Bob Harris' L.A. is my Sydney

Boom. Bob Harris (whose blog, by the way, I highly recommend for youse to check out. Go there. Now.) gets it in one. Of course, he's describing his place of residence, i.e. Los Angeles, but I could've written the same thing about Sydney. But I haven't. Damn. Oh well, just replace "L.A." with "Sydney", "USA" with "Australia", and "G.W.B." with "John Howard, the lying rodent" and you've pretty much got my current attitude to this city/country. For what it's worth. In Bob's words:

...you meet good people from everywhere in the world, every day, if you keep your eyes open. And that's a pretty amazing thing. Heck, I don't even need to leave my apartment building. Tonight I went down to the rental office to pick up a package and met Samir, the new security guy. He's from Nigeria. Told me stuff about what the countryside looks like near the old capital. How cool is that? Some nights the guy downstairs is Werner, a Salvadoran who amusedly indulges my efforts to improve my broken Spanish. During the day, the place is run by my friend Mona, a delightful Lebanese woman who speaks four languages and puts up with bullshit in three of them on a daily basis. The previous security guys were Leo, from Brest-Litovsk, and an Egyptian whose name slips my mind but who had a wonderful laugh. That's just in one room in this very building.


My neighborhood is a place where Orthodox Jews and flamboyant gays intermingle every day with white suburban hipsters and black kids from Baldwin Hills, a place where the South African tea shop is a five-minute walk from the place that serves Malaysian food on a banana leaf. No, we don't all hold hands and sing "Kum Bay Yah," but you'll see some of each at the Karaoke night at the Farmers Market. We get along pretty damn well.


Think about that for a moment. It wasn't so long ago that something like that was a great, impossible project dreamed of in the abstract by idealists -- a world in which people of vastly different cultures really can get along, respecting and listening to and learning from each other. 


That may not be George W. Bush's America, with its fanatic insistence on one god, one economic ideology, one party, ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Vaterland, where absolute lies are so often used to question the patriotism of anyone connected to reality. (...) In the daily swirl of fresh abominations, it's easy not to notice. But America, at its very finest, still exists. In some places, in giant vivid glorious colors.

It's easy not to notice indeed, but my Sydney and my Australia is still there. Here's hoping the assorted fuckwits of this country don't manage to bury it totally.