Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vituperative Reflections on A Nonconfrontation Nation

It says something about my state of mind when a close friend of mine (originally from Hungary)has to look up 'vituperative' on her iphone in order to understand my apology for my behaviour.  I also wanted to see if I was using it correctly, or if quite possibly, I had made it up.

"Vituperative:  bitterly sarcastic, harshly abusive censure."  Her phone said it better.  But some synonyms would be: abusive, contumelious,  invective, opprobrious and scurrilous."

In plain English, I have been a real bitch lately.

The problem is I don't know how angry I am until I open my mouth. 

This has been the month of such gems as:

"Well, of course they don't have a gifted and talented team to send to the F1 competition.  What are they going to do, send the Indians?  They can't do that; they sent them last year."  (This about our old school and about the four boys they sent last year, three of who were recent migrants to Australia.)

The fact that I retain my racist comments for my closest friends, use them sparingly, and then only to bitterly criticise the Queensland state schools, isn't really much of an excuse.  Neither is the fact that the racism is POSITIVE for the darker race and condemning of the white Australians.

Vituperative, right?!

It's also been the month of:

"You don't HAVE to be Australian to be stupid."  (This from Damon!)  

But me even thinking, "but it helps", is, once again, vituperative. 

(In Damon's defence, he was just saying that people OTHER than Queenslanders can be..oh dear, that explanation isn't helping any is it?!)

We can insult people more specifically as well.

"I swear my IQ drops by at least 50 points when I cross over the bridge into Lawnton."  This said by a friend of ours a while back, but admittedly something I think about every single time I cross that bridge. 


Look, I haven't posted and I've tried to hide it from myself.   Because I DO love it here and I DO think the people here can be among the greatest, kindest and most generous in the world.

Some of the kindest people I know are German too, though, and I don't have trouble tearing down their system, do I?

It's what happens after a few years, my other immigrant friends tell me.  You don't see it at first, because everyone IS so kind and because things DO work better here than in most other places in the world.  This is a phenomenal place to live and we are all grateful to be here.

But it doesn't mean you don't start noticing some things after a while. 

This is a nonconfrontation nation and they will tell it to you with a smile, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be reading beyond it.  Perhaps it's a British thing.   There are unwritten social niceties that a blunt German or straightforward American aren't going to get. One thing you can say about Germans is they DO tell it like it is!  And Americans are raised on confrontation and argument; we call it critical thinking.  I thought the whole nonconfrontation thing - meaning one thing but saying another, just not saying anything and hoping it goes away - was passive aggressive (or something limited to the military and politics) but I think, here, it is just a way of being polite and avoiding conflict.  Again, something Americans really don't worry about.

In short, this is what Australians (or maybe just s/e Queenslanders) REALLY mean:

"We work to live, not live to work,"  means " I don't want to work."

"Family first,"  means "I am taking care of myself."

And, "no worries, mate" means "Fuck it."

And, oh dear, THIS is EXACTLY what I mean by 'vituperative.'

And if our education system was working better, you could have read the title of this blog and saved yourself the bitter acrimony.

But then again, you've already heard the crappy education rants.

No comments:

Post a Comment