Wow- a shiny new blogging interface. It feels like Christmas came early in an orange colour scheme.
Whilst it's unusual for me to do a geography-based rant, I've been part of a number of conversations recently centering around how depressingly few countries there are which I'd genuinely like to live in. When you start taking current-affairs-following to an almost addiction-like level you begin to realise that the wonderful cultures and interesting people you learned about in widdle baby school are almost certainly corrupt autocracies run by a deranged dictator and his fifty seven illegitimate offspring.
Let's have some examples so you don't mistake this for a bout of xenophobic paranoia.
My sister recently did a school project on India. Here, they at least had the decency to include slums as part of the teaching. Far from being a rich culture of colourful clothes and the Taj Mahal, it might be more accurate to think of it as the land with a wealth-gap the size of the Universe and who's most notable feature is a prominent quantity of diarrhoea.
Slumdog Millionaire (despite having a lead character with as much charisma as a bowl of porridge) does a pretty good job of summing this up. Watch that film and tell me you'd really like to live there. YOU personally might have enough money to employ a few of the local plebs and live a comfortable life. Let's just hope you have a gaping void where your conscience would otherwise be.
Note the similarities
China would be no good. All the history, scenery and tasty food in the world won't change the fact that you're going to get arrested for so much thinking of the letter 'd' together with 'e', 'm', 'o', 'c', 'r', 'a', 'c' again, and 'y'. [Apparently that also rules out 'car comedy', 'a mercy cod', and 'cry me a doc']
South Africa's full of murderers, Brazil is full of kidnappers, France is full of the French, and even the USA is curiously backwards, at least in the southern states. Who'd have guessed there'd still be areas of the developed world where you're frowned upon for reading George Orwell? These are the back waters where the hard-line Republicans will cry murder if you mention the word 'evolution'. Fairness dictates that these anti-science types be deprived of everything produced as a result of the scientific method, reducing them to cave-dwelling homeopaths with large art collections.
|You're cordially invited to a bonfire celebration in New Mexico. Bring warm clothes, marshmallows, and unholy, godless literature like Harry Potter.|
Don't get me wrong I'd love to visit pretty well all these places for a holiday; but there's a big difference between sight seeing for two weeks and having a job and a family somewhere. You're lucky enough (unless my readership extends orders of magnitude further than I could hope for) to live in a country where you can avoid getting electrocuted by the police, live with someone the same sex, read communist literature, moan on the internet about immigration, and post pictures of the Prime Minister with a willy drawn on his head on your favourite image sharing site.
Next time you feel like moaning about the state of the economy, the government, or how much of a prat your bus driver is; just remember it could be so much worse.
Then moan anyway. If you stick it on a blog, people might even read it.