Monday, September 8, 2008

Oh yeah, we're patriotic

Our fifth year of hosting is going pretty well. I do, however, feel a bit sorry for our student. He arrived during the all-Americans, all-the-time Olympics (except when they were showing teensy little gymnasts who probably had milk, cookies and a nap right after they did their parallel bar exercises).

Have you ever noticed that no events that Americans are not expected to excel in are shown during prime-time network television? I never noticed that phenomenon until we started hosting exchange students. This year I’d be all: “Hey, there’s a German swimming in this race – come watch!” ‘Cause it’s a rare occurrence. Unless the German was in a race in which Michael Phelps was also swimming. I personally could have done with a little bit less volleyball in bikinis and a little bit more of, say, archery. But my husband would probably disagree!

I guess we’re not alone, though. My daughter was in Europe during most of the Olympics and she saw nary an American on the small bit of television she watched. Of course, she was entirely too busy touring castles, taking gondola rides across the Grand Canal in Venice and visiting the Brandenburg Gate to watch too much television.

Not that I’m jealous or anything. But I’ve mentioned my lack of jealousy before, I think. I’m sure that really impresses upon you the sincerity of my lack of jealousy. My mentioning it all the time, that is.

As soon as the Olympics were over, we launched into two weeks of political conventions. Do you have any idea how many times speakers inform the viewing audience that we live in the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD during both political conventions?? Lots. Again, not anything I’d noticed until we were hosting someone not actually from our country. A speaker would launch into the BEST COUNTRY portion of his or her speech and I’d just have to kind of sheepishly say “Yep, we’re kinda arrogant here.”

Of course, I believe we live in the best country in the world, too.

But I hope people in other countries feel equally adamantly that THEY live in the best country in the world. I think it would be rather sad to live somewhere, all the while yearning to be somewhere else "better." So I don't get offended if someone disagrees with me on the topic of BEST COUNTRY. It's subjective.

Plus, castles? Great Walls? Koala Bears? Grand Canals? CN Towers? Windmills? There are AWESOME things EVERYWHERE. I want to see it all! And then come home.

1 comment:

langtry said...

I, too, hate the myopic, American-centrist coverage of the Olympics. In the winter of 1988 I was living in London as an exchange sudent and was able to watch the BBC coverage of the Calgary Games.

It was so much more interesting to watch! Probably because the British contingent at those winter games was a small one, but the Beeb introduced you to a lot of other countries' athletes, and they were showing the Jamaican bobsled team before the US networks (along with Eddie the Eagle). I am a really patriotic American, but I am interested in other cultures as well. I would welcome an alternative to NBC.