Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Whale of a Tale

About a week ago, I got up in the morning and fired up the old lap top. This is a morning ritual for me as the new day in America has dawned while I was sleeping and the American news cycle is in full swing. My computer is set to open the Yahoo homepage initially when I connect to the Internet. As soon as the page opens, I scroll down to the news section and read the day's headlines. Lately the headlines have been dominated by Iraq, Pakistan and Obama. There are often a few sports stories or other "light" news items thrown in for good measure. (I think it's important to note here that I'm looking at the USA version of the Yahoo website so the news stories are mostly USA related)

On the particular morning in question, I was greeted with the following headline, "Australian Kite Surfer Struck by Whale". Of course I immediately clicked on the story and saw the following video.

Not long after, the Handsome Australian walked in the room and put the television on. The same story was running on the local morning news program.

HA: "Hey, have a look at this."

Me: "I know, I already saw it on the net. The headline is Australian Kite Surfer Struck by Whale. It made the US Yahoo site."

HA: "Of course it did."

Me: "Yeah I guess getting struck by a whale is a pretty big deal."

HA: "It's not that, it's that Americans love this kind of a story. It fulfills all of their stereotypes of Australia."

Me: "Oh yeah, and those would be?"

HA: "Well, firstly the guy was surfing. We're all surfers didn't you know?"

Me: "Kite surfing. He was kite surfing."

HA: "Kite surfing, surfing, whatever--the guy was surfing in some form."

Me: "Okay, what else ya got?"

HA: "He got struck by a whale. Americans love a good Australian wildlife story. People think that only in Australia would you ever come into contact with such bizarre wild life, or have a close encounter with it. Americans think we are all wrangling crocs or riding kangaroos all the time. We are all the Crocodile Hunter."

Me: "Aren't you?"

HA: "No."

Got that folks? Australians are not surfing wildlife wranglers. They are that and so much more. Unfortunately, that's the only type of news that ever seems to make international headlines. Lucky these wacky Australians are out there kite surfing over whales--that way Chris Cuomo can make his goofy, "New South WALES" jokes while Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts chuckle like school girls in the background.


Kay said...

Was going through your posts and noticed you didnt mention the race that stops the nation - Melbourne Cup. I went last year and it was SOOOOO much fun. The dresses, hats, feathers, champagne and the betting! Always always wear sensible shoes.

First few months in the city I could not get over how after clubbing girls would be walking barefoot very tipsy. It was the nastiest thing, but part of the culture I guess.

MissCaron said...

I saw that article yesterday and thought of y'all ... wondered if you had seen it locally first or if it was the type of news that would only be popular in the US ;-)

suzinoz said...

Kay-You are right, I didn't do a Melbourne Cup post. I had intended to, but I think I was overwhelmed by the US Election which took place on the same day. I'll get to it one of these days! There were plenty of barefoot tipsy people though, so things haven't changed since you've been away.

Misscaron-I'm of the theory that the Australian media picked up the story only because the American media did. That happens here all the time. Afterall, the Aussies were reporting it the morning after the American video I posted was broadcast.

Annelise said...

Aussies and whales and surfing oh my!

suzinoz said...

Annelise--Oh my indeed!