Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Modern wizards and witch-hunters

So now terrorists have started to notice that Austria exists and threatened us as well. Nice. Not that I really get their way of thinking. Two equal messages, one to Germany and one to Austria, while Germany has 3000 soldiers in Afghanistan and Austria has a stunning army of 4.
Needless to say that a threat gets less threatening if you don't get your facts straight. It's four soldiers, not five as the video says. We spend money on Bush? We support Bush? Hell, no. How you can support anyone significantly with four people is beyond my imagination anyway.

Although I do have to admit I'm surprised about the knowledge the video shows about our current political state, the broken election promises above all.

You gave the far right parties some more oil for their fires. Well done.


I've been quite ill the last few days (still am). After it got much worse yet again during the night, I finally surrendered and saw a doctor this morning. It was interesting. He looked into my ear and said "You can't have slept well at all with an ear like that" (I wholeheartedly agreed). Much like a wizard looks at people and knows their past deeds, he looks at ears and knows their owner's past night's sleep. Neat. Modern Magic.

(I'm only so amazed because I'm not used to obviously competent doctors. The doctors I usually go to listen, nod, don't say much and give you pills. This one listened, filled the gaps that I hadn't even thought of telling and emphasized in how much pain I must be, showing that he knows more about me than I do myself.)

Since I'm encouraged by competent people, I went straigth to uni instead of back to bed to listen to a lecture on American culture. I don't have an anti-American attitude (as the Americans I have got to know personally have been mostly normal, sensible people), but after this semester, I think I may have one. The second half of the lecture we watched a documentary about American views. I was repelled in many ways by a lot of the images shown and the things said. The patriotism and God-thing is probably the main cause.
I think most Austrian people aren't very patriotic. It's nice to be Austrian, but it's equally nice to be European. There are certainly some who wouldn't even care if they're Austrian or, say, Spanish. In the end it's just a country - land to build on. Raising the country's flag in one's yard would be considered very odd by most people here.
And the God-thing ... one thing that was said went something like (quoting for meaning here, not word-for-word) "We can be ethnocentric and self-righteous because God likes us best". Half of the people in the lecture chuckled at that.
It just seems so stereotypical and a bit narrow-minded, and I find it hard to believe that there's a country in which most people should carry an attitude like that. Admittedly, I haven't ever argued with any American whether the US sucks or if God really likes them best (or prefers the Irish); so I never tried to touch the core of anyone's cultural beliefs. I guess I just always assumed that it's common to not think too highly of oneself and to not believe one's country too important (I've been making too many intentional fallacies like that recently).
That's another point the documentary made - in Germany children are told that the government is bad, the country is economically wasting away, that the child will never fulfil his/her dearest dream and should just get down to earth again and get a proper job, etc., while in the US the children are told how much they are loved, how great the country is, how wonderful the government, that your dreams can come true and that they are loved, again that they are loved and that the country is great. I can accept that as accurate because I know the German part is true (and also partly true for Austria).
So the subtle, less problematic cultural differences from Watching the English suddenly become vastly different, entirely problematic differences when you look to the other side of the ocean. It's interesting. Certainly not easy to be not biased, or to judge objectively (one person clapped during a particularly big cultural difference shown in the documentary that was somewhat offensive towards Americans). It is also harder to believe what is said because I have no way of comparision. With British culture and behaviour it's easy, because I gathered enough background knowledge myself during my year abroad to know that what is written in a book is true (making it likely that the parts that I don't know about discussed in the book are true as well). With the US, it's been almost a decade since I've been there for the last time, and back then I was not as perceptive about cultural issues as I am now.

I do hope we'll have some people from the US in the lecture who give us their view on what is said.

After the lecture I had a short talk with the supervisor of my diploma thesis again to finally set the topic. It's now back to fairies (yay), restricted to the Victorian times. Maybe from a feminist view, but I'll still have to check on that and see if I like it. Victorian fairies rock.
I seriously have the best supervisor in the world (so glad I'm studying in Salzburg). Not one teacher has managed to get me excited and motivated about a topic like her.


Since my health has kept me from sketching and painting in the last few days, I give you some photos from my walks in the forest (been doing them once a week for some weeks now). Regular walks are great for observing a particular subject matter, because every time you go there again you see more details and find new things you hadn't noticed before. The last time I was particularly impressed by the colour contrast of the green moss and the withered red leaves on the ground, and how treestumps and roots glow with bright green moss.
Mostly though, I collected textures.

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