opinion Throughout my life in Australia over the past (almost) 30 years, I have always enjoyed participating in one of our culture's time-honoured traditions.
It's a tradition which most Australians enjoy, no matter whether they are rich or poor, male or female, or what ethnic background they call their own. And it's even a tradition which we share with other worthy cultures such as the French, the Russians, Latin Americans and even the English '” despite our current animosity when it comes to cricket.
I speak of course, of laughing at the silly Americans.
Australians, by and large, are somewhat fond of Americans, in the way that one might be fond of a bumbling cousin who keeps on making obvious mistakes. They're our friends and colleagues. But they are quite different from us in many ways. 'Look at the silly Americans!' we love to say. 'They are constantly suing each other! They have that idiot George Bush for a president! They never eat fresh food and survive off Coke and donuts! Their healthcare system is a joke! They can't even walk up the stairs to go to the gym!'
Don't even get me started about the crazy type of football that they play. It's probably safe to say that very few Australians have ever truly understood gridiron '” and no wonder, when the rules are so much more complicated than our sensible and practical game of AFL.
Nothing is more emblematic of this attitude towards Americans than the way that Australians are currently watching the country's slow march to having more than one telco which sells the Apple iPhone (hello, Verizon, welcome to the party).