23
   

KFC Pulls "Racist" Australian TV spot

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Oct, 2011 09:17 pm
@Robert Gentel,
P.S. I am not defending their decision, I find their censorship on the whole objectionable and stupid. I'm criticizing the tendency Australians have of seeing such minor cultural differences as huge slights in a culture war.

It's an irrational little-country syndrome. Most of you know ****-all about many comparable countries your size, have a horrid national reputation for lacking cultural awareness yourselves*, but ironically expect Americans to be ultra-aware of your culture and get snotty each time they show minor cultural ignorance.

* Australian tourists are the only ones I've ever heard beat out the "ugly American" reputation (this perception is strongest throughout South-East Asia) for obnoxious culturally-incongruous behavior.

Edit: This is the single best article about Australia ever written:

Quote:
AUSTRALIA GETS DRUNK, WAKES UP IN NORTH ATLANTIC
Tired of Being Isolated and Ignored, Continent Isn't Bloody Moving


After what witnesses described as an all night blinder during which it kept droning on about how it was always being bloody ignored by the whole bloody world and would bloody well stand to do something about it, Australia this morning woke up to find itself in the middle of the North Atlantic....


Eorl
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:35 am
@Robert Gentel,
He he. I'd say we're more amused than outraged in this case, but there is cause for concern here that may not seem obvious.

Yes, the fact that we're so dominated by America in so many different ways is a worry. I don't think fighting the cultural colonialism can be assumed to be nationalism though.

In this case, an Australian publicly funded (government taxes) corporation are suppling a product to the Australian public via the Australian version of the iTunes, so an American owned conduit. Australian censorship laws already apply, and these are built with the audience in mind. Is it really appropriate for the conduit company to be applying censorship that does not and should not apply here? I struggle to accept any form of censorship, let alone one being applied so strictly, narrowly, and as you point out, by some minor functionary in California?

The alternative, I guess, is to compete with Apple on our own delivery mechanism and devices so that we remove the foreign control. Not gonna happen in a hurry. Maybe we should have kept wi-fi to ourselves!
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:43 am
@Robert Gentel,
I just saw this second post.

Yeah, that's all fair criticism I'm sorry to admit. That article went viral here when it first came out. I think we thought it pretty funny and recognised the truth behind the satire. Drunk
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:48 am
@Robert Gentel,
Also, just checked the app store, "Spicks and Specks" available in it's full and correct title, so must have been resolved sensibly anyway.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 09:28 am
@Eorl,
Eorl wrote:
Australian censorship laws already apply, and these are built with the audience in mind. Is it really appropriate for the conduit company to be applying censorship that does not and should not apply here?


I don't agree with iTunes rules, but it is a private company and really has nothing to do with the Australian censorship laws. Those laws dictate what they must censor but aren't intended in any way as a guide to where the limits of censorship should be, just the requirements.

They are going for a curated approach with all the upsides and downsides to it. I think the better approach is to limit their censorship to what they are legally obligated to but this is not a cross-cultural issue, they are widely criticized for this in the American marketplace as well.

Quote:
I struggle to accept any form of censorship, let alone one being applied so strictly, narrowly, and as you point out, by some minor functionary in California?


I don't agree with it either. They have draconian control and use it for both good things (a better overall experience) as well as bad things (their curation of this experience is censorship). If these things matter to you there are readily available options to Australian users, such as choosing the more open Android platform or to simply jailbreak the phone, allowing you to install whatever you want.

I guess what I'm saying is that this is a platform freedom issue that really has nothing to do with Oz. Americans developers are getting rejected left and right too and often for maddeningly inconsistent reasons. This is entirely a function of their draconian approach.

Quote:
The alternative, I guess, is to compete with Apple on our own delivery mechanism and devices so that we remove the foreign control. Not gonna happen in a hurry. Maybe we should have kept wi-fi to ourselves!


To me the alternative is realizing that this has nothing to do with the respective countries. This isn't at all about "foreign control" but the freedom a particular platform allows, it's an Android vs. iPhone issue more than US vs. Australia. American corporate overlords offer both philosophies, Google is taking the open approach and Apple the closed approach. You'll have to pick your poison about this regardless of where it comes from, this is just not about US vs. Australia. Apple isn't required to do any of this by the American government or American culture, this is just Apple's own corporate culture.

Apple's curation/censorship of their platforms, and the control they are want over their ecosystem, is pretty much their biggest downside in any market and is pretty much the only reason Android exists. If you want freedom from corporate censorship, Apple products are not a great choice. Apple is a censor-happy, authoritarian company with both the upsides (e.g. Apple's marketplace doesn't have the malware that Android's markets have had) and the downsides (stupid cases of censorship).
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 04:46 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Oh sure, I understand all that very well. ( Im certainly well aware of jailbreaking). I know it has nothing to do with deliberate government initiated colonialism.
The point at the heart of the entire thread is the level of control exerted by American companies (intentionally or not) in other countries like this one. As parents it's difficult to keep our kids spelling words like "colour" and pronouncing z as "zed" in the face of the constant barrage. So when we are told that the word "spicks" is offensive to Americans, you can be sure it'll dissappear from use pretty quickly.
When all our sports coverage relies on big American sponsorship, then our advertisers don't have to tip-toe around the beliefs, predjudices and sensibilities of any other countries than the USA.

The impact of American cultural exports is huge in Australia. Our food, entertainment, fashion, religion and technology is entirely and increasingly dominated by American companies. Our number one takeaway is McDonalds. There are others though... Like KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Hungry Jacks (read Burger King).
There are a lot more iPhones per head in Australia than there are in America.
There's no way to stop it so we accept it all with noses pinched against the smell of our own hypocrisy. But every now and then, someone goes too far, such as telling us we ought to be ashamed of showing black skinned people eating chicken, or using the word spicks, it wakes the last feeble strains of resistence within and we cry, with our newly aquired new york jewish accents,
"ENOUGH, ALREADY!"
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 11:28 am
@Eorl,
Eorl wrote:
The point at the heart of the entire thread is the level of control exerted by American companies (intentionally or not) in other countries like this one.


I understand. We are not in any kind of confusion about what it is that gets under you guys' skin, my point is that it is irrational nationalism and part of Australia's little-country syndrome that these foreign innovations are resented as meddlesome influences. Its insipid xenophobia to me, I understand, though, that Australian jingoism makes it all make perfect sense to you guys.

Quote:
As parents it's difficult to keep our kids spelling words like "colour" and pronouncing z as "zed" in the face of the constant barrage. So when we are told that the word "spicks" is offensive to Americans, you can be sure it'll dissappear from use pretty quickly.


Why that's just awful, your language changing with cultural influence like any language does. So what? This is no different than the xenophobic people in America whinging about their culture being assailed by hispanic influences. Your culture and your language are not inherently superior.

Quote:
When all our sports coverage relies on big American sponsorship, then our advertisers don't have to tip-toe around the beliefs, predjudices and sensibilities of any other countries than the USA.


So what? What makes your sensibilities so damn important? Why should your tiny market be treated with such cultural deference even if it makes no business sense to do it differently? You guys understand why it makes perfect sense for them to operate that way (because the Australian market is often not large enough to merit the custom treatment you guys want) but still fault them for it, in what is essentially just resentment of the fact that Australia is relatively small. You are complaining about not being treated as if you were a much larger market with much more important cultural differences to cater to.

Quote:
The impact of American cultural exports is huge in Australia.


You say that like it's an axiomatically bad thing. This is just your cultural bias showing.

Quote:
Our food, entertainment, fashion, religion and technology is entirely and increasingly dominated by American companies.


Yeah, and they subjugate you guys by having you guys choose to buy their food and products.

Quote:
Our number one takeaway is McDonalds. There are others though... Like KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Hungry Jacks (read Burger King).
There are a lot more iPhones per head in Australia than there are in America.


So what? How many countries out there are inventing phone platforms that sweep the world? Why does it make any sense for Australia to resent that they aren't one of them when 99% of countries aren't? This is just little-country syndrome, complaining that you weren't the economic power that developed the innovations that your country chooses to use, and afterwards resent.

Quote:
There's no way to stop it so we accept it all with noses pinched against the smell of our own hypocrisy.


Why not just tone down the jingoism then? This self-delusional notion that everything that is foreign is less pure and good than that which is entirely Australian?

Quote:
But every now and then, someone goes too far, such as telling us we ought to be ashamed of showing black skinned people eating chicken, or using the word spicks, it wakes the last feeble strains of resistence within and we cry, with our newly aquired new york jewish accents,
"ENOUGH, ALREADY!"


You guys certainly seem to have imported their irrational self-love and jingoism. It's like you guys all take it as a given that these American influences are god-awful, never bothering to realize that this is just a product of your cultural bias. Nobody told you guys to be ashamed of blacks eating chicken in ads, you guys are just being hyper-sensitive about the fact that you choose to eat at an American company that predictably has American cultural bias. The sensitivity stems from Australian resentment that they patronize foreign companies to the degree that they do but Australians prefer the self-serving notion that they have American corporate overlords wielding undue influence in their lives.

It's like the Americans who throw up their hands and say "there goes the neighborhood" because of foreign influence on American culture. It's an ugly cultural xenophobia, railing against the tides of cultural changes with no good reason to offer other than the assumption that their culture is superior to that of others.
Eorl
 
  4  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 05:28 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I think you make some fair points here, but your assumptions and generalisations about motive, in particular, jingoism, I think is off the mark. There are many Australians who are strongly nationalistic and seek to protect "the Australian way of life". You see bumper stickers on redneck utes (read "trucks") that say "love it or leave it". I have no love for that attitude at all, and I'm on record here as calling nationalism a form of bigotry. I'm a fan of multi-culturalism,diversity and personal freedom.
American cultural imperialism differs from the influence of other cultures in some significant ways. It arrives with the built-in assumption of American exceptionalism, and represents hegemonic globalisation and mono-culturalism, not entirely unrelated to the missionary Christianity that underpins all American culture.
So jingoism? No, i deny that myself though it does exist here. Xenophobia? Possibly, if your definition includes fear of the loss of all other cultural influences due the overwhelming power of one. You could also include the fear of being controlled by said power.

Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 07:21 pm
@Eorl,
Eorl wrote:
I think you make some fair points here, but your assumptions and generalisations about motive, in particular, jingoism, I think is off the mark.


Jingoism is largely in the eye of the beholder but I would tend to agree with you in that of all the things I call it that has the least merit so I'm willing to retract that and stick to a charge of cultural xenophobia. I think that nearly all of the Australian regulars to this forum can't be fairly described as jingoistic but that they frequently exhibit a bit of a castle-complex when it comes to Australian culture.

Quote:
There are many Australians who are strongly nationalistic and seek to protect "the Australian way of life". You see bumper stickers on redneck utes (read "trucks") that say "love it or leave it". I have no love for that attitude at all, and I'm on record here as calling nationalism a form of bigotry. I'm a fan of multi-culturalism,diversity and personal freedom.


I agree that you are on that end of the national patriotic spectrum. But I am convinced that your nationality plays a part in that you do not view Australian influence abroad as dimly as American influence in your country.

Quote:
American cultural imperialism differs from the influence of other cultures in some significant ways. It arrives with the built-in assumption of American exceptionalism, and represents hegemonic globalisation and mono-culturalism, not entirely unrelated to the missionary Christianity that underpins all American culture.


I find it ironic that you advocate this cultural intolerance by claiming it's defense against the cultural intolerance of the other side. That Australian exceptionalism is justified as a defense against a unique American delusion of exceptionalism.

Pretty much any culture believes in their own exceptionalism and fears/resents external cultural influence to some degree. I think it's a regressive way of thinking. The world is getting smaller, this is not going to go away. I happen to think it's a great thing, bringing about greater prosperity and peace. As the world gets smaller we are going to hear the familiar "there goes the neighborhood" more and more. And quite frankly I can't tell what the great fuss is supposed to be about. So far:

- Some KFC ad was pulled.
- You kids are spelling things differently.
- You guys use the iPhone a lot.
- You are eating a bunch of American junk food.

Look, I'm with you on the junk food. I lament the spread of those chains anywhere, but nobody can blame their nation's fatties on America. Nobody's forcing you to eat that stuff and they exist there because you guys are eating it up.

As for the rest it seems completely inconsequential (KFC ad, spelling, etc) or even a positive influence (technological advance) that you are resenting for no good reason other than it is American. What's wrong with using the iPhone? Just because it's not Australian? The phones you had before weren't Australian anyway, and they were worse. This is a positive technological influence on Australia, it would have taken a lot longer for this kind of thing to happen within Australia on its own (possibly not within your lifetime) and technological contagion is generally a good thing (making technological advancement occur more rapidly for all).

I think globalism is a great force for good, that is rapidly making the world a better place. People just tend to think of globalization as all the parts they don't like about it as opposed to all the parts that are positive about it.

Quote:
Xenophobia? Possibly, if your definition includes fear of the loss of all other cultural influences due the overwhelming power of one. You could also include the fear of being controlled by said power.


I understand the fear and even some rational reasons for it but think it's an extraordinarily exaggerated fear. You haven't offered any real examples where it hurts you in a meaningful way (not that emotions are not meaningful). And as far as the evils of American hegemony are concerned you guys also seem more like willing participants in the spoils than the subjugated. I can't think of very many nations who don't benefit as much from it and who suffer as little.

As English has become the lingua franca of the world other nations have had to adapt much more in their own languages than these minor things Australians complain about in the differences between our English. Some nations are losing their ability to write (the very concept of keyboards are not compatible with certain scripts, so they use transliteration in ways that are fundamentally changing their languages). Other countries have to put up with anglicizing their cultures in much more dramatic ways while Australians benefit from not having to adapt much at all as far as language is concerned. While most of the world is saddled with having to learn English in addition to their mother tongue to compete Australians pick bones with Americans over the tiniest of cultural differences that come up.

On the global scale American hegemony is a hell of a lot easier on Australia than the cultural hegemony of any of the other potential superpowers would be and Australia has it pretty good as far as this cultural empire thing goes, your culture is so very similar to the evil empire that the differences being made of them by Australians here seem hyperbolic to me.

So some ad was pulled and some online store temporarily censored an app based on an incongruous cultural value. So what? Where's the real harm to that other than to your national ego? How does that hurt you in a meaningful way? In a way that isn't completely eclipsed by the technological benefits that are part and parcel to this relationship. To me these are but minor emotional slights, that are being amplified by irrational national pride.

The funny thing is that even though America is a cultural megaphone that has no historical precedent many Americans view their culture as being threatened as well. That their language is being changed by these foreigners (all these Spanish forms!), that in the 80s and 90s Japan was "buying up America", and now they are scared of the Chinese just like you guys are. I could go on and on but pretty much wherever in the world you go you can hear about how some foreigners are being some generally negative influence and it's largely a crock of nationalistic bullshit. Around the world, I hear the same cultural fears, and quite frankly I don't usually see any real harm, just a whole lot of people wringing their hands about cultural changes they disagree with. I believe that throughout history much more harm was caused by people who feared outside cultural influences than the outside cultural influences themselves.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2011 04:28 am
@Robert Gentel,
Well, that's great. Now what am I s'posed to do with my plans for the Great Wall of Australia?

I can't substantially disagree with anything in your last post, Robert, as much as my ego wants me to find something. Rather, I thank you giving me a fresh perspective.

-posted by iPhone.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Feb, 2014 11:20 am
@Eorl,
They pulled it because its racist and if you don't get it. Tooooo bad.
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Feb, 2014 04:00 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
bobsal u1553115 wrote:

They pulled it because its racist and if you don't get it. Tooooo bad.


Can't believe this is still going, but it wasn't racist at all. It was judged that way based on a purely AMERICAN prejudiced view of African Americans, a view that I've NEVER heard expressed in Australia (relating to fried chicken).
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Feb, 2014 04:09 pm
@Wilso,
I think Bobdidn'tsal the date.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Feb, 2014 06:55 pm
I didn't even know that particular prejudice existed until I saw it on a South Park episode.
0 Replies
 
 

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