Latte Leftie tackles the vexed issue of peripatetic progressives boasting about living in the world’s most obnoxious superpower.
Dear LL – I’m a high-achieving (dare I say world-class?) professional of the Inner West provenance who now spends a lot of time in New York for work. This is all to the good apart from one thorny issue it throws up: how do I highlight the fact that I’m talented enough to relocate to the Big Apple while maintaining my progressive credibility? Every time I start reminiscing about afternoons spent browsing books in Greenwich Village, some prolier-than-thou provincial pipes up with a comment about bookstore workers in the US only getting paid $1.50 an hour and having to work 18-hour shifts without even a toilet break.
LL replies: First off, it’s your duty as an expat to turn every conversational opening into an opportunity to humbly brag – or just straight out brag – about your fabulous life. If a family member asks if you want some tea, you launch into an anecdote about sitting near Salman Rushdie at the Russian Tea Room; if a friend mentions visiting the Hunter Valley, you trump her with your account of summering in the Hamptons and so on. Now a Conservative government is back in power you can strike the pose of being an émigré dissident and expound on how you can’t possibly return to your beloved homeland given your small-minded countrymen have seen fit to install a carbon-tax-axing, boatpeople-refouling, right-wing maniac. If you’re still being harassed by some snarky loser at this point, express your horror at racism/wealth, inequality/belligerent foreign policy of America while pointing out you always make sure to tip the minimum wage staff you come in contact with generously, are friends with at least one African-American and plan to vote for Hillary Clinton if you get dual citizenship before the 2016 election.