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I live in Australia and we love American culture. Our love of American culture, in particular their TV shows is reflected by the fact that Australians are per capita the highest downloaders of illegal content in the world. In fact, Australians downloaded so many TV shows from the US that Australian TV networks have been forced to “fast track” US TV shows so that they show days after they screen in the US or in the bizarre case of Bionic Woman, the day before the US. Before they started doing this late last year, the Australian TV networks would show content from the US 6 months to 2 years after it screened in the US. We found this unacceptable so we downloaded the shows.
This obsession with American TV shows isn’t a new thing. I grew up in the 70s and 80s on a diet of US TV shows that at that time was tempered by just as many TV shows from the UK. It probably goes a long way to explaining why celebrating Christmas in summer time has never felt right to me despite the fact I have lived in Australia for my entire life.
Our news programs are also obsessed with American news. Our daily news has at least one if not more stories about the US Presidental campaigns every night. Also, pay TV (called cable TV in the US) has CNN and Fox News direct from the US and we get the Daily Show and The Colbert Report screening just hours after it screens in the US. Yes, we do indeed love our US news, especially their presidental campaign. So much so in fact that two Australian channels screened all three Presidental debates plus the Vice Presidental debate live. This is as many channels as showed the Australian Prime Minister candidate debates. The campaign for our new PM only lasted 6 months, which we all complained was far too long, and costed less than Obama’s campaign raised last month alone.
Therefore, I guess, it is unsurprising that many Australians (and I shamefully include myself in this number) can name more American Presidents than they can Australian Prime Ministers. However, it seems that Australians are now believing that they can in fact vote in the US Presidential elections. I was on the bus today when a woman got on wearing an Obama t-shirt and had an Obama badge on her backpack. I thought she may be an American tourist, but when she opened her mouth to buy a ticket she had a definite Australian accent. Well, there is nothing wrong with an Australian fan of Obama, I thought. However, I then overheard this conversation, both participants had very broad Australian accents which Americans no matter how long they have lived in Australia can never emulate.
Woman one: Who are you voting for in the Presidental elections?
Women two: Oh, I am voting for McCain.
WTF?? You are Australian! You cannot vote in the US Elections, because you are not US citizens. I weep for my fellow countrymen, I truly do.