At a Fraternity house party I found myself part of a conversation between an Australian friend and a group of American girls we had recently met there. After establishing that our foreign accents were indeed genuine and not a conniving pulling ploy – apparently a common deception amongst the more inventive of American wooers – the conversation, naturally, moved to politics. After a brief summary of their political orientation, their general attitudes towards Medical insurance, and their feelings for the Obama Presidency, I could safely assume they all had a firm grasp of their own perspective on domestic politics and society. Yet it quickly became apparent their substantial political interest and knowledge did not transcend beyond their nation’s borders. They did not know whether Great Britain had a Prime Minister or a President; let alone his name, or the name of any other head of state in any other country. They argued their news simply does not prioritise international news, unless it threatens American interests.
The conversation was quickly aborted by my Australian friend, who could take no more of the provocation, and we headed out of the room. He turned to me as we descended the stairs, visibly annoyed. “It really fucks me off when people make excuses for their ignorance,” he said. “To be fair,” I told him, stopping mid-flight, “I couldn’t tell you the name of the Australian Prime Minister” whilst knowing full well I had no idea whether Australia even had Prime Minister. He turned around, looked at me as if I had set the Australian flag on fire and doused the flames with my urine. He then continued his descent down the stairs, leaving me on the middle step. I guess no matter what country you’re in, if you talk about politics at a party for long enough, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself standing alone.