So, I haven't written in awhile, mainly because I have been very busy watching TV. I feel it's completely justified because in a foreign country, watching TV is always the best way to learn the language. And besides, Australian TV is insanely better than American TV (though it's not like I really watched TV much in America, so it could just be that I am completely naive and out of it and would be attracted to anything that flickered, but I'd like to think not.) It's kind of ironic that the land that created (well, spawned) Rupert Murdoch should have such high quality television, whereas we are stuck with fox news, but that appears to be the case. There are only 5 channels, 3 are commercial ones and 2 are publicly owned. Australian TV seems to be 1/3 British, 1/3 American, and 1/3 Australian, so as such, they can glean the best programming from England and America, (some american shows are the Jim Leher News Hour, Westwing, and Frontline). Their commercial channels show lots of BBC sitcoms and dramas as well as many American movies (they also have such great shows as "The biggest loser, Australia" and "Bondi beach rescue," which basically consists of showing lots of really really buff tan men in australian flag speedos rescuing surfers from weird marine life). But the best programming is on the public channels. Their public tv stations seem to devote their time to showing interesting documentaries and in-depth news analysis instead of stuck groveling for money and showing reruns of John Denver concerts. They also have a program 'Media Watch,' which moniters and investigates the accuracy of all sorts of media, from regional newspapers, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), to Vogue magazine. It sounds like something we could use in America. Everyone in Dave's family follows politics very closely, so I spend lots of time watching TV and reading the paper about Australian politcs. (Basically, John Howard, PM and George Bush syncophant has been stuck in a series of embarrassing scandals in which lots of people have had to resign, so he's taken to yelling a lot in parliament and visiting Iraq and Afghanistan, and the opposition leader, "Babyface," (okay, Kevin Rudd) just smiles a lot and does really well in the poles).
But aside from Australian TV in general, there seems to be an effort to make America appear as silly as possible. About a week ago, we watched part of a show about morbidly obese people. No wait, they're in a new category, "super-morbidly obese" people, who weigh over 400 kilos (880 lbs). One man was so obese he that when he had to be hospitalized, it took 20 EMTs to lift him, and they had to borrow a stretcher/sling from the local aquarium. He wouldn't fit in the ambulance, and had to be taken in on the back of a flatbed truck. Needless to say all the people were American. Another show chronicled an Australian man traveling accross New Mexico in an RV and sleeping in Wal Marts. And tonight, the Australian news had an in- depth report on the polygamous marriage movement in Utah, interviewing activists claiming that polygamy is a civil right. No wonder people abroad think we're crazy.