remainder are the children or grandchildren of migrants from all over the world. A lot them like eating fried chicken, too, including the writer).

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About the silver surfer

  • Jordan Richardson

    And never mind that the ads featured Australians and West Indians, not Americans, and especially not African Americans.

    This was perhaps the funniest part of this whole debacle for me. I once had a young American girl ask me if there were any African Americans in Canada. Beautiful.

    Good article!

  • Silver Surfer

    Thanks Jordan. If Americans realised the furore it’s caused in Australia, they’d probably have thought twice about commenting without knowing the facts. Of course, that now means every equally dumb Aussie will be stereotyping every Yank as being thicker than two short planks.

    But in this case, they DID ask for it.

  • The Obnoxious American

    There are parallels here – Americans claiming, misguidedly that Aussies are being racist.

    Sort of like when those Danes published those cartoons lampooning Islam only to have half the middle east freak out because they are not used to freedom of speech or any form of religious dissent. The big difference of course is, misguided, sensitive Americans just asked that the ads be pulled. No one died as a result of the fracas.

  • Silver Surfer

    It’s OUR bloody ad, though OA … Americans had no right to carry on like a pack of pork chops without understanding that it wasn’t part of the American cultural experience – and once again, it buys into misgiuded identity politics (misguided because none apply int his case).

  • The Obnoxious American

    Just like it was the Danes bloody cartoon. Don’t get me wrong, I agree totally with the article. I’m white and my two favorite foods are fried chicken and watermellon. Plus I love rap music :>

    Just pointing out that instead of misguided Americans, you could have ended up with a bunch of fundamentalist islamics carrying on like a pack of pork chops, except their version would be with fatwahs and bombs.

  • STM

    True. And I agree wholeheartedly that the Danish cartoon furore makes no sense whatsoever. If I were a muslim, I might be somewhat offended, but those who’ve threatened violence have taken it to a whole new level and are living caricatures of the very issue the cartoon was meant to highlight. I suppose the irony will be lost on most, though.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think the difference is that the cartoons were clearly targeting Islam and had an intention to do so (the cartoonist even admitted to this intent), whereas the advertisement was just an ad that made more than enough sense within its own cultural context.

    So while there’s no question that the reaction of some violent members of the Muslim extremist movement was abhorrent in the ridiculous case of the cartoons, this issue is more of a broad cultural one that speaks to a different set of issues.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jordan,

    Not really. First, the cartoons were freedom of expression, discussing a real issue. Had Islamic terror not been a real thing, the cartoon would have been incendiary, but since it was reflective of reality, the cartoon was commentary.

    Secondly, it’s well known that the cartoon itself was packaged up with a bunch of other much more inflammatory content and then sent around for shock value. This re-packaging was done by a Muslim who was trying to stoke anger within the community against the “West”.

    Lastly, whether making a commentary about a religion or making a tv ad to sell chicken, is really a moot point. The result was a percieved, not real offense. The reaction to both was wrong. My point is at least when you piss off Americans, all we do is pout a little bit.

  • Baronius

    Americans are oversensitive about the appearance of racism. Australians are oversensitive about American cultural hegemony.

  • STM

    No we’re not. We couldn’t really care less.

    It’s just you applying your own culture to something outside America that doesn’t apply … then accusing of being racists in the process.

    It’s got to do with being blind to others. I don’t have a problem with American culture.

    It’s what it is.

    It’s the stupidity in this case that Aussies don’t like. It’s caused serious drama here, believe me.

  • The Obnoxious American

    You’d think that two delicious items such as fried chicken and watermelon would bring people together not push them apart.

  • zingzing

    have you seen the korean (i think) kfc ad? the one where the lonely korean washes up on the shores of some island filled with cannibal black natives, who hoot and holler and put him on a spit and are about to roast him when he magically produces a bucket of kfc chicken and mollifies the savages with fried, greasy doughballs?

    while i understand the context of the australian ad (it was noted in the articles that i read on the subject), and while i can understand that it doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it does to us, it’s still kinda ugly. or, at least in this world that’s connected as it is, it wasn’t the brightest move.

    the strange thing about it is that everything about the context (to australians) points out that it’s not racist (surrounded by a celebratory bunch of opposing fans, “too easy” meaning what it does), while, to us, it just looks plain racist (white people surrounded by a bunch of “tribalistic” black people, “too easy” meaning “chicken mollifies the black man, so that’s how i’ll handle the situation”). it just looks so brazen, like they are acknowledging how racist it looks. even if it isn’t. but, damn, they couldn’t have fucked that up any worse if they tried.

    it’s a perfect combination of elements that was predictably going to lead to this end. i still can’t understand the korean ad…

  • Ruvy

    So Stan,

    You got a small dose of American arrogance-cum-ignorance – the shit we have to put up with all the time. Doesn’t taste good, does it? When the Americans take a shit, they use the whole world as their toilet, and they don’t much give a damn if they shit on your heads.

    The only difference is that when the Americans stick their ignorant fingers in your pie, Australians don’t die. There are no funerals for Australians dying to please this or that loud mouthed American lout, are there? It’s just a ‘furore’.

    If it were a mere ‘furore’, I could laugh at the stupidity and ignorance of my former countrymen. But here, American arrogance-cum-ignorance equals death for Jews.

    YANKEE GO HOME – AND STAY HOME!!

  • zingzing

    this isn’t an article about israel, ruvy. lalala.

  • Ruvy

    That’s right zing. It’s not. It’s an article about how stupid insular Americans shove their shit down the world’s throat. In the case of Australia, it merely caused a “furore”. Here it causes funerals. And, by the way, they both start with F-U….

    Stupid, insular Yankee bastards….

  • zingzing

    ruvy, do you think israelis ever cause funerals, for themselves or for others? and do you want to answer the question i posed to you last week? if anybody treated you like you’re treating the people in gaza, what would you do?

    do you even want to think about it? or are you just stupid and insular yourself?

    and i think part of the response to the australian kfc ad is due to the fact that it is just so ridiculous. no major food chain is going to risk being THAT racist. it’s obvious that there’s a cultural disconnect that would lead kfc to produce such an ad. trust me, there are just as many (well, per capita,) dumbass australians and israelis as there are americans. stupidity is a human trait.

  • Baronius

    STM, if people in Australia are up in arms about an internet dustup, it’s an overreaction.

  • zingzing

    all that said, i had no idea that “furor” is spelled “furore” outside of america. call me ignorant.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Not to go off topic, but chill with the Gaza nonsense. If someone eats badly and gets diabetes, is it the sugar’s fault? Likewise, if a group of people live a life of inciting and carrying out terrorism, is it the fault of those who get attacked if there is a response?

    Fact is, the arabs in Gaza an the West Bank could have had a state of their own today, one that is at peace with Israel, this very moment if they wanted to. But by the same token can the Israelis have peace with the Arab world if they wanted to? Think about why the answer to that second question is no.

  • Ruvy

    ruvy, do you think israelis ever cause funerals, for themselves or for others? and do you want to answer the question i posed to you last week? if anybody treated you like you’re treating the people in gaza, what would you do?

    do you even want to think about it? or are you just stupid and insular yourself?

    Most of my articles deal indirectly with your question. We defend ourselves – inadequately – because the Jew-haters in your government have bought out the leaders in ours. If that leads to Arabs dying in Gaza, or Judea and Samaria, that’s just too fucking bad. If we decide to blockade Gaza because the SOB’s who run the Strip are devoted to nothing except killing off Jews, that’s just too fucking bad. You don’t like it? Don’t wave the Geneva Convention in my face. Go wipe your ass with it. I don’t give a fuck.

    Were it up to me, the Arabs in Gaza would be starving, drinking sea-water and begging us to let them live. And then would come the conditions.

    MY conditions.

    THEY have to kill off Hamas AND ALL THE OTHER TERRORISTS THERE, THEY have to renounce terrorism, THEY have to give up their arms, THEY have to compensate the Jews from Gush Qatif KICKED OUT UNDER AMERICAN PRESSURE, and THEY have to agree to kick out the United Nations.

    If they refuse, so far as I’m concerned, they can all die. I don’t give a damn. If they die, I can dance for joy, just like they dance for joy when we die.

    And zing, if you don’t like it, I don’t give a damn either. I don’t give a damn what goyim think, and to be blunt you are nothing but just another goy – an interfering insular American goy who has absolutely NO fucking business even questioning how we defend ourselves from the enemies YOUR government trains and funds.

    For me this is a matter of life and death. For you its just pixels on a damned computer. So, if you don’t like what I say, go fuck yourself and the horse you rode in on.

    Does that answer you question?

  • Ruvy

    By the way, Zing. I’m on topic. It is you INSULAR, STUPID, SON-OF-A-BITCH, INTERFERING AMERICANS WHO HAVE TRAINED ARAB TERRORISTS TO KILL US, AND MURDER US OFF. IT IS YOU INSULAR STUPID, SON-OF-A-BITCH, INTERFERING AMERICANS WHO REFUSED TO BOMB A CONCENTRATION CAMP IN WWII, WHO REFUSED TO ALLOW US TO BUY ARMS IN THE STATES AFTERWARD TO DEFEND OURSELVES AND WHO DAMN NEAR CAUSED THIS STATE TO FALL IN 1973!! YOU ARE THE REAL ENEMIES – NOT THE ARABS, WHO ARE MERE TOOLS IN THE HANDS OF YOUR RULING ELITES.

    Does that answer your question, zing?

  • zingzing

    “Were it up to me, the Arabs in Gaza would be starving, drinking sea-water and begging us to let them live.”

    well, that’s pretty much what you have.

    “I don’t give a damn what goyim think, and to be blunt you are nothing but just another goy – an interfering insular American goy who has absolutely NO fucking business even questioning how we defend ourselves from the enemies YOUR government trains and funds.”

    i can question what i like. and i hope it’s abundantly clear that i’m not for american intervention in the middle east. i’ve made that point time and again, but you always seem to forget it. in essence, i agree with you on that, although our motives are different.

    “Does that answer you question?”

    not really. think about it more literally. i know that you don’t give a fuck about arabs and think they all want to kill you and that they deserve what they get, so that’s not the answer i’m looking for.

    say the eu decided they’ve had enough with the violence, and are just going to starve you into submission. how would you feel about it?

    “By the way, Zing. I’m on topic.”

    the article is about a kfc ad in australia. i guess i can see a VERY tenuous link (mostly created by you) to america’s desire to kill every last jew, but i’m having a hard time believing it. this thread has been hijacked.

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I see Ruvy hasn’t mellowed since my latest leave of absence.

  • Ruvy

    this thread has been hijacked.

    Too fuckin’ bad, zing. You don’t like, go suck it in and suck it up YOU OPENED YOUR FUCKIN’ MOUTH DEMANDING AN ANSWER. DON’T BITCH THAT YOU GOT ONE!

  • zingzing

    oa: “Not to go off topic, but chill with the Gaza nonsense”

    why? (actually, the question goes back to another thread, so there’s a context you’re not aware of, possibly.)

    “Fact is, the arabs in Gaza an the West Bank could have had a state of their own today, one that is at peace with Israel, this very moment if they wanted to. But by the same token can the Israelis have peace with the Arab world if they wanted to? Think about why the answer to that second question is no.”

    but oa, having a state in the west bank doesn’t truly answer all that the arabs desire in the region. it would certainly be a step forward, but it wouldn’t create peace. it would leave too much unanswered. so, no, the israelis couldn’t have peace with the arab world, even if a state in the west bank was created. in order for peace to truly exist, the arabs and the israelis have to learn to live TOGETHER, not just side-by-side. and neither side seems willing to let that happen.

  • zingzing

    jesus christ, ruvy, calm down. you are one angry man. feh. i was making a distinction between “on topic” or not… i ain’t bitching about it, but i’m not pretending like we’re on topic here.

  • Ruvy

    say the eu decided they’ve had enough with the violence, and are just going to starve you into submission. how would you feel about it?

    That is what the nukes are for, big boy? Imagine – Naples, Paris, Berlin, Madrid – all burning nuclear glass and radioactive. An act of war against us by Europe would result in millions of European casualties. And they would deserve it. I can’t think of a nicer bunch of people who deserve to die. The people who persecuted us for centuries – what poetic justice, dying in an auto da fé like they burned us in.

    And you don’t know shit about what goes on in Gaza. You read the Arab rags and the bullshit that Cindy reads and you think it is the truth.

  • STM

    zing: ” … while, to us, it just looks plain racist”.

    Precisely the point.

    It’s not about you, don’t stick your noses in where it’s not welcome.

    It’s not racist, period. The fact that some people over there think it is doesn’t make it any less NOT racist.

  • zingzing

    “An act of war against us by Europe would result in millions of European casualties. And they would deserve it.”

    ok, now turn that around on yourself. because of what goes on in gaza, do you deserve what you get from gaza? i would say you don’t deserve it, but they don’t deserve it either.

    “I can’t think of a nicer bunch of people who deserve to die.”

    sigh. no one deserves to get nuked. that’s just plain sick.

    “And you don’t know shit about what goes on in Gaza. You read the Arab rags and the bullshit that Cindy reads and you think it is the truth.”

    you have your truth, which i’m sure is skewed, and i have mine, which i’m sure is skewed as well. the only real truth of the matter is that all of us would be better off if both of you (and the us) just stopped being so irrational. i’m pretty sure that very few people are enjoying what goes on between you and the arabs, and you’re all being manipulated.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    This learning to live together nonsense is just that. What other country on the face of the planet do we ask to learn to live together with their enemy? Answer is none. Except maybe in the US where us Conservatives are forced to live together with Liberals. But you know them liberals aint so bad when you call em out on their BS often enough :>

    So what’s unanswered? The bullshit claim by Islam on Jerusalem? See Islam has holy places throughout the middle east, main ones being Mecca and Medina. Looking at history this wide distribution of holy lands is the result of conquest – the same conquest that triggered the Crusades. And while the religion of Islam (which happens to be a mere 1400 years old) may have holy places dispersed throughout the middle east, the Jews, whose religion is not only several times older but also the root of Islam, has only Jerusalem and Israel itself.

    I’m not against Muslims being allowed to visit, but don’t try to tell me that they have as much of a claim as Jews. Even Christians, whose claim to the area is also more important to Christianity than Jerusalem is to Muslims, and whose religion also pre-dates Islam, don’t try to make the claim that this isn’t the land of the Jews.

    You’re view is a popular one among Liberals. It also happens to be wrong.

  • Ruvy

    i’m pretty sure that very few people are enjoying what goes on between you and the arabs, and you’re all being manipulated.

    AND YOU DAMNED AMERICANS ARE DOING THE MANIPULATING! YANKEE GO HOME – AND STAY HOME!!!

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    As long as there has been a middle east there has been war, the children of both sides know no other way of life. Unlike here in the U.S., hatred and mass slaughter have become as much a part of the Jewish and Muslim religion as God, and in fact is “war”shipped with more zeal than their false deity itself.

    To take away their hatred and war is to take away the way of life that they’ve been taught since birth.

    History should remind you of another society that taught their children to worship war as a god, alongside their own false sense that almighty GOD was on their side and no other…

    In that context, perhaps it’s time to teach Israel and Palestine the same lesson we taught Hiroshima, because the only way to cure the mass, inbred hatred and love of war that they cherish and have taught their children is to burn it out of the land to keep it from self-propogation.

    …of course that’s only my opinion

  • zingzing

    stm: “It’s not about you, don’t stick your noses in where it’s not welcome.”

    you miss my point entirely. i know it’s not racist. anyone who really thinks about it for a moment is going to understand that. racism and context are constantly butting heads. but it is funny that australians can get away with that ad. cultural differences are strange things.

    and because this world is so connected, everyone’s nose is in everyone’s business… so it’s inevitable. while this connection is usually a good thing, sometimes shit like this happens. it’ll happen (i’m sure it already has) that someone will look at an american product and find it offensive for some unintended reason. do you deny it?

  • STM

    Baron: “STM, if people in Australia are up in arms about an internet dustup, it’s an overreaction.”

    They’re not angry about that. They’re angry about being called racists in a sustained three-week campaign across old and new media in the US, an accusation based on evidence about American culture, not Australian or West Indian culture.

    That’s the issue and that’s the problem. It’s not an issue that be dismissed lightly.

    G’day Ruve … thanks for the comments – try to stay light mate. And yes, furore is correct.

    It has an “E” at the end.

    Outside America.

  • zingzing

    ruvy, stop yelling.

    “AND YOU DAMNED AMERICANS ARE DOING THE MANIPULATING!”

    and so is your government, and so is the government of palestine, and so are the terrorist leaders… there’s many more people involved here than just america, ruvy, and i don’t think you can deny it.

    i recognize america’s involvement in destabilizing the middle east to keep the price of oil down. but that’s not all that goes on there, is it?

  • STM

    Zing: “do you deny it?”

    The only American product I can think of off the top of my head is the “fanny pack”.

    Fanny has an entirely different meaning here.

    Your wouldn’t use it in polite conversation, anwayway.

    I always have a giggle when I hear it on TV.

    Remember that show The Nanny? They used it in the song during the oppening credits.

    Much mirth and merriment down under.

    But we didn’t ring youse up and tell you to stop using bad language.

  • Ruvy

    In that context, perhaps it’s time to teach Israel and Palestine the same lesson we taught Hiroshima, because the only way to cure the mass, inbred hatred and love of war that they cherish and have taught their children is to burn it out of the land to keep it from self-propogation.

    Now that your damned élites have kept this part of the world at war for 90 years, you have the gall to suggest that you should nuke us for doing what you have shoved down our throats? You damnable hypocrite!!

    Jet, better that we Children of Abraham – Arabs and Israelis both – should find a way to nuke Akron, New York, Washington and Chicago – so that you can could see with your own eyes what vengeance you deserve for the evil you Americans have done on this planet – both in America and overseas.

  • STM

    oppening … typo, not cultural difference.

  • zingzing

    oa: “What other country on the face of the planet do we ask to learn to live together with their enemy?”

    europe, after two nasty wars, learned to live together. the united states, after a civil war, learned to live together. the point is that in order for there to be peace, they will HAVE to learn to live together. it’s just not going to happen otherwise.

    “So what’s unanswered? The bullshit claim by Islam on Jerusalem?”

    well, yeah, for one. they think they have just as much right to the place as anyone, which, whether it is true or not, IS a sticking point. it’s too bad if you think otherwise, because it doesn’t matter.

    “You’re view is a popular one among Liberals. It also happens to be wrong.”

    no it isn’t. my view is the only practical way to ever achieve peace in the region. i don’t give a shit about jewish, muslim or christian claims. we should have outgrown all that by now. jerusalem has been fought over since it was first created. that’s thousands of years of fighting over a bit of land… kinda stupid, don’t you think?

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jet #32,

    I think you’re a bit off there. Note that war is not a middle east thing, it’s a world thing and has been around since the birth of mankind, not Jewishkind. Further, realize that one of the “two sides” you are referring to haven’t been there since the dawn of man. Islam started in 600 AD.

    Also, as if it needed to be said, Slaughter (aside from ritual animal slaughter for food) is NOT a part of Judaism. Judiasm doesn’t change, and most Jews today study the analysis of rabbis who studied the Talmud and Torah several hundred years ago. Jews share pretty much the same value system as Christians, notably the ten commandments.

    By contrast, the Koran quite clearly states what Muslims can do to infidels, I won’t quote it here.

  • zingzing

    stm: “But we didn’t ring youse up and tell you to stop using bad language.”

    yeah well, kfc is a bit of a cultural joke around here… it’s been associated with racism many times. from what i saw, the intended target of criticism was kfc, not australia, although doubtlessly, your media was probably more interested in the direct attacks on australia than i was. i didn’t even see one, although i only looked at a few articles. it was kind of a non-story.

    “Remember that show The Nanny?”

    well, there’s an american export worth getting offended over.

    and what does fanny mean in australia? over here, it’s a childish euphemism for butt.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Europe isn’t a country. It’s a continent. That the various countries within Europe had to re-learn to live together after the war has absolutely no correlation with the situation in Israel, where the people you are saying Israel must learn to live with, are actively calling for Israel’s destruction.

    Second, that Muslims think that they have a right to it DOESN’T matter if they are wrong. That you can’t be bothered to think critically about the history and consider whether the claim is valid is nothing short of absurd. No society, nor any person could exist under the conditions you so blithely ascribe as a sticking point. Imagine if I claimed I owned your house? What if the courts said, well this is a sticking point for you Zing? How would that feel?

    Lastly who are you to say what is practical. There are plenty of reasons why right of return and the whole host of other things demanded by Islam isn’t acceptable by Jews – because the end goal is to destroy Israel, as per the Koran. If you don’t understand that, then either you don’t want to acknowledge this reality, or you’re fine with what Islam would like to do with the Jews. Otherwise, explain to me how the things that a two state solution doesn’t address, if adopted, don’t result in the end of the state of Israel?

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I’d love to see the U.S. pull the financial and military support that we’ve apparently wasted on Israel-(if we’re to judge the Israeli people based on Ruvy’s attitude alone) and see how long Israel would last.

    The U.S. has sacrificed one hell of a lot to a bunch of ungrateful war-mongering assholes that are determined to bite the hand that fed and still feeds, clothed and defends them.

    You know, I didn’t have this attitude until I started paying attention to him. Maybe Israel needs a new more dipolmatic envoy/representitive here?

  • Ruvy

    OA,

    Further, realize that one of the “two sides” you are referring to haven’t been there since the dawn of man. Islam started in 600 AD.

    Don’t confuse the dimwits here with facts. They have trouble enough with opinions – not to mention bullshit laden philosophers like Foucault.

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    True Ob, but no were else is war an OBSESSION than in the middle east.

  • Baronius

    “They’re angry about being called racists in a sustained three-week campaign”

    Oh, that. I’ve been called a racist by hypervigilant crazies so many times that it doesn’t phase me anymore. Years, dude. Years.

  • Ruvy

    Jet, don’t get your swollen American ego all caught up in a bunch – like panties….

    American born Moshe Arens: America Flexing Weak Economic Muscle. The money lines: “We asked for loan guarantees that would allow the absorption of immigrants from the former Soviet Union,” recalled Arens. “Bush conditioned the loans on stopping the developmment of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and Shamir refused.

    “It became clear that Israel did not need the guarantees, but the Rabin government apparently was prepared to agree to the condition, although it is not clear to me if it was ever executed.” Arens explained that the Israeli economy is much stronger today than it was two decades ago and that “we are not dependent on American finances; we would be happy to receive the guarantees, but we do not need them. I do not think there is any reason that Israel’s leaders have to be worried about Mitchell’s statements.”

    We do not need you, and we do not need your worthless currency. So, buzz off, dude. You and and your insular, arrogant attitudes have fucked us over long enough.

    If I work on peace with Arabs, the idea of destroying your country for vengeance will never be far from my mind from now on.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “True Ob, but no were else is war an OBSESSION than in the middle east.”

    It’s not a Jewish or Israeli obsession.

    We can talk about moderate Islam till we’re blue in the face. I have yet to see any Islamic moderates out there trying to actively stop the violence. The Koran says to kill infidels. While there might be some gory parts of the old or new testaments, I don’t think it calls for the elimination of those that don’t believe.

    Has anyone seen CAIR or any of the other Islamic groups come out strong against the Christmas day attacks? I did see something about CAIR getting upset about the potential of profiling. The Koran talks about using misdirection to defeat the infidels. I don’t think the Old or New testament say anything about lying to anyone regardless of their belief system

  • zingzing

    oa: “Europe isn’t a country. It’s a continent. That the various countries within Europe had to re-learn to live together after the war has absolutely no correlation with the situation in Israel, where the people you are saying Israel must learn to live with, are actively calling for Israel’s destruction.”

    sigh. obviously, europe isn’t a country. i know you see my point, so stop playing dumb. they did have to learn how to live and cooperate with each other, even after germany (and friends) tried to take over europe. they’ve had to do it a few times now. this one just might stick.

    of course, arab countries, if they want peace, would stop actively calling for israel’s destruction. that’s kind of part of the process, don’t you think?

    “That you can’t be bothered to think critically about the history and consider whether the claim is valid is nothing short of absurd.”

    sigh again. you miss my point. it doesn’t matter what i think, or you. the arabs believe that they were wrongfully removed from their land. the jews believe that they have a right to that land. obviously, neither one is going to budge on that, so they’ll just have to share.

    “the end goal is to destroy Israel, as per the Koran. If you don’t understand that, then either you don’t want to acknowledge this reality, or you’re fine with what Islam would like to do with the Jews.”

    obviously, the end goal would have to be peace, from both sides. without this, nothing’s going to change.

    “Otherwise, explain to me how the things that a two state solution doesn’t address, if adopted, don’t result in the end of the state of Israel?”

    again, my point isn’t that i disagree with a two-state system. i think it’s a great idea, and if everyone were happy with it, that would be that. but it just isn’t going to solve all the problems.

    you seem to think that i want all the bending and change to come from the israeli side. that’s not the case. both sides are at fault, and both need to be willing to give up some of what they desire.

  • Ruvy

    Maybe Israel needs a new more diplomatic envoy/representative here?

    One other thing, Jet. You don’t get to appoint representatives from Israel on this site. If left-wing peace-nik Israelis don’t think this site is worth leaving comments at, that is not my problem. I represent my country here because no other Israeli thinks you are worth the bother. So shrink that ego of yours down a bit.

    Not only is your country’s aid not worth that much, this site does not make an impact in my country….

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “If I work on peace with Arabs, the idea of destroying your country for vengeance will never be far from my mind from now on.”

    do you think you’re a good person?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’m a better person than you, zing. I, at least, have a clue about the subjects I cover, and have a real stake in what I write about.

    Your clueless, and you have virtually no stake in what your write.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing

    You can sigh all you like but it’s a bad comparison. The nations in Europe had existed before the war, and following the war there was a defeat of the aggressors by a coalition of free nations. Nothing even remote to this situation mirrors the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to make such an apples to oranges comparison is wrong.

    And no Zing, they won’t have to just share. The world agreed to the land of Israel, there never was a land of Palestine. Worse, after decades of war by Arabs trying to destroy Israel, there is no interest in compromise – Arabs want Israel gone, Israelis want to keep on living. The two state solution WAS the compromise and the Palestinians rejected it. Why?

    You say that “the arabs believe that they were wrongfully removed from their land” but actually thats not true. They know this isn’t their land. They willfully ignore history, use misdirection and our ignorance to further their goals which are mainly to do what they did prior to the crusades – wipe Israel and Jews off the map, and take control of the world.

    I know you don’t believe me, but then ask yourself why they haven’t been willing to compromise, why more money is spent in Gaza on bombs than on schools and business? Because it’s just not about peace for them, it’s about killing the infidels.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    If you don’t believe what I’ve said, look up the term Dhimmi, to the types of fundamentalists that have brought us Israel’s greatest hits as well as 9/11, we’re all Dhimmis.

  • zingzing

    “I’m a better person than you, zing.”

    i’m glad you think so… although your calls for nuking this and nuking that makes me a bit suspicious. also, your general anger and spite is not the best of your qualities.

    “I, at least, have a clue about the subjects I cover, and have a real stake in what I write about.”

    well, you certainly have a perspective. i’m sure that you, by virtue of living there, certainly do know things about the region that i don’t. but everyone is allowed their opinion. and i must say that i’ve learned a lot from and despite of what you write. and we all have a stake in this.

    “Your clueless, and you have virtually no stake in what your write.”

    typing a bit fast there? my stake might not be as big as yours, but it exists.

  • zingzing

    “You can sigh all you like but it’s a bad comparison. […] Nothing even remote to this situation mirrors the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to make such an apples to oranges comparison is wrong.”

    nothing? well, if you refuse to see how the two ideas are connected, i guess i won’t try anymore. so, let’s go with the american civil war. yes, one side was defeated, but the idea of enemies learning to live together is certainly conveyed.

    “And no Zing, they won’t have to just share. The world agreed to the land of Israel, there never was a land of Palestine.”

    obviously, the “world” didn’t agree. if it did, we wouldn’t have a problem.

    “Worse, after decades of war by Arabs trying to destroy Israel, there is no interest in compromise – Arabs want Israel gone, Israelis want to keep on living. The two state solution WAS the compromise and the Palestinians rejected it. Why?”

    you know, i don’t know why they won’t agree to it. i can’t see how continued violence is preferable to peace. but for some reason, it isn’t. they want what they had, not israel’s leftovers. i can see why it wouldn’t satisfy their demands, but i also don’t know why they can’t just concede as much in order to obtain peace, which would lead to greater prosperity for everyone involved.

    “You say that “the arabs believe that they were wrongfully removed from their land” but actually thats not true. They know this isn’t their land.”

    try to tell them that.

    “They willfully ignore history, use misdirection and our ignorance to further their goals which are mainly to do what they did prior to the crusades – wipe Israel and Jews off the map, and take control of the world.”

    ahh, the pinky and the brain syndrome. i just can’t jump on board with that.

    “I know you don’t believe me, but then ask yourself why they haven’t been willing to compromise, why more money is spent in Gaza on bombs than on schools and business? Because it’s just not about peace for them, it’s about killing the infidels.”

    both sides have been unwilling to truly compromise. and your view of the arabs doesn’t even give peace a chance. in order for peace to come about, you seem to think that all the arabs will have to be destroyed, because they won’t let it happen. i’m fairly sure that peace is obtainable without killing off one side or the other.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I hate to say this guys, but OA is just as far off on all of this as zing is. Neither understand the real issues involved, though OA is far more sympathetic to what he perceives to be my side.

    Neither OA understand what is in the Tana”kh or the Qur’an. I understand what is in the Tana”kh, and after editing my friend Lowell Gallin’s book, Cracking the Qur’an Code, I understand the Qur’an a whole lot better.

    There is a route to peace in this region, one that neither of you can see – one that is for a separate and distinct article on the subject.

    But there will be Divine Vengeance on America and Europe, and it will not be fun. It will make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like wet firecrackers.

    With that I leave you. I need my beauty sleep.

  • http://www.fromwhereisit.org elliot stearns

    I mostly agree with this, but considering Australia’s history with the Aborigines…I suggest the tone could be a little less self-congratulartory for how racially enlightened Australia is.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “But there will be Divine Vengeance on America and Europe, and it will not be fun.”

    yeah, well, the world won’t be blaming god for its own stupidity.

    “There is a route to peace in this region, one that neither of you can see – one that is for a separate and distinct article on the subject.”

    C-O-P-O-U-T.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Ruvy,

    I actually studied the Talmud for 5 years when I was young, and my understanding of the situation is actually pretty accurate. Of course, feel free to enlighten me further and correct any misconceptions when you wake up – I’ll be watching to see just how wrong I am.

    Zing,

    I should have said U.N. instead of the world but overall you’re response is reasonable enough. That said, I wanted to point out a few things.

    You say you really don’t know why they wouldn’t accept a two state solution. But you also won’t believe the whole pinky and the brain thing. Yours is the opinion of a normal, life loving human being. Not a radicalized jihadist bent on killing the infidels. But such people do exist. I really don’t think most Muslims are all in support of this “Dhimmitude of the west” thing. I think most Muslims are just like me, trying to get by day by day. But most Muslims aren’t the cause of the problem – the fanatical, radicalized jihadis are. With these people, it’s much easier to understand that they might actually be believers in the whole taking over the world just like we do every day bit. As evidenced by the response to the Danish cartoons, salmon rushdie’s satanic verses and critics of Islam like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s clear that the fundamentalists in Islam certainly want people of every religion, in every corner of the world, including worshippers of Islam, to be subserviant to them. If that’s not taking over the world, I don’t know what is.

  • zingzing

    “Yours is the opinion of a normal, life loving human being. Not a radicalized jihadist bent on killing the infidels. But such people do exist. I really don’t think most Muslims are all in support of this “Dhimmitude of the west” thing. I think most Muslims are just like me, trying to get by day by day. But most Muslims aren’t the cause of the problem – the fanatical, radicalized jihadis are.”

    exactly. but they get their power from shit like what’s happening in gaza. the people see the injustices they have to live with and this radicalizes them, or at least gives the real fanatics power over them. the fanatical argument looks reasonable when all you see day-in and day-out is a shitty existence with no way out.

    “it’s clear that the fundamentalists in Islam certainly want people of every religion, in every corner of the world, including worshippers of Islam, to be subserviant to them. If that’s not taking over the world, I don’t know what is.”

    but that doesn’t represent islam as a whole, or even for the most part. reducing the fanatics’ power and sway is easy: stop fueling the fire. a happy, profitable, secure person doesn’t strap a bomb on and blow shit up. it’s when people are reduced to misery that they become like this.

    sure, the initial problem with opening up the borders and ending the blockade and building up the palestinian economy will be more opportunity for terrorist attacks. it will happen. but, in the long run, the circumstances where a young arab man feels like walking into a crowded square and killing himself and everyone there is better than the life he’s currently living will be drastically reduced.

    israel can hold the moral high ground in this fight. if it shows that it is truly open to peace, and is willing to take the risk for its openness, it will be rewarded. it just won’t be easy. but it’s a hell of a lot easier than what they’ve got right now.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Relativise much? There is a problem with your logic. Gaza isn’t an irritant for jihadis, but rather the embodyment of jihad. You can’t claim chicken and egg if one side would agree to peace today. Israel has shown it is open to peace time and again, only to get attacked time and again.

    Terrorists cannot be reasoned with, as evidenced by Al Qaeda’s shifting reasons for the war on the US, even after the “One” took office, humiliated the nation with an unfair retelling of our sins and offered peace at any cost including our alliance of Israel.

    You can say that “they get their power from shit like what’s happening in gaza”, but the reality is quite the opposite, What’s happening in Gaza is due to the radical elements in Islam.

  • Baronius

    But Zing, the people who do blow themselves up usually come from a middle-class background. Among US natives, radical Islam appeals to the poorest, least-educated, and quite often incarcerated, but that’s not the way it works in the rest of the world. I’m not saying that to argue for one side or another; it’s just a fact. The Iranian Revolution was led by students.

  • zingzing

    “You can say that “they get their power from shit like what’s happening in gaza”, but the reality is quite the opposite, What’s happening in Gaza is due to the radical elements in Islam.”

    i don’t think so… but that’s the problem with a cycle of violence. both sides blame each other, and it never stops. one side has to stop. or both. israel is no more innocent than radical islam. but i think israel can control themselves better, or at least there is a possibility of being able to be controlled. there is no control over the individuals (or groups) that perpetrate arab terror, but israel is certainly capable of controlling themselves, and that’s why i ask that they be the instigator of peace.

    arab terrorists know that, even if there is a sudden end to arab terrorism, they can get it going again by lobbing a few missiles and waiting for the inevitable israeli response, which will produce another wave of terrorism.

    “Israel has shown it is open to peace time and again, only to get attacked time and again.”

    as soon as the ceasefire is breached, israel throws up walls and blockades and missiles. they overreact. they know its coming, yet they fall into the trap over and over. it’s almost as if they do it on purpose.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    How does a friendly moderate Muslim become a radical terrorist? Easy. You bomb his house or kill his children or torture his brother. That’s why Bush was the best thing that ever happened to al-Qaeda.

    Want an example? In the words of his wife, the guy who blew himself up among a bunch of CIA agents became radicalized when reports came out about what we were doing at Abu Ghirab.

    But to understand this, OA, you have to have EMPATHY. You have to understand that THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS JUST LIKE YOU. Would YOU become a radical terrorists (or in your eyes, a patriot) if they bombed your house, killed your child, or tortured your brother?

    Ah, who’m I kidding? Conservatives won’t understand because empathy is not in their toolbox – it’s just something for the weak.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    There was a good program today, Glenn, on NPR. I’m watching a movie right now so I won’t bother with the link this very moment. But the expression used was, I believe, “accidental enemy.

    When we invade another country, whatever our intentions, that’s bound to generate resentment. The true ideological enemies (of America) don’t add up to more than ten percent. The rest is generated by the opposition on the part of the locals against our invasion. They’re not ideological but simply resent our presence in their land. Human nature at its simplest: we’re the occupiers and they’re the occupied.

    I’ll provide the appropriate link later. Meanwhile, if you’ll beat me to it, more power to you.

  • zingzing

    “But Zing, the people who do blow themselves up usually come from a middle-class background.”

    well, i wasn’t talking specifically about economic hardship… “misery” can mean a lot of things. still, you can’t tell me that if palestine’s quality of life were to go up, things wouldn’t change for the better. and i know that if the arabs were to stop terrorism, then the israelis would let up on the blockade and blah, blah, blah. as i said, both sides need to work towards peace.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    How the hell did a piece about a supposedly offensive Australian TV commercial trigger yet another BC mud-wrestling contest over Israel?

    …Oh. Hi, Ruvy.

    Well, Stan, if nothing else I reckon this disposes of your thesis that this incident proves Americans think the world revolves around them. Apparently it revolves around a small patch of land in the eastern Mediterranean instead. :-)

    Personally, I think the only possibly even mildly offensive thing about the ad is that the Aussie cricket fan’s name is Mick. Stereotyping or what? I mean, they might just as well have called him Bruce…

    On the related topic of your contention that Australia is one of the more racially tolerant societies on the planet, Stan, what’s your take on the recent spate of attacks on people of Indian descent in Melbourne?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I love how OA takes this opportunity to move heaven and earth to get his country “off the hook.”

    While the reactions to the cartoons and the reactions to the commercials were overblown (ha!), I’d still argue that the intentions were in completely different ballparks.

    The Danish cartoons, while discussing extremism, also drew upon visuals of the prophet. That’s something any thinking individual knows is going to ruffle more than a few feathers in the Islamic community. So it’s going beyond just speaking about terrorism and important issues, OA. The cartoons intentionally prodded and provoked sacred ground of a religious group.

    The thing is that I vehemently agree with the cartoons and their context. I agreed with the Jyllands-Posten when they railed against self-censorship in the face of threats of violence and I agreed with Flemming Rose, the paper’s culture editor, when he said:

    “We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.”

    The intention, integrating Muslims to the Danish tradition of satire, was clear. They knew they were playing with fire or else the whole issue of self-censorship would never have arisen. They knew this could, and probably would, inflame some Muslims the world over.

    The makers of the ad had no earthly clue that this would offend a group of dumbfuck Americans half the world away. They had no intention of doing such a thing and only sought out to make a commercial for “chicken.” There is no parallels to intent here and, as such, it’s hard to judge the reaction on equal footing.

    You’re just trying to characterize American public reaction as being more “peaceable” in light of Islamic extremism. Is that really something to be congratulated over? Ought we really to brag that the average American isn’t as violent as a Jihadist?

    Woopty-freaking-doo, if that’s what your point is, OA.

  • STM

    Doc: “the recent spate of attacks on people of Indian descent in Melbourne?”

    Some of it’s been down to gangs in Melbourne – of one ethnic group – and some others are opportunistic attacks late at night in dangerous suburbs.

    The Indian media has gone hysterical but it’s not what it seems.

    As for the killings, the homicide squad is still investigating. One in NSW, one in Victoria.

    I suspect the results of some of those invesigations might surprise a few people, especially in India.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    After reading this article, the only thing I see KFC doing wrong is serving greasy deep-fried meat..baked would be healthier.

    Again, we see over and over just how limited the American world view really is.

    Don’t go blaming our education system for this. Tolerance, is taught at home by example long before we ever reach the school steps.

    There is a whole world out there and, believe it or not, that world is not revolving around us and hanging onto every word we say!

    This is embarrassing :(

  • STM

    Elliot Stearns: “I mostly agree with this, but considering Australia’s history with the Aborigines…I suggest the tone could be a little less self-congratulartory for how racially enlightened Australia is.”

    Modern Australia is a different place to the old white Australia, Elliott … waves of migration from all corners of the globe have totally changed the face of this nation, in my view for the better.

    If you check your facts, it is actually the most multicultural society on the planet.

    And there’s only one way of correcting the sins of the past, and they were many … that is: to acknowledge them, make amends and move ahead in an inclusive, new society that goes to great pains to actaully be inclusive. For the record, I have some aboriginal background in my own family and we are proud of it. It’s not something anyone is ashamed of in modern Australia and it doesn’t stop anyone being regarded as true-blue Australians.

    I believe the US is still beset with entrenched racism and carries a huge amount of baggage from that era.

    While remembering that the British moved in 1808 to end slavery in the empire and had abolished it by 1830 or so, let’s not forget the American story, its background, the Civil War and who it was who gave us such beacons of light and hope as the KKK.

    The founding fathers, too, spoke long and loud about liberty and freedom and the rights of all men … while some of them kept slaves. Therein, in my view, lies the “myth” part of the myth of American exceptionalism.

  • STM

    Some of which is why we find being lectured on racism by Americans so objectionable.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    OA,

    It’s not the Talmud you are weak on, it is the Qur’an. Oh, by the way, you have about a year to get out of Dodge. If Obama’s Cap and Trade bill passes in the form it is now, you will not even be able to sell your property and run away, even if you want to. And your dollar is about to hit the shits about January 2011. It’s already starting to now.

    zing,

    We’re sick and tired of fighting the damned Arabs. But what we are more sick and tired of is self-righteous Americans like you, who don’t know shit, lecturing us. Your country is the source of more evil on this planet than you will ever be willing to admit to – including the seed funding of the Wahhabi bastards who plague us and the rest of the world, pretending to be Muslims.

    The Russians, Chinese and the nazis killed off people. About 150 million, when you add up the butcher’s bill. So, they’re just a bunch of uncivilized bastards. They’re descended from uncivilized bastards. What did you expect? But your nation, with your obscene culture and your infantile eating and consuming habits, kills off a whole planet. And then you have the gall to lecture us about what we do – whether it is hustling chicken wings Down Under, to trying to defend our loved ones from the terrorists your money created.

    Take your self-righteous shit and shove it somewhere else. You Americans are about to be off-loaded from the planet’s back and it will be unpleasant for you – and pleasant for the other 6.3 billion of the world’s inhabitants.

    Have a great day!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    If Obama’s Cap and Trade bill passes in the form it is now, you will not even be able to sell your property and run away, even if you want to.

    Ruvy, don’t you ever fact-check the e-mails people forward to you?

  • STM

    Ruve, seriously, why do you hate the Yanks so much.

    OK, they can be annoying sometimes, but they’re not bad people (as in, they’re actually pretty good people).

    I don’t understand the depth of your anger, especially since it’s the country of your birth and they’ve been more than a friend to Israel over the years.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    I read your “fact-check” article. And I’ve seen this administration lie through its teeth about facts on the ground. They tried to scream the Honduran gov’t out of office, yelling “coup!” “coup!” when any objective reading of the facts would have shown that the big Zero was being cuckoo to kiss Chávez’s ass.

    So, while Tamar Yonah seems to stretch the facts in her e-blog, it would not surprise me to see just such a development from an Obama administered “Cap and Trade” Law. It fits right in line with what this would-be dictator does.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Sigh.

    Translation of Ruvy:

    “OK, so I’m wrong.

    But I’m right! So there!!!”

  • Jordan Richardson

    It fits right in line with what this would-be dictator does.

    No. It fits right in line with your absurd worldview.

  • STM

    Geez, we’ve segued seriously here, haven’t we?

    I post a piece on a chicken ad and in the space of half a bloody day, we’ve gone on to nuke Europe.

    Fair dinkum …

  • drive by

    more bullshit from Israel

    religion and nationalism are both mental illnesses

  • Zedd

    Stan,

    I think it may if been different if the BRAND wasn’t American. Come on the world is too small to overlook such glaring faux pas.

    Same thing with blackface. That concept is an American import which was created FOR the sake of dehumanizing people. Whether you knew that or not is irrelevant. But having a White American as judge with such an act was unfair to him. Had he reacted any other way, his career would have been over! Especially because that particular American is beloved by African Americans and is close to African American culture.

    So the question is who was irresponsible? Australia may need to grow up a little and understand that it is not as isolated as it’s been. The world is much bigger. Understand the social norms in the field that they are playing in. Your marketers need to more savvy. If you are selling an American brand can act like a teenager who is outside of its parent’s view.

    Were the circumstances different (an Aussie brand per se) I would have been in full agreement with you. And yes, your premise is very correct. You cant imagine how much…. sigh.

  • Zedd

    Question: Why do you guys let Ruvy make every discussion be about Israel (him actually)??? It’s confounding. You know whenever you hear a report on the Palestinian conflict you here how some Palestinian kid has to parse their meals and has one item left to feed an entire family, in the cupboard and then you here how an Israeli kid cant go to the cafe any more. No one ever exclaims at the absurdity of the matter. Its all just confounding. He is going to answer this post and guess what, I will ignore – I know…. an amazing trick right?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    KFC is bad for you.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Question: Why do you guys let Ruvy make every discussion be about Israel (him actually)???

    Ask zing to man up and tell you why, Zedd. My original comment here was to commiserate (sorta) with the author over precisely the kind of arrogance you display in comment #82. My only distinction was that the arrogance/ignorance that Americans displayed with this ad hustling chicken wings in Australia costs us lives here.

    I had no intention of commenting further. But zing had to push his shit – and I got tired of his bullshit and answered him. If I get tired of your bullshit and excoriate you – well, lady, you opened your trap, so you have it coming. But you know what? I don’t give a shit what you say.

    But I do enjoy funny commercials.

  • STM

    Zedd, KFC in Australia is owned by an Australian company.

    West Indians are much loved in this country; you are south african, so you know that sport can do this, the bridges it can build across that gulf of fear.

    If global warming ever starts sinking the Caribbean islands, they can all come down here and it’ll be cricket heaven.

    It’s important in the wake of the uproar over this ad that we let the world know that we don’t find being in a crowd of Windies cricket supporters – who just happen to be black – threatening in any way.

    I have my own story to tell on this in relation to something that happened to me in New York, and yes, bizarrely, it had to do with cricket.

    People must understand that cultural context means different things to different people.

    It’s as incumbent on Americans to try to unerstand our cultural context in relation to this as it is for Australians to understand what goes in America through the filter of the American cultural experience.

    Zedd, I work with a guy from the West Indies, there is aboriginal background in my family. I just don’t really think about it … and what goes on here (now, in modern Australia, which the world’s MOST multicultural society) is a lot different to how it is in the US, and how it used to be when I was growing up.

    It’s also wrong for Americans to assume that we can’t have our own cultural identity based on our own experiences, rather than American experiences.

    We’re not Americans. Americans need to get their heads around that idea.

  • STM

    So I don’t agree on the ad, but I do agree on Harry Connick Jnr’s stand.

    I think the two things are very different. One appeared to be lampooing black people (although being oblivious to the history of blackface here, the performers were mortified by the drama); the other is about an Aussie cricket fan sitting in the West Indies Bay with the Windies supporters during the West Indies’ recent tour of Australia.

    Big difference, especially when we’re NOT notcining “black”, but “West Indies supporters”.

  • STM

    Make that: “when we’re NOT noticing …”

    Do you think that ad would even have been allowed to go to air here if anyone thought it was racist?

    Perhaps the truth is, Americans need to not notice. Seems to me there is still a race divide in the US that is as wide as ever sometimes.

  • Baronius

    STM, no, the racial divide may not be any bigger in the US than it is in Australia. We just have a group of people who claim to see racism everywhere – and you’ve witnessed the kind of damage they can do in the last few weeks.

    To see racism where it wasn’t intended is an act of self-centeredness. Zedd’s comment #82 is bullying. She’s arguing that her standards are more important than the understanding among Aussies about the KFC ad.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “Ask zing to man up and tell you why, Zedd”

    zedd, ruvy starting bitching about israel again, so i told him this wasn’t an article about israel. but i knew this would happen.

  • zingzing

    “We’re not Americans. Americans need to get their heads around that idea.”

    you silly americans, part two.

    and baronius, what you’re doing there is just as bad as what zedd did up there.

  • Zedd

    Zedd did nothing bad and no one is bullying… boys, sigh. Snap on the thinking caps…. again kiddos, here we go :o)

    Im talking about dumb marketing. If you are an American brand, regardless as to who owns you, KNOW that Americans will notice you. We live in a global society – highlighted by the fact that Stan and I are have a conversation and we are separated by a great span. My point was not that ANYONE was racists. (Baronius – grow a brain cell please and spare us from the hormonal whining episodes). My point was if you sell stuff, whatever it is, know that the world is watching, and YES make sure that you are not offending folks (especially the people from whence that product came from). Everyone knows that KENTUCKY (helllllllooooo) Fried Chicken is an American product. So just do your research. Seems elementary…. but it always does :o)

    A new business person had a beautiful Asian woman printed on her packaging (for a food item that was on grocery shelves for the American palate – not traditional Asian). She found out later that in Japan, such a woman would be considered a prostitute, from a marketing expert that SHE HIRED. Even though the item was for sale in the US and no one knew or cared on way or another, she instantaneously pulled all of her packaging, at a financial loss and started afresh. GROW UP BOYS.

    Just thought of this… Im so clever today!!!!
    On the other hand, we being human and all, what is wrong with not want to needle at people who have been REALLY hurt regardless as to what planet they are from? Just whats so wrong with not rubbing it in, WHEN you realize that that is what you are doing – even if you didn’t mean to. Fried chicken, black-face, whatever. OR does it take a white guy to be offended before its acceptable. Just asking.

  • Baronius

    In other words, everyone should consider everything they do in light of whether it offends Zedd.

  • Zedd

    Baronius- your little brain calculates like that of a teenager. The response to your odd summation is, “N-no??”. Will I explain why? NO. I don’t think you are capable of understanding further than what is two inches in front of your nose. It’s all tooooo complex for you. Bless you though for participating.

  • Baronius

    In other words, Zedd doesn’t have to consider anything she says in light of whether it offends anyone else.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol, Christine…

    …guess we each have our own personal message to spread :-)

  • zingzing

    zedd, i was more pointing out that baronius doesn’t realize his own hypocrisy. i think you’ve got every right to be miffed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But how can’t you realize your own hypocrisy, zing? I would think it’s impossible.

    And I certainly wouldn’t dare accuse Baronius of this flaw, the man of God that he is.

    I’m really at a loss.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Question:

    If Red Bull, which is a Thai-owned company, ran a commercial in the US in which a child gets patted on the head… would Americans be justified in getting upset if that commercial then got pulled after complaints from Thai people?

  • zingzing

    roger-well, i guess you’re right there.

    i’ll restate then: what baronius says (“We just have a group of people who claim to see racism everywhere – and you’ve witnessed the kind of damage they can do in the last few weeks”) could just as easily apply to his side. in fact, in the last few weeks, we’ve seen just that.

  • Baronius

    Zing, if I follow your comments correctly, my reply is that Zedd is calling people out for a blameless act (making an ad with unfortunate implications in another culture), but I’m calling Zedd out for a malicious act (calling people out for a blameless act).

  • zingzing

    “would Americans be justified in getting upset if that commercial then got pulled after complaints from Thai people?”

    it’s just one less commercial and some thai people to chuckle at. whatever. i, for one, would find it pretty funny, since red bull should know better.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    zing, why would Red Bull need to ‘know better’? The hypothetical commercial is running in the US, not in Thailand.

  • zingzing

    and if i follow your comments correctly, you complain that “some people” see racism everywhere, while failing to realize that you (and the right wing) do the same damn thing.

    and why do you have the right to say that zedd can’t be miffed, but she doesn’t have the right to be miffed?

  • Deano

    This type of cross-cultural marketing mishap is a regular, ongoing occurrance. The KFC ad is just the latest example.

    My personal favorite was a major Japanese department store back in the 1980’s decided to leverage Christmas (a holiday not celebrated in Japan) to augment their end of year sales (gift-giving at new Year is a Japanese tradition, so the end of the year is already very shopping-oriented).

    The company in Tokyo brought in planners who came up with an elaborate Christmas campaign and decorated the entire flagship store. On opening day the store was awash in holly, christmas trees, fake snow and, towering inside the main entrance, all resplendent in red and white, was a lifelike Santa Claus…….crucified.

  • zingzing

    doc, it’s a small world. obviously, things don’t just run in the u.s. or in australia or in thailand anymore. it just doesn’t pay to be stupid. or does it?

    btw-this site has been really wonky on safari lately. it seems to work better on firefox…

  • zingzing

    deano, that’s awesome. i want one.

  • Baronius

    Zing, I don’t follow the first part of your comment. As to the second part, being angry where anger isn’t warranted is an injustice.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Deano,

    Out of interest, where did the biggest fuss over this incident come from?

    I think I can guess.

    zing,

    How many current Australian TV commercials can you describe, other than the one which is the subject of this article?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    WITHOUT looking them up on YouTube…

  • zingzing

    baronius, harry reid.

    an injustice? calling someone else’s anger an injustice is an injustice…

    look, i get your point. but to say that zedd, being black, is bullying people because she’s none-too-happy about an advertisement that seemingly makes fun of black people… well, i just wouldn’t be one to pass judgment on her feelings. i know it’s not racist. i’m sure she can look at the context and realize that it’s not what they intended. but it’s pretty hard to ask her to just get over it, and that tactic surely won’t work. it’s bullying in its own way.

  • zingzing

    doc, it’s the existence of youtube, et al, that i’m talking about…

    i couldn’t even describe an american commercial to you at this point, as i don’t own a television.

    surely, you realize my point.

  • Deano

    Not much fuss from what I know. The department store was supposedly highly embarassed and the Japanese press doesn’t generally try to publicly humilate major advertisers so crucified Santa very quietly went away and everyone involved pretended it never happened.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It seems, sadly, that the crucified Santa story is probably an urban legend.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    zing, even with YouTube, what American was going to come across that commercial unless they were specifically looking for it or had been told about it?

  • Baronius

    Zing, I haven’t said a word about Reid, and I haven’t read either of the BC articles about him. So don’t accuse me of hypocrisy.

  • Deano

    Urban legend – I’m shocked, I heard that from a collegue who spent 20 years working in Japan in advertising.

    Curse you Snopes for crushing my dreams!

    Okay then – there’s also this one (definitely not urban myth as I met the people behind it) – a major American airliner was trying to promote its new flights, so they run a nice print and TV campaign in Japan showing a female passenger leaning back on a comfortable pink seat, wearing a lovely pink suit with a satisfied smile on her sleeping face.

    The problem is that the colour pink equates to sex in Japan, so the message essentially became “fly with us and join the Mile-High club”.

    Needless to say, once the first set of ads were run, the US airline pulled the campaign.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, #100

    I was being facetious. Hypocrisy, whether willful or not, is Baronius’s trademark.

    I should hope it is willful or I’d have to regard him as a blubbering idiot. So yes, I WAS playing his advocate, the devil’s advocate, that is.

  • zingzing

    doc: “zing, even with YouTube, what American was going to come across that commercial unless they were specifically looking for it or had been told about it?”

    i dunno. how’d they find this one? my point is that people will find these types of commercials, whether through youtube or word of mouth. so it would be prudent to think about that when making a commercial.

    baronius: “Zing, I haven’t said a word about Reid, and I haven’t read either of the BC articles about him. So don’t accuse me of hypocrisy.”

    it’s more the “some people” remark that i’m going at. obviously, that means “the left,” and the right is just as guilty. so maybe it wasn’t personal hypocrisy (in this case) that i was talking about, but the general hypocrisy of the right.

    roger, technically, you can’t unknowingly be a hypocrite. when you’re a hypocrite, you know it.

  • Baronius

    Zing, I know that there are race-whiners on the Right. “Some people” means some people. There are more on the Left, as I think is true of most intellectual flaws, but stupidity isn’t bound to either party. I’m sorry if that was ambiguous, but for the life of me I don’t see how it was.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re right there, zing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But then for the life of me, zing, I can’t understand the man. It’s the most twisted kind of thinking I’ve ever been exposed to. There is this outer aura of overall fairness, and yet . . .

    And don’t ascribe it now to Jesuit logic. Even with the worst of them, you can come to an agreement – at least when it comes to the underlying assumptions. But he . . .

    The only other way I can explain it, there is some unfathomable darkness in his soul, darkness even he dares not penetrate.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    i dunno. how’d they find this one? my point is that people will find these types of commercials, whether through youtube or word of mouth. so it would be prudent to think about that when making a commercial.

    By that logic, should all those Hollywood action movies in which the arch-villain is invariably British be banned because they might offend my sensibilities?

    The point is that the commercial wasn’t made for the American market and is completely innocuous when placed in its proper cultural context.

  • Zedd

    BTW folks I’m not miffed at all. I just made an observation.

    Doc – is Red Bull a Thia product and is patting someone in the head an insult in Thailand? If the answer is yes then of course they would have the right. Why would advertisers not find out if the add works?????? Its called just doing your research first. Im not getting the big deal.

    If the item was a German product and there was a major faux pas involved, no one would think it was a big deal. We would laugh at the stupidity of the advertisers and move on.

  • Baronius

    It isn’t like the franchise managers or corporate executives write ads. They hire firms to produce them. So Red Bull has no more obligation to have their ads mirror Thai customs than to mirror Australian customs. Should advertising agencies be obligated to produce ads (for local or national markets) that don’t offend any cultures? How would a Nike ad go over in a culture that considers shoes to be an insult? Or a Smithfield Ham ad that could be viewed via internet in Israel? This thinking could drive a person crazy.

  • Baronius

    I got it: we’ll use the “Mighty Ducks” strategy. From now on, all ads should be designed to offend Iceland.

  • zingzing

    doc: “By that logic, should all those Hollywood action movies in which the arch-villain is invariably British be banned because they might offend my sensibilities?”

    no… my logic states that you should watch your back. i didn’t say anything about banning anything. like it or not, kfc took a hit for this, even if it is ridiculous. do companies like it when that happens? nope. (and british people ARE evil, so whatever.)

    “The point is that the commercial wasn’t made for the American market and is completely innocuous when placed in its proper cultural context.”

    yep, but what happened happened. and kfc comes out the loser. in this day and age, you can broadcast something in australia and someone all the way over here will see it and make a stink. so it might behoove you to consider that fact when creating advertising.

    i actually like things that offend my sensibilities. movies, music, books, etc that make me uncomfortable are definitely my cup of tea. so it’s not like i’m suggesting censorship in advertising. i can’t wait for the day they start cursing in tv commercials.

    there’s also another take on this… since commercials are designed to get you name recognition, this commercial is certainly the best thing that kfc has done in a while for themselves in the american market. all press is good press? (and it’s not like kfc and racism have never been linked before, so… whatever on that.)

    but still, being aware that any commercial you broadcast could very easily end up in a different context is something that advertisers should be aware of.

    that’s all i’m saying. gonna go watch “happiness” and “irreversible” now. cringe.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    is Red Bull a Thia product and is patting someone in the head an insult in Thailand?

    The recipe for Red Bull was invented by a Thai and he and his son are majority shareholders in the company.

    The head is considered sacred in Thai culture and touching someone’s head is a major faux pas.

    Nevertheless, Thais would no more have the right to dictate that this hypothetical American ad be banned than Americans have the right to insist that McDonald’s in New Delhi sells beef hamburgers.

    Im not getting the big deal.

    The big deal is that a few Americans got their panties in a bunch over a commercial which aired only in Australia and contained a perceived cultural reference which had absolutely nothing to do with Australia.

    If the reverse happened (as per my hypothetical), I suspect that the notion of a few Thais dictating what Americans could and could not watch wouldn’t go down too well here.

    As Baronius says, if advertisers now have to strive not to offend anybody at all they’re going to be working from a very basic palette.

  • zingzing

    i’m surprised that the australians didn’t just laugh it off. they “got their panties in a bunch” as well. but i’d bet what happened was that kfc got a little antsy about their image in america and thought the better of it.

  • STM

    That’s right zing … we did. Mainly because of the howls of racism.

    No country wants to be branded racist over a KFC ad taken in the wrong context by Americans.

    And of all the people to lecture us about racism, America’s probably not one that has much credibility on that score.

    That was the issue more than the ad.

    How come you guys just don’t get it??

  • zingzing

    heh. i get it, stm. as i said before, i never saw the accusations of racism thrown at anyone but kfc, but it doesn’t take much to imagine that someone took it to another level. and yeah, america is certainly not the country that needs to be lecturing anyone on racism… we have enough problems of our own, real and imagined. that said, we are highly attuned to it, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

  • STM

    As I suggested to zedd, I didn’t even notice the West Indians were “black people”, because I just think of them as West Indians.

    Maybe that’s the problem in the US. Everyone needs to stop noticing that stuff and start noticing the things about people that really matter.

    Otherwise, no one’s ever going to move on.

  • STM

    Zing and Doc: “By that logic, should all those Hollywood action movies in which the arch-villain is invariably British be banned because they might offend my sensibilities?”

    When I was a kid, there was a show on TV about native Canadians and settler Canadians set in the War of 1812, in which the bad guys wore blue – they were Americans, trying to invade Canada!

    And getting whacked for their efforts …

  • zingzing

    racist canadians! sound the alarm!

  • zingzing

    by the by, been listening to a lot of rowland s. howard related stuff–solo, these immortal souls, crime and the city solution, nicki sudden, epic soundtracks, lydia lunch, birthday party, nick cave, the scientists, etc. australia lost something in him.

  • STM

    He and Nick Cave have gone on to carve out pretty nice careers for themselves.

    Cave still rocks up every now and then, and I suspect Howard would on occasion too, altthough he’s nowhere near as well know as his mate.

    I did love The Birthday Party though …

  • And the Green Grass Grew All Around

    There is a little ad,
    ’bout a bucket of chicken,
    and it makes folks mad,
    They’re waggin’ fingers, not lickin’.

    And the Yanks bitch at Aussies
    and the Aussies bitch back.
    It is really quite ironic that
    Pot called the Kettle black…(oops!)…
    and the blue world turned all around all around,
    and the green world turned all around.

  • STM

    Lol. Very clever.

    Bitchin’ even … and nice to know someone paid attention in kindy.

    Should we count ourselves lucky you couldn’t stretch it to 10 verses plus a chorus with each like the original??

  • Twisted Aussie nursery rhymes

    Little Miss Yank
    left her desk at the bank
    To box with the old kangaroo.

    There came a big wombat
    To join in the combat,
    And little Miss Yank withdrew.

  • More twisted Aussie nursery rhymes

    Six fat chooks were grazing by the shore,
    They gobbled up grass till they could eat no more.

    One flew east and one flew west,
    And one flew onto a bulldog’s nest.

    One flew north and one flew south,
    One flew into a dingo’s mouth.

    The one that flew east fell into the sea,
    The one that flew west hit a mulga tree,
    The one that flew south had a long way to go,
    And then got smothered in the drifting snow.

    The fat one flew north and fell in a thicket,
    So I fried him up and served him at the cricket.

  • Ruvy

    zedd, ruvy starting bitching about israel again, so i told him this wasn’t an article about israel. but i knew this would happen.

    No, zing, I commented about how American arrogance and ignorance costs lives as well as money. Because it does. You chose to push me on the issue. [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

    I return you to the more pleasant rhymes about fat chooks hitting mulga trees – and for the editors, a hint about that newsflash in pending….

  • Zedd

    Folks I think you are missing it, your audience is not just in your backyard anymore, is the point. When you market your BRAND you have to concerned about the BRAND. Not only are you selling but you are also managing your PR. If you know that you are speaking to the world, then you’d better guard your BRAND against any negative backlash that may occur.

    On the Thia thingy. You dont know how they would feel about it really Doc. Perhaps they would be so accustomed to the West getting it wrong and insulting them that they wouldn’t flinch. Just a perspective of a sorta Non Westerner.

    Overall…. the world is smaller, and yes we have to care about more people than we had to before. Im more concerned that my BC compadres are more upset that they have to show compassion to people who have been legitimately abused. Doc, how they found out doesn’t matter.

    As to the uproar, I didn’t hear about this incident. Did anyone else? How is it an uproar??

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    Did you watch the Dr. Who marathon? It was wonderful. It culminated with The Master, the Timelord council and Dr. Who. Good stuff and enough cheeziness to keep it authentic.

  • STM

    Zedd, I just went to visit my in-laws up north in Brisbane, which apart from being poluated by Aussie banana-benders with tropical friend brains (my wife’s one of ‘em), also has a large population of south african expats.

    A young fella bought the cafe near their house, and has basically turned it into a south african shop.

    It would have very likely had all the stuff that you remember as a kid … all the curry and barbecue sauces, the english-brand chocolates and lollies (sweets, candies) that are just a hair different to the ones we have in Oz, etc.

    I was thinking about you while I was there because you’ve spoken in the past about missing all that stuff.

    He has been in Oz for 20 years, but they still make their own biltong. Pretty nice, the smoky one that I bought.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd, it’s an uproar in Australia. Which is the whole point.

    And no, I didn’t see Dr Who. I’m a couple of seasons behind now, I think, and my wife monopolises the DVR so I can’t record any of them!

    I guess I’ll have to either wait for them to come on PBS or buy some DVDs…

  • STM

    Zedd, it’s been all over the media in the US for the best part of a fortnight, not just in Australia.

    In fact, if there hadn’t been an uproar in the US, there wouldn’t have been one in Oz.

    Click on the links in the story to get the picture. Actually, the story explains it anyway :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You can watch most of the “Dr Who” episodes on UTube. Dreadful. I can provide you with a link if you like.

  • Zedd

    Stan,

    Biltong!!!!!!! Ahhh the love. You horrible man, you just conducted a Pavlovian experiment on me and Im on a diet :o). Oh the sweets, fat cakes, mince and biscuits (Eat Some Mores, and Marie Biscuits). Will I sleep?

    Doc,

    I think you will enjoy the culmination of this season. This reincarnation was quite reminiscent of the Tom Baker era (my fav). The story line also hearkened to that era. There was a real progression as apposed to just one adventure after another. Im not sure if Im gonna like the next season. I think they are going to be appealing to a younger audience. I may change my mind and get pulled in.

  • Zedd

    Wait, I should be flattered that you thought of me today. All is forgiven, as always. :o)

  • STM

    Zedd: “Oh the sweets, fat cakes, mince and biscuits (Eat Some Mores, and Marie Biscuits). Will I sleep?”

    We were going there every morning for bacon and eggs, and they hosted a south african breakfast one morning with quite a few women there who had made things like giraffes and lions (as craft but of gift quality). They have a magazine for expats (in English, not Afrikaans) and the rainbow flag was plastered all across one plate glass window, which is how I spotted the place as we drove past.

    It’s a beaut city, Brisbane, very laid back and very quiet, green and suburban once you get out of the central business district, and has the same near-tropical climate as Durban, perhaps even a tad more tropical, which might be why it has quite a few expats from Natal.

    He told me that not long after he opened, a south african woman who’d been in Oz many years heard about it and drove over, and when she saw all the stuff in the shop, started crying.

    I’ve heard that south africans are very attached to the land of their birth, and that kind of indicates how nostalgia can tug at the heart strings. I’m not sure I’d feel the same way about Australia, although it does draw you back as well.

    I get the feeling nostalgia does that to you too from the conversations we’ve had here.

    One thing they had that my daughter thought were great were “Jellytots”. Remember those?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Not the Jelly Tots from my misspent childhood, surely? Little chewy square things with hard candy shells?

  • STM

    Yep, they’re the ones. Think, though, Doc. Look back … The whole thing was hard, covered in sugary stuff and no hard shell.

    My wife seemed to remember them too, and she’s from Queensland. But obviously, they were everywhere … except America.

    My daughter had never seen them and chomped down a couple of (little) packets.

    They were imported from South Africa, as was most of the other stuff.

    Now, back to CHICKEN.

    I’m a fan of Nando’s peri-peri sauces, which they had too.

    Don’t know if you have the Nando’s portuguese chicken fast-food franchise in the US, but I believe it originates in South Africa as there is quite a large population of portuguese background there.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    America has similar things called Skittles, which taste exactly the same (sugar + artificial fruit flavourings, various) but are round.

    AFAIK Nando’s hasn’t made it to the US yet, but it is popular in Britain, and American visitors seem to like it. My wife loves Nando’s, and a friend of hers who studied in London with her has us bring her back a bottle of the peri-peri sauce every time we go over.

  • STM

    No, they’re completely different to skittles, which we also have here.

    They don’t have the hard shell covering. It’s like a hard, chewy jelly with a sugary coating. What we call jubes here.

    My wife tried one and said it was exactly how she remembered them.

    I think we’re at the end of the usefulness of this post … given that we’re now into food nostalgia, South Africa, biltong, and Moore’s bscuits for Zedd.

  • STM

    But there’s another one.

    A discussion of biscuits might be considered racist in the US taken out of context, but means something completely different to you, me and Zedd.

    It’s fraught, this stuff …

    Blame the Yanks, I say, for everything.

  • zingzing

    biscuits? racist biscuits? never. chicken? yeah. large, seeded melons? yeah. but biscuits? how absurd.

  • STM

    Biscuits and gravy? with fried chicken and collared greens?

    I’ve heard that’s a problem

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Switch the collard greens out for curly kale and I’m there.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dunno about racist biscuits. I had a custard cream that didn’t like the Irish once.

  • STM

    Callaloo … mmm

    And curry goat with rice, West Indian style.

  • STM

    Doc: “had a custard cream that didn’t like the Irish once”.

    tee-hee.

  • zingzing

    stm, biscuits and gravy is just southern… look, soul food has been recognized as the wondrous cuisine that it is. to not like soul food is to be horribly ignorant of your own tongue. and to be scum.

    but i’ve never understood chitlins. i’ve tried four or five different recipes, but it’s just gross. usually, if something just looks wrong, i’m willing to stick it in my mouth. ate a live octopus once, and it was good. ate a chicken’s butthole. or was it a duck’s? i dunno… it was a butthole, and i just wanted to eat it, so i did. china is a strange place. but chitlins? nasty.

    and doc, collards are the shit. so damn good.

  • STM

    Biscuits are cookies in other parts of the english-speaking world.

    Chitlins … yuk. Pig tripe.

    Old English recipe is to cook them with onions to disguise the smell in cooking.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    and doc, collards are the shit.

    You got that almost right. It’s like eating microwaved toilet paper dipped in green ink. Give me kale or spinach any day.

  • STM

    I think he meant that ironically.

    I’ve never had it but I’ve had callaloo. Wonder if its’ the same or similar, or whether that was kale.

    Not sure. Tasted OK, from memory.

  • zingzing

    doc, you need to go to the south. collards with some hot sauce are amazing. such texture, such flavor. i used to think poorly of them as well, but then i was educated. they can be nasty, but if done right, they are incredible. there’s a very precarious moment, much like asparagus, where they are properly cooked, but not overdone. when you hit it right, collards become divine. one of my favorite vegetables these days.

    and i like spinach, but cooked spinach allows too much iron to make its way out… it’s like chewing really mellow iron wool at that point.

    and yeah, stm, i became quite a fan of tea and biscuits when i lived in england. of course, between all those lumps of sugar and all those biscuits, i put on 20 pounds. i’d also stay up til 10 in the morning quite regularly… just so i could see a bit of sun. england is a strange place.

    but southern biscuits are treat, if something i try to stay away from. basically just flour and lard… southern cooking isn’t good for you.

    i like korean food.

  • STM

    “england is a strange place.”

    Strange but good.

  • Zedd

    No prob with biscuits and gravy unless you have a large dark woman with enormous pink lips posing with them. This stuff gets so silly. Humans are just goofy.

    As for curry I’ll take Indian or west Indian. In S.A. we like it with potatoes and lamb. Biryani is loved. Ginger beer is also a preferred drink.

    Collard greens are the stuff!!! I agree. My collards are crazy – secret ingredient (one of them), vinegar.

    Im so culturally confused or should I say complex. :o)

    England is an awesome place. First, they speak English (makes it easy) but they are so balanced and cool and don’t know it. Lets not tell them or they’ll get all fussy and weird. Within their culture are so many well defined (old) cultures, then you have immigrants from every spot on the globe adding to their cool points (although Im sure its annoying to the locals – it always is). Of all societies, I think they’ve done it the “rightest” :o)

  • Zedd

    Saying something is the sh…(potty mouth) means its amazing.

    zing are you sure you are not black? i know i’ve asked you that before. you keep slipping. we are going to have to out you like the guy from louisiana.:o)

  • Zedd

    My mom doesn’t like southern cooking. she says everything is overcooked. she studied domestic science and is a stickler about nutritiounal value AND she has a bland english palate. Her scones are amazing though.

  • Zedd

    Okay time to leave. That last one was bad even for me.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    zing are you sure you are not black?

    I think zing is all kinds of colours. White, black, blue (a lot of the time), red… but I picture him as purple most of the time, rather like Archie.

    Although Arch has mellowed an awful lot lately. He must have found something good to smoke. ;-)

  • zingzing

    doc: i bleed purple.

    zedd: i’m just southern.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Purple is royal, zing.

    Are you perchance a descendant from Southern aristocracy?

  • zingzing

    nah, my folks are from the midwest and a generation or two before that, they come from the european powerhouses that are finland and luxembourg.

    i read a world history text book recently and when i checked the index, neither finland or luxembourg warranted a single mention.

  • Zedd

    zing,

    I was teasing.

  • zingzing

    WHAAAA?? but, but… ah, fuck it.

  • And the Green Grass Grew All Around

    Re #138 “…Then the Queen got involved. With her fork and knife…”
    You want more verses, we’ve got more verses!

    Just kidding. Good article, STM—I forgot to say that–and a fire-starter for interesting conversations, too, as always. OK! Off to get me some greens….with vinegar, thanks Zedd :)

  • STM

    Zedd: “Ginger beer”

    I’m a big fan too, Zedd.

    The best I’ve ever tasted is an Aussie brewed one called Bundaberg.

    It’s cloudy … you can see the bits of ginger in it.

    I always buy a six pack to stick in the fridge over Chrissy … and it’s GREAT with a hot beef vindaloo.

    Bundaberg, which is the name of the famous Queensland rum exported from here, do a whole range of great soft drinks (sodas). Their peach one is the sh.t :)

    They do great Sarsparilla too and my previous favourite was a horehound beer that they used to make (I saw some in the shops in Queensland the previous time I was up there but it doesn’t seem like they’re making it anymore), which I think is a drink Americans also used to like, and made from a bitter-sweet herb called … horehound.

    Really delicious.

    This is the problem with moving to another country … you can’t get the stuff you love unless you go looking really hard.

    Americans do OK here as you can get Oreos and things like A1 sauce (I like HP instead!), but for much of the stuff in Oz they still have to order online or go to specialty gourmet places or the big department stores.

    But do you think I could find a jar of Vegemite or a decent ginger beer anywhere in the US the last time I was there??

    I have a solution though, Zedd, for ginger beer which I learned while working in a pub many years ago: if you can’t get ginger beer, put about two-to-three fingers of normal beer in a glass, and top it up with a sparkling lemon drink like Lift. Do you have Solo over there?

    It’s called “pub ginger beer”. Tastes almost the same … and it’s the sh.t too.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan, I’ve never seen Vegemite on sale over here even at hardcore grocery import places. But Bundaberg ginger beer is available at a chain called Cost Plus World Market, which sells groceries and knick-knacks which are either from far-off climes or pretending to be. My sister-in-law got me some for my birthday last year. Ginger beer is my favourite kind of soda.

  • STM

    You wouldn’t be a Vegemite fan anyhow would ya Doc??

    As a Pom, you’d go for second prize I reckon … Marmite.

    Good substitute though. Close enough is good enough when you can’t get anything else.

    Glad you get Bundy giner beer.

    It’s a rather nice drop isn’t it.

    Next time you have a hot curry, or a very hot Asian dish with mountains of chilli, grab some first as they go well together.

    BTW, my grandmother used to get a bit silly on a single (but large-ish) glass of Stone’s Green Ginger Wine.

    I remember having a small glass as a kid and it having the same effect. Excellent stuff :)

  • STM

    And thanks, green grass …

    cheers

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stone’s is great too, especially nice around Christmas. Another thing I’ve never been able to find over here, sadly.

    Basically, anything featuring ginger works for me. Love the stuff.

    I actually quite like Vegemite. Used to go for it almost every morning when we were travelling around Down Under. But yeah, I do prefer Marmite. Goes down a bit smoother.

    When I was a kid my Mum used to buy this other yeast spread called Barmene, which was even milder. You could spread it on like jam. Dunno where she got it from, but I haven’t seen it in decades.

  • STM

    Vegemite: the trick … less is more