THE UNITED STATES IS A BACKWARD NATION
A VIEW FROM AUSTRALIA
by Nick Renton
- The US has failed to adopt the metric system of weights and measures (SI), which is used throughout the rest of the civilised world. The authorities have even made a feature of the fact that the Freedom Tower being built on the World Trade Center site in New York is to be exactly 1776 FEET high.
- The US still uses Fahrenheit for temperatures. Actually this draws attention to its non-scientific attitude whenever it broadcasts weather reports to the rest of the world.
- Businesses in the US also refuse to use metric paper sizes such as A4, continuing to use assorted quarto and foolscap sizes instead.
- People in the US think that the duration of a day somehow lies between the duration of a month and the duration of a year. They thus persist in writing dates in the absurd MMDDYY format, to the confusion of readers in the rest of the world.
- Companies listed on stock exchanges in the US in many cases still use scrip certificates, a highly expensive and inefficient system. The stock exchanges in civilised jurisdictions generally trade shares on an uncertificated basis.
- The belief in fundamentalism is very high in the United States, leading to pressure to teach creationism in schools as though it were a scientific fact. A recent survey found that an astonishing 65.4 per cent of the population still believes in the devil.
- The American public is extremely parochial.
- American citizens are remarkably narrow-minded in relation to nudity, as is evidenced by the Janet Jackson incident further discussed below.
- In some states of the United States judges are elected officials. In more enlightened jurisdictions judges are always appointed officials and given tenure. This gives them proper independence from political intervention.
- Hypocrisy prevails. Large sections of the population in the US claim to be pro life when discussing a woman's right to have an abortion. They see nothing inconsistent in favouring the death penalty for certain crimes. The United States is one of the very few civilised countries which still impose this form of punishment.
More than 500,000 scaredy-cat viewers in the US complained to the authorities when a female nipple was shown on television for a few seconds during the broadcast of a sporting event in February 2005.
Such an extreme over-reaction in this day and age seems incomprehensible to most people in the rest of the world - especially as Americans do not seem to get nearly as excited over the fact that the inmates of the concentration camp run by their government at Guantanamo Bay in their name are tried in kangaroo courts and do not even have access to the normal US courts system.
A news report shortly after the incident gave the following further information:
Jackson was exposed during a routine with Justin Timberlake. Federal regulators in the US have fined the CBS TV network a record $US550,000 for pop star Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction' in February.
The singer exposed her right breast during a dance routine with Justin Timberlake at this year's Super Bowl.
Now the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has fined 20 CBS-owned TV stations the maximum penalty for indecency - $US27,500 - each.
The fine is the largest ever levied against a US television broadcaster.
The breast-baring incident generated a record number of complaints - more than 500,000 - and CBS was quick to apologise.
In conclusion, some comments by ParaScope, Inc., about a former US president may be of interest:
Towards the end of Ronald Reagan's second term, sordid unpleasantries were finally starting to stick to the Teflon President. In May 1988, the crushing liabilities of Iran-Contra, the bloated national debt and Reagan's faltering mental acuity were joined by a new revelation: that for the previous seven years of his administration, the president's every important action had been orchestrated by Nancy Reagan's astrologer, Joan Quigley.
This disclosure stunned the nation, with good reason. It's disturbing enough that a president could be the puppet of an anonymous, unelected individual, hidden away from the American public. Compounding the travesty, the source of this clandestine influence was nothing more substantial than the vicissitudes of Ronnie's horoscope. What a sad and barbaric state of affairs, to have our nation guided for the better part of a decade by the empty divinations of the Zodiac.
President Ronald Reagan was once asked to comment on reports that his decisions while in the White House had had regard to predictions made by Nancy Reagan's astrologer.
"Not true," he said. "We Virgos don't believe in such nonsense."