human behavior

Photo Break

I took a year-long hiatus on blogging before I had the chance to post this picture.

Last year I flew from Sydney to my family home in Virginia by way of Atlanta (which is actually out-of-the-way). I can’t remember how long I’d been away since my last visit, but it would’ve been seven years running that I’d lived in Australia.

On walking into one of the airpot bookstores, I headed to the magazine section to see what was selling these days. I still read almost exclusively American newspapers and online political and cultural blogs, but the airport material gives you a better sense of what’s currently popular to the largest swath of the population.

As I headed to the racks, I couldn’t help but overhear a 20-something year-old girl talking to her father about their latest hunting exploit.


I thought that was fascinating. I don’t really know anyone who hunts animals for sport. Shaking off my surprise, I started to browse the racks and was struck by this particular display.

I’ve spent far too much of my time in Australia defending America and my countrymen to Aussies with a snobbish contempt for what they consider American insularity, militarism and ignorance.

So I was surprised by how ubiquitous supporting evidence for American stereotypes can be.

But this picture is literally just a slice of what was on offer in that bookstore, just as the worst stereotypes of Americans represent just a fraction of its people.

At least that’s my argument, and I’m sticking to it.

I’ll defend my country to the last.


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