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Monday, July 31, 2006

Pure as the driven snow 

What is it with Kiwis thinking they're the shit, and everyone else is ripe for a quick put-down or more trenchant criticism.

First there's that Don Brash, articulating New Zealand "bedrock values" ... values which are not actually shared by some of his most ardent supporters, and which actually allow for such things as, umm, freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That includes the freedom to be different from Don's imaginary "white bread mainstream". Idiot/Savant at NRT has a killer post on this. Among the many comments, my favourite is: "What Brash wants to say, but doesn't dare to, is that Muslims should not allowed into New Zealand."

Methinks therein lies the truth.

On another issue of New Zealanders being high-n-mighty: let's look at overweight/obestiy shall we. At home, my significant other brought my attention to the frequency with which the media, both local and internationally-based, fixate on "Americans being fat ... ha ha ha", before pointing out that, in her opinion, New Zealanders are pretty damn fat too.

And the answer to that is a big "hell yeah"! The current US figure is around 65% of the population being overweight or obese.

Ten years ago, a New Zealand nutritional survey found:

NZ men: 40% overweight; 15% obese
NZ women: 30% overweight; 19% obese

That's around half the population: and you can guarantee things haven't improved since then. Indeed, a 2002/03 survey found overall obesity rates had increased to 21%, with particular contributions to that coming from Maori (27% of men; 27% of women) and Pacific people (36% of men; 47% of women).

So how about we shut the fuck up about "THE OBESE AMERICANS!" (it's usually said in a exclamatory tone) and take a look in the mirror. This goes for pretty much all developed countries of course, including, say, Canada (23% obese based on self-reported BMI), and pretty much everywhere else.

And before we get all high and mighty about something else to do with America (say: Iraq) let's remember that America's two staunchest supporters in that ill-fated expedition were Australia and Britain. And most Kiwis seem to think the sun shines out of the arses of both those countries, and don't give their tourists or immigrants shit. Especially the Brits, who seem to be well-loved here.

Update for those who like visuals, courtesy of the MSD:

Prevalence of obesity, total [New Zealand] population aged 15–74 years, by sex, 1977–2003

Women were clearly in better shape when they were at home cooking, ironing and vacuuming.

They should get back where they belong and stop this silly nonsense about getting out in the work force and being independant.

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