So I’m now about 7 weeks into this American adventure. Last week my boss bought me lunch out of his own money, on Thursday I was telling two colleagues that I had bought a couple loafs of bread since I got here but ended up throwing both out because they tasted awful (Bread here is made with sugar and all sorts of additives) anyway the next day a work colleague brought me in Kings Hawaiian bread and it’s really nice and of course very nice of him and then today one of the guys at work invited me to share Easter dinner with his family. His kids all live outside of the state so I wouldn’t want to take any of the focus and declined but the friendliness of people here has been overwhelming so far. This place reminds me of Galway back in the 90’s, if you are walking down the road and make eye contact with someone walking the other way, they will acknowledge you with a nod of the head.
Before I left Ireland nobody really had anything nice to say about Arizona. Everything was to do with the people being backwards, right wing, racist etc. The Phoenix Metro area which is where the majority of people who live in the state reside actually seems to be made up of mostly students and people who relocated from states on the East Coast or from California. Both demographics that are typically Democratic and that’s the feeling I get from the city. Perhaps other cities have a wild right slant but here I certainly have not felt this. In actual fact the majority of media seems to be very left slanting, though there seems to be 3 religious radio stations which say some pretty out there things, but not political..just things that to me seem a bit backwards but then I don’t care if people have faith. I’m not somebody who thinks religion is the root of all wars. I think people have a dickish nature and that’s why there’s war. If it wasn’t over religion it would be over something else in my opinion. I can’t figure out how this state consistently votes Republican, I’d guess the large student population either don’t vote or vote in their state of origin. A lot of the immigrants possibly don’t have voter status. This is also a main destination for snow birds so I’m sure they vote in their state of origin also. But for everybody back home, I’m going to put my neck out and say this place isn’t as right wing as it’s depicted.
From getting news from BBC and RTE for years and watching BBC and Channel 4 documentaries I would have thought the American media was dominated by the right and Fox News was all over the place. So far in terms of news, I have watched CNN, CNBC, CBS and Fox News, as well as the local affiliates. The local affiliates tended to be just local stories with no political coverage. Fox News has chat shows and opinion shows which have a far right slant which is shit. CNBC is the left equivelant of Fox News. CNN and CBS seem to be just left of center. Then there’s a bunch of political satire shows. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert both being very left. And then there’s Bill Maher panel discussion show, that guy is a pompous wanker. His show is just as bad as Bill O’Reillys. It’s funny though, I’ve heard of Bill O’Reillys show at home but never heard of Bill Mahers. I wonder why that is!?
So let’s tackle the all of the myths. So, it’s backwards. Like I said in a previous blog about the proposed law regarding the birth control. The people of Arizona rose up against it and it was knocked down. So it’s obviously not that backwards. I believe there was a law in Ireland making blasphemy illegal and recently SOPA was attempted to be passed without any Democratic process in place. Pretty tough to cast stones.
The idea that Americans are stupid e.g. more stupid than others is also inaccurate as far as I can tell. Even If there’s a higher number of less educated people here I don’t think that equates to stupidity especially in my opinion because I think the Irish third level sucks. I work with a guy who didnt do an undergrad in IT instead he chose to do some certifications from third party companies himself. Heres a controversial statement but I believe his level of education is higher than a lot of Irish IT graduates and his aptitude for it is exceptional. I went out with a PhD student in Ireland who didn’t fikkie any current events and thought Uncle Ben lived in London. I could ask her and her smart/stupid Friends questions like people do in these dumb American video’s and titel it stupid Irish If I wanted.
Americans are fat. Well to be honest. There’s a lot of fat people in Arizona I’ve got to say. I thought the same when I was in Florida. That I could see why there was such a notion out there but I’ve been to other states in which I didn’t see so many fat people. I guess the things in common with Florida and Arizona is the extreme heat. I don’t know if that factors into people not exercising or something. Apparently 7 months a year here it’s tough to do any sort of sports outdoors due to the heat. In Florida, to me at least, it always seemed to hot to do anything outside, I hate the humidity in Florida. In the likes of California where there’s a good breeze and low humidity I didn’t notice so many fat people. But then the culture here also doesn’t help. There’s so much variety for food and it’s all so cheap. It’s nearly cheaper in the long run to eat out! But that’s a slippery path.
Anyway to summarize. I have been suprised by Phoenix so far. I had pretty much accepted that it was going to be a bit backwards. But it’s anything but. The weather is a bit tough for me, I’ve never been somebody who has dealt well with heat, so we’ll see how I get on here during the summer. There’s all sorts of things to do for fun that aren’t drink based. There’s loads of bars and clubs if you do want to drink, beer in this state is actually as strong as home and some of the beers served on tap are actually stronger, all the while being cheaper than at home. I say that from just looking because thus far I haven’t had a drink. I have not been inclined to as of yet. Nearly 2 months here and I haven’t felt the need to get drunk, my last 4 or 5 months at home I drank every weekend with my other half Steve! Everybody has been welcoming of me and nobody has a bad thing to say about Ireland or Europe thus far…well bar the grumpy old guy at the rental car place that said Obama is going to bring the jobs home and that’s how it should be but I’m actually inclined to agree with him anyway. Obama should be trying to get jobs for Americans, that’s who vote for him but sure we’ll see.
I just blogged my brains out,