It's interesting that whenever something that's occurred locally gets reported in overseas media outlets, it often becomes news back here. The bizarre case of a minor train accident being linked to millipede infestation is the latest example. The fact that this odd event has been reported in Britain's Daily Mail is deemed newsworthy in itself! Now can, you imagine the inverse happening -- that is, a British newspaper gushing that similar events involving Pommie millipedes had been reported by the Australian media? It just wouldn't happen.

This says a lot about local media culture. I believe it also reveals something of how Aussies in general see themselves in the grand scheme of things. I think there's still a very strong sense that what happens in this country just isn't quite as important as events in other countries, particularly the US and UK.

Same with public figures. For example, when Australians make it big in England and America they become almost god-like figures here. Take the likes of Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Clive James, Paul Hogan, and Greg Norman. They continue to be held in very high esteem locally, even though many live of them live overseas and could be said to be well past their use by date -- not to mention the fact that there are many locals who are just as capable as they are. It's as if the entire nation feels eternally grateful to them for "putting us on the map" by succeeding overseas, where it really matters.

Another illustration of this cultural cringe is that some minor figures from Britain and the USA are treated with excessive reverence when they visit our shores and pontificate on our affairs. Tom Watson, the chubby Murdoch hater from Britain, comes to mind here, as does Jay Rosen, a little known US journalism academic. Both of these guys got an inordinate amount of publicity when they passed through, with many journos, particularly from Fairfax and the ABC, eagerly hanging on their every word. It's really quite embarrassing when you think about it.