I don't always hear my homeland mentioned in movies or books, but when I do, I am simultaneously over the moon and horrified. Mispronunciations galore, acknowledgements of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are usually out of context and wildly inaccurate. That's why I created the five stages of experiencing these references, which are as follows (and are also super duper scientific):
1. Disbelief. Wait, did that really just happen?
2. Confusion. How did they find out about PNG? Do they know someone from there? Why did they mention it instead of Africa? Americans love Africa.
3. Excitement. Maybe people will actually become interested in PNG now and go visit, and the economy will boom, and PNG will be able to escape from poverty, and the crime will go down! And then everyone will be like, "You're from Papua New Guinea? I know where that is and can also pronounce it correctly and also will not ask you anything about Africa because that isn't where you're from."
4. Anger. But why can't the characters in this movie/show pronounce it correctly? Surely there's a phonetic guide somewhere (here's one) that they can reference. And why is that a white guy pretending to be black? Can't they at least hire an African-American actor to portray a Papua New Guinean? It's a bit more accurate.
5. Acceptance. Whatever. Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
It's also so fascinating when these mentions come up because it reveals people's perceptions of the country. PNG is usually referenced in relation to AIDS, cannibalism, violence or primitivism, but every once in a while, people will discuss the country's great coffee, beautiful customs and amazing scenery. So I've rounded up all the ones Google and I could muster. But first, a disclaimer: I didn't include a lot of media similar to National Geographic because that list would go on for days: Read More