US – Australian relations tremble!

As I am a glutton for punishment, I borrowed the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki off a friend. Curiosity, boredom, some sort of renewed interest in finances, who can say. Now this is the biggest pile of turds I have examined in a long time, but there were a few wee gems that kind of rang true. ‘Don’t be led by fear or greed’, ‘Invest in assets not liabilities’ etc etc. Probably the sort of stuff you’d pick up anywhere, but hey ho.

But there was something NQR about how the author kept big-noting himself. Once he started to see some financial rewards, he ran off and bought a Rolex or Porsche, or any number of status symbols he had been railing against the poorer classes buying in previous chapters. Then he bragged about how he and his wife retired at 47, like that would impress me. Why was he still hocking books then? His CV seemed a bit strange and all over the place. Why was he bagging out the education system so much? In fact, he seemed to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder all round about ‘proving’ himself to the world. Why should I trust what he had to say about my finances?

So I had a quick search, and discovered a plethora of anti-Kiyosaki sites online, of which this one by John T. Reed was the best. A very in-depth, slicing discussion of why Kiyosaki’s advice is weak, unfounded, misleading, and based on nothing but hucksterism and frottage. Wonderful. Oprah gets dragged in as well, and why not I say.

I enjoyed it thoroughly, it was a complete assassination of a bestseller. There were however a couple of jarring notes in there about Australian/New Zealand markets, and how ‘have at times in their history overvalued products and services from the U.S’. There’s a long rant about how far away we all are, and how he’d never sell his books there, because he can’t be bothered doing any research about that market. Fair enough, but…odd. It just seemed really random to me, and unconnected to his argument. I too have a chip on my shoulder – Americans in the media with no freaking idea about countries other than their own. I was bored moved enough to write him a quick, polite letter, saying what a great site it was, but that the stuff about my fine country was somewhat bizarre, and detracted from his otherwise thorough analysis. I got the following hilarious tirade in response, with my comments:

“I thought I made it clear that I am all but totally ignorant of Australia and NZ. I did not need you to tell me what I already acknowledged. When I was in Australia in 1970, numerous ads I saw or heard proved the value of various products by citing how popular it had been in America.This is over 36 years ago people My cab driver had just acquired an American car and asked me if that model was popular in America. Other than Foster’s beer, I have never heard a commercial here that proved the worth of anything by citing its popularity where you are. I think our reaction would be, ‘so sell it there.’

I don’t know if it makes you sound simple, but it sure makes you sound overly impressed with America, which was my intent. when he says ‘you’, I’m sure he means Aussies as a whole I do not know if it’s still true. I said, ‘at times.’ There is an old saying that an expert is someone who is at least 50 miles from home and carrying a briefcase. When Kiyosaki is there, he is by that standard, a super expert and the old saying appears to apply to Aus. and NZ residents.

You seem to think I have no right to insult you. Actually, I do.
GOLD My point is exactly what you seem to take offense at. That is, it may be relatively easy for some BS artist from the U.S. to impress people in countries with much smaller markets. There is a certain logic to the notion that it is harder to succeed in the huge U.S. market than in a smaller market like Australia or NZ. But you guys need to make sure that the U.S. ‘hero’ really IS a hero here before you give him any credit for his claimed success in the U.S. market. This is a fair enough point, but I still don’t understand why he’s so pissed off

I am also annoyed at, and entitled to be annoyed at, people from non-U.S. English-speaking countries who constantly demand to know whether my books are applicable in their countries. What the? I do not wish to buy this man’s books, now even less so Since I made it clear that I refuse to send them outside the U.S. And that I am quite ignorant of and equally uninterested in such places, I do not understand why I keep getting the demand. He is angry that people like his books and want to buy them Aus. and NZ people are among those who do this to me. My answer to the question, ‘Do your books apply to (insert non-U.S. country name here)? is, “How would I know and why would I care?”

Again, I am not running for mayor of Auckland or Sydney so I see no reason why I need to suck up to the citizens of those places. Neither am I claiming to be knowledgeable about those places so I see no reason why I have an obligation NOT to be ignorant about them. I AM ignorant about them. If I lived THERE, such ignorance would be plain old ignorance. Since I live HERE, ignorance of Aus. and NZ is no evidence of general ignorance, only of lack of interest in the countries in question. Dubya? Is that you??

People who do not live in the U.S. frequently criticize us for not knowing more about the outside world. Get used to it. Haw, haw We simply do not need the information no matter how easy it may be for you and your countrymen to come by. And from what I understand, non-U.S. people have somewhat of a need for information about the U.S. either because of U.S. culture coming at them in the media or because the U.S. is a sort of elephant whose tossings and turnings are understandably of great interest to those are or may be affected by them. I apologize for the fact that we are so geographically big, but it all happened when I was a kid or before I was born. I do not apologize for our financial bigness. It comes from an affinity for capitalism which the rest of the world seems not quite to share. Affection for capitalism is its own reward; partial aversion to it, its own punishment.” PRINT T-SHIRT NOW

Glee! I love this man! He seems to want to war with me, a total stranger admiring of his writings, for reasons not quite clear! I wrote the following response, with similarly random, unconnected logic:

“So you base much of your assumptions of Australia based on a brief holiday you took over 36 years ago? Hm. If you returned you might find it has changed considerably, although judging from your remarks that doesn’t sound like a possibility. I am fortunate to have intelligent and tactful American friends, and would like to think your rudeness is not typical of your nationality.

One of the reasons why Aussies/Kiwis/many other countries seem to have a preoccupation with the US, is that so much of your foreign policy affects us immediately, and indeed the way our own countries are run. We find it disturbing that while we are profoundly affected by things like:
-Two wars in Iraq
-Invasion of Afghanistan
-Incarceration of an Australian prisoner in Guantanamo Bay without a fair trial
-Subsequent ‘war on terror’ and associated changes to our legislation eg sedition laws.

….and many other issues too numerous to mention,

that most Americans living in the US seem to have a complete ignorance and lack of curiosity and indeed blatantly dismiss our countries as unimportant. In this respect, US opinion of, and knowledge of our cultures is quite important to us.

I never asked you to change your point of view, I only suggested you tone down your language a bit.

Don’t worry, I won’t hassle you again, or allow this to disintegrate into a flaming war. I hope that my quaint countrymen & women do not make any more demands upon your time with regards to your writing, which they no doubt enjoyed and thought they could learn something from.

With the great length and speed of your reply, it sounds like you’re having a rough day. I hope tomorrow is better for you.”

Ha! Ha! Ha! Thank you John T. Reed, for curing today’s writing block. I never finished Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I am frankly exhausted.

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7 thoughts on “US – Australian relations tremble!

  1. I know, it’s ‘orrible. They’re eerily puritan and redneck at the same time, yet bear a remarkable resemblence to our ‘countrymen’ as mr. ranty brain-stem man here would say.It’s all v. frustrating! Also his complete lack of embarrassment of his own ignorance!!

  2. i love a good shit fight over the email with a stranger – especially a (proudly) ignorant american one who fancies himself a well-selling author. bah! go gettum boo!

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