Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Pre-course Test: What Do I Know Already?

I defy Mark Twain, open my mouth, and brag of my ignorance.

This is what I already knew about Australia, before any research.  I think I will fail any sort of reasonable test.  When I went from Virginia to Oklahoma for college, I had to look at the map to remember where Oklahoma was.  It was just out of my consciousness.  Australia is harder to miss on the map, but it doesn't get mentioned everyday.

General Knowledge

  • The Outback
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Kangaroos
  • It was peopled entirely from criminals. I'm obviously not claiming quality nor quantity of information. 
  • They were very important during the war (WWII) and the moon landing (satellite transmitters).
  • Toilets there flush backwards.


  • That girl that used to be married to that guy from Mission Impossible
  • That animal guy
  • There are others, but since I can't distinguish a British from an Irish from an Australian accent, I wouldn't know for sure.

The Arts

  • Crocodile Dundee
  • On The Beach. This a book about Australia awaiting a nuclear winter. I don't know why I read it in high school.  It was good but didn't have a happy ending. 
  • Australia the movie, with the Mission Impossible girl
  • The Band Midnight Oil (see Beds Are Burning. Really see it - it's a good song and video) 

 If Americans are honest, I think they would admit most of our knowledge of Australia is from Crocodile Dundee.  This is not all due to some great moral deficit.  We are blessed with a country that spans a continent.  Unlike Europeans, driving 4 hours does not put us in the middle of another culture and political system (excepting such differences as between North and South Carolina).  We don't have to know about other places to survive.

I still think it's a good idea, you know for peace, love, and understanding and yummy foreign foods.  So I hope I'll leave with a fuller picture of this place than one of a bunch of prett-much-Americans throwing another shrimp on the barbie.

I wrote this while on the plane.  I've already realized some things I need to do.
Todo list, item #1

Write a letter of complaint. Durham is not capitalized in the back of the Quantas in flight magazine. I have come to accept that it will always be an incorrect and misleading Raleigh hyphen Durham even though they don't do Dallas hyphen Fort Worth.  But Raleigh-durham is demeaning.  It's way overdoing it to really care at all. I mean, Cary doesn't have to worry about being named at all - they have the power and money, so they don't have to care about it being Cary-Raleigh-Durham. But one capitalization doesn't seem to be too much to ask for.too much for which to ask (Queen's English?).

1 comment:

  1. Oprah got to throw a shrimp on the barbie...so it must be a native requirement or something. Also, I am on board with the NC/SC differentiation, for sure. Write that letter. I hope they fix it on the next print version. I am guessing CH didn't get a mention.