Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Those darn Americans

By jreilly in Culture
Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:45:47 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

It seems to be a fairly recurrent theme on Kuro5hin that one of us Americans posts an article or a comment that seems to imply everybody else is American, too. Then a series of responses are posted with the theme that Americans seem to have a over-inflated ego. So, I ask all non-Americans here: What do you think of all of us?


I just read an article (sorry, no link)in the Washington post about 6 Iraqi expatriates who have been royally screwed by the FBI and the INS. One of them said that Americans are good people, and clearly implied that our government was a piece of crap. This got me thinking about how America must be viewed world-wide. Obviously (I think), most non-Americans get a feel for America though the actions of it's government. So, I'm wondering how all the non-Americans here percieve America and its people.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Also by jreilly


Display: Sort:
Those darn Americans | 394 comments (389 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
Egads ! (2.00 / 16) (#1)
by Phage on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:41:17 AM EST

I am not sure that I trust myself to speak.
This has to be troll...

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
I second that.. (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by Andrew Dvorak on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:59:14 AM EST

Kind of like asking an umpire how good a job he does when working..

I voted -1 because it seemed to leave too much room open to feuding and harsh criticism with ill consequenses..

I am no more American than my great-grandparents who arrived here from Ireland and Germany little over 100 years ago. To me, the term "American" is symbolic -- featuring traditions developed both perpendicular and parallele to those of other cultures.

As for me. I'm too tired to make sense of what I want to say or what I've just said. Anybody else care to do that? ;-). Goodnight!



[ Parent ]
Bah, an American speaks. (3.57 / 14) (#3)
by simmons75 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:00:53 AM EST

OK, so I'm not a non-American. :-)

I hear rumors with an alarming regularity of actions taken by my government against other nations. I hear about other things that ARE publicised that I don't agree with.

Representative government? I think not.

One thing our country gets hard knocks about is the average stupidity of its citizens. IMHO that's not through bungling or lack of effort. I feel it's by design.
poot!
So there.

Americ Destroyed by Design (none / 0) (#100)
by -ryan on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:09:12 PM EST

One thing our country gets hard knocks about is the average stupidity of its citizens. IMHO that's not through bungling or lack of effort. I feel it's by design.

Heh, I believe there is more truth to than we may ever know.

[ Parent ]

The nature of civilization (none / 0) (#328)
by John Goerzen on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:57:37 PM EST

Your reasoning that "I disagree with many rumors and some facts, therefore the country's government is fundamentally flawed" makes no sense. It is the nature of a civilized society to have discourse and disagreement, and when there is disagreement, it is often inevitable that at least one viewpoint will end up losing.

[ Parent ]
Xenophobic posts are not just offensive... (2.35 / 17) (#4)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:04:02 AM EST

...non-Americans. They are an insult and embarrassment to vast numbers of us in the USA as well; a majority I hope. It's like having five Neo-Nazis parading through your town and you just cringe at what the rest of the world must think. You feel like you have to defend your country's reputation and honor from our own loudmouth lunatic fringe that goes around assuming that if you don't flame them into oblivion then you must agree with them. The typical American looks at that kind of jingoistic crap and just shakes their head and laughs, without bothering to reply. Consider the fact that while you read daily about ethnic warfare, genocide and civil war in the former Soviet Union, Europe and in Africa, in the US we have one of the most diverse populations on Earth, yet we manage to live together pretty well most of the time. Yes, we have a long way to go, but most of us are basically decent people. The fact that we tolerate so many kooks among us just goes to show how much we are willing to put up with without losing our patience.

Adequacy.org

...offensive TO non-Americans... (1.66 / 3) (#10)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:37:37 AM EST

Somehow I didn't paste the `to' in where I wanted it to go; hopefully everyone could tell it was a typo. My bad.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Irish Americans (3.00 / 4) (#15)
by FeersumAsura on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:34:24 AM EST

In the US we have one of the most diverse populations on Earth, yet we manage to live together pretty well most of the time.
Is this the same as your interesting notion of Irish-Americans, Italien-Americans etc. I've met 4G Americans claiming to be Irish. I live in the UK and one of the main problems we have is Americans sending money to Irish terrorists. You don't have much of a mixed culture. Apart from Spansih speaking areas and Chinatown you are a mainly English speaking country. Britain is just as multi cultural and most people don't even notice it.
The fact that we tolerate so many kooks among us just goes to show how much we are willing to put up with without losing our patience.
But when you lose it you tend to shoot people.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I completely follow you. (4.40 / 5) (#19)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:53:42 AM EST

I certainly don't want to get into a contest over whose country is the most diverse. I only said the US is one of the most diverse. I was aware that the UK is also quite diverse as well, I'm sorry if more people don't know it.

I was primarily thinking of the kind of fighting we see in Chechnia, Rwanda or the Balkans in saying the US does fairly well when it comes to different people living together; it wasn't my intention to suggest that the UK was somehow our main rival in this respect.

Apart from Spansih speaking areas and Chinatown you are a mainly English speaking country

Ethnologue has some numbers you can compare to decide if this is accurate. It looks to me like I can stand by my assertion that the US is a very diverse place.

I'm not sure about the your other claims. I seem to remember a shooting or two in the UK back when you had easier access to firearms. If you want to claim that the UK's gun control policies are more enlightened, you might have an arguement. But to suggest that you are overall less violent than anyone else is suspect. That whole football riot thing doesn't help, either. Hopefully things will improve in the future for both our countries.

I agree that one of the main problems you face is the criminal US citizens who support terrorists. Sorry. I would suggest an even greater problem, however, is the conflict itself, not the foreign support for one side. This is all hair-splitting, as near as I can tell, not something to debate excessively.

Is this the same as your interesting notion of Irish-Americans, Italien-Americans etc. I've met 4G Americans claiming to be Irish.

I can't figure out exactly what this means. Does "4G" mean 4,000? Do you mean that many Americans like to claim they are Irish, when in fact they are not? This is true; it is related to getting drunk on St. Patrick's day, but I don't fully understand it. Put a Guinness or three in me though, and I'm sure I could speak on the subject with infinite expertise. In fact I wish I had one now...

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

FWIW: 4G == fourth generation [nt] (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:32:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
In that case... (1.00 / 1) (#29)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:09:49 AM EST

...I definitely don't get it.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

FeersumAsura's point about 4G Americans (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:52:04 AM EST

Here is what FeersumAsura stated:
Is this the same as your interesting notion of Irish-Americans, Italien-Americans etc. I've met 4G Americans claiming to be Irish.

I believe that that FeersumAsura's point is that by the fourth generation, Irish-Americans are far more American in their culture, values, and mores than Irish. For the most part, I would agree with that assessment being fourth generation Irish, 3rd generation Italian and 5th generation German, I know diddly-squat about my cultural heritage from the other side of the pond.

I realize that there are some exceptions. Some cultural groups are better at propagating their identities than others, but for the most part ethnicity in America gets assimilated into the great melting-pot. St. Patrick's day is an excellent example. A feast day for a person that non-violently and non-coersively brought Christianity to Ireland is turned into a day for wearing green, decorating with shamrocks, and drinking large amounts of green beer. I could be wrong, but I don't think that any of these are a part of the cultural identity of Irish folk.

Now as to whether or not this point about assimilation provides any support for FeersumAsura's assertion that America isn't very diverse, I don't know. It seems to me that in a country where I can serve in a fairly typical white collar job (programmer analyst) and out of the eight people in my work-group, one is originally from Iraq, one is originally from India and one is originally from China, that there is a pretty good mix of cultures. When we have a company-wide carry in, we get neat things to eat from all over the world. This past spring a company wide cookbook was published that had recipes for everything from Haagus to Thai noodles. I suppose that diversity in the US depends in large part where one lives. Vast portions of the US (especailly rural areas) have much more homogenous cultures than the big cities. I suspect that this is likely to be true of just about any country.

[ Parent ]

4G Explanation (none / 0) (#51)
by FeersumAsura on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:24:13 AM EST

4G means fourth generation.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
Thank God for Irish Americans (3.00 / 4) (#64)
by Paul Dunne on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:48:11 PM EST

> live in the UK and one of the main problems we have is Americans
> sending money to Irish terrorists.

I'm Irish and one of the main problems we have is the British occupation of part of our country. Their secret service plant bombs in our cities, their army shoot dead our unarmed people on the street. British terror is not news in Ireland, it's been going on for centuries. Thank God for the many decent Americans who have cared, and still care, enough to do something about it.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]

A question about N. Ireland (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by kumquat on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:09:33 PM EST

What exactly is the hang-up with N. Ireland? It's not holy ground like parts of Isreal. It's not occupied by a government in exile like Taiwan. It's not militarily important like Hawaii or Guam. It's not economically important like the Panama Canal. It's not a cultural buffer against Dublin.

Why not just give it up? When you boil it all down, isn't the British presence pretty much due to nothing more than petty pride?

No, I'm not trolling. I really do want to know why that place is so important to England.

[ Parent ]

Not all the population wants independence (none / 0) (#107)
by goonie on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:30:44 PM EST

The problem is that a substantial proportion of Northern Ireland's population, a majority even, wants to stay linked to Britain. Some of these people are fanatically pro-Britain - far more "patriotic" than anybody living in the rest of Britain would be. Finding a solution that keeps the various Unionist groups happy (they fill a spectrum between reasonably sensible moderates and hardliners just as nasty and illegal as the IRA) while satisfying republican demands is almost impossible, and neither side trusts the other. Therefore, finding a solution has been very difficult.

[ Parent ]
ok, but how many of them are Irish? (none / 0) (#114)
by kumquat on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:08:27 PM EST

Are most of the Unionists of Irish or English descent? I was always under the impression that Unionists tended to be primarily English people sent to Belfast by England.

If this is true then that's a pretty weak argument. You can send the entire population of Pakistan to the Vatican if you want, but that won't make the Pope a Muslim.

Am I over-simplifying this?

[ Parent ]

almost all of them (none / 0) (#239)
by joss on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:19:19 AM EST

Am I over-simplifying this? - yes They have been there for longer than non-native Americans have lived in America, and are fairly inter-bred by now. I'm not sure what you're saying - do they have no right to an opinion on which country they are part of because of their genetic makeup ? Perhaps only native Americans should have a right to vote.

[ Parent ]
Well, I did some homework (none / 0) (#269)
by kumquat on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 07:28:44 PM EST

They have been there for longer than non-native Americans have lived in America.

Everything I've read shows heavy Protestant settlement in Ulster beginning in the late 17th century, mainly after the Battle of the Boyne (1690). They've been there longer than I thought, but certainly not longer than when Europeans started settling the Americas in the 1500's.

I guess you really can't arbitrarily set a time frame on when residents have been around long enough to have as much say as natives. Still, though, after reading the history I can't help but feel that if England hadn't been so heavy handed and downright abusive, especially between 1966 and 1972, then the situation wouldn't have been nearly as bad as it was and continues to be.

[ Parent ]

1500s ?? (none / 0) (#304)
by joss on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:54:52 PM EST

Europeans didn't start settling in America in 1500s in any meaninful way. Mayflower landed in 1620, and vast majority of white immigration was much later.

Yes, I was inaccurate in my statement, but vast majority of white immigration to US occured after the major influx of English to Ireland. As to when first Englishman moved to Ireland or v.v - we're neighbours, it's been going on since before either existed as a country.

Actually, I certainly agree that England acted badly in the past, mind you it was only 100 years ago that Americans could (and did) murder natives on sight with legal impunity, and they were arguing that ethnic cleansing was necessary in US to irradicate heathens. I also believe future of Northern Ireland should be as part of united Ireland, but a majority of the people of Northern Ireland seem to disagree. Of course, this is a dubious argument - the main reason that Northern Ireland exists was so that the majority there would be loyal to Britain. However, it's not a simple situation, I don't agree that the views of a large segment of a society should be simply be discounted through dubious historical arguments which could be applied all over the world.

[ Parent ]
You're forgetting the Spanish & Portuguese (none / 0) (#321)
by kumquat on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:58:21 PM EST

The Portuguese started colonizing Brazil around 1500, and Cortez hit Mexico in 1519.

[ Parent ]
However... (none / 0) (#372)
by gzunk on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 12:41:42 PM EST

Neither of these are part of the united states...

[ Parent ]
There's more than 1 definition, y'know (none / 0) (#381)
by kumquat on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 06:25:18 PM EST

A·mer·i·ca

2)The landmasses and islands of North America, South America, Mexico, and Central America included in the Western Hemisphere.

[ Parent ]

Northern Ireland - good riddance to it (none / 0) (#190)
by drhyde on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:25:25 PM EST

What really gets my goat is that politicians seem to think
that the only people with an interest in the province are
those who live there. They never ask the opinion of the
millions of people in Britain who subsidise the province
through their taxes, or the millions of people in Eire who
are doing very nicely without the six counties. It would
be interesting to see the results of a referendum
throughout the rest of the British Isles (that is,
England, Wales, Eire and Scotland but *not* NI) on whether
people want it to be part of their country. I won't try
to guess what the results would be, but I for one would
vote to kick 'em out of my country.

Anyone want it? One grotty little province with more than
its fair share of lunatics going cheap ...

And yes, of course the 'big hangup' is government pride.

[ Parent ]
Why I think "Americans are [seen as] dumb&quo (4.20 / 25) (#5)
by jesterzog on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:14:15 AM EST

This story seems to be inviting a few trolls, but I'm going to try and post a thoughtful response so please stay with me.

In New Zealand and probably a lot of other countries, by far the biggest impression of the US comes through television and movies. I wouldn't go as far to say that "most" of our TV is made up of US-based stuff (although it might be the majority), but certainly most of prime-time filler shows with high ratings come from the US. There's just not enough money in the economy here for us to make lots of local TV up to a certain standard.

As we all know, television is usually a waste of time. It's not always the content as much as it is the idea of staring at a box in the corner of the room. Since most people spend their box-staring time engrossed in content from the USA, some associations usually build up. You'd have to admit that when shows like Jerry Springer are sent out into the world, that are full of stupid people making idiots of themselves on "national television", it doesn't set the best example.

Then (with me coming form an SF point of view) there's things like the struggling of all the good stuff like Babylon 5 and Crusade, and the immediate conclusion people come to is that "US audiences are so dumb". This translates generally to "Americans are stupid". (I don't mean to offend, but I'm trying to comment on what I often see going on around me.)

Next are the movies. We have local movies and movies from other places, but nearly all blockbusters and popular films in general that everyone sees, come from the US. It's easy to say that if films suck, then don't watch them. But they're still a social thing to do so people go anyway. So whenever Hollywood puts out another mediocre plot-hole-filled pile of junk, people blame the US. This is excelled by the fact that we usually only see the best stuff of other countries, but we see a lot more the US because everyone's so used to it.

Finally the US voted in George Bush, following a boring long blown out nothing-else-happening epic story on CNN, and most people in other countries think he's a boring unintelligent ignoramus who hasn't yet realised that the world is larger than 52 united states.

Now that I've established this, I should point out that if you met someone here personally or talked to them personally, they wouldn't see you that way. You'd be like any other person and judged on who you are rather than the fact that you're from the US.

The "Americans are dumb" views are entirely collective of the USA as a whole. Proportionally there's probably about the same number of idiots in any country. I think it's just part of being big though - smaller countries rebel against the US to establish their own identity.

And no, I don't find US-centric stories on kuro5hin annoying as a rule. But I do find them annoying when the writeup excludes the rest of the world as if only the US exists.


jesterzog Fight the light


George Bush (2.18 / 11) (#13)
by gregholmes on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:12:07 AM EST

most people in other countries think he's a boring unintelligent ignoramus who hasn't yet realised that the world is larger than 52 united states

If you really believe that about the governor of one of the largest, most populous states, then it is you, sir, who are the ignoramus. Really. You may not be alone, but you obviously are allowing your opinion to be shaped by his political opponents (who are well represented in the news media). Maybe that makes the point in some back-assward way, but probably not the point you were going for.



[ Parent ]
Ugh, if I hear one more word about "liberal m (3.61 / 13) (#21)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:10:44 AM EST

Okay, first of all, the "governor of one of the largest, most populous states" also has one of the *least* responsible governorships in the nation. The Governor of Texas holds a largely ceremonial position, with most power being in the hands of the state legislature.

And *please* don't give us this Rush Limbaugh tripe about "liberal media"...or did you forget who *owns* CBS, NBC, and ABC? Do you truly, honestly believe that Westinghouse, General Electric, and the Disney Corporation are wilfully representing the hard, liberal line on their nightly newscasts? Don't confuse the voting record of the news*casters* with the stance of the news*writers*, please.

This is why people have such a lousy view of America...because people here allow demagogues like Limbaugh - whose job, I remind you, is to be an ENTERTAINER, not a reporter - to shape our national opinion. Talk to some real, hardcore liberals, then watch your nighly newscast. You tell me if their perspective is represented on the nightly news any better than yours is.

The news is *badly produced*. They don't represent anybody's interests, they cater to their marketing departments and try to attract the largest audience share possible. If you want to hear biased radio, tune into Pacifica (on the left) or Fox News Channel (on the right).

And give the rhetoric a rest.

-Eric


[ Parent ]
(chuckle) (2.10 / 10) (#22)
by gregholmes on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:29:08 AM EST

And give the rhetoric a rest.

Re-read your own comment ;)



[ Parent ]
Where is it? (2.60 / 5) (#30)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:14:51 AM EST

Okay, I re-read my comment. Where's the rhetoric?

Please tell me what - exactly - I said that wasn't based on known fact, but rather some liberal-tained analysis. Was it in saying that, as a culture, we tend to allow demagogues like Limbaugh to lead us? Okay, I'll accept the criticism on that one.

Where else?

-Eric


[ Parent ]
rhetoric (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by gregholmes on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:11:21 PM EST

From Webster's New World College Dictionary, Third Edition (with some difficult to format and irrelevant omissions ;)

rhetoric - 1 a) the art of using words effectively in speaking or writing; now, the art of prose composition b) skill in this c) a treatise or book on this

I stand corrected; your comment is utterly devoid of this ;p

The original point was if non-Americans are forming their opinions based on a news and pop media caricature of the president-elect, they are making a mistake.

Also note I am not moderating your posts to 1 despite our disagreement. That isn't the purpose of moderating to 1.



[ Parent ]
Oooooh (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by cosmol on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:54:41 PM EST

he got Webstered!!

[ Parent ]
I moderated only the original comment... (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:01:08 PM EST

...not your comment about "re-read your own post." I felt that the original post was misleading and generally inaccurate, which *is* the purpose of moderation. However, I respect your right to have a differing opinion, and when you took issue with me, I stopped moderating your comments.

Fair enough?

As far as the rhetoric...I intended the word to be understood with the traditional connotation (that of political talking points) - for better or for worse, and whether or not that's the most accurate definition (clearly not), that's the spirit in which the word was used in my original post.

-Eric


[ Parent ]
One more word. . . (2.25 / 8) (#35)
by abdera on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:44:14 AM EST

It is rediculous to believe that the media isn't slanted to the left. Case in point: third party presidential candidates. In 92 Ross Perot recieved an amazing amount of coverage compared to the number of people who supported him. In 00 Ralph Nader is brushed under the rug at every turn, despite the fact that he had far more popular support than Perot. Especially in the debates which are run by the media, not by the political process.

Probably just as bad, is the media's dismissal of candidates that aren't part of the established party, regardless of which party it is. Alan Keyes comes to mind. Amid Bush and McCain's bickering over negative adds, Keyes tried repeatedly to come back to the issues, only to have the subject changed back by one of the other candidates or (almost as often,) by the media representative (often Larry King.) There were others, but their names escape me right now.

If you still don't think that the media plays into the Democratic agenda, this film might shed some illumination.

Don't get me started on the Lewinski joke or the 00 election coverage, or I might just vomit into my keyboard.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

the alleged liberal bias of US news media (4.00 / 5) (#46)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:00:25 AM EST

It is rediculous to believe that the media isn't slanted to the left. Case in point: third party presidential candidates. In 92 Ross Perot recieved an amazing amount of coverage compared to the number of people who supported him.

(1) I don't think I've ever heard anyone accuse Ross Perot of being liberal anything (except perhaps liberal with spending his own money on two Quiotic presidential campaigns).

(2) Ross Perot got so much media coverage because networks knew he had a nice old chunk of change to spend on air time for his campaign.

In 00 Ralph Nader is brushed under the rug at every turn, despite the fact that he had far more popular support than Perot. Especially in the debates which are run by the media, not by the political process.

(1) Ralph Nader is about as liberal as one can get and still be taken anywhere near seriously in US politics and he was virtually ignored by the media. This is surely evidence of left wing tilt in the media.

(2) The presidential debates are not run by the media. They are run by the bi-partisan congressional special commision on presidential debates.

I suppose one could argue that the media was biased in favor of Al Gore. Al Gore is hardly a bleeding heart liberal. For pete's sake, Gore's proposed budget had a larger increase for military spending than George W. Bush's. This is truly the sign of a bleeding heart liberal bias in our news media. Whatever. The "liberal" news media is scared of true liberal candidates such as Ralph Nader.

Go take a gander at Project Censored's list of top stories ignored by the media. I can't imagine why a media with a "liberal" bias would ignore these stories.

[ Parent ]

It's about splitting voter blocks (3.80 / 5) (#57)
by abdera on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:57:26 AM EST

In fact, they knew that he didn't stand a chance of winning. Just like they knew that Nader had no chance of winning. The logic behind Perot's coverage in the media leading to the conclusion that the media is slanted to the left is that they wanted to split up the conservative vote. The reason Nader recieved little coverage is not that he was a left-wing extremist, but because he was drawing votes away from Gore. Shit, even now he is being blamed for Gore's defeat despite his dismissal by the media.

Despite my (mostly) conservative views, I would have voted for Nader long before I would have voted for Perot. Perot was nothing but a random sound-bite generator. At least Nader had some real opinions, and even though I might not agree with many of his views, I respect him for injecting even a little bit of substance into this rhetoric-filled election.

I wish that Nader could have participated in the debates just so we could have someone up there who could be articulate without overusing the word 'lockbox.'

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

Your problem is that you think Al Gore is liberal (3.40 / 5) (#60)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:18:26 PM EST

In fact, they knew that he didn't stand a chance of winning. Just like they knew that Nader had no chance of winning. The logic behind Perot's coverage in the media leading to the conclusion that the media is slanted to the left is that they wanted to split up the conservative vote.

Bollocks. All the people I personally know that voted for Perot either wouldn't have voted or would have voted for Bill Clinton. Exit polls from the 1992 election showed that Perot took away just as many voters from George Bush as Bill Clinton. My personal favorite stat was the exit poll some news agency did that showed that if all the people who wanted to vote Perot did but didn't because they didn't think he could win would have he would have won.

The reason Nader recieved little coverage is not that he was a left-wing extremist, but because he was drawing votes away from Gore.

If this is the case (which I doubt, I think the fact that the Nader campaign had diddly-squat to spend on campaign ads had much more to do with the media ignoring him) it still doesn't prove that the media has a liberal bias. Al Gore isn't no freaking liberal. Al Gore wants to continue and even step up the war on drugs, increase military spending, make the US more corporate big-business friendly, etc., etc. Look at Al Gore's platform and look at the platform of truly liberal politicians. Look what he and Tipper did with the PMRC and labeling music with parental warnings. There is no comparisson. The man is not a liberal.

[ Parent ]

Not my point (3.20 / 5) (#65)
by abdera on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:16:30 PM EST

All the people I personally know that voted for Perot either wouldn't have voted or would have voted for Bill Clinton.

I doubt that all the people that you know represent a cross-section of American voters. A vast majority of the people that I know voted for Bush, yet Gore still took my state(PA.) That is simply that the people that I work with tend to be conservative.

Exit polls from the 1992 election showed that Perot took away just as many voters from George Bush as Bill Clinton.

Exit polls, along with all live election 'news,' are a joke. Case in point: 2000.

Al Gore isn't no freaking liberal.

I'm not trying to argue that Gore is a liberal. I'll even grant that he is not a liberal. The fact remains, that he is further to the left than Bush is. To balance the issues that you presented regarding Gore's moderate stance consider:

I will not try to paint Gore to be the raging liberal that some people do, but I cannot believe that he is as moderate as his supporters state. The only reason that he has portrayed himself as moderate is because he thought that would win him the election. If he suddenly thought that he could win by becoming a reactionary untra-right-wing conservative, guess what he would do.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

Al Gore and liberalism (4.00 / 4) (#67)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:32:31 PM EST

To balance the issues that you presented regarding Gore's moderate stance consider:
  • Support of the status quo abotion on demand (at least today)
  • Support of the nuclear test ban treaty, limiting our ability to defend our nation, even though unstable nuclear nations like India, China and Pakistan have violated previous traties
  • supporting the China trade bill despite patent human rights violations

(1) I don't know that being in favor of abortion on demand is properly a liberal stance. Traditionally, liberals have been pro-choice and conservatives have been pro-life. Given that Al Gore used to be pro-life and given that parties like the Libertarians have redefined what it means to be conservative, I don't think someone's stance on abortion makes much of a difference. For the record, Al Gore's stance on abortion is identical to George W. Bush's stance on abortion.

(2) I'll grant that a ban on nuclear testing is mostly a liberal stance. But you also have to keep this in context, its not like Al Gore is suggesting we disarm all of our nuclear warheads (which is the classical left-wing stance).

(3) I can't believe my eyes that someone is stating that supporting a trade bill despite human rights violations is a liberal stance. Hello? Anyone in there? Human rights is perhaps the issue for liberals.

I'm not trying to argue that Gore is a liberal. I'll even grant that he is not a liberal. The fact remains, that he is further to the left than Bush is.

So, Al Gore is not a liberal, but the media's support of Al Gore is evidence that the media has a liberal tilt? Got it. Makes perfect sense.

Al Gore might be further to the left than George W. Bush, but that says absolutely nothing of the US media's liberal slant. If the media in the USA were truly slanted toward the left, then (1) truly liberal candidates such as Dave McReynolds and Ralph Nader would have gotten tremondous media coverage prior to the ellection and (2) stories like those on Project Censored's yearbook 2000 would have been headlines. Given (1) the absence of coverage for liberal political candidates and (2) given the coverups by the media of important stories (like the Chiquita banana snafu in Cincinnati in 1998) I have to conclude that if the US media has any bias it's in the conservative direction.

[ Parent ]

Media bias (3.50 / 6) (#74)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:19:06 PM EST

The bias of the media depends on what media you're talking about. I do think that most urban media outside of financial news is liberal, but that stands to reason, because most urban people are too - and you find the exact opposite in most rural areas, where the media tend to be quite conservative. You sell what people will buy, and I suppose that applies to the media as well as to anything else. I don't really think blanket statements like "media are biased in favor of X" make any sense. This is especially true since, when you get down to it, we aren't really talking about liberals and conservatives, but about Republicans and Democrats, who aren't all really ideologically "pure." The end result, though, is that most people think there is a liberal media bias, because so much of what you see, even in a rural area, comes from urban areas.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Thank you. . . (none / 0) (#85)
by abdera on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:30:49 PM EST

. . . for pointing out the distinction that I missed. It was more my intent to say that the media is more "democrat" than "liberal". Especially when terms such as "liberal" and "conservative" have become amorphous and indefinite.

I still, however, maintain the opinion that the media does cater to democrats, whether consciously or not. Your idea about most news coverage originating in cities is quite interesting, particularly since cable and satellite television brings even more of this to rural America.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

OT: your sig (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by abdera on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:33:28 PM EST

Real humanitarians eat vegetarian cuisine, but only if free range vegetarians are used.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

Ah, but which humans? (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:03:39 AM EST

I can't believe my eyes that someone is stating that supporting a trade bill despite human rights violations is a liberal stance. Hello? Anyone in there? Human rights is perhaps the issue for liberals.

Does the expression, "I have seen the future and it works" ring any bells? Human rights in left-wing countries often take a back seat for liberals, just as those in right-wing countries do for conservatives. Last I checked, the Chinese government would be classified as "leftist".

[ Parent ]

"Nasty military junta" perhaps more accu (4.00 / 1) (#329)
by goonie on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:04:14 AM EST

While the communist rhetoric might remain, there isn't too much practical evidence of socialism on the ground in China any more - at least the coastal parts with all the foriegn investment. It's pretty much crony capitalism, of the kind many Western-supported dictators were so good at during the Cold War. The army is also incredibly wealthy and seems to have a good deal of political influence.

[ Parent ]
More accurate before, too (3.00 / 1) (#332)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:25:45 AM EST

As I think I've commented elsewhere, every Communist government seems to rule by force sooner or later (generally sooner -- the USSR started that way and never stopped). Nonetheless, a good many American leftists seem to find this acceptable as part of the Grand Scheme or something.

Perhaps there will always be a market for jack-boots, whether for the Right foot or the Left.

[ Parent ]

Poor examples (3.33 / 6) (#47)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:00:51 AM EST

FAIR, the organization for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, did a one-year study of major media news programs, including Nightline. The results indicated that, unconditionally, these programs slanted severely to the right. Spokemen purporting to represent the "left" usually represented the right-center; activists were rarely found on the left side of issues, and both sides were usually represented by corporate executives.

You pick specific instances where the media has slanted to the left - and I note that they usually focus around events wherein the newscasters have a greater degree of autonomy within the program, such as debates, live interviews, etc. I don't doubt that these might well slant to the left, and that a great many newscasters are liberal in their own leanings.

However, this does very little to affect the majority of American news coverage - the nightly news programs and daily/weekly newsmagazines, which present a clear corporate agenda.

I always find it laughable that neoconservative activists (and if you think that the followers of Rush are real conservatives, you need to read a history book) point at the media as being "overly liberal" because they don't feel they're being fairly represented, without checking to see whether or not the other side is being fairly represented, either.

THE MEDIA DOES A BAD JOB. End of story. Nobody is being represented properly, or accurately. In my few appearances in newscasts or in print, I've been badly misquoted and taken out of context, as have friends and family members.

The purpose of the media is to SELL ADVERTISING, not to *inform* you. The fact that Republicans think that the media is biased towards some amorphous "liberal agenda" (my, aren't we drifting back towards McCarthyism?) is merely an indication of their hubris, their own campaign to advance themselves as the spokesmen of the "silent majority."

Watch the news sometime with a liberal friend - perhaps someone who is an African-American, or gay. Ask him if *his* viewpoints are being represented any more than yours are.

-Eric


[ Parent ]
if (!(Nader > Perot)) reply_and_educate (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by /dev/niall on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:48:12 AM EST

It is rediculous to believe that the media isn't slanted to the left. Case in point: third party presidential candidates. In 92 Ross Perot recieved an amazing amount of coverage compared to the number of people who supported him. In 00 Ralph Nader is brushed under the rug at every turn, despite the fact that he had far more popular support than Perot. Especially in the debates which are run by the media, not by the political process.

This year Ralph Nader received 2.7% (2,714,518 votes out of 101,739,818) of the popular vote. When Perot last ran, he took 9% (7,874,283 votes out of 91,372,385). Quite a large difference.


--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

agree somewhat (4.25 / 4) (#106)
by -ryan on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:29:23 PM EST

I am very consertive (fiscally mostly). Although in this day and age I find it hard to identify with any party because neither party really supports geek issues (encryption, copyright, software patents, etc...). Anyway the point is that when I moved out here to the Bay area (San Francisco, CA for those not familiar with US geography) I became friends with lots of people with views that I would consider "extremely liberal". I would like to think that we have impacted each other's view points but the most startling realization for me was how (compared to a very liberal viewpoint) the news media is pretty much dead center if not ever so slightly left. I think both liberals and conservatives dont like the media's "slant". I think we are both right in that they state of journalism in this country is piss poor. I don't pay attention to the mainstream news media anymore. I have found sources (mostly online) that I think (so far) I can trust. Namely, C-SPAN. :-)

As far as Rush goes, he's a radio talk show host. Talk shows are supposed to talk about tough things and get people talking. I think he does a good job of that and I have never heard him say or do anything that justifies the popular criticisms against him of stupidity.

[ Parent ]

Absolutely (4.50 / 2) (#135)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:36:45 PM EST

The mistake people make is in assuming that the media is biased. The media is nothing but *rushed*. Think of the pressure involved in running a 24-hour news network, of a "scoop" no longer meaning being the first to get the story in the morning paper, but the first - within a matter of seconds - to get your announcement on the air.

Accuracy? Care? Gone.

And you are absolutely right about C-SPAN. I wish those who thought that the media was deliberately slanted would have watched the C-SPAN coverage of the impeachment...I watched C-SPAN during the day, then CNN's overview at night.

What did I find? CNN's one-hour review of the day's events covered virtually *none* of the most pertinent events. No advantage on either side - but it was as though the CNN newswriters hadn't even *watched* the events unfolding before them.

Pathetic...anybody who has ever been quoted in the media knows of their innacuracies. Anyone who has ever winced as their words were taken out of context and used to support an illegitimate position, to cater to the writer's needs...

-Eric


[ Parent ]
I don't get it. (3.14 / 7) (#27)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:58:21 AM EST

You openly admit that your view of the US is because of television, which you obviously know is twisted around to get ratings and has nothing to do with real life. Admittedly, this makes even less sense to me than it would to most people, because I refuse to even watch TV; say what you will about your favorite shows, but with the exception of certain sports events, there is NOTHING worth watching on television except comedy, and I can go to a club and see comedians live less than a mile from my apartment, so that isn't too appealing to me on television.

As for George Bush, frankly, we all know that one of two guys was going to win. I didn't vote for either of them, and I never would, but that's what was going to happen this election. Now, if you think Gore is better than Bush, you're wrong. Bush isn't better than Gore, either, to be fair. They're both fairly annoying blowhards who talk a lot more than they think. They both lie as a matter of course, although one can at least say that Bush generally only lies when he has something to hide, whereas Gore will lie for the pure fun of it. They're both far more intelligent than most would give them credit for. Bush has an MBA from Harvard, which you just don't get without something going on upstairs, even if you are a Bush. Gore lacks any particularly outstanding degrees, but he almost finished quite a few advanced degrees:) My opinion is, neither of them is suited to run a dry cleaners, much less the US government, but unfortunately, my opinion is outweighed by tens of millions of uninformed sheep who automatically equate "third party" with "freaks."

All that said, what does any of this have to do with the US, and why does anyone anywhere else even follow this crap? I have absolutely no idea what is going on in New Zealand - not because there is nothing, or because it isn't important, but because it isn't important to me. I can see why certain people in certain places would be concerned about what the US does, but why does EVERYONE else seem to care, and then get offended when we don't do the same for every one of their countries? Do you realize that if I even tried to keep up with all that stuff, I could do nothing all day but read newspapers and search for more newspapers? It is absurd.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
It's just a big country (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by jesterzog on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:51:17 PM EST

I hope that posting didn't sound too much like a troll. It's nothing personal, I'm trying to comment on what happens as a result of the US being a big country. Because of it's size, the US is in everyone's face around the world whether you (or they) like it or not.

Usually when it is, it's in some context of superiority - like blowing up Belgrade or winning hundreds of Olympic medals when winning one here is a big deal.

People rebel so they can make a big thing of anything that makes them feel superior in some niche area. It also makes everyone feel good whenever someone here does something that gets the attention of the world (aka US) media.

I won't comment any more on George Bush because I don't follow American politics in detail. Given a choice I think most people outside the states would have preferred Gore - not because of qualifications, but because of very blunt perception. The election isn't very important to what I was talking about though - it's icing on the cake. If it wasn't that you can be sure people would find something else to laugh about at the US's expense. It's part of being bigger than others.

I stress though that it's definitely not a personal thing. As soon as it's an actual person instead of a country or a government, everything's equal and an individual persion would be viewed equally.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (3.25 / 4) (#90)
by kevsan on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:54:01 PM EST

"Finally the US voted in George Bush, following a boring long blown out nothing-else-happening epic story on CNN, and most people in other countries think he's a boring unintelligent ignoramus who hasn't yet realised that the world is larger than 52 united states."

I'm not sure if this is a slam on Bush for not knowing the number of states in the Union, but the U.S. is a country which is the bearer of *50* states.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed your writeup. Being an American, I daily see the absolute ignorance of many [not all] around me when discussing foreign affairs.


-K
[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#95)
by jesterzog on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:23:45 PM EST

It is? (..goes and checks..) Oh yeah, thanks for pointing that out.

I thought I heard ages ago that it was 52 after Alaska and Hawaii were added, or something more recent.. I'm not terribly up-to-date on it.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
sorry but... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:02:25 AM EST

...just picking a nit here. Alaska and Hawaii have been states for over 40 years ;) Not slamming just thought it was funny that you said you werent up-to-date ;)

[ Parent ]
Age.. (none / 0) (#206)
by caine on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 10:41:30 AM EST

Or he's just really, really old. :) On a more serious notice I think the 52 states comes from the fact that some people seem to count Puerto Rico (or whatever it is) that's considered a US. protectorate. And some other place, I guess. :)

--

[ Parent ]

depends on the person ;) (none / 0) (#218)
by ChannelX on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 10:16:37 PM EST

Was talking to someone the other day about this and he knows people who thought Alaska and Hawaii were 51&52. Pretty sad state of affairs for an American not to know there are only 50 states :/

[ Parent ]
My thoughts (a mixed bag) (3.57 / 21) (#6)
by vastor on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:41:33 AM EST

Actually I've got a pretty similar view to those Iraqi's.

US gov't stinks but the people are pretty nice for the most part. That was something pretty strange I noticed when I was in the USA, you'd never think that the people you meet were the same people that elected a gov't that acted as it did. Kind of like buying a box of chocolates but discovering that they'd elected a glass of sour milk to represent them.

Not just gov't that doesn't seem to match up - one group of people I got talking to had a right old rant about the medical system there against HBOs or whatever they're called.

If I had to venture an opinion, I'd say that too much wealth is the problem. Just the same as sports people getting paid millions warps the game from a sport to a business, so the gov't there seems to have switched from governing fairly/for the people (or attempting to atleast) to catering to business interests.

There are some oddities like with the gun freaks, but most countries have extremists of one kind of another. But yeah, thinking that the US is at the centre of the universe is probably the biggist irritant from the individuals, though I don't know that it's quite as bad as some people like to make out - some of it is just caused by the inconsistant education system (I give up on people that don't understand the concept of a northern and southern hemisphere :-).

The public service there seems somewhat rundown too. Maybe it's because it isn't supposed to be top heavy, but here where bigger gov't is considered a good thing our tax service is much friendlier, I got my passport done at the standard rate here quicker than you can pay to get it done express in the USA etc. Whether the organisations are just badly managed there or understaffed or something else I couldn't say - it's like someone else pointed out elsewhere, US citizens may pay lower taxes but they also seem to get a much lower bang-for-the-buck for what they do pay (so if half as much is paid in taxes only a third as many services seem to be supplied for example).

Probably the bulk of the USAs problems stem from the fact that the british decided India was a more valuable asset and concentrated on it rather than keeping hold of their N.American territories. Abandonment as a child is bound to warp anyones/any nations development ;-). This last bit is a bit trollish though it does sort of fit the bad int'l behaviour of the USA and how it doesn't seem to know how to behave properly - it just happened to grow up into a big bully rather than stagnate or whatever was expected (or developing normally). It's still trying to prove itself but now that it has reached top position it doesn't know what to do with itself.

Anyway, that last paragraph is kind of treating the USA as a person with psychological issues rather than a nation, but an interesting thought (hopefully not too insulting, nobody is perfect and anyone that steps to the forefront is going to have their flaws more exposed than those slinking about in the shadows).


US foreign policy (none / 0) (#128)
by Matt Hall on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:58:50 PM EST

That's an extremely flawed assessment of US int'l behavior. The reason the US has such ridiculous foreign policy, while most other countries do not, is because the US has one of the world's last empires. You don't see Japan, Canada, Australia, or most of the EU making fools of themselves in foreign policy because they have little to no military might. This is not a criticism of non-US nations so much as it is a criticism of the US. The US government needs to begin to move toward noninterventionist policies so that its allies will be forced to assume more of the responsibility of their own defense. The world would be an accordingly safer place.

[ Parent ]
funny... (none / 0) (#149)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:57:18 AM EST

because thats pretty damn close to what it used to be. The US was *very* isolationist before WWII.

[ Parent ]
I wish... heh (4.50 / 2) (#222)
by Matt Hall on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 06:19:03 AM EST

Aside from the short period between WWI and WWII when the US was rather isolationist, American imperialism isn't just a thing of the post-FDR days (although it's been particularly heightened since then). For example, intervention in Latin America was very common in the latter half of the 19th century through WWI.

I concede that the degree of interventionism (which, as a term, I prefer to 'isolationism', because the latter implies protectionist trade policy as well) was much lower before WWII. Interventionism is something that's not worth doing unless done very well, and the US government is about as far from that ideal as possible (as is any political institution short of one headed by Machiavelli himself). Noninterventionism combined with free trade policy is about the only thing that's going to keep the world relatively at peace over the next fifty years. (free trade needs to be accomplished without the WTO and World Bank, however)

[ Parent ]
Good points (none / 0) (#259)
by ChannelX on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 01:57:50 PM EST

Maybe I used the wrong term because what you said was exactly what I was trying to get across. I knew after I reread my own post that 'isolation' wasnt really the term I was looking for. Also agree about the WTO.

[ Parent ]
Noninterventionist USA is good (none / 0) (#197)
by vastor on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:05:20 PM EST

Relative to the US they might have little might, but relative to those that actions are taken against there are plenty of nations with military superiority.

However if you look at the countries where there have been recent interventions - Yugoslavia and Iraq, any european nation or couple of european nations could have done what was done there without any US involvement at all.

There just has to be the inclination to get heavily involved. The ability to get involved externally seems to be at about 5-10% of the total armed forces numbers (if the Australian involvement in East Timor is anything to go by, 4-5k stretching things out of a total 55k or so).

If anything it's probably the financial position of the US that makes it more able/likely to get involved. For it to lob missiles worth $1m each off is no big deal (nor to have large stockpiles of them). External wars seem to be very expensive (a once-off tax had to be introduced to cover the $1bn australian the east timor operation cost - that USD$500m would be nothing to the US, even ten times as much is only a drop in the ocean).

So I'd say there is plenty of military might out there, it's just too expensive for most countries to use much of it outside of their own borders. But yeah, it is the last empire. The EU might match it with economic strength and population, but is too diverse to support many actions even if it did have a combined military force (just look at the french sympathisers with yugoslavia).

Having the most toys might enable you to make the biggest mistakes, but it doesn't excuse them. An isolationist USA would be a good thing IMO, so we can certainly agree there. In many ways the US is similar to the british empire before their pre-WW2 decline, they still maintain fleets and forces to operate in two theatres of war on opposite sides of the world. It'll be interesting to see if thats maintained or if they let them run down like the UK did (though the USA doesn't need to worry about invasion from Canada or Mexico like the UK did from other european powers, Germany as it turned out).


[ Parent ]
Superheroes live there. (3.60 / 15) (#7)
by Holloway on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:24:53 AM EST

In cartoons the superheroes are always run or fly past the statue of liberty or the rusty-looking san francisco bridge (at the top of k5) or the twin towers or mount rushmore or the whitehouse or the epcot centre or disney land or the hoover dam or the empire state building.

Other countries, bar a few exceptions, do not cast superheroes infront of their country's icons. This leads non-americans to think of America as a magical place where superheroes dwell.

Thank you.

(no, i'm not serious)


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

No, wait! (none / 0) (#8)
by Holloway on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:27:14 AM EST

I mean really, fellow New Zealanders, could you imagine cartoon superheroes running down victoria street (or battling south auckland)? Or picking up the sky tower to thwock some bad guy?


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]
well... (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by molofaha on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:34:41 AM EST

We had some freak bungee jump off the sky tower. Is that close enough?

[ Parent ]
hmmm yes (3.50 / 2) (#119)
by jamos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:26:20 PM EST

'SuperMarmiteMan picks up the mighty phallic symbol that has for so long dominated the Auckland skyline and heaves into into the deep void...'

[ Parent ]
What about Xena? (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:54:23 AM EST

If New Zealanders are all like her, I would think you would just laugh at our puny men of steel.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Wrong. (3.50 / 6) (#14)
by Qtmstr on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:14:20 AM EST

The bridge is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge near Tacoma, Washington.

I refer you to the FAQ.


Kuro5hin delenda est!
[ Parent ]

As long as we are pointing out everyone's mistakes (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by ignatiusst on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:32:34 AM EST

Shouldn't that be: "The bridge was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge near Tacoma, Washington"?

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

It's still there.. (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by jlb on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:00:32 PM EST

More or less anyway. They rebuilt it.

Adequacy.org.
[ Parent ]

Read the DAMN FAQ! (2.75 / 4) (#45)
by DAldredge on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:58:15 AM EST

That is not the San Francisco Bridge!

The word is American, not USian.
American \A*mer"i*can\, n. A native of America; -- originally applied to the aboriginal inhabitants, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America, and especially to the citizens of the US
[ Parent ]
It's charming that a European like Holloway... (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:29:03 AM EST

...thinks it's the Golden Gate.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

It's charming that an American like elenchos (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by molofaha on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:07:15 AM EST

...thinks that New Zealand is in Europe.

In case you're wondering, it is in the South Pacific, kind of close to Australia.



[ Parent ]
It's charming that a Canadian like me ... (none / 0) (#323)
by misterluke on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:21:53 PM EST

... thinks all this is hilarious. In a kind of hits right home sort of way. Seriously, though, he probably just didn't read the comments where the New Zealand thing came out. At least I hope he didn't.

[ Parent ]
Deadpan is dead. (none / 0) (#325)
by elenchos on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:39:25 PM EST

You pretty much have to dress like bozo the clown or at least wave a rubber chicken around, or else everyone will take everything you say literally. But I have learned. From now on all humor will be conspicuously marked by this easy-to-recognize symbol:

:-)

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

The Bridge (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by Speare on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:24:44 PM EST

According to the FAQ,

    It's the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which collapsed into Puget sound near Tacoma, Washington, in November of 1940. It seems the engineers didn't figure out the bridge's resonance frequency, and it shook itself into little bits during a fairly light breeze. It's a pretty famous example of bad engineering.

The "rusty looking San Francisco Bridge" is better known as the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco Bay is a well-protected harbor, so it is often called the golden gate. The GGB, unlike Tacoma Narrows, is built for endurance. It must: it's near many earthquake faultlines. The rustyness is actually many tons of orange weatherproofing paint, making it both distinctive as well as hardy against the brine air and clouds.
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
[ Parent ]

Superman (4.66 / 3) (#76)
by iCEBaLM on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:29:48 PM EST

It's quite interesting to note that Superman, champion of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" is a Canadian invention. :)

-- iCEBaLM

[ Parent ]

Cheese-man! (5.00 / 2) (#84)
by fluffy grue on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:28:13 PM EST

In cartoons the superheroes are always run or fly past the statue of liberty or the rusty-looking san francisco bridge (at the top of k5) or the twin towers or mount rushmore or the whitehouse or the epcot centre or disney land or the hoover dam or the empire state building.
Look, in the sky - it's a frog, it's a dirgibile, no, it's Cheese-man!

(Cheese-man goes whooshing past the Eiffel tower.)

Cheese-man!

(Cheese-man goes whooshing past the Louvre.)

CHEESE-MAAAAAAAAN!

(Cheese-man sits down at a bistro.) "Oui, zat ees moi!" (Cheese-man nibbles on a piece of baguette with a chunk of Brie.)

By day, he is a mild-mannered chef. But by night, he is the one and only CHEEEEEEESE MAAAAAAAAAAAN, protector of social medicine and government-subsidized student housing!

Let's all hear it for CHEESE MAN!
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Cheese-Man (4.00 / 1) (#242)
by nicolas on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:59:40 AM EST

You know, you're not that far actually: We've got a super hero just like this one, but its name is not Cheeseman, it's Super-Dupont (Dupont is a very common name here). He appeared in comics first, then there was a play and even a movie! He has a big moustache, a typical french hat (beret), and wears french slippers (charentaises). He had many different adventures, like saving the french pasta or the camembert (our favorite smelling cheese) from hoardes of malevolent yankees capitalist :) And, yes, he can fly.



[ Parent ]
Superheroes - surrogate folk mythos (none / 0) (#319)
by jabber on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:19:12 PM EST

But the US only has Superheroes because they do not have a unified, national heritage. Their history only goes back, what, 300 years on the East Coast and less and less Westwards. What there is of it is an amalgam of so many different regions of so many different cultures, that it has all the texture and pallatability of cold oatmeal. The poor dears have had to make up fairy-tales for their children...

Europe has the Bros Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, gnomes, dwarfs, dragons, haunted castles, folklore... How many USians know who Baba Yaga is, or Ali Baba, or what's so special about Bald Mountain? The only exposure they have to Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel is through the Magic of Disney(tm) which castrates and homogenizes all the culture out of folklore, and replaces the spicy morals of these stories with happy endings and ticket sales. It's only the geeks and goths who have any clue at all about the mythologies of the world, and these only know of it from playing AD&D while deeply stewing in angst.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Not really superior but somewhat naive. (3.11 / 17) (#11)
by Dries on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:41:06 AM EST

I'm going to keep this short out of mental necessatiy. Afterall I live in Europe. ;)

First, repeat after me: "I like the US. Really.".

However, one thing (amongst other smaller tid-bits) that often annoys me when reading K5 or when talking to American people is that they - and for no apparent reason - tend to feel. That is, not as a person but as a country. This is far from the trueth as we are all superior and unique in our very own way.

Don't get your panties in a knot here - but fact remains that Americans often pretend (or believe) to be superior whereas we rather think of Americans as being friendly but somewhat dumb or naive. Not in depth. The country with the high "Jerry Springer"-ratio, entertaining people with "bs"-shows.

A quick and dirty example: IMO, Americans tend to believe that they are like the only country that contribute to technology, sience or whatever and that the rest of the world is often just running behind, "inheriting" American technology. However, it is often the very way around. Check this comment on the recent Smart Card story or think about all GSM (read: mobile) technology invented in Europe.

Again, don't get me wrong: I like the US! This is not an attempt to troll but expresses my honnest view towards the US.

-- Dries
-- Dries

I am an American... (4.50 / 2) (#80)
by cr0sh on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:52:15 PM EST

And I agree with you - a lot of Americans seem this way. I also tend to be a conundrum of sorts - I know America hasn't produced all technology, etc - but I like to (on occasion) watch Jerry Springer and other trash TV (like WWF, etc). But that doesn't make me a couch potato fool - I know it to be fake, and watch it for entertainment - period. If I want to learn something, and be entertained, then I will watch TLC and Junkyard Wars or something. If I REALLY want to learn something, then I will go out, and learn it!

[ Parent ]
But many Americans won't go out to learn anymore.. (2.00 / 1) (#157)
by Jeroen on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 06:00:22 AM EST

And I partly blame this to those trash TV shows. It's always easier to sit in a nice coach drinking beer and eating doritos :) than to go out and actually learn something. I am afraid that many Americans can't make that effort anymore. They became too used to the comfort of having everything offered as a bitesize biscuit. I don't mean to generalize here but last summer I've been to the area surrounding Boston and it really catched my attention. But it's always easy, being in Europe, to blaim the Americans for everything that's wrong. What I am afraid for is that Europe is going the same way, it has always been like five years behind compared to the USA. Well maybe that has to stop, because America's social "structure" is, in my opinion, really "not good". The way they think about sex, religion, weapons, politics, their role in the world, etc. I certainly hope that attitude won't reach Europe. But that is off this topic...

Jeroen.

[ Parent ]
GSM and digital mobiles (none / 0) (#173)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:04:21 PM EST

The US adopted a different digital "cellular" system to the rest of the world, in the belief that the world would adapt to it, and use its system. It didn't. And many other countries, including the Scandinavians and Australia (all of whom have mobile/cellular ownership rates of >30% per capita) *aren't* changing, and the "global roaming" now means "global roaming, unless you happen to be going to the US"...

[ Parent ]
adopted technology (none / 0) (#203)
by Dries on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 05:32:57 AM EST

Of course the rest of the world did not change. Afterall Europe had cellular systems long before the USA.

And it is not just GSM/mobile technology. The USA tends to have their own adopted systems everywhere. Another typical example is the packet size of ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) packets, the voltage for electrical equipement and so on. I certainly don't blame the US for all this though.

-- Dries
-- Dries
[ Parent ]

I have been using GSM in the U.S. (5.00 / 1) (#256)
by theboz on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:59:38 PM EST

I know that GSM is not as big as the other cellular network in the U.S., but I have a GSM phone using Powertel and I can roam just about anywhere, including the middle of the desert in Arizona. I did find that GSM seemed to be missing in West Virginia when I went on a recent trip and had to go through there, but it's not like GSM isn't in the U.S.

On a side note, who cares who invents technology if everyone benefits from it? Even though this is often wrong as well, I would say most ignorant Americans think that most new technology comes from Japan. A lot does come from Japan, as well as the U.S., but there are plenty of things that come from European countries in particular that are great technological advances. GSM and web browsing (and hyperlinks according to B.T. BWAHAHAHAH!) come from various countries in Europe.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Representation without ... (3.54 / 11) (#16)
by yojimbo-san on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:43:01 AM EST

Tempting the troll, I'll throw in a few generalisations to the pot :-) - IANAA.

<IMHO>
<mis-quote>
There are the same percentage of idiot Americans as there are idiot people in any population. It's just that there are so many Americans, and therefore so many idiots!
</mis-quote>

I perceive the American Government (primarily INS :-) as "very very bad" - the dichotomy is of a country purporting to be "the land of the free" and built with immigration, spending a lot of time and money keeping people out of the country, often seen as over-pursuing border-line cases and ignoring blatant breaches.

However, people do delight in reporting bad news.

It's the provision of unified services that I think is doing the worst disservice to the country. In order to treat all people/states as equal you have to drop down to the lowest common demoninator - which with a large population is pretty low. In some areas, however, things are treated as equal where there should be some common level enforced (can I raise the spectre of driving license tests?). In dealing with a monster of a "country" which was really tens of independant countries (and none of them old enough to be "stable") a strange fiction of "The United States of America" has been presented as a country called "America".

The worst thing for me is that the countries in Europe seem to think that "America" is a success, and that because they are not the same, they must change, creating a country called "Europe" from the tens of existing countries (some of which are old and stable, many of which are young and unstable).

"America" is just too big. "Europe" will be too big. "Russia" (USSR) _was_ too big.
</IMHO>

Quick wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim
Immigration (5.00 / 1) (#257)
by theboz on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 01:27:36 PM EST

I agree whole-heartedly with you about the INS and other large organizations within the government going against what the people want and strangling the life out of the country.

I really think that the INS should lose their cops and be full of office workers who give the access to people that want to come here. I think the borders with Canada and Mexico should be opened up quite a bit more. I don't see how "Mexicans" (often the people referred to as Mexicans are from other nations such as Guatemala, and should be called something else like latin) are taking away jobs from people in the U.S. I doubt anyone that has lived here for a while is desperate enough to work at McDonalds to feed a family, or to bail hay for minimum wage. We need people that are willing to fill these lower end jobs. Also, we get (another stereotype) people from India and China that are helping fill in positions in the tech industry. It's mainly the fat old rednecks that are against immigration, and they spread their FUD to the rest of the people to fear the rest of the world thinking that it is a competition against Mexico and India.

In any case, I don't plan to spend the rest of my life in the U.S. It's a good place, don't get me wrong, but I don't like certain things about it, and I am fully aware there are other countries that are better suited for me. I am happy to be able to have a choice, and I think most Americans are aware of some of the alternatives as well. You would be suprised at how many Americans and Canadians are in Ajijic near Lake Chapala in Mexico. And I do think that the U.S. is too big for it's own good. The original purpose of the federal government was to be a union with a little more control over the states than the European union has, but not nearly as much as control as now. This is not a Democracy, and not a Republic. I don't know what form of government it really is here.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

bad news (none / 0) (#324)
by misterluke on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:28:14 PM EST

However, people do delight in reporting bad news.

Didn't Spider Robinson once say something like: "The most important message you can ever get is 'DUCK!'"?



[ Parent ]
If you really want to know (4.56 / 25) (#17)
by goonie on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:03:57 AM EST

America is an incredibly large, rather diverse, and very complex country, and every foriegner sees a slightly different "America" - just like Americans themselves all see their country differently. Given all that, here's my personal grab-bag of some of the stereotypes about Americans as a group:
  • Americans, at least middle-class Americans, are incredibly optimistic. Allied to this is optimism that America can solve problems both inside and outside their borders, often with technology (witness the intense interest in new voting technology after the Florida election debacle when the real problems are legal (which genius thought it was a good idea to have elected officials running an election, for heaven's sake?) and financial in nature).
  • Americans are more religious than other Westerners.
  • Americans know stuff-all about other cultures. When they travel overseas, they spend much of their time telling their hosts what's wrong with their countries.
  • Americans seem to think their country *is* the world. Witness the baseball "world series", a domestic club championship in a sport played seriously by less than a dozen countries.
  • Americans have a massive political blind spot when it comes to socialism, which seems to be regarded as something akin to paedophilia. Consequently, the political debate seems to be between the right and the far right.
  • They are incredibly individualistic and their ideology is based around individual rights - however *which* rights are important seems to depend on people's political stance.
  • Americans venerate success beyond all else. Winners on the sporting field are celebrated - gallant losers ignored.
  • Americans are incredibly schizophrenic about sex.

This is of course a semi-random collection of thoughts rather than an essay, and it might at first glance appear to be a cultural hatchet job. If it is, just let me say that on the whole I like America and Americans. You're just not quite as perfect as you think you are :)

Full disclosure: I'm Australian. While I've never lived in the US, I have had many American friends through high school and university. I currently work for a US company, and deal with American colleagues every day.

I'm an American and I agree with you (3.40 / 5) (#34)
by nospoon on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:32:37 AM EST

I think you have many good points. The only thing I don't agree with is the religious thing, but that is just because I'm not religious and don't really pay attention to religious things.

I had my first experience travelling outside of the United States recently (I went to Switzerland and Austria) and I think in many ways the Swiss people are more 'Free' than Americans. I only stayed a little over two weeks so maybe I missed something - but I don't think I did.

I think a buddy of mine summed it up best when he said (paraphrased) Freedom is a state of mind, and every place you go you have to trade one freedom for another, It only matters that you have the freedoms that are important to you. (btw he's an Aussie like you and has lived in America, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland)

I'm moving to Switzerland for work and will be there about a year. I may have a different opinion after that, and then again I may decide to move there permanently!

Jamie
'Desire that is Friday'
[ Parent ]
good luck (2.00 / 2) (#148)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:51:18 AM EST

I've heard the Swiss are getting to be a tad xenophobic. Well not xenophobic per se but that its getting pretty damn hard for anyone to get Swiss citizenship, etc. Anyone know anything about this?

[ Parent ]
to get swiss citizenship (1.00 / 1) (#273)
by uweber on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 08:40:53 PM EST

you have to mary a swiss girl, then wait for another 6 years, pass a test an preferably be rather rich, too. If you just want to live there without getting kiked out for some reason it will suffice to either be rich or be married.(My cussin is courenly in the process of taking that test it really sux)

[ Parent ]
Religion (3.66 / 3) (#155)
by erotus on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 03:26:17 AM EST

"The only thing I don't agree with is the religious thing, but that is just because I'm not religious and don't really pay attention to religious things."

What state do you live in?? I'll move there ASAP! Here in TX, one can't help but see all this religious shit, being on the edge of the bible belt that is. Obviously, if you disagree with the religion point then the people around you aren't religious enough, or rather pious enough, to make you notice. Btw, I hate the south and I'm ready to move! What is the least religous state in the US?

I agree with his points - especially that we as Americans think we are the center of the world. Combine that attitude with good "Christian" evangelism and I'll puke on the first bystander! This pious, religious, save your soul at any cost, nationalistic, McDonald's mindset is the reason peoples of other nations think we are offensive or strange, to say the least.

I have travelled to many places in the world and I can say that I do appreciate many things that America has to offer. I also earned an appreciation for other cultures and other ways of doing things. The American way is not the best way nor is Christianity "THE" religion. It is my hope that in the future there will be a greater understanding between nations and cultures.

[ Parent ]
Re: religion (4.00 / 2) (#192)
by marrq on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 06:09:49 PM EST

one can't help but see all this religious shit, being on the edge of the bible belt that is.

Heck, even when I lived in Los Angeles I had to see those lame "don't use my name in vain, or I'll make rush hour even worse. -god" billboards (well, they used capitol letters)

Similarly in seattle, I remember multiple news casts with 5-10 minutes devoted to some church crap, and this wasn't even December, when we all celebrate annual gift giving day, and maybe remember something about "our lord"...

But then, I admit to being fairly anti-xtian biased, having had the bad fortune to be raised by xtians.


/dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
[ Parent ]

Religion (2.00 / 2) (#213)
by CyberQuog on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:53:00 PM EST

In a suburb of NY (2 miles away), there's absolutly no religious preassure, but I don't think you'd want to move to north Jersey, there's either the ghetto part or the extremly rich part. I live bout 2 sec. from the ghetto and the projects, heh.


-...-
[ Parent ]
more religion (none / 0) (#368)
by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 06:41:55 AM EST

You don't agree with the religion quote, yet at the same time you live in a country where some states teach "creationism" as an alternative theory to the scientifically proven theory of evolution.
How religious can you get when even the content of science classes comes straight from the bible?


[ Parent ]
Hey, we call it the world series because.. (2.33 / 3) (#88)
by suky on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:47:14 PM EST

Americans seem to think their country *is* the world. Witness the baseball "world series", a domestic club championship in a sport played seriously by less than a dozen countries.

We call it the "World Series" because when the game of Baseball was invented and it came around for the championship game, there was no other Baseball championship game in the world. The U.S. was the only one in the world to do it, so it was the "World Series." We like tradition over here, and the name has stuck.

Or at least that's how it was explained to me.



[ Parent ]

Not quite (4.33 / 3) (#102)
by sugarman on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:11:19 PM EST

AIR, the World Series was so named because it was initially sponsored by a paper named the "World"

Anyways, more can be had from MLB.com and here<a/>.
Apologies for not finding any more coroborating evidence, but it's late and my city doesn't have a MLB team, so my interest is limited.

--sugarman--
[
Parent ]

Hey, Canada's been in the World Series too... (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by grifter17 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:12:58 PM EST

Toronto Blue Jays dude...

[ Parent ]
World Series comment was partly tongue in cheek (4.00 / 2) (#112)
by goonie on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:56:28 PM EST

It was meant as a not-too-serious example of an attitude, rather an attempt to condemn. If you want some more sporting examples, consider:
  • The NBA championship winners are called "world champions".
  • The Fedex/Cart/whatever they call what they used to call Indycar series, which to be fair has a few races outside the US these days, is called the "world championship".

As a non-trivial example of the same attitude, consider the bill passed making it a crime for foriegn (non-US) companies to do business with Cuba. That's the kind of attitude (we make the rules and the rest of the world can either like it or lump it) that really pisses the rest of the world off.

[ Parent ]

NBA world champions (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:48:20 AM EST

Are you telling me that whoever wins the NBA championship wouldnt kick anyone elses ass? ;)

As to Cuba I honestly don't know what bill you're referring to unless you mean the ancient cold war shit. As a matter of fact Clinton wanted to remove all restrictions against Cuba as do lots of others. They started by lifting medical supply restrictions. Its at least a step in the right direction.

[ Parent ]

Lithuania nearly beat the US Olympic team (3.00 / 1) (#151)
by goonie on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:10:00 AM EST

While the current US Olympic team wasn't the best team that the US could have put on the court, and doesn't hold a candle to the 1992 Dream Team, the fact still remains that they came within a hair's breath of losing to Lithuania this time around. The gap is shrinking :)

Yes, I'm aware that Clinton has tried to normalize relations with Cuba. This bill game out of the Republican nutballs in the House, I believe.

[ Parent ]

The history of the Helms-Burton Act (5.00 / 1) (#334)
by spiralx on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:48:06 AM EST

As to Cuba I honestly don't know what bill you're referring to unless you mean the ancient cold war shit.

What he was thinking of is the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, usually called the Helms-Burton Act, a prime example of the problems I and many others (well, pretty much every other country in the world in this case) have with American foreign policy. Basically, as this page says, it strengthened existing sanctions against Cuba, allowed American citizens to file suit against foreign companies that engaged in business with Cuba that involved expropriated property (regardless of the legality of that act within Cuba) and also denied visas to any such businessman and their families, preventing them from entering America.

This move outraged everybody, and Mexico, Canada and the EU all swiftly moved to introduced counter legislation. The Mexican and EU legislation made it illegal for companies to comply with Helms-Burton, whereas the Canadian response was to introduce a law that would have made it legal for descendants of the United Empire Loyalists who fled the United States in the years following the 1776 American Revolution to reclaim land that is rightfully theirs and was confiscated unjustly and illegally by the American government and its citizens, the equivalent situation. Indeed, shortly after Canada went even further and signed a 14-point agreement with Cuba over human rights, justice and Helms-Burton.

There are some good articles on all of this here.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

World Series (4.42 / 7) (#125)
by Weedhopper on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:21:33 PM EST

The "World Series" is so called because the original sponsors of the series was the "New York World" newspaper.

[ Parent ]
A joke I heard (3.25 / 4) (#171)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:57:04 AM EST

An Englishman visits America, and observes to an American three things he's noticed about the country:

  1. English speak English. Americans don't.
  2. When the English hold a World Championship, they invite other countries.
  3. When an Englishman meets a head of state, he only needs to get down on one knee.

:-)

[ Parent ]

'Blind Spot' is a historical accident... (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by Remus Shepherd on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:29:57 PM EST

Americans have a massive political blind spot when it comes to socialism, which seems to be regarded as something akin to paedophilia. Consequently, the political debate seems to be between the right and the far right.

This is a relatively recent thing, stemming from the McCarthy Red Scare and the 40-year long Cold War with the Soviet Union. Right now Americans are wary of anything having to do with communism or socialism because of the stereotypes generated from the Cold War.

It'll change, but change will take time. America had no problem with socialism, for example, when FDR proposed his New Deal in the 1930's. Give us another three or four generations -- and no more arms races with communist countries -- and we'll drift closer to where western europe is now.


...
Remus Shepherd <remus@panix.com>
Creator and holder of many Indefensible Positions.
[ Parent ]

There's more to it (4.00 / 1) (#274)
by goonie on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 08:51:54 PM EST

Australia went through similar experiences through the 1950's (the Petrov affair and the attempt to ban the Communist Party), but while the *rhetoric* may have been stridently anti-communist, in practice Australia retained many socialist-tending national institutions (strong union movement, universal national health scheme, publically owned telecommunications, power delivery, government-owned banks), some of which survive to this day. America never had any of the above.

[ Parent ]
Umm.... (3.00 / 1) (#282)
by yonderboy on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 01:21:37 AM EST

Being an "American" and having visited/lived in other countries, I've noticed a few things about citizens in other countries:

<grand generalization>

  • Never tell someone you're from the US, otherwise you get the grand generalization that you actually can change problems with society (ie: election debacle, gangland warfare, government intervention in other countries, stupid people, etc.)
  • Never speak in English unless you absolutely have to, or someone spoke to you first. This immediately brands you as an American (dumb Ami, etc.).
  • Americans are nowhere near as hardcore on religious issues, as say a (Shiite|Suni) Muslim. [Ask one about about the influence of Islam on modern cultures.]
  • Because you're American, there's no way you could understand the native language, so feel free to insult Americans at will, because they won't understand you.
</grand generalization>

[ Parent ]
Well then (4.00 / 1) (#283)
by goonie on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:25:16 AM EST

<flame>
  • Americans generally don't comment on the domestic political issues in countries they visit because they don't know about them before they visit, and can't be bothered finding out when they get there - making one wonder why they bothered to travel in the first place.
  • If you can't be bothered learning the native language, why should the people you talk to be bothered learning yours? In any case, that doesn't gel with the experience my friends have had when touring the world, any my own limited experience - non-native English speakers *love* to try out their English with a native speaker.
  • No, perhaps not as hardcore as Islamic countries, but compared to the rest of the Western world, far more serious about it.
  • Americans, as a group, are the worst linguists in the Western world. To show just *how* bad, Australian and British TV shows, on the (rare) occasions they are shown in the US, are usually overdubbed to remove local slang that US audiences are presumed not to know and aren't intelligent enough to deduce.
</flame>

[ Parent ]
Welcome to Stereotype City (3.63 / 19) (#18)
by duxup on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:26:46 AM EST

Welcome to Stereotype City
Next stop Ignorance Town


I couldn't care less about the opinion of anyone who feels the need to form a single opinion about an entire nation of people. I don't care if they're American, British, Canadian, Indian, Japanese, or Mexican. People who form such general opinions about people will always find a way to reinforce them.

I work in an environment where I work with people from many different countries. Some of my coworkers have particular nationalities that they have difficulty working with. This usually starts with language and/or custom barriers, but for some people these little problems when they develop into deep prejudice.

One day I had a coworker rant to me regarding "those #@#@ British people." During this rant he defended his beliefs by listing several nationalities he enjoys working with (I guess he felt that made it ok to dislike "the #@#@ British"). I asked why he was so upset and he explained the problems he had recently had. I asked who he'd been working with. He gave me his name and I then informed him that the person he was working with was not British . . . but actually Indian. To top it off he had listed our partners in India as people he enjoyed working with.

I see such sad behavior on a regular basis (usually involving the same people) in many of our international and local offices. Someone rants about a problem not understanding our Korean partners, then I have to remind them that the person they were working with was in fact American, and then the problem doesn't seem to be so big anymore (until they actually speak to someone they know is from the Korean office).

People who believe broad generalizations about an entire nationality will always find was to reinforce their beliefs. I couldn't care less about anyone's generalizations about Americans or any other nationality.


I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to form generalizations about Americans or any other nationality and hope one day they can learn to judge each person for who they really are.

Agree, but... (3.50 / 2) (#49)
by sab39 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:17:39 AM EST

You've just excluded a distressingly large proportion of the world.

While I absolutely agree that stereotypes (about any nationality, religion, gender, occupation, or other characteristic) are a bad thing, they are so widespread as to be practically unavoidable. Regardless of who you are, you are almost certain (in my experience) to have some stereotypes about somebody. I suppose that in itself is a stereotype (of humanity in general) but I haven't found too many counterexamples yet, and I certainly don't count myself as a counterexample (although I try to debunk my own stereotypes whenever I recognize them).

Since stereotypes are so common, I do think they are worth discussing. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need to, but we do.

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
Why not generalise? (3.75 / 4) (#63)
by SIGFPE on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:45:50 PM EST

I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to form generalizations about Americans or any other nationality and hope one day they can learn to judge each person for who they really are.
'tis human to generalise. It's one of the crucial aspects of human intelligence. We generalise all the time to solve problems. Why should we stop generalising when it comes to dealing with nationalities? Of course you must replace generalisations with specifics when you have more information but in the absence of specific information generalisations are useful.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Well... (2.75 / 16) (#20)
by KLH on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:56:59 AM EST

We pretty much think you are bunch of idiots. Okey, don't me wrong now because we know there are smart americans but about 95% of the americans I met really really are just plain lost. I every respect. I mean you live in what you claim to be the greateast democracy of the world but even if we don't look a the last election it's kind of obvious that you , as a group, don't care about it. I mean people would vote then wouldn't they? US is also the nation in the world with the highest part of it's population in prision. This clearly inidcates to me that something is wrong. However you might not agree with me. Could talk about this all day but my active english isn't as good as it used to be.
I carnt spell.
Generalizations. (3.71 / 7) (#24)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:31:48 AM EST

Try to avoid generalizing...this is the problem.

95% of the Americans you meet are "just plain lost?" Funny...I know Americans who have learned foreign languages with greater aptitude than you've displayed here. Does that qualify you as "just plain lost?"

It's also difficult for me to see how you could put such a quantitative figure on the percentage - 95% - when, on the internet, we deal with people from all corners of the Earth without having any clue about their origins. My e-mail address might indicate that I live in the UK, but perhaps I'm an American on a business trip...?

The high prison population and the poor election turnout are a result of bad government, not bad population. I hasten to remind you that we are not (as many Americans think we are) a Democracy, but rather a Democratic Republic. Much of the decision making is not done by the populace; and while I wish that more people voted, and voted intelligently, much of what our elected officials spend their time doing is conning us into believing that they're coming anywhere close to approximating success at their jobs.

There are huge problems with the United States - this election highlighted nearly every one of them. But if you judge the people based on the *government's* problems, I don't think any nation on this planet will escape harsh criticism for long.

-Eric


[ Parent ]
You're quite right (2.00 / 1) (#69)
by KLH on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:51:42 PM EST

I don't count in the people I communicate with on the internet. That would change the figure but on the other hand I the people I met on the internet isn't really a more or less random subset of the americans. Not that the people I met here are that random. They have money so that they can travel.

Well, confusing the goverment with the people is my fault. That was more a comment on the USA, but as some people say, the people get the goverment you deserve. I don't really think that's really true but to some extent it is.

No there aren't any flawless nations in the world that I know of, please corret me so I can move there. However we are the talking about the USA.

There are problems and we should discuss them openly so we can come up with solutions.



I carnt spell.
[ Parent ]
re:...people get the goverment you deserve (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by reverend_greg on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:52:12 PM EST

That's very true, if we vote them in to office. ;)

[ Parent ]
Tourists (none / 0) (#93)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:14:18 PM EST

Travelers are irritating. End of story.

Here in New York City, there's little more aggreviating than foreign tourists. I imagine that American tourists are as bad, if not worse - but I would never presume to judge Japan by those Japanese tourists I've met on the streets, and so forth...people get plopped down in different countries as though those countries are vacation resorts, and they tend to behave that way. People want to relax on vacation, and they often do - so they aren't on their best behavior.

Don't judge Americans by American tourists. Nothing could be more embarassing.

And (though you didn't say it), please don't judge Americans by our godawful TV...it's an embarrasment over here, too.

I agree with you that the problems should be discussed openly...I just feel that the problems with the US are far more complicated than most people make them out to be. We're caught in this cycle here, as a culture we deride intelligence and analysis and deify patriotism and god-worship, all the while claiming that individualism is the key to Americanism. It's a complete contradiction, and it leads to this cultural multiple-personality disorder.

You won't find the answer by looking at tourists, or movies, or Jerry Springer...you *might* find the answer by looking at George W. Bush, who seems to have won the presidency by appealing to exactly those national quirks that people from outside the US complain about (xenophobia, bible-thumping, and anti-intellectualism).

-Eric


[ Parent ]
dont worry (2.00 / 1) (#40)
by unstable on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:16:59 AM EST

I feel the same way about the population.... and I am an american...

I am waiting for the day that people realize that stereotypes just dont work...I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.





Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

[ Parent ]
American aren't the only lost ones (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by /dev/niall on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:30:56 AM EST

I've lived half my life in Europe and half in th U.S. (the latter half). The only difference I can see is that the 95% of people in Europe who are "lost" can speak more than one language.
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#70)
by KLH on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:56:57 PM EST

Most of the people of the world are "lost".
I carnt spell.
[ Parent ]
From someone who has an American living with him.. (none / 0) (#168)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:50:29 AM EST

I've debated this with her. In Australia you must vote once registered. However you are completely free to write "Fuck you all" or something similarly witty ;) on your ballot. At least no-one can complain that they didn't have their say. Oh, and we have a proper proportional representation system, too :)

[ Parent ]
I probably shouldn't give my opinion... (2.64 / 14) (#23)
by pointwood on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:30:22 AM EST

Because I really don't know enough about America. I mostly has my knowledge from newspapers and the television.

Btw. do you only people think about people from USA? or also Canadians? What about the South American continent?

These opinions can only be *very general* and doesn't fit every single American, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about something - here is the things which comes to my mind:

1. Your love for guns is really odd! Why is it that "every" American needs to have at least 1 gun (or something bigger)?

2. What's up with all those laywers? It seems that every second American is a laywer :-) And you sue each other for the most obscure things...

3. Your government is controlled by money from the big companies and industries.

Now, flame away :-)

--
Pointwood JabberID: pointwood@jabber.shd.dk


guns, etc. (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by Defect on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:54:07 AM EST

replies by an american of around 20 years.

1: The gun issue is pretty split. I spent a few years in vermont where hunting is common, so i can see a very valid use for guns there. But i've spent times in other places where people collect guns for other reasons. I personally hate them. I can't understand the reasoning behind the thinking that everyone should be entitled to bear arms. And the only argument in favor of that i've heard is that "it's in the constitution." Woopty fuck. That constitution crap is giving us more and more trouble every year. What kind of government still follows the same rules after over 200 years?

2: I don't really know much about this, i never knew people thought there was an overabundance of lawyers. I personally don't think there is. Maybe an overabundances of lawsuits, but not lawyers. The crazy lawsuits you see are people either trying to get rich quick, or being influenced by a lawyer who's trying to get rich quick, there are plenty of those.

3: No argument there.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Re: Guns (4.25 / 4) (#32)
by espo812 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:23:40 AM EST

I personally hate them. I can't understand the reasoning behind the thinking that everyone should be entitled to bear arms. And the only argument in favor of that i've heard is that "it's in the constitution." Woopty fuck. That constitution crap is giving us more and more trouble every year. What kind of government still follows the same rules after over 200 years?
The nice thing about America is that you are free to like or dislike guns.

What is the reasoning that everyone should be entitled to bear arms? When the Constitution was written America wasn't even a country yet. They were a group of people rebelling against an opressive government. The framers understood what it took to run a sucessful rebellion and how to keep their formerly opressive government from messing with them again. The private ownership of guns allows the people to a) defend themselves and b) stop an opressive government. That's the reason it was put in the Constitution.

Why is it still in the Constitution? First, there hasn't been an Amendment to change it. Second, it's a fundamental right. In order for the people of any nation to defend themselves they need arms. Hopefully no one will have to use them, but the capability is important.

And the US does not follow the same rules it followed 200 years ago. The Constitution allows for change. Those amendments are changes to the constitution that allow the nation to deal with changing times. When the constitution was first written women couldn't vote, people could own slaves, and the president could serve as many terms as he could get elected to. But now through amendments those things, and other things, have been changed.


espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
I wonder... (4.00 / 4) (#50)
by whatnotever on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:20:28 AM EST

How useful are guns against a *current* oppressive government?

Certainly as a defense, they're not too useful. If the government wants you dead, there are plenty of ways to kill you against which a gun would be useless.

For offense? Hm. Maybe.

When the military was made almost entirely of men with guns, other men with guns were on similar footing. But now that the military has various other methods of destruction at its disposal, men with guns are at a severe disadvantage.

And if we allow people to bear arms to the same degree as the current military, well... that ain't good.

[ Parent ]
citizens militia vs US army (3.00 / 2) (#78)
by cosmol on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:34:59 PM EST

Well, hypothetically of everyone in the US had a gun we would have no problem defeating a much smaller military force even with their much more advanced weaponry. I mean what are they gonna do, nuke us? We would just have to fight vietcong guerilla style.

[ Parent ]
And this thread is why americans are a strange lot (3.00 / 3) (#110)
by Robby on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:42:27 PM EST

well, to be honest, this thread is becoming the perfect example of what people are perceiving americans to be.

The serious discussion of the possibility that the U.S. government will someday be oppresive to its citizens, and the factthat every common man must prepare for this with some sort of rifle.

As if this isn't bad enough, the serious contemplation on the lives of millions, as the post above this one says, if it were serious (is it serious?) would be typical.

my apologies to the gentleman in this thread who proposed that archaic 200 year old rules to bear arms are somewhat outdated

[ Parent ]

Strange? (5.00 / 2) (#120)
by Osiris on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:36:49 PM EST

The serious discussion of the possibility that the U.S. government will someday be oppresive to its citizens

The US government is already oppressive to its citizens. Especially if you happen to be a minority, poor, or hold the heretical view that big companies should not be able to buy the government.



[ Parent ]
yep (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by SEAL on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:33:41 AM EST

The US government is already oppressive to its citizens. Especially if you happen to be a minority, poor, or hold the heretical view that big companies should not be able to buy the government.

Or if your religion is deemed a "cult" (e.g. Waco, or The People's Temple), or you happen to be a bystander in one of the BATF's kill-on-sight operations (e.g. Ruby Ridge).

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

The Real Problem (none / 0) (#178)
by espo812 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:05:22 PM EST

The serious discussion of the possibility that the U.S. government will someday be oppresive to its citizens
Anything is possible. But examine what the US government is doing. Registering all weapons in the country. This provides them with the name/address of every gun bearing citizen in the nation. Attempting to mandate wiretaps without warrants. Mandating that cell compaies be able to trace the location of phone users to within a certain distance. And if you believe, the stories of Echelon.The FBI surrepiticously installing a key logger so they can bypass the encryption the suspect was using. These are a few examples.
and the factthat every common man must prepare for this with some sort of rifle
I don't think every common man must prepare for this with a rifle. However I do believe every person in the nation should have the ability to defend himself. If you remove the ability to do so, what is to stop a government from becomming opressive?

espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
Just call me fact checker (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by finial on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:35:42 PM EST

At least I'm not correcting typos.

The constitution was written five years after the cessation of hostilities between the British and the Colonists. Hostilities ended with a treaty signed in Paris in 1783. The constitution was signed in 1787 in, the twelfth year of independence so either date you use, 1776 or 1783, the constitution was written well after the US was in existence.

I would dispute that the right to bear arms is a "fundamental" right. A right, certainly, but not a fundamental one. Fundamental rights are things like "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Those being the "self-evident" truths that are "endowed by their Creator."

[ Parent ]
maybe a rewording should have been in order (none / 0) (#146)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:39:14 AM EST

for the post you were replying to. After the Revolutionary War the Articles of Confederation were written. The way the government was set up was vastly different under the Articles of Confederation than under the Constitution in that the states were still pretty much separate entities (unlike under the Constitution). This might have been what the poster was referring to.

[ Parent ]
Sort of, I was wrong (none / 0) (#176)
by espo812 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:52:42 PM EST

For some reason I was thinking the Constitution founded the US. But you are correct - the Articles of Confederation founded the US.

espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
If I'm wrong... (none / 0) (#172)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:00:02 PM EST

... please, correct me. I have always been under the impression that groups with a vested interest have warped the bit about "the right to bear arms against an oppressive government" to just "the right to bear arms against whoever the hell i think is getting in my way"?

[ Parent ]
Mostly Correct (none / 0) (#177)
by espo812 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:55:14 PM EST

The origional intent of the Second Amendment was two fold. First to fight against an opressive government. Second to provide for the common defense.

This is applicable today because the main threat in the country isn't from foreign attackers (at this moment). However the threat is crime - murders, robbers, rapists, etc. The ability to bear arms provides citizens with a means to defend themselves from would-be attackers.

espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
Problem is... (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:52:26 PM EST

... it also provides citizens with the means to make committing said crimes easier...

Australia has (for the most part, this is a generalisation) no legal firearms (of the pistol or automatic type). The USA's murder rate per capita is 17.6 times that of Australia's... I had detailed figures, probably somewhere in my posting history from Sep/Oct, which even filtering accidental gun deaths etc, still had some hideously large number (certainly >10,000) dying from gun homicide in the US...

[ Parent ]

Australia and Guns (none / 0) (#183)
by espo812 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 03:07:34 PM EST

it also provides citizens with the means to make committing said crimes easier
Guns are a tool. They are used to protect people and they are used to harm people. Certinly banning guns is not the solution.
Australia has (for the most part, this is a generalisation) no legal firearms (of the pistol or automatic type)
This website has information on Australia and their crime rate. To quote:
Ban supporters, including gun prohibitionists in the U.S., are actively promoting the legislation's alleged crime-fighting benefits. Crime statistics, however, contradict them. For example, from 1997-1998, assaults and armed robberies increased in all Australian states. Armed robberies increased from 42% of all robberies in 1997 to 46% in 1998. The number of total violent crimes and the numbers of all individual categories of violent crime, with the exception of murder, increased. In addition, unlawful entries rose 3.3% from 421,569 in 1997 to 435,670 in 1998.
As opposed to the United States, according to this site that says, among other things:
Violent crime has decreased for eight consecutive years. [...] Notably, less than one-fourth of violent crimes are committed with firearms. (FBI)


espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
Do some critical thinking (none / 0) (#191)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:27:21 PM EST

I see no reason why you shouldn't own arms if you are a law-abiding, responsible citizen, or in order to protect yourself -- I have in the past, and will in the future should I deem it neccessary. But that is no reason to blindly swallow hogwash from organisations like the NRA.

A little research will show you that violent crime rates in Australia have been increasing more or less continuously the last thirty years. Violent crime levels in 1992 were six times the crime levels in 1971: that's an average annual increase of 30%. (Increases were uneven: the largest increases occurred in the 80s). In this light the increase of 7% from 1997 to 1998 is not only statistically to be expected, but is actually lower than the expected rise. Without explicitly saying so, the NRA article puts a spin on the article appearing to blame Australia's restrictive gun legislation for the increase. In the next link you post, the NRA then spends many paragraphs denying that the drop in US violent crime rates is due to the tightening of gun legislation in the States in the '90s. Heads I win, tails you lose. This is spin doctoring, not statistics.

[ Parent ]

The 2nd Amendment... (3.00 / 4) (#43)
by djpotter on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:31:19 AM EST

Does not grant the right to keep and bear arms. It states that the government cannot take away a US citizen's God given right to keep and bear firearms.

I live in western South Dakota and sporting and hunting firearms are very commonplace around here. We don't have disgruntled office workers, sniper attacks, or people carrying pistols to work. Yet I would imagine that per household, this area is probably higher on the guns-per-home statistic than others. I have a friend who is a collector and sport shooter, he owns about 10 guns. I own one, and plan to buy a few more. My Dad owns 4, my father-in-law owns probably 4 or 5 shotguns, etc., throughout the family. Yet none of us have ever (that I know) contemplated killing someone with those firearms. They're there if we should ever need them for personal protection, but for the most part, we use them for hunting and recreation (league/competition shooting, target practice, and IPDS shoots). Why is it that some people automatically assume that since I own a gun and support the second amendment, I'm an extremist near-homicidal "nut"?

DJP

"Anyone remotely interesting is somehow mad." - Dr. Who
[ Parent ]
Quote (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by FelixTheCat on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:50:49 PM EST

I live in western South Dakota and sporting and hunting firearms are very commonplace around here. We don't have disgruntled office workers, sniper attacks, or people carrying pistols to work. Yet I would imagine that per household, this area is probably higher on the guns-per-home statistic than others.

An armed society is a polite society....

Meow.

[ Parent ]
About God-given rights (3.16 / 6) (#77)
by 0xdeadbeef on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:31:01 PM EST

I have a God-given right to bear mobile rocket launchers, but your stupid government won't let me keep them. How the heck to they expect me to protect myself from all these nuts running around with guns!

[ Parent ]
lawyers per capita (none / 0) (#75)
by cosmol on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:29:35 PM EST

I don't really know much about this, i never knew people thought there was an overabundance of lawyers. I personally don't think there is.

Although I can't find exact numbers, the USA does seem to have the most lawyers per capita of any large country. We have at least three times that of great britian. Do a search for "lawyers per capita" in a search engine. Here's one of the links you'll get.

[ Parent ]

The end of the industrial age... (none / 0) (#240)
by your_desired_username on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:39:28 AM EST

From the link you gave:

... the end of the industrial age in 1973.

Does that mean that unix brought about the end of the industrial age? Or is that merely yet another self-serving narrow-minded USian viewpoint?

[ Parent ]
Guns in the US (4.40 / 5) (#39)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:05:26 AM EST

IIRC, a minority of households in the US have one or more guns. What throw statistics off is that serious hunters and seriours collectors have enough firearms to lead to deceptive statistics like there being 3 guns for every household in the US.

Take my Dad, he owns about ten different guns. He has at least three different shotguns (all different gauges) for different types of hunting, a few different caliber rifles, and a couple of different handguns. So if statistics say that the US has three guns per household, my Dad's house makes up for three houses. And when collectors come into the equation, things get even more whacked. I know people that literally own hundreds of guns.

The other key issue about guns in the US is that the US has tremendously more rural area than a good number of nations. Putting food on the table by hunting is a necessity in many areas. I have an uncle whose family would have been severely undernourished if he didn't happen to hunt. A decent sized deer will feed a family of five for quite a while.

Does that mean that there are no nuts with guns in the US? Certainly not. There are plenty of fruitcakes to go around. In a nation of 280 million people, there are bound to be some bad apples. From the little reading I have done on the subject of gun control is that there is no correlation between the number of guns owned in aggregate by a given society and the amount of violence withing that society. The US has always had a culture of violence. We'd likely be just as violent without guns and we are with guns. The only difference is instead of shootings, there'd be more stabbings and beatings.

[ Parent ]

An American condescends to reply (4.66 / 3) (#42)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:25:56 AM EST

1) We don't all own guns. I don't. My father did, I could if I wanted to, but I don't feel any need or desire. Many others do, and as long as they handle them well that's fine with me.

2) We have lots of lawyers because, fundamentally, most of us don't want to use guns. We go to court to settle things. I know much of the world thinks we're lawyer-happy, but that simply means that we take our disputes to third-parties and hire advocates to speak for us.

3) Maybe. OTOH, those companies are controlled by their stockholders, most of whom are us. Watching our pols burst into flame and crash over personal scandals, in my view, reflects the application of the standards of rural Kansas rather than Wall Street.

(Interestingly, we are convinced that YOUR government, wherever you may live, is controlled by our big companies and industries. Except England. We think that's run by Captain Peacock.)

It is, however, true that we are convinced that the rest of the world can understand English if one speaks loudly, and that all foreign tongues are simply English with "o"'s at the end of each word and pseudo-Spanish articles ("WHERE IS EL BATHROOM-O?"), and we really do all wear Hawaiian shirts. Our mass-market beer is pretty terrible too.

[ Parent ]

lawyers (none / 0) (#170)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:53:42 AM EST

Maybe, but do you think having 1/16th of the worlds population (or slightly less) and half the world's lawyers is a good thing? Clue, it's not because the rest of the world is crawling in despotism :)

[ Parent ]
Disproportianate number of lawyers (none / 0) (#189)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:24:41 PM EST

We probably have too many, I agree, and of course most of them are simply doing governmental busywork (either striving to create new regulations or to manipulate the existing ones). Based on figures that I just made up (<g>), half the lawyers in the US never see a courtroom unless they're brought up on drunk driving charges or something.

OTOH, some of the most populous countries, like China, are those in which "lawyer" is among the most useless of occupations, since the law is pretty much whatever the state feels like this week. In some parts of the world, law isn't even that sophisticated, and a lawyer would be far less useful than an AK-47.

I don't really know. Is there a breakdown available -- lawyers per capita per nation? I'd be curious about, for instance, India, which is quite populous and not, overall, terribly wealthy (without being in a state of anarchy). For that matter, England, home of Bleak House, might be interesting.

Like guns, BTW, I'm an American, and I don't have a lawyer.

[ Parent ]

Who controls our governments (none / 0) (#235)
by pointwood on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 04:19:08 AM EST

(Interestingly, we are convinced that YOUR government, wherever you may live, is controlled by our big companies and industries. Except England. We think that's run by Captain Peacock.)

I can say that our government isn't controlled by they big companys - Denmark (where I live) is a very little country with only about 5 mill. people, so we don't have very many huge companies. I will say though, that they probably have some influence.

What I actually believe have more influence, is the media - hmm...don't know if that is the right word, but all the newsmedia, newspapers, etc.
They force the politicians to react on the "cases" which the media brings forward in the news, and come up with some kind of quick solution to the problem. This is ok sometimes, but often, I think the solutions just creates more problems than they solve, because they just are some kind of "quick fixes".

--
Pointwood JabberID: pointwood@jabber.shd.dk


[ Parent ]
I mostly agree (2.50 / 2) (#71)
by osm on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:08:16 PM EST

1. I'm an American and I mostly agree with you. Except for the part about guns... that's a big exaggeration. I'm in the midwest and only own a very old rifle that my grandfather left to me. I only know maybe two people who own a gun.

2. Yep. It's truly absurd. I despise lawyers. Pardon my language, but I think someone has to be a completely soul-less fuck to want to be a lawyer (based on how they behave).

3. Yep. Our government is in a very sad state. They will keep screwing up, slowly but surely, and will bring a revolution upon themselves. It's only a matter of time.

--------
4thelulz.org
[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 0) (#169)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:51:44 AM EST

... but I stayed with a "friend of a friend" in Phoenix Arizona, who had a loaded pistol in every room of the house. Single female, about 30 years old. Scary.

[ Parent ]
Language (4.20 / 10) (#37)
by tympanic on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:59:14 AM EST

I will start with the ob. full disclosure. I am a U.S. citizen, and my father was in the U.S. military for many years. Because of this, I have travelled quite a bit to a few different countries, and I have seen what we, as...ummmm....USians (I don't like the term "Americans") do in other countries.

Most people I have met, regardless of their country of origin, are nice people when you catch them in their element. As was mentioned in another comment, people from this country expect things to be the same wherever they go, "telling their hosts what's wrong with their countries." I lived with my family in the Philippines for 6 years, and I hated the areas closest to the military base where we lived. It was this wasteland of local people trying to be as close to their idea of the U.S. as they could. All they were trying to do was cater to our tastes to make a buck (actually peso). I used to love going out into the country to see more of the real Filipino culture. It was much more interesting and enlightening to me. I found it sad that we felt the need to make someone elses country into our own idea of what is right. (If I remember my world history classes, many other countries are guilty of this too, but I digress)

Something else I have noticed is that many people from the U.S. who travel to other countries go there expecting people to be able to speak English. Yes, there are many countries where many/most of the people can communicate in English, but most of the world population can't. The French people (particularly those in Paris) have a reputation here for being real pricks to people from the U.S., but I can see why. On the other hand, when someone visits the U.S. from another country, we expect them to know our language. Talk about a double standard.

Now, as I have said, I am from the U.S. I personally don't want to live out my life anywhere else. This is where I was born, and where I grew up, so this is my element. I love to travel, and I would seriously consider living abroad for a few years again, but this is my home. BTW, Jerry Springer can kiss my ass.


"I've noticed success tends to mean making sure people's expectations are low and then exceeding them" -David Simpson

I'm an American, but what about you? (2.92 / 14) (#41)
by AgentGray on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:17:34 AM EST

I know that here on K5, I like to hear about what goes on in my country as well as others. I do not feel ashamed when a story is posted that seems to be a tell-all about the USA. We're proud of our country...at least I am.

However, I would like to hear about what is going on in your country. Yes, other things do happen around the world.

Brag about your country a little...and maybe we won't come off as being so brash. I'm always curious as to see what type of technology advances are happening around the world.



Here in Spain.. (3.28 / 14) (#48)
by satch on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:05:32 AM EST

There is an archetypical view of American people here in Spain. Most of it is derived from TV information an such. American people are here (archetypical view), fats, half brained with a poor level of instruction, and with a compulsive feeling to try to mind other countries bussiness rather that their own problems like polution, poor people or nuclear weapons.

Well I remember in CNN.com an interview with the former president Bush and he didn't know even who was some Middle East president. A good start for the next representation of U.S outside your country.

The archetypical view is that, a particular view about a large segment of population. I don't agree with it really, there are sooo many people around in such a big country that is almost imposible to try to categorize them.

As a final note, in a poll in U.S among college students more that half of them situated Spain in South America. As you may know it is not there..hehe

At least get it right (3.50 / 6) (#58)
by finial on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:00:36 PM EST

While I believe that GW is even worse than his father and the US will regret the day he was elected^H^H^H^H^H^H^H appointed president, if you're going to condemn him for not knowing something, at least accuse him of not knowing the right thing. It wasn't a cnn.com interview, it was an interview for a Boston television station (WHDH, Channel 5). It wasn't a middle eastern country, it was Chechnya.

[ Parent ]
At least get it right (none / 0) (#83)
by winthrop on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:26:23 PM EST

The interview was with Andy Hiller of WHDH-Boston Channel 7. Bush missed 3 of the 4 questions: Who is the president of Chechnya? Who is the general who just took power in Pakistan? and Who is the prime minister of India? He correctly answered that the president of Taiwan was named "Lee."

(Not that it matters, but nothing annoys me more than an incorrect correction.)

[ Parent ]

What wasn't done... (4.50 / 2) (#98)
by Brandybuck on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:47:47 PM EST

What wasn't done was to give the very same questions to a similarly unprepped Gore, Nader, Browne or Buchanan.

[ Parent ]
Hiller (3.00 / 1) (#137)
by finial on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:58:16 PM EST

Thats because they know better than to get in a locked room with Andy Hiller who is famous for doing this sort of thing. Sorry about the Channel 5/7 thing. I knew it was Andy Hiller and I knew it was WHDH, but I got the call letters confused.

[ Parent ]
Well, sorry but.. (none / 0) (#134)
by satch on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:23:14 PM EST

The point was not the exact source of news. I use to read several sites, so I don't remember exactly if it was cnn. OK. And about the countries, are not exactly located in the Middle East, they are a bit upper in the map. Well, the point was to try to give some example of his preparation (or lack of preparation) to be president

[ Parent ]
Politicians are ignorant. That's not exactly news. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by Vassily Overveight on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:01:56 PM EST

Well I remember in CNN.com an interview with the former president Bush and he didn't know even who was some Middle East president. A good start for the next representation of U.S outside your country.

Hell, Ron Wyden, Democrat Senator from the State of Oregon, couldn't locate Bosnia on a globe during his campaign, and didn't know the largest industry of the state he was running to represent. An Israeli prime minister (I think it might have been Begin) once got mad at Senator Ted Kennedy's complaining to him about Israeli West-Bank policy and challenged him to point to the region on a map. Kennedy couldn't. Ignorance is in infinite supply in our political elite.

[ Parent ]

TV (5.00 / 2) (#182)
by spectra72 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:40:08 PM EST

After reading the reply's in this article, I am troubled by some of the responses.

I see post after post saying "I've never been to America, what I know about them I've learned from TV."

Isn't that one of the very things you then go on to deride Americans about??! That they know nothing about non-US countries, and what they do know, is based on some TV/movie charicature?

If an American was asked his opinion of a country and went on to say some of the same things being said here, and then it turned out all he knew of that country he learned from some media outlet, he would be burned at the stake in this forum.

[ Parent ]

Presidential trivia (4.00 / 1) (#248)
by finkployd on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:36:05 AM EST

So who are the two senators from Iowa? You don't know? (gasp) I'll bet the leader of your country doesn't know either. It's trivia. I'm not interested in a president who can memorize trivia (if I was, I'd suggest chosing presidents via game shows), I want a president who exibits leadership.

Clinton is regarded as a good forign relations president (for what I don't know) and when he entered the whitehouse he was a nobody governer from a southern state just like Bush. Why not give the guy a chance before you assume he can't handle forign policy.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Speaking as an Englishman who moved to the US... (4.12 / 16) (#54)
by sab39 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 11:38:36 AM EST

I've found that the cultural differences between the two countries are much more widespread and subtle than people of either country might realize at first.

One example of this is the stereotype that Americans are loud and abrasive: this seems to be largely based on the fact that in England it is, for example, "not the done thing" to enter into conversations with strangers on the train, wheras in America it is perfectly normal. The American "have a nice day" signoff/greeting sounds trite and fake to an English person (where it isn't expected for someone you are interacting with in a professional capacity, such as a shopkeeper or telephone customer service, to take an interest in what kind of day you have) but is usually genuinely intended. An English person may seem rude for not saying thank you to an American bus driver, but an American may seem a little odd if they *do* say thank you to the bus driver in England.

There is also a difference in conversational style, it seems, which can make English people seem very rude to Americans. I haven't quite put my finger on this yet, but I suspect that it is to do with the wider use of sarcasm and subtle put-downs in English conversation and humor. That's not a stereotype about Americans, but it leads to a stereotype the other way around, if you're not careful (my wife, who is American, thought that the English were very rude after spending 3 months in England. It's only recently that we really came to an understanding of why that is - the English aren't rude, but the definitions of rudeness are very different).

Beyond this, I can't really say much more than people have already said. America tends to be seen as very commercialized (and compared to England at least, this has a fair degree of basis in reality), people think that Americans believe that they run the world (or otherwise have an over-inflated image of their own country), and so on.

There is certainly a basis in reality for some of this. But of course, like any generalization, it only applies to a portion of Americans and shouldn't be used as a basis to judge any individual American. If only more people of all nationalities would bear this disclaimer in mind, the world would be a better place.

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

Americans don't get deadpan (none / 0) (#103)
by goonie on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:12:23 PM EST

One difference in conversational style I've noticed is Americans take everything you say literally, even if it is patent nonsense. Britons and Australians often use outrageous statements delivered with a straight face as a form of humor. When it's tried on Americans, they stare at you dumbly and either get offended or expect you to go on and explain the details of the kangaroo farm next to the Opera House . . . :)

New Yorkers tend to be somewhat of an exception to the rule, however.

[ Parent ]

Some Americans get deadpan (4.00 / 3) (#152)
by mahrberg on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:11:45 AM EST

It's probably fair to say that fewer Americans get deadpan when compared to other countries, but, there is a large segment of the population who greatly enjoy this type of humor. Just look at some of the great comedy that comes out of America like Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, etc. What do the English come up with, Benny Hill? Jeessh.

[ Parent ]
uh no? (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by erotus on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:56:53 AM EST

Sorry to be so anal about this but I have to make a few corrections:

'Monty Python' is not from America - It is English.
'Kids in the Hall' is not from America - It is Canadian.
'Benny Hill' is English - you're correct on that one.



[ Parent ]
Benny Hill (none / 0) (#238)
by PenguinWrangler on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 06:13:01 AM EST

You omitted the fact that Benny Hill was complete shite that got taken off the air in the UK well over a decade ago because of its general dubiousness.
File under Bygone Horrors Of UK Television, next to "The Black And White Minstrel Show"
Mind you, looking back, Monty Python is mostly crap too (a very low hit rate of funny bits against unfunny bits).

"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
*gasp* *choke* (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by pwhysall on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:53:13 AM EST

Good ghod, man!

Do you want to take away the last vestiges of British pride that there are?

Monty Python was/is a British creation, and IMNSHO is one of the finest cultural contributions that this tiny isle has given the world this century.

Kids In The Hall? Canadian, IIRC.

But you're right in the final point. Benny Hill sucks, and it's a source of continual amazement to many this side of the pond that some Americans actually find it funny.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

You and erotus ... (4.50 / 2) (#165)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:31:37 AM EST

.. have just fallen heavily for some deadpan humour. Sorry about that, guys. I guess mahrberg's point is proven.

[ Parent ]
Stereotypes confounded (4.21 / 14) (#66)
by SIGFPE on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:18:17 PM EST

I was surprised to find Americans not to be what I expected...

I'm British and my experience of American tourists in Britain was very negative. The stereotypes all seemed correct: ignorant, unintelligent, obese, abrasive, arrogant, uncultured, fundamentalist, with poor taste and superficial in their dealings with people. (Of course British tourists are surely the most unpleasant in the world...)

Still, I risked moving to the Bay Area in search of work and I was amazed to find that at least in my industry (lots of geeks and artists under one roof) the people are a wonderful bunch of guys to work with and not terribly different from other groups I have met from around the world.

How about a few positive things about Americans that I have observed:

They are very articulate. Even the least educated seem to be able to construct an argument and express it confidently.

They seem to do lots of stuff. I'm sure there are plenty of American couch potatoes but even they seem to go off and do things at the weekend: camping, hunting, skiing.

They don't seem to get old in the same way. (OK, I may be biased here, I've a feeling that anyone over a certain age gets hidden away or something). I've never seen people over 60 or 70 look healthier (and it's not just surgery). I'm amazed by how many seniors I see down the gym or jogging. This is great! Many British just seem to give up life at a certain age. I guess this is partly down to the greater affluence in the States.

They are good at giving and receiving compliments and aren't grudgeful of other people's successes. I feel that this is a very positive trait (maybe because it's one of my own weaknesses!).

DISCLAIMER: Of course these are all generalisations. If you don't understand how to use generalisations then please don't reply to this.
SIGFPE

funny... (2.75 / 4) (#72)
by Defect on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:14:18 PM EST

They are very articulate. Even the least educated seem to be able to construct an argument and express it confidently.

That's odd, confident idiots who love to argue are some of the biggest annoyances i do see around here...
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Mad Dogs and Englishmen (3.50 / 2) (#97)
by Brandybuck on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:43:18 PM EST

They are very articulate. Even the least educated seem to be able to construct an argument and express it confidently.

The "class" structure is much less well defined here as it is in other nations. Other than race (which is in the process of being solved), no one is the US is born into a caste. Farmers get to become presidents and presidents' children start farms. Thus, Americans generally converse with each other as equals. Arguments live and die on their own merits, and not on who is speaking them.

[ Parent ]

Social stratification (none / 0) (#316)
by jabber on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:11:03 PM EST

There is no caste system in the US, and there is no House of Lords, but there are social strata. Working class people tend to stay that way for generations - although I personally know several exceptions to this 'rule'. 'White collar' parents tend to set their kids up for a similar (usually a bit better than themselves) future. Wealthy families set up trust funds and investments (and employ favors and nepotism) to ensure that their offspring retain formidable wealth.

Another poster mentioned that the for-pay premise of US higher education is a distinction of wealth, rather than of intelligence or merit, and I have to agree. Many intelligent people are forced by circumstance to work for a living early in life. These people tend to not do as well in public education as they otherwise might - and only doing exceptionally well will make scholarships available to those who can not pay for University degrees.

Well-to-do people on the other hand can go to the best schools, deliver mediocre grades, and still be assured a well-paying job upon graduation. This, coupled with the influence of wealthy parents and friends of parents, and you end up with a self-serving 'higher-class'. Granted, this upper-crust isn't a State sanctioned thing or a cultural heritage like a Royal Family, but it's still there. One can drop out of it just as easily as a Scottish Lord who can no longer afford to care for his estate (but still retains his title while in the poor-house).

One must work extremely hard, against exclusivity and elitist feedback, in a very beneficial set of circumstances, in order to break into this layer - and even then they are 'Nuveau Riche' and looked upon with scorn by the 'Old Money'. The computer industry, and industrial opportunity in general tend to not look at it this way though - whether you made your mony in oil of silicon, you're part of The Club. Although, even in IT, once an upstart is adequatelly successful, Old Money takes over the Board of Directors.

The educational system in the US is a good model for the rest of society. You have the good schools and the Great Schools - you have the good jobs and the Great Careers. Anyone can get a good education with a lot of hard work, just as anyone can make a living. But some people have Yale or Harvard handed to them, and quickly become Partners in their father's friends Law Firm, and get to oversee offices staffed with 'white collar' kids from UCLA and SUNY Law.

But then again, I suppose that this sort of stratification is present the world over. The US doesn't have a formalized system for keeping separate, it's something that the US does a great job of ad hoc.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

California isn't representative of the U.S. (1.50 / 2) (#111)
by Vassily Overveight on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:45:59 PM EST

Keep in mind that your experience is based on California, which is the land of Oz compared to much of the rest of the U.S., especially in regards to the oldsters being so active. I also think that your assessment of our ability to articulate is based on a limited sample. Our schools are turning out increasing numbers of appallingly ignorant louts. The Brits have it all over us in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and discourse as far as I can see.

[ Parent ]
California *is* the land of Oz isn't it? (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by SIGFPE on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:27:58 PM EST

The Brits have it all over us in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and discourse as far as I can see.
Interesting assessment. From the limited sample of Britain you get on TV you might get the impression that the British are far more articulate than they are. One thing that is interesting to compare, if you are judging from TV, are daytime chat shows like Oprah. Even on Jerry Springer I see people who are better able to communicate than the British on many of the more 'upmarket' chat shows. I'm talking about an axis orthogonal to ignorance. I guess what I mean is that Americans make better orators and rhetoricians (though those are grander words than I feel are appropriate here).

As for the British being better at grammar. I dislike grammar as used by Americans but that's merely my own personal taste. If you don't want to make a distinction between adjectives and adverbs and you can make yourself understood then that's fine (and it has a certain logic to it). I might not like it but it's a perfectly valid form of communication so it's not reasonable to say it is 'bad' grammar. It's just a slightly different dialect. I don't know if this is the kind of thing you are talking about.

And one other thing about grammar in the US: you'll probably think I'm crazy for saying this but among Americans who know about grammar that knowledge is definitely more sophisticated. My wife teaches English as part of a literacy program and was completely surprised by the sophistication of the terminology used in the most elementary text books. In England we are used to do the old-fashioned verb-subject-object analysis of sentences. In the US it's noun phrase-predicate and so on. Lots of cool words I hadn't met before like 'appositive'. I'd hazard a guess that the influence of Chomsky has filtered down to elementary level teaching.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

you must be seeing something I'm not (none / 0) (#141)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:02:43 AM EST

because I see plenty of 'oldsters' in my area that are quite active and I'm not in California. Then again I'm in a major urban area (Chicago).

[ Parent ]
hehe (none / 0) (#144)
by use strict on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:22:37 AM EST

My grandmother gets 'goth' on the weekends.

I live in oregon.

'nuff said.

[ Parent ]
What a stupid story. (1.20 / 24) (#73)
by xmutex on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:17:11 PM EST

And you wonder why non-Americans think of us as stupid.

bullet the blue sky

I don't this this warrants a 0 (4.25 / 4) (#87)
by Arkady on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:35:17 PM EST

I would certainly agree that it's obnoxious; it makes no effort to either explain or justify its assertion and it's obviously trying to be offensive.

But, it is on-topic and is asserting an opinion. I think that should be a sort of minimal criteria for getting a 0: something that has no relevance to the discussion at hand.

Though it _should_ have been an editorial comment, not topical. ;-)

Cheers,
-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
Our news is an example (4.47 / 17) (#94)
by batkiwi on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:18:19 PM EST

Quick preface: I'm an American, my wife is Australian, she's been in america with me about two years now.

After her first few months here, her biggest comment was "god, why don't we hear about anything on the news?" After my long visit down to Australia, I thought about it and realized she was right. 2/3 of our news is crap that doesn't matter. Last month here in austin, they had several news bits dedicated to how to make sure your foundations aren't cracking. that's not news, that's home repair! They also don't say anything tha'ts not about the US, other than brief mentions about things that directly effect us.

We tried CNN, and it was a BIT better, but it still doesn't have much deep content. We are happy now that we finally got BBCAmerica here, and it's amazing to see that there IS a world outside the US. I watch the news on there, then watch our news, and almost have to laugh out loud.

US news (3.85 / 7) (#96)
by tewl on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:33:03 PM EST

I wish I could receive news broadcasted from outside the US. When I lived with my parents we got Canadian Broadcasting (I lived in Vermont), and it was really good. For example, we could watch the Olympics as they were happening and in their entirety, not in broken up segments shown sometimes even days after the events actually happened.

Out of curiosity, what sort of things are reported in Austrailia, i.e. that makes it different from the US? Is it the fact that US broadcasters are pretty oblivious to the world outside their borders? When they do get a "breaking" news story (a term I find highly overused on CNN), they beat it to death! I find it very aggravating. You may be interested in reading the book Breaking the News. I can't remember who it is by, but it went into great depth about what a disgrace American journalism these days.


[ Parent ]
Australian TV news (4.00 / 1) (#142)
by daani on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:03:45 AM EST

The ABC news site has a listing of stuff which I assume is what they're running at the time. See also the "Related ABC sites" section on the left frame of that site, websites of other news/current affairs on ABC.

And there's SBS news as well.

I dunno, is that much different from USA news?

daani



[ Parent ]

More foriegn news (3.50 / 2) (#145)
by goonie on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:27:28 AM EST

ABC and SBS, particularly, do more "serious" news and a fair bit more foriegn news than just about anything on the US networks (the newshour is good, but that's about all PBS does), from all accounts. It's also fascinating to see what's of interest in other countries - what issues are the same, what issues are different, what different perspectives are taken.

On that note, many European countries do excellent English-language radio and even TV. Deutsche-Welle (German TV) produces a high-quality English-language daily news program. Radio Netherlands foriegn service produces some excellent current affairs shows. Catching up with one of these occasionally is very englightening.

[ Parent ]

Agreed (3.00 / 2) (#167)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:45:09 AM EST

Absolutely. Partly due to population density and partly to culture, I can say this. You get murdered in Australia, you *will* make the news, probably as one of the top two or three items. It's sickening to me that a country that can spout off about the right to bear arms can, at the same time have a murder rate *16.8* times greater than that of Australia's (and that's per capita, not absolute figures). And although population density might play a part, for the most part AU is as dense as most American cities (I'm talking the "median" cities, not NY, SF, etc), and the rest of the country is sparse.

[ Parent ]
NPR... (5.00 / 1) (#268)
by Parity on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 06:45:37 PM EST

Try listening to NPR (National Public Radio) instead of turning on the TV. ;)
Of course, half of the NPR news is the BBC Word Service,
but there's also a domestic 'news hour' program.

The reason, btw, that the news in this country is so terrible is a direct result of it being a commercial venture; the important thing is to keep you watching, constantly, so that you eat up the commercials. If they did a 'just the facts, ma'am' program, you might get bored with crime & politics, and if they gave you an in-depth story you might stop watching to discuss things. If they give you a variety show of many short stories with little depth, you'll keep watching because the next story might have a tidbit that is interesting and/or important....
(I'm not saying the news people are evil horrible brainwashers, they're just carefully honing their program format to maximize advertising revenue, and eek, crime, followed by ooh, feelgood-story holds people's eyes on the screen better than a solemn discussion of the situation in Haiti...)

Parity None


[ Parent ]
What pisses me off about the rest of the world... (4.00 / 13) (#104)
by Brandybuck on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:12:43 PM EST

What pisses me off about the rest of the world is the implicit assumption that Hollywood, Madison Avenue and CNN are acurate portrayals of the US.

Hollywood is fantasy land. It is unreal. Their portrayals of Americans is as stupid as their portrayals of Arabs, Europeans and Asians.

Madison Avenue is in the business of selling dreams, not reality. Most of the time they can't even sell the dream they got it so messed up.

CNN and the rest of the news media only report the unusual, shocking or deranged. The common and ordinary American will never be found in the media.

That's what it's all about (none / 0) (#132)
by oisteink on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:58:29 PM EST

Everything (Hollywood, Madison Avenue and CNN, but not some of the web)we get served (here in Norway at least), from USA, seems to be going through some kind of filter. Everything looks like it over-glorify US-sentric ideals and USA. We only get to see the their heros. We beleve this, becaus this is all that we get served (If we don't go to live there). That becomes the general impression of the (my) world.
I think that you have a different propaganda that we, and that this kind of discussions is the only way I can stay at home and learn to know americans.
Øistein Kjos Out of Norway "I need a hammer, to hammer them down"
[ Parent ]
reflections of a yank (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by use strict on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:16:59 AM EST

We get it here in the states just as much, it's only even harder to ignore because it's so obviously pandering to our sense of 'pride'.

The downfall of americans is simply that they have too much pride. In my trips to vancouver and mexico, I found through a short period of time that most of the people there weren't all about being right and that they don't believe their country is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Perhaps it's a slight of attitude more than morals, but I find that when an american is wrong he is offended, and more often those elsewhere just want to understand what makes them 'wrong'. (ie, discussion vs. argument).

Something also to consider is the fact that each state in the U.S. generally has it's own identity, to a degree, much like (I imagine, as I have never been there) countries in europe or southeastern asia. Here in oregon, I too, get bombarded with tons of California and New York centric crap. We have 'The Nashville Network', (tennessee) not the 'Southeastern US Whitebread Culture Network'. MTV identifies with the west coast, while, IMHO, VH1 identifies with the east. For everyone else, there's the fishing channel.

Of course when you really look at it, I ate chinese food tonight after debating whether I wanted that, Italian, or Greek. The egypt tour just ended at the museum, and you can find tons of places here in portland where you can get a (real, not outback) blooming onion or a meat pie.

We don't get it any better, as our 'aussie' joints smell like cow dung and with everyone wearign bright cowboy uniforms, while our english pubs all have soccer playing on the televisions and only serve guiness and fish and meat pie. If you want to make it irish, just don't serve the meat pie.

So I guess what I'm saying here is that we get it just as bad, but not all from one source which allows us to pick and choose a little bit more.

I remember, my history teacher used to tell us 'American's have no culture -- that's the point'. Whether you want to take that in social context or as a personal jab to your ability to choose art, it's your choice.


[ Parent ]
I'm thoroughly disturbed... (2.57 / 7) (#105)
by Halifornia on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:17:42 PM EST

I can only say that I am thoroughly disturbed by recent events in the US surrounding the election of our new and not-so-glorious-or-intelligent leader. This only reinforces the impression that we're a bunch of idiots, and our country is well on the way to becoming a stagnant police state controlled by bible-thumping technology-fearing hypocrits. Anyone have plans to move off-planet? I'm game.
"For a moment the universe was my body, and I was it's eyes." - J. Redfield
Puhleeze (3.33 / 3) (#109)
by Vassily Overveight on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:36:49 PM EST

What disturbs me is when allegedly intelligent people don't use it in evaluating the crapola they're being fed. The left tries to label every Republican president as dimwitted. Even a cursory examination of the facts will put that lie to rest in Dubya's case. He's got more degrees than the Democrat genius Al Gore, who had to drop out of two schools before being asked to leave. Dubya's also an ex-fighter pilot, a job not entrusted to lamebrains.

As for the country becoming a police state, who's been in charge of Federal law enforcement for the past 8 years?

If you and your ilk would like to move off-planet, I'll be the first to contribute to the rocket fuel fund.

[ Parent ]

Dubya's also AWOL... (2.50 / 2) (#115)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:12:38 PM EST

...or did you miss the story wherein he skipped out of his final years as an aircraft pilot?

At least Gore was over in Vietnam, regardless of the danger of the mission. Bush couldn't even be bothered to finish serving his time in the so-called "Champagne Division."

-Eric


[ Parent ]
Gore in Vietnam (4.00 / 1) (#163)
by SEAL on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:44:06 AM EST

Gore was a reporter in Vietnam. If you consider that mission dangerous... well, each to their own.

Note: I linked to Counterpunch in an effort to display a non-partisan news source. Search on Google if you want the full run of Republicans bashing Gore.

Best regards,

SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

I was unclear (none / 0) (#174)
by kamelion on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:37:40 PM EST

I should have said, "regardless of how dangerous you think his mission actually was."

Yeah, he was out of harm's way. But my point was, at least he was THERE. Bush couldn't be bothered making his flights for the National Guard at home...this is the candidate for the party who often accused Clinton of being a "draft dodger."

Nonetheless, kudos for trying to pick a nonpartisan news source...I don't think any of us would suggest that *either* of the candidates really should lay any claim to great military achievement...

-Eric


[ Parent ]
I judge it on the evidence (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by goonie on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:22:17 PM EST

OK, Dubya is not a moron, but in his campaign I don't think I ever heard him articulate a single policy besides cutting taxes(sure, I didn't get the wall-to-wall coverage that a US resident would have, but I did get NPR's All Things Considered, Jim Lehrer's Newshour, as well as extensive coverage in Australian media), while Gore came across as having a reasonably good grasp of policy.

Additionally, since the election was settled it seems like G.W. is basically reappointing his daddy's cabinet. While there's nothing wrong with appointing good people (and it seems like these guys are the best the Republican side has), it almost seems like he's content to let the machine run things for him and sit back and make the occasional speech. Personally, I'd like *my* country's leader to have his/her own agenda.

[ Parent ]

Dubya's also AWOL... (2.33 / 3) (#121)
by kamelion on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:37:53 PM EST

...or did you miss the story wherein he skipped out of his final years as an aircraft pilot?

At least Gore was over in Vietnam, regardless of the danger of the mission. Bush couldn't even be bothered to finish serving his time in the so-called "Champagne Division."

-Eric


[ Parent ]
Who are americans? (3.77 / 9) (#108)
by bradsjm on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:30:49 PM EST

Full disclosure: I'm British, I've spent the last 15 years working in the US and I'm now back in the UK.

During my time in the US, I met a lot of people, all of whome are as diverse as any Europeans and have found each state fairly unique (certainly they each have their own set of ancient and silly laws). But those outside the US only see one big country and a federal government and really do not understand (although this election has opened their eyes) how the country really works because they don't have anything similar.

I'm not sure the last election was the best way to try and show the rest of the world that the USA works about as well as most corporations... lots of infighting, politics, et al. and not as one seamless entity.

Now, I'm back in the UK and although it is my home, I find the lack of ability to properly cope with ANY snow, floods, and train problems quite annoying :-) Don't get me started about the housing quality!

Now, if I could only find a good looking female in this country who doesn't smoke like a chimney!


solution (none / 0) (#270)
by myster0n on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 07:34:57 PM EST

Now, if I could only find a good looking female in this country who doesn't smoke like a chimney!

You should use a lubricant. LOL

[ Parent ]

I've lived in four different countries... (4.43 / 16) (#116)
by cezarg on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:15:45 PM EST

In chronological order: Poland, Scotland, US and Canada.

They are all exteremely different places to live. I won't say which one I liked the most as this is not the topic of this discussion. I have a pretty clear picture however, what the other three nations think about the US of A and its people.

To begin with Poles (this may come as a surprise) like the USA quite a bit. Very few people realise that the nation treated those 45 years of communism as yet another Soviet invasion (we had a whole history of them). Thus Poles hold American values (Freedom, Democracy) very dearly. They have a pretty simplistic view of the US: big cars, fat people, tall buildings and loads of crime. Since American tourists don't annually invade Poland the way they invade Scotland for example, there are no hard feelings. to the contrary those speaking American English are usually associated with foreign investment and treated with respect. Most don't know that Americans have Polish jokes.

Brits are American haters. They think of the US as the place of fat stupid people who come to "Scotlend to see Edinbooroogh and take some snapshots". Pity though that Brits don't realise just how much money "yanks" spend on those heritage tours. I think the attitudes would be different if they knew how paramount tourism was to Scottish economy... I digress here. Deep inside though I think there is some envy of the thriving US economy which just rubs more salt in the wound :).

Canadians are an easy going bunch. They don't mind Americans and even enjoy the fact that the big neighbour down south has so much to offer. The famous brain drain is becoming more and more evident... I digress again. Canadians live their lives in a similar way, and even though they always emphasise their difference they don't mind Americans in general. At least there is less resentment towards US than there is in the UK for sure.

So what do I think about Americans? Well nothing out of the ordinary really. I've met really decent people from the US and some really obnoxious ones. Saying anything more would be stereotyping. However, I see a lot of Britons here talking about Americans being lound and fake. It is quite disturbing since you (Brits) don't usually come across all that well when seen through the eyes of a foreigner. Frankly you're actually considered quite quirky and it is not just my opinion. Sorry, but I digress once again...

Personally I wouldn't want to live in the US for a number of reasons: mainly because of the outrageous crime rate and America's love affair with its guns. But it is definitely an American trait to improve things around them and strive for success and this is something you (Americans) can be proud of. So cheer up, we're not out there to get you!

Have to say something on this one.. (2.83 / 6) (#140)
by ChannelX on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:52:22 AM EST

Personally I wouldn't want to live in the US for a number of reasons: mainly because of the outrageous crime rate and America's love affair with its guns.
I really don't like comments like this. Aside from cities crime here is not bad. In fact crime rates have dropped in the US consistenly for years. Comments like this leave non-Americans to think of this country as some sort of police state. I actually knew a guy from Finland that thought the US was a police state (no joke).

As to the "love affair with guns" this is patently unfair. The vast majority of people I know are mostly anti-gun coming from all backgrounds. Those that aren't dont fall into the variety of 'gun nut'. I know exactly 1 person who is in that category but he collects them. Collects...like other people collect stamps, or toys, or whatever. Non-Americans always have a problem with guns because guns aren't part of their culture the way they are here. IMHO you have to be born here and have grown up here to understand the American view on guns.

[ Parent ]

Poles and the USA (3.66 / 3) (#200)
by ubu on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:28:18 AM EST

It's not terribly surprising that Poles identify with the US. I would think that any American who knew the first thing about Poland would likewise identify with the Poles. Obviously, very few Americans know anything about Poland except the lame jokes, but that's largely because during World War I something dramatic happened to Eastern Europe that effectively wiped it out of the Western consciousness. This erasure was cemented with the close of World War II.

In case any American readers are interested, a fantastic and immensely enjoyable experience can be found in Henrijk Sienciewicz' novels. Lots of Polish history, culture, and politics, along with tremendous high adventure and outstanding literary value. I suspect that no more than a handful of Americans realize that Poland was the shield of Western Civilization for hundreds of years. Barely a handful more realize that Poland was a bastion of democracy and individual, classical liberal rights (albeit only for the landed gentry) long before the founding of the United States of America.

Ubu
--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
American culture (3.75 / 8) (#122)
by ElMiguel on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:47:10 PM EST

I'm Spanish, I've never been to the USA, and I've learned what I know about American culture in the TV and reading Internet sites like this. With this limited knowledge, I don't think that Americans are fundamentally different from the rest of the people. This might seem evident, but I don't think that Americans are 'better' or 'worse' than the average. However, I do think that there are some obvious cultural differences from other Western countries:

- Americans don't seem to have a clear perception of the world outside their country. I think that if you Americans knew more about other countries, you would realize that there are other possibilities apart of the 'American way'. For example, you hear all the time Americans saying that socialism doesn't work, and I bet they don't know that France and Germany are ruled by their socialist parties currently.

- I'd say Americans are way more religious than people from other Western countries. For example, American politicians, even the president, talk a lot about God. That would be quite surprising in my country; here we take quite seriously that the Government must be neutral about religions.

- Americans seem to be very worried about sex (especially in relation to children).

- Americans are very 'patriotic'. I think European people are much more skeptic about patriotism. I'm sure a lot more could be said, but that's all I can think of for the moment.

Must defend USA a little (3.42 / 7) (#124)
by cezarg on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:17:57 PM EST

- Americans don't seem to have a clear perception of the world outside their country [...]

Neither do most Europeans. One (British) girl from the University of Edinburgh (yes the big one) asked me whether Warsaw was a city in Istambul! She stared at me with her mouth open when I told her that Istambul was not a country. I haven't made this one up. Europeans are just as ignorant of the rest of the world as Americans. I dare you to ask people around you to name all the EU states. See how many get all of them right.

- I'd say Americans are way more religious than people from other Western countries [...]

No. This is your impression of the US that you get from the media. Also remember that Spain is going through a phase of rebuttal after Franco's tyranny. The US is no more religious than say, France. It's just that in Spain atheism is fashionable now. If you want to see some really religious countries I urge to visit the following: Italy, Poland (unfortuantely) and Ireland. Hell for a rich taste of a real religious state try Iran or Afghanistan!

- Americans seem to be very worried about sex (especially in relation to children).

Belgians are even more worried about sexual relationships with children, particularly after the famous Dutroix case. In the mid nineties that case sparked something close to a modern day witch hunt. Europeans are more hypocrithical about sex than americans. Take my word for it. Everything in Europe is swept under the carpet until it gets really ugly at which point it becomes the national obsession and the sole discussion topic.



[ Parent ]

Must defend Europe a little. (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by ooch on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:33:38 AM EST

I dare you to ask people around you to name all the EU states. See how many get all of them right.
Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Italia, Portugal, Spain. Those are just the ones joining the Euro, you can add Sweden and Denmark. You mention one example of one girl whose topografic knowledge isn't all that great. I now some americans who thought europe was a country, that doesn't proof anything either.
No. This is your impression of the US that you get from the media. Also remember that Spain is going through a phase of rebuttal after Franco's tyranny. The US is no more religious than say, France. It's just that in Spain atheism is fashionable now. If you want to see some really religious countries I urge to visit the following: Italy, Poland (unfortuantely) and Ireland. Hell for a rich taste of a real religious state try Iran or Afghanistan!
I recently read a poll which said 99% of Americans believe in God. You won't get near that in any European country. Probably because Europe has much more socialist influences, are maybe we are just more rational:) And don;t be too arrogant when it comes too being less fundamental then for example Iran. I recently read that in only 14% of america you can get an abortion! More christian fundamentalist influence then is healthy i'd say.
Belgians are even more worried about sexual relationships with children, particularly after the famous Dutroix case. In the mid nineties that case sparked something close to a modern day witch hunt. Europeans are more hypocrithical about sex than americans. Take my word for it. Everything in Europe is swept under the carpet until it gets really ugly at which point it becomes the national obsession and the sole discussion topic.
I think the original poster didn't meant kiddeporn, but just people which are under eightteen and have sex. When you look at teenpregnancies in the US and other industrialised country's, you notice that in the US there is hardly any information laid out to the youth about sex. I live in Holland which is very free when it comes to sex. I have some family living in the states, and they are amazed about the ignorance a lot of teens have. They say sex is still pretty much a taboo there. I also remember a story about a six year old swiss boy who was arrested(!) after he touched some six year old american girl somewhere where puritans have neightmares about.

[ Parent ]
Your 6 year old boy story (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by spectra72 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:05:25 PM EST

The Swiss boy in question was Raoul Wuthrich, and he was 11 years old not 6. The girl in question was 5 years old. Oh, and it wasn't just some American girl, it was his sister, half-sister actually. His parents had dual Swiss/American citizenship. He and his parents claimed he pulled down his sister's underwear to help her go to the bathroom. According to court documents, the girl detailed other occasions where her brother had "helped" her before. Actually, according to one Denver Colorado newspaper, Westword, the same neighbor who ultimately accused the boy of the inappropriate behaviour, also testified to being told on one occasion, by the boy himself, of being grounded due to his sister "lying" about him kissing her on the genitals. The girl was 4 years old at that time.

The boy was ultimately released without the trial concluding anything due to a procedural error, not because he was ultimately found not guilty. After 7 weeks, he flew to Switzerland to be reunited with his mother and father...and 3 sisters.

Of course the family sued the local authorities when the boy was released after the trial. They had been in America long enough to pick up that trait.

Bottom line is, this kid had problems..serious problems. His own mother said she had to lock him in a closet on occasion because she couldn't handle him. Maybe you have issues about a 11 year old being locked up for 7 weeks by the Colorado judicial system, but maybe his family fleeing the country immediately after his arrest had something to do with that. Whatever your concerns, this did not happen due to "puritans" having nightmares.

[ Parent ]

Problems (none / 0) (#210)
by aphrael on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:18:40 PM EST

His own mother said she had to lock him in a closet on occasion because she couldn't handle him.

Ah ... and so *throwing him in jail* is going to help him get over his problems? Ye gods! If anything, throwing him in jail is going to make them *worse* ...

[ Parent ]

You missed the point (none / 0) (#223)
by spectra72 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 03:38:26 PM EST

Like I said in my post...whether or not throwing a 11 year old boy in the clink for 7 weeks is a enlightened thing to do is debatable. All I can do is point to the fact that his parents bailed out of the country during that time as well. Maybe you think Foster homes are a better solution, maybe not.

The point of the post I was replying to, however, was that this boy was the victim of "puritan" nightmares, which in fact, was hardly the case.

[ Parent ]

We're going at 85 degrees here ... (none / 0) (#228)
by aphrael on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 08:28:06 PM EST

OK, I can see that ... but I think you're missing the point: why, in this country, do we think throwing the kid in jail is the right approach? (Not everyone does think that, so i'm generalizing --- but our legal system certainly does.) Other countries don't seem to think that way; what makes our national psyche so different in this regard?

[ Parent ]
Offtopic..but what the hey. (none / 0) (#233)
by spectra72 on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:29:34 AM EST

He was in Jefferson County Juvenile Detention...not jail. Where would *you* put him? Leaving aside the fact that no matter what, he needs serious consuling/treatment, whatever....where would you put him? His parents fled the country, no known relatives in the Colorado area....I don't see a better idea. Let him go to Switzerland with his parents? I think parents who reportedly lock their kids in closests really shouldn't just be handed back their children when things seem amiss. Foster care, as I brought up before? Not easy finding good foster care, with NO other children in the house mind you, these days.

The unfortunate thing in this was that the whole international uproar over "ELEVEN YEAR OLD JAILED IN THE US!!" got far more attention than the actual merits of the case. This kid was molesting his 6 yr old sister!! These are not puritanical nightmares, as the original poster tried to paint this and was the point *I* was responding to, this is not the US justice system gone amock. This kid molested his sister. You can spin that into "poor kid" sob stories for the Swiss and German papers that play up the "big bad US" image that the rest of the world likes to cultivate all you want, but the fact remains...11 year olds should not be doing what this kid was doing to his sister I don't know of any culture, American, European, whatever, where that is permissible.

[ Parent ]

Do you know what you're talking about? (none / 0) (#207)
by blue0 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 12:46:23 PM EST

No. This is your impression of the US that you get from the media. Also remember that Spain is going through a phase of rebuttal after Franco's tyranny.

No... Franco is a dead figure for us. We're not in a rebuttal phase. People youger than 30/35 do not remember franco, they were too young.

The US is no more religious than say, France.

That's false. France, as well as spain, has laws defining the clear difference between church and state. In france, the churches are public buildings owned by the state. Do you still think we're equal? The number of people assisting to masses is much lower in spain or france than in the states.

It's just that in Spain atheism is fashionable now.

Sorry? Do you know what your talking about? Did you know in spain catholic church is importing south american priests because they're unable to get enough priests in spain? Do you thing is a 'fashion'? We are not atheist, we simply don't mind about religion.


My way of joking is to tell the truth. That's the funniest joke in the world. -- Muhammad Ali
[ Parent ]

Who doesn´t know? (none / 0) (#237)
by palou on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 04:40:27 AM EST

How much money does the Spanish government give to the Catholic church every year? How much money does the US federal government, or the any state, give to any church? Do you even know who *invented* the concept of separation of church and state? And whose Constitution has it as one of its major points?

[ Parent ]
Poland (none / 0) (#318)
by jabber on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:01:12 PM EST

Poland is almost entirely Roman Catholic. Poland does not have the phrase "In God We Trust" on it's currency, and it does not require elected officials to swear and oath before God, with a hand on the Judeo-Christian Bible. Poles are accepting of differnent faiths, and while every group has it's biggots, Poles tend not to persecute minority faiths. This is my personal experience.

Historically, Poland is one of the most religiously tolerant countries in Europe. While it has been very RC since it's inception (996ad, when the Holy Roman Empire recognized Poland as an entity upon the conversion of it's ruler to Catholicism - fancy that), it's government has offered sanctuary to various other faiths during times when they were being persecuted everywhere else in Europe.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Hi, from up north (3.63 / 11) (#123)
by cbatt on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:50:28 PM EST

As a citizen of a country (Canada) little more than a boil on the backside of it's much larger sibling (America) and operated on principles that the Church of The SubGenius would be proud of (Slack), I must say that you folks to our South (but North of Mexico) are really good for a chuckle or two.

I've had my fair share of contact with Americans, such as my wife (from Michigan) and her family and I've visited your fine country many a time. The thing that strikes me the most is the general tension in the air. Especially the east. Dosn't just strike me, strikes her ex-military brother who's now a German citizen.

Your west coast is pretty laid back, but come up to Vancouver some time to experience true torpor. Heck, I live in the most right-wing conservative province in the entire country (Alberta) and it's far less tense than anywhere I've been to the south. Maybe it's a gun thing.

The mid-west is quaint, and I really like Michigan (especially the closer one gets to the U.P.). But I hate the accents. If only they could learn to pronounce things properly. (It's process, not prahcess; pronounce, not pruhnunce ;-)

Your TV is bland, but we watch so much of it that most of us don't know what "Canada" is (Many of us think our president is GW (yes I realize that we have a Prime Minister, and he's GW!)). Also because of this, there is a standard stereotype that your entire country is run like New York or California. That's as much our fault as yours.

However, we are pretty tired of typical american myopic navel gazing. A general attitude of complete oblivion to the greater world stage of which it is but a player; the biggest player, yes, but still smaller than the rest combined. No it's not just in the popular media. It used to be, but because of the spread of the world wide public communications medium (the 'Net) we get to see it everyday. It's not even an outright refusal to extend your scope, but more of an implicit attitude of exclusion of any mention of non-american participation.

Furthermore, I'd just like to say that I don't believe that the american populace of K5 is in a good place to judge whether or not the stereotypical american attitude exists as it is far from a random sampling of american people. Probably a bit more wordly and aware of other attitudes because they interact with foreigners far more often.

Whatever whatever... yes it's dumb to form stereotypes. Yes, not all americans are like that... blah blah blah

We still love you guys, we just don't like what you do sometimes. :-)

-----------
Before you can understand recursion
you must understand recursion.

The U.S. Mystique (3.50 / 8) (#126)
by dalesun on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:23:09 PM EST

I'm a U.S. citizen (aka an "American"). The comments reacting to the American "we are the world" attitude shouldn't be taken out of that context. While visiting Amsterdam recently I noticed that Americans fascinated folks there. People I met seemed to have a huge mystique about Americans and view them with great respect and almost awe. They did not seem to think we are stupid (as others have suggested) but rather seemed to think we have some kind of special insight or magic. Someone actually told me "you [in the US] are the best at everything and you know what's going to happen in the future," I laughed and pointed out that Americans are also the worst at many things, and are often clueless. I was amazed at the very positive impression that people seemed to have, especially when everything U.S. that I saw looked bad: our election (I thought I would escape it but they were all fascinated), the huge ugly sign for the bankrupt Planet Hollywood dominating the Amsterdam skyline, garish neon signs for McDonalds and Burger King next to wonderful almost-exclusively-non-chain restaurants, FedEx trucks blocking the street while dozens of Dutch drivers waited patiently. To sum up the impression I had of the U.S. abroad and to mangle someone's (sorry I don't know who's) quote: "Look out world, we're a steamroller and you're either part of the steamroller or part of the road." I think American globalization really sucks, and hope we will develop more awareness and sensitivity.

Japan (3.00 / 1) (#199)
by yolto on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 12:39:43 AM EST

I was in Japan as an exchange student over the summer, and I experience this just as you said it. People seemed to think that Americans were somehow "special". American culture is incredibly popular there, and most teenagers try to emulate what they think the Americans do. They also think

1) Americans eat hamburgers for every meal.
2) Americans always wear jeans.
3) All Americans play baseball.
4) Americans are incapable of learning how to use hashii (chopsticks) or assimilating Japanese culture. (People were shocked when I could eat sushi with hashii and speak small amounts of the language)

This is just the general feeling that I got from most of the teenagers I met at the school I attended. Adult attitudes were similar (at least those I got from my host family).

American culture has invaded Japan. McDonalds are everywhere, english writing (which is quite nonsensical) covers vending machines and other public areas. Rap music plays in popular stores, and American flags and "USA" were on many clothes.

Regardless, the people that I met were some of the kindess and most gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I hope that they have no ill feelings about Americans as a result of me.


[ Parent ]
Yes, noone I know makes these dumb remarks (none / 0) (#289)
by B'voYpenburg on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:20:35 AM EST

This is the funniest story i've read for a while. I'm from The Netherlands, buttah this is not (and has never been) the way I thought of USians.

[ Parent ]
John Wayne to the rescue (4.50 / 14) (#129)
by Beorn on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:06:03 PM EST

Of course, there's nothing more US-centric than dedicating an entire article to what foreigners think about your country. ;) But I won't hold navel-gazing against you yankees. I see worse at home, and trust me, patriotic megalomania is much more pathetic in a country that in fact isn't the cultural, economical and military center of the world, (or even close).

The US gave the world Hollywood, rock'n roll and the Internet, which just happens to be three of my favourite things. You should be proud of this, (oh and thanks for helping us out in the war).

On the other hand, Hollywood and rock is dead, and the net is no longer american, in the sense that it doesn't really spread american culture to the world. The net is full duplex cultural imperialism, removing artificial national identities, and exposing you to strange foreign ideas, (like this comment.) Perhaps you should take steps to protect your culture while you can? (Of course you shouldn't, but it's a funny idea.)

Many people have already pointed out that the US is more than Hollywood and CNN, but in a way real american life is irrelevant to non-americans. Average americans don't cause european ministers of cultural growth to wake up screaming at night - the Hollywood glitterati does. It doesn't matter what real americans are like, not more than germans, ethiopians and frenchmen anyway.

About your politics and government, you're propably wrong to think this is something non-americans think about a lot, (except when they're being bombed or rescued.) Alan Greenspan propably has some indirect influence on my life, and I'm concerned about future american net regulations becoming de facto global standards, but other than that I regard american politics with a distanced combination of admiration, amusement and disgust. American partisan trench wars make no sense to social democratic europeans, and even I have problems understanding it. It's good entertainment, though.

To conclude: I think I can forgive some of the silly US-centrism on k5 as long as I'm allowed to include the following sentence in an article some day: "There are four million norwegians in the world today, and you are one of them". Please, can I?

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Anyone else think... (3.60 / 10) (#130)
by doormat on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:31:31 PM EST

...that one of the major skills acquired by living in america is the ability to form strong opnions based only on what they are told? I've seen it a few places in this thread, people regurgitating what they hear on CNN/MSNBC. I dont ignore these sources, but I dont take them as the final word. I make up my own mind.

Though, if I had to choose one word on how I think of Americans, and more specifically on what motive they operate on, (including myself, i am an american) i would say:

Greedy

I see enough of the "i gotta get mine" on TV and IRL, and I dont like it. I am all for capitalism, but really, going and fighting wars because we (the ppl in control) think that there should be a McDonalds on every corner is sick. To me, it all comes back to the fact that america is run by large corporations via soft money and other campaign contributions. Look at the way Pfizer got a patent extension for Claritin (they let Orin Hatch use one of their private jets for a few weeks in order to get his support on a bill to extend patents on drugs), or how Michael Eisner and Disney paid enough politicians to keep Mickey Mouse from entering the public domain in 2004 (they got it extended to 2024, or another 20 years).

A point to remember though is that if someone makes a million dollars from a good, honest, legitimate idea (not leeching off someone else's talents [yea i am talking to you, record industry]) doesn't make someone greedy. Greed is them using their market position to keep their market position (microsoft, the oil idustry surpressing alt. engery, power companies not building power plants so they can charge more per megawatt/hr).

</rant>

|\
|/oormat

opinions (none / 0) (#251)
by kubalaa on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:56:53 AM EST

One of the major skills acquired by living in america is the ability to form strong opnions based only on what they are told ... I make up my own mind.

I can't help chuckling at this. I suppose you meant that you weigh information from a variety of sources, but the way it came across.. well... "Those Americans get all their information in the news, but not me; I make up my OWN facts."

[ Parent ]

Generalisations, and more (3.55 / 9) (#131)
by mnbvc on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:35:51 PM EST

Coming from Australia, and having studied economics, I have heard a lot of Anti-American statistics, in the news, and in the textbooks.

Measuring foreign aid vs GDP per capita, America gives about 1/5 of the aid which countries such as Norway, and Japan. Australia also gives a small amount of foreign aid, only about 2 the ratio of America. This figure is about 5 years old, and may be incorrect nowdays however.

America does promote free trade compared to countries such as those in the EU, and Japan. However, they are by no means the world leaders, and use non-tariff protectionism heavily.

As well as statistics, people here (in Australia) have a lot of anti-American sentiments which are probably (I hope) just generalisations. I can only speak for some- and I'm sure not all Australians will agree with these points:

Regarding gun control:
It sickens many people regarding the way a loud group of Americans love to have their rights, and specifically, the right to carry a gun.
A developed country with such an incredible murder rate, one would think, would be better off without such an easy way of killing others. This may not be practical, given that such a large number of guns already exist, but surely steps should be taken to disarm the general population.
The idea of needing them, should a "Hitler" take over, seems incredible to me, but then, we have never had a civil war in Australia.
I live in a country town in Australia, not in Sydney, and I have seen a gun, in my 18 years, probably once or twice, and only on a policeman.
In my experience, fist fights don't tend to cause as much hassle as shootouts.
Gun control, with the govt buying back guns, has occured in the last few years, since a massacure in Tasmania.
People (the NRA I believe) have quoted statistics saying that crime has increased due to these buybacks, but they declined to say where the statistics came from, and no evidence has shown any support at all to their statements.

Regarding censorship:
Personally (not speaking for anyone else), I'm quite happy with the censorship laws in Australia. Perhaps because I have heard absolutally nothing about them being implemented, and our ISP (the main ISP in Australia) certainly does not obey them, or tell us to run a client.

Having said all this, I also have to say that I don't have anything against Americans. They may have a terrible government, as shown in the recent elections, but so do all countries.
Individual Americans are just people, like people all over the world.


This will probably piss someone else off, but... (3.50 / 4) (#133)
by buzzbomb on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:06:38 PM EST

> Measuring foreign aid vs GDP per capita, America gives about 1/5 of the aid which countries such as Norway, and Japan.

So what? IMNSHO, America needs to stop giving a bunch of money to ANY other countries until our own are taken care of. We have homeless people in THIS country. We have a lot of people at or below the poverty level. Fuck that. Fuck giving money to all these dumbass countries that just seem to spend and spend but never show any improvement or signs of trying to help themselves.

Bah. That was offtopic. But I saw an issue that I have with our government that I wanted to bitch about.


[ Parent ]
I didn't piss me off.. (2.50 / 2) (#136)
by k5er on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:14:40 PM EST

I have fealt that way for years. I live in Canada and we have the our problems too. Our tax rate is ridiculous, among other problems such as the poor and homeless. If I had it my way,I would spend all our money fixing this country, and whatever is left over, give away to helping others.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
[ Parent ]
Canadian too.. (2.50 / 2) (#139)
by jdtux on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:16:47 AM EST

Well, I do agree somewhat... Although, we(Canada) could spend our money fixing oursleves, but you see, then the poor countries would bitch whine and moan about our quality of life being so much higher than their's, and that we don't give a shit about anyone else, and that would make the poloticians look bad, and think about it, it would make our country look bad too.

There's also the problem of poloticians having WAY the hell too much money to play with. Hell man, they get to vote on how much and when they should get a raise, and they waste money on so much shit... plus we have a senate which does absolutely shit all, and I'm serious! They have to show up once a week for half the year, I think. If we cut back on the poloticians, think about how much money there'd be left over!
Anyway, enough with the off-topic rant...

[ Parent ]

interesting though (3.66 / 3) (#160)
by SEAL on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:55:23 AM EST

Consider that the U.S. was very strong financially at the end of World War II. The attitude of donating / contributing to other nations was a good one at the time. Unfortunately, things quickly got out of hand as the U.S. and the Soviet Union each tried to prop up their allies during the Cold War.

The U.S. forgave huge debts owed by other nations in the interest of helping their post WWII economies recover. Yet nowadays, the U.S. is the one in debt, and we are still shelling out cash to foreign governments. And none of them are about to forgive debt when it's in their favor.

So on that note, I totally agree with you. The U.S. needs to stop spreading the wealth until its OWN debt is taken care of. The only exceptions should be cases where the foreign investment will assist in that goal.

Lobbyists are the major reason that doesn't happen. Consider the support we send to Israel each year. We get nothing back from that, other than the gratitude of her Arab neighbors (note sarcasm). Yet there is a huge Jewish lobby in the U.S., so the aid continues. I really hope the Palestinians and Israel are able to form some kind of peace agreement. Not only would it be good for the people there, but it would allow the U.S. to gradually bow out, reduce foreign spending, and most of all, stop pissing people off by intruding in their affairs.

SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

Intruding... (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:37:25 AM EST

The US, and it's role in the UN, *really* pisses me off. The US pulls out its "World Policeman" hat only when convenient. See the US in East Timor? Hell no. Like East Timor has anything to offer the US like Kuwait does...

[ Parent ]
we know better (3.50 / 2) (#195)
by SEAL on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:05:20 PM EST

Before I start, let me say that I agree in an ideal world, the U.N. members would share responsibility equally, and respond to problems regardless of their economic value. Sadly, that's not going to happen.

The reality is that many of the U.N. members are content to sit back and let the U.S. extend its military, strain its budget, and become hated by the rest of the world. I'm sometimes at a loss why we even try.

Nevertheless, time and time again, the U.S. has been slapped in the face when trying to run a humanitarian mission. Kuwait was a success because the people there had MAJOR motivation to accept our help (their country was taken from them), and Kuwait has the financial strength to make a big difference. Somalia, however, was the bitter pill that caused the U.S. to back off from its humanitarian policy in the 90s. An indecisive U.N., combined with many press photos of Somalis cheering at American casualties really caused a lot of resentment amongst U.S. citizens. Many of us said - fuck em - let those stupid people starve... ungrateful bastards.

So what happens when you take other situations like East Timor, or Rwanda? They'll cost American lives to temporarily intervene in a war which will continue once we leave. U.S. citizens want nothing to do with it. I don't like seeing thousands of innocent people dying. But I'd be foolish to believe that my nation's military can permanently change the attitudes of a foreign people. Changes like that have to happen internally.

Best regards,

SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

How about... (none / 0) (#299)
by Bakunin on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 11:06:26 AM EST

Not giving the invader an "OK, we won't stop you" as the US gave Indonesia. Not giving military support to Indonesia might also have saved a few lives in East Timor.

East Timor IS rich in natural resources, like Kuwait. However, Indonesia is already a US ally, so the interests of US were not threatend by Indonesia invading East Timor and starting the genocide.

[ Parent ]

Kuwait? Don't you mean oil? (none / 0) (#348)
by orthox on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 07:45:54 PM EST

Hmmm, let me see here, how would a brutal dictator, needing money to finance operations to build and stockpile chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, who had managed to gain control of over 20% of the worlds oil supply be important to the US? I can't quite figure out that one.

(In the corporate world if one person holds around 30% of the shares of a large company, they generally have effective control over the whole company. Unless of course someone else has more, but ownership of shares is generally spread out over a relatively large group of people so each person's percentage is rather low.)

Make any more sense now? (ps- oil was not the primary reason)

[ Parent ]

Regarding Weapons (2.00 / 1) (#175)
by Agripa on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 12:46:16 PM EST

What I am going to say here actually has more to do with American society then gun control.

Regarding gun control: A developed country with such an incredible murder rate, one would think, would be better off without such an easy way of killing others.

The use of knives and clubs to commit murder here is proportionally as high as the rate involving firearms. If it were only a problem with firearms, would this be the case? Or does the availability of firearms somehow influence the use of other weapons. The crime rate is also very dependent on location and the differences between rural and urban areas.

I believe that the problem has more to do with drugs than anything else.



[ Parent ]
Australian GC (4.00 / 1) (#219)
by NaCh0 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 11:05:06 PM EST

"This may not be practical, given that such a large number of guns already exist, but surely steps should be taken to disarm the general population."

Lets look at how well this worked in Australia. Your country enacted strict gun control laws in 1996 which included firearm confiscation from private citizens. Then the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that violent crimes had risen between '97 and '98.

The ABS data for 1999 shows violent crime is still on the rise.

  • Assaults up 2.1 percent
  • Kidnapings/Abductions up 8.2 percent
  • Murders up 20 percent

While you may live in a relatively safe country town, people who live around criminals need a way to protect themselves. I am a strong believer in the US Second Amendment and the last thing I want to do is shoot anyone. At the same time, I refuse to be a defenseless victim.

Blaming inanimate objects for the actions of criminals makes absolutely no sense.
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

English GC (none / 0) (#346)
by orthox on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 07:34:59 PM EST

Something similar happened in Great Britan when they banned the sale and ownership of handguns in 1997. A crime wave took off around the same time. To quote The Guardian(Sept 2000) in London "between 1997 and 1999 there were 429 murders in the capital, the highest two-year figure for more than 10 years"
Guess what, two-thirds of te crimes involved firearms.

Here are some stats for GB during 1998-1999:
Assault: up 16 percent
Sexual Offences: up 4.5 percent
Robbery: up 26 percent
(Source: British Home Office, July 2000 report)

"Britan's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary now exceed those in the United States" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Sunday, Oct. 8, 1000)

The problem is that guns exist, and probably will for a long time. By banning guns, you take them away from those who obey the law(who generally would be using them for self defence or recreation), not the criminals (who generally don't much care about the law).

[ Parent ]

Another Canadian Perspective (3.57 / 7) (#153)
by 0xA on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:32:46 AM EST

I have a lot of trouble reconciling the 2 "sides" of the US I am regularly exposed to.

I'm a Canadian and I work for a company that merged not to long ago with another company in Seattle. I have found that often (not always but often) when dealing with people from our Seattle office that I am struck that these people are different. I can't really put my finger on it what it is exactly, I think its' probably just mannerisms or the way they approach discussions. I'm not trying to say that I don't like them or anything, they are a very friendly group of people, I'm just surprised at how the little differences stick out.

The second side of the US I see is the media, we get a lot of TV from Washington state and there's always movies other things as well. The "Americans" portrayed in the media are very hard to reconcile with the people I know personally. These media images often confuse and frighten me, I can help but think how weird this stuff really is.

Let me give you a few generalized examples:

Politics are weird in the States. We can take the whole Clinton / Lewinsky thing for an example. I doubt that in much of the world anyone would have cared if their elected leader decided to get a little on the side, its' none of my business. If he chooses to lie about it I don't blame him, I'd probably lie my ass off if CNN started asking me about my sex life.

I also saw this thing on CNN a couple of nights ago that was talking about GWB and his "social style". It was a bunch of drivel about how he doesn't like to show up late for parties and how he has a different approach that most political people to social events. Why is this news?

Oh man, the lawsuit thing, what the hell is that all about? It seems like every damn thing has to have lawyers involved. Never mind the silly awards for dumping coffee in your lap, there's lawyer TV shows and lawyer movies and more TV shows. Ack! Who wants to watch TV shows about lawyers 24x7?

I guess this post is a bit rantish, but try and think about it like this: Why do you think there is such a disparity between the media images exported by the US and the actual citizens. I find that Canadian and British media both are more representative of the people I interact with. I think that much of the world's general perception of Americans comes from these sources so I'm not surprised about the way y'all are perceived.


Don't name that company! (2.50 / 2) (#201)
by elenchos on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 02:01:00 AM EST

A few questions about these "different" people that you have fallen in with, from "Seattle" as you call it:

  • This "way they approach discussions," as you put it, does it include a negative reaction towards what they refer to as "naked PC's?"

  • When they "go to the bathroom," do they really, you know, go, or do they just try to make it look like they do?

  • These "mannerisms", do they include a subservient attitude towards an awkward, bed-headded one, who when seated, constantly rocks forward and back while holding his hands between his knees? Rocking, rocking, always this rocking, back and forth, it never stops does it? And everyone pretends they don't notice, don't they?

  • Do they ever say things like, "Where do you want to go today?" or "Resistance is futile?"

    If any of this sounds like these "friendly" (a bit too friendly, am I wrong?) people from "Seattle," DON'T PANIC!

    Just act natural.

    Someone will contact you soon.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

  • Another American Perspective (none / 0) (#234)
    by erotus on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 03:08:14 AM EST

    "...when dealing with people from our Seattle office that I am struck that these people are different."

    Can you please elaborate on the differences. I am truly interested in your observations. What do they do differently than Canadians?

    "We can take the whole Clinton / Lewinsky thing for an example. I doubt that in much of the world anyone would have cared if their elected leader decided to get a little on the side..."

    That's because most Americans are shoved up their own ass when it comes to morality! Interestingly enough, we are a bit hypocritical too. George Bush has a criminal record - DUI, AWOL from the National Guard, and others, but these didnt happen while he was in office. So I guess that makes him ok because he talks like a "good ole boy" and mentions 'prayer' and 'god' in his speeches.

    "the disparity between the media images exported by the US and the actual citizens... I find that Canadian and British media both are more representative of the people I interact with. I think that much of the world's general perception of Americans comes from these sources so I'm not surprised about the way y'all are perceived."

    Yes, I do agree. Media sensationalism is paramount for the making of a good story. Pick the most ludicrous, down-trodden, homely, white trash person and stick them on the news and you've got a story! Put that same person on Jerry Springer and you've got entertainment! The broadcasters know this is the stuff that makes money. I generally prefer BBC or ITN because I get to see just news. The local news leaves a lot to be desired. If Jerry Springer guests, school shootings, etc... are what others see of the US, then I'm not surprised that they think we're kooky.

    Btw, I'm American and I've visited Canada many times. I generally find Canadians to be friendly and I find Canada to be an exceptional country! I can't wait to come back for a visit. Vancouver was beautiful and Montreal was great when I visited. The diversity of people in Montreal was quite a pleasant surprise. I could find a restaurant for every ethnicity known to man there. The night life was great as well. Canadian politics are also interesting for me however, Mr. Stockwell Day reminds me of Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan. He seems like a pompous religious asshole to me and I'm glad he's not your prime minister. Anyhow, I may be back in your country in a few months. Take care.

    [ Parent ]
    It's the little differences... (3.90 / 11) (#159)
    by fluffy on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:52:14 AM EST

    America is a lot like here, but there are one or two litte differences...

    For example, in a cinema, you can't get a beer. You can't just walk into a cinema, get a beer and watch the film. And you know what? They don't call cinemas `cinemas' there - they call them `movie theatres'. And they don't call films `films' either - they call them `movies'.

    Like I say, it's the little differences. You know what they call a Royale burger over there? A `quarter pounder with cheese'! And they don't even put mayonnaise on them! And you can't get chips with your Royale neither - they call them `french fries'.

    And did you know that the police over there are allowed to stop you and search you? And that it's illegal to have even small amounts of marijuana? Seriously! The police there can just stop you, frisk you and arrest you just for having a small pot stash for your own personal use.

    (Apologies to Tarantino, Jackson, Travolta et al)

    my opinion (3.66 / 6) (#164)
    by yavor on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:46:22 AM EST

    First of all I must state that you can't say that all people from one country one possess some exact property. One can only judge that there are lots of people (possibly the majority) that tend to possess it. This is especially true for a country like the United States, because it's mixture of people from all around the world, this happened soon and people continue to migrate.
    I do respect many of the Americans, I highly respect the US too
    ( despite I think that the US is *far* from perfect and there are lots of things that must be changed)
    Second I have never been able to study Americans close, because I have only met few for minutes and even didn't have time to speak with them. My sources of information are: the media, a few people who I know close and who have lived in the US, (most of them still do) and of course the Internet.

    Here are my conclusions:
    1. I must say that lots of Americans I have had contacts with (via mail, descutions (like this one), irc) are very friendly. Some of them are even very humble. Example:
    The best programmers and Unix experts I have contacted don't have over-inflated ego. They didn't consider themselves as "simply the best". The more one learns the better he sees the problems - the problem of this world, the problems in his area of interest(programming). There are things one must fight.

    2. The more narrow-minded is one the easier is it for him to live in a world spinning around his ago Yes I think that lots of Americans do have over-inflated ego. But there are lots of people in my country that do too.(I live in eastern Europe) The most important question is: why lots of people thing of themselves as "superior", "better by nature", or simply "the best"? And why there are lots of such people in the US?. I think that there are lots of reasons and the most important are: 2.1 Such people usually have more power that the rest. There are a lot kinds of power: some kind of control over others, money, ... . If you have read the first chapter of Information Liberation you know what I mean. Well the US is maybe the most powerful country. This helps people build their ego. It is common for people in the capitals for example to have inflated ego too. However I don't think that this is the most important factor.

    2.2 Mass media, politic, education. People narrow-minded people with inflated ego can be easily controlled - in the same way in which new PC users are easier to deceive that "this system is so much better" than experienced coder or admin.I think that education plays very important role in this - from what I know for the US education system I think that you spend too much time studying US and too little the rest of the world. When something is part the US - it's usually(if not always) better. The media and the education system are in close contact with the corporations and the politics. Politics *lie* more or less- they always did and they will always do! The ego blinds people. If you watch the world through your ego you will be blind - you will not see the real world. -Yavor

    I think.. (4.16 / 12) (#184)
    by Rainy on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:20:16 PM EST

    I think the only problem is that US is the richest. All nations hate local dominant leaders - Korea dislikes Russia, Nepal dislikes India, India in its turn dislikes US, and so on. Imagine having a neighbour who's better looking than you, makes twice more money, has a cuter wife, smarter kids and so on. When you compare two country, wealth and technological prowess takes place of all these things combined - and it's only natural (if not logical/fair) that other countries feel this way. I was born in russia and when I lived there (I moved to US), general feeling is a mix of admiration with jealousy - and in russia it's perhaps stronger than anywhere, with cold war being lost and all. It's everywhere and it's very hard to notice unless you move away from the country - i.e. in textbooks russian scientists' discoveries are highlighted, getting out into the space first is considered a big deal while getting to the moon is discarded.. (in particular, I remember one space engineer remarking that US *had* to get to
    the moon first because they were second to the orbit, and if US was first to the orbit, russia would be first to the moon). It sounds funny now, but then it made sense. Heh. Anyway, US doesn't really have anyone to look up to so it's sort of unique in the world. That's why news focus on internal affairs and so on.. Now, I'm not saying that US doesn't have it's quirks - I'm just saying that everyone does, but only US quirks are in the biggest spotlight of all. People are pretty much the same everywhere, though.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    oh yeah.. (3.33 / 3) (#185)
    by Rainy on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:23:57 PM EST

    Here's one more example: back when GB were the richest, europeans felt the same way toward it. I read it in some book of that period, don't recall its name though.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    We Brits love Americans (3.60 / 5) (#186)
    by mattbee on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:39:56 PM EST

    That's why some nice chap has written a helpful guide for Americans visiting Britain; it'll help you get to grips with all our local customs and strange language. Maybe somebody ought to send it to George Dubya and see if he thinks it's credible. Then again, given that he already rivals Prince Philip's reputation for international diplomacy, maybe he won't need it :-) .

    Correction (none / 0) (#196)
    by mattbee on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:53:30 PM EST

    That's why some nice chap has written a helpful guide

    Errr... my mistake. She seems to be a woman.

    [ Parent ]
    My comments.. (2.80 / 5) (#187)
    by henrik on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:40:24 PM EST

    i'm a native swede, but has lived in the US for a while.. (back in Sweden now tho)

    What i think annoys most non-USians when meeting USians is their subconcious conviction that the US is the greatest nation that 1) has ever been 2) is and 3) will ever be. While you cant really dispute #2 (in terms of political/military/cultural influence). No, it's the other two that get annoying.

    The assumption that the US is the greatest in both past and future tense is so infuriating because most other nations have experienced ups and downs, both periods where they have been dominating the region and times where they have bowed to another ruler. The US is so young (we Swedes fought our last war while the US founders where still walking on the earth - most swedes are fairly proud over how civilized we are) it hasnt yet seen both sides of the coin. I'm just waiting for some dictator to blow up washington and stage an invation on US soil, if nothing else, to take the smirk of the faces of USians when talking about how great they are. The fact is that every great empire has an expiration date, something that most USians never give think about. You too will fall one day.

    BTW #1. Never liked the expression "Americans", there are plenty of americans that arn't USians.

    BTW #2. No, i dont seriously think that someone acctually should wage war upon the US just to change their facial expression. (And on top of that, they wouldnt succeed. :)

    -henrik

    Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

    "It's all relative" (4.07 / 13) (#188)
    by tchaika on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:08:37 PM EST

    It's important to know that you cannot generalize about what all non-Americans think of the USA, because everyone's view is heavily colored by their culture of origin. Here comes a very badly abbreviated sociology lesson (please don't take these stereotypes personally).

    Example (yes these are a severe paraphrasing/crude generalisation/oversimplification):

    Japanese people think Americans are: brash, rude, prone to excess, flashy, too prone to talk about very personal subjects, and very intense.

    Brazilian people think Americans are: a bunch of conservative, staid, puritanical buttoned-down squares.

    Some things that are broadly true of american culture:

    1. A perception of having an egalatarian society where everyone has the same rights and no-one is better or worse than anyone else, and everyone's pretty much down-to-earth. The truth: Americans are generally "high context" - they place far greater importance on material signs of social status than they would like to admit (or realize). The 'class system' is much stronger than in the UK for example but it is generally not recognized. Also, the culture is generally very competitive. People are more likely to step on you to get to the top here than in other cultures.

    Anecdotal evidence: American predilection for movies and stories with a "rags to riches" type plot. The terrible stigma you get in many areas from driving a 10 year old car, or similar. Very common overt displays of material wealth and status pretty much everywhere you go.

    2. Deeply held beliefs in the USA as 'the greatest country in the world'.

    3. Believe it or not - Americans are more bureaucratic and 'by the book' than the Brits. Brits generally have far less respect for authority and rules than Americans, although most Americans would like to think of themselves as individualistic and in control of their own destiny - however they submit to authority a lot more easily than they realise.

    4. Relatively strong emphasis on academic qualifications over experience. (Ever wonder why so many people collect those near useless MBAs?)

    5. A very strong and diverse culture and economy.

    One incident that sticks in my mind... (3.87 / 8) (#193)
    by Tatarigami on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 06:18:07 PM EST

    Is a bus trip I was making home from work one evening last year. At one stop a middle-aged couple climbed into the bus stairwell to interrogate the driver about "the dang bus to [unpronouncable town]."

    "Heck, we been waiting --"
    "-- we've been WAITING --"
    "-- for over an hour now!"
    "-- over an HOUR!"


    I turned to the (American) friend I was sharing my seat to invite a comment. She shook her head sadly and muttered something uncomplimentary about Texans.

    :o)

    The way I see Americans? Well, I have nothing bad to say about you. I can honestly say I've never met an American I disliked. One thing I have an issue with is how the Americans I deal with through work tend to assume American standards hold true anywhere in the world. A security log from the US is usually in Pacific or Eastern time instead of GMT.

    I once got a sarcastic email from a 13 year-old advising me I should have spell-checked my homepage before posting it, because there's no 'u' in 'colour'.

    And because I work in a tech support/customer service role, I occasionally get people threatening to sue me because they're not happy with the way I've handled their case. Fortunately, under New Zealand law, pretty much the only reason you can sue an individual (as opposed to an incorporated organisation) is to recover money you're owed. I tell them if they want to try suing a citizen of a sovereign nation with strong legal protection for individuals and harsh penalties for frivolous lawsuits, they can go ahead.

    :o)



    Some experiences... (4.46 / 13) (#194)
    by Drongo14 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 06:52:35 PM EST

    I'm Dutch (no, that's not my name).

    I used to have an American girlfriend (for two years) and I'm working for an American company right now.

    From these experiences I've been to four major locations in the US, and they are startlingly different, so it's hard to make a statement regarding 'Americans'. Even in my tiny 200x120 mile sized country there are large cultural differences between north and south and east and west, so I'm not surprised about this.

    My initial vision on the US was fairly neutral; I humourously shoved aside the 'It's the greatest country in the world' remarks, and coming from a fairly socialist background, looked at the US as too much a money-driven society to be seen as a Good Thing.

    When I met my girlfriend I actually visited the US a number of times. My first visit was a three-week stay in New York.

    This city impressed, charmed and scared the hell out of me. It made me do Things. It made me feel the need to be Succesful. It made me want to bare my teeth and Compete. Everyone in New York is somehow involved in something, however small it is, and everyone is proud of what they're doing. New York is falling apart, and it's being repaired/stiched up while it's going along without noticing. If for some reason (concrete termites?) there's no building left on the island of Manhattan I doubt anyone will notice because everyone is too busy doing their thing there. New York is self-centered and a world of its own, it's egotistical and social, and, as Frankie sings, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere". I think I'm in love with New York. She's a diffucult lady, but once you get to know her, she's the best.

    Later on, I met the in-laws in Montana. Being from the north of Holland I felt an immediate connection. People here are much more calm and social. People seem to depend more on each other too. However, this was also the first time I had to face the barrel of a gun pointed at me. The guy who did did the pointing only wanted me off of his premises (I walked in rather drunk and asked to use the phone), but still...

    Moving up further in Montana I met more in-laws along the highline. This was an amazing community of die-hard farmers, society droputs and other people who got stranded there, with a lot of pain toward 'American Society', yet living inside of it, as though they had created a bubble of social tissue to protect them against the general population of the US. It's a fairly rough life along the Canadian border, but these people had a sense of community that was stronger than anything I had seen before.

    I broke up with my girlfriend two years ago. She wanted to move back to the US, and I didn't want to go with her. The US was too strange.

    However, the Dutch company I was working for at the time (Translogic Corp) opened an office in Silicon Valley, and I had to provide support for our software for the Bay Area. After a few weeks of doing 9am (Dutch start working) till 2am (West Coast stops working) days I basically caved in and told management it would be better if I were situated in California for a few weeks. The Dutch have a little more patience so they would probably tolerate this better than the other way around. So I was put in a motel in Sunnyvale.

    Northern California was a Big Disappointment. Sorry to say, but except for San Francisco it looks to me like a big strip mall. It has the same sense of purpose as New York, but somehow doesn't know how to wear it. It probably has to do with the fact that all this activity feels very out-of-place in an area where you'd normally smoke a 'green ciggy' in your back porch and enjoy the sun, instead of working your ass off in somne air-conditioned building.

    Having worked for relatively small companies I found the cubicles very, very strange. It seemed as though nobody was there. In Holland, we do try to make sure that everyoone can concentrate on their work, but to isolate everyone from another seems like destroying this thing we have in Holland called 'snel overleg'. It has to do with informal, open contacts that one can engage in without much effort. In my mind, in these cubicled enivronments it's hard to have a quick Q&A with someone because the cubicle is so private and you actually have to 'invade' one to talk to its inhabitant. Now I know that this is just a social thing because I'm not used to it, but it does feel strange and very Dilbert-like.

    One thing I'm curious about: my ex told me about three years ago as a lie/damned/lie/statistic was that only 2% of all Americans ever leave the US. Is that true? More than 60% of all people in Europe leave their country during the holidays at least once in their life. What's the count here at Kuro5hin?

    strip malls (2.00 / 1) (#209)
    by aphrael on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:11:09 PM EST

    but except for San Francisco it looks to me like a big strip mall

    You're in the valley, right? It *is* a big strip mall. San Francisco isn't, and Berkeley isn't, and San Rafael (north of SF isn't) isn't, and Santa Cruz isn't. But Silicon Valley *is*.

    If you're going to be around for a while, you should try to get a place in SF or Santa Cruz ...

    [ Parent ]

    You bring up a good point. (3.00 / 1) (#214)
    by CyberQuog on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:54:37 PM EST

    Btw, I'm American (livin in the good ol intoxicated and toxic state of NJ). Anyway, I would say that America has so many different personalities it's hard to generalize anything. If you go to NY it's one experience SF another, Colorado another. Comming from the city (i'm 2 miles away from NY), I feel like a complete stranger in my own country when I visited Tennesee or Idaho. The cultures are so different and the attitudes of the people so different. Anyway, just my 2 cents.


    -...-
    [ Parent ]
    Lyricism (none / 0) (#224)
    by Aidan_Kehoe on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 04:58:25 PM EST

    This city impressed, charmed and scared the hell out of me. It made me do Things. It made me feel the need to be Succesful. It made me want to bare my teeth and Compete. Everyone in New York is somehow involved in something, however small it is, and everyone is proud of what they're doing. New York is falling apart, and it's being repaired/stiched up while it's going along without noticing. If for some reason (concrete termites?) there's no building left on the island of Manhattan I doubt anyone will notice because everyone is too busy doing their thing there. New York is self-centered and a world of its own, it's egotistical and social, and, as Frankie sings, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere". I think I'm in love with New York. She's a diffucult lady, but once you get to know her, she's the best.

    Sheet, you should write poetry. And you're Dutch ? I know the cliché is that everyone is excellent at languages, but ...

    --
    There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)
    [ Parent ]

    yeah, language (none / 0) (#225)
    by bort13 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 05:18:00 PM EST

    All dutch speak flawless English...

    Just kidding</typical american comment>. However, I do remember a Dutch guy I met taking one of those internet IQ tests with me. His score was two points short of mine, and I couldn't help thinking how well I would have done on an exam in Dutch. When I was in Amsterdam, it was as if everyone spoke English, but that was Queen's Day (sp?) in an urban area.

    A saying I employ: "If you know many languages, you're multilingual. If you know two languages, you're bilingual. If you know one language, you're American." (origin unk.)

    Of course, if you say that to a South American, they might get pissed off at you even using the term "American"; Using that word, my countrymen thus usurp the name of both the Western Hemisphere continents. Argentinians are Americans, too. So are Canadians...

    <flamewar>etc etc etc

    R

    [ Parent ]

    Yankee Doodle (4.00 / 1) (#230)
    by aphrael on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 08:54:14 PM EST

    Of course, if you say that to a South American, they might get pissed off at you even using the term "American"; Using that word, my countrymen thus usurp the name of both the Western Hemisphere continents

    The problem is that there is no good word in English to describe citizens of the United States. "American" is overbroad; "United Statesian" sounds stupid; and appropriating the most common word used by the rest of the world to describe us --- "Yank" or "Yankee" --- has unfortunate political implications.

    Maybe the government should commission some marketing firm to develop a new word and promote its use?

    [ Parent ]

    Leaving the country (none / 0) (#340)
    by tympanic on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:05:51 PM EST

    Personally, I have spent time in a few other countries, including 6 years living in the Philippines. I have found that most of the people I know in the U.S. have not left the country. In fact, most of my high school friends had never been out of the state. Too hard for me to comprehend.

    The U.S. is kind of strange that way. It is so big that driving cross-country is like visiting 6 or 7 (possibly more) different countries. The northeast is different from the South, which is different from the midwest, or the plains, or the west coast. Florida and Texas may as well be their own countries, not to mention Alaska and Hawaii.


    "I've noticed success tends to mean making sure people's expectations are low and then exceeding them" -David Simpson
    [ Parent ]

    In Australia (2.50 / 6) (#198)
    by renai42 on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:10:28 PM EST

    I'm Australian, which I would consider to be one of the most congenial lands on earth. Australia's population is made up of migrants from every nationality on earth, and perhaps can be considered to a good extent more multicultural than most other countries.

    So my everyday reaction to Americans? I laugh at them!

    To me, and I gather to a lot of other Australians, the United States is considered a laughing matter. We laugh at your elections (you couldn't decide upon a president). We laugh at your funny sports (just what IS gridiron anyway?). We laugh at your silly sit-coms that our media moguls continue exporting to Australia.

    It all boils down to this: there is a concurrent attitude through Australia's history that we don't take ourselves seriously. We laugh at everything we do, and that's the way our forefathers managed to carve a living from this land. If you can't laugh at your mistakes, you would often end up dead.

    Americans seem to take their lives and themselves very seriously. I honestly believe that many Americans think that they are the center of the universe.

    My take is: lighten up, start laughing at yourself, and realise that the rest of the world is important too.

    Laughter (none / 0) (#208)
    by aphrael on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:08:02 PM EST

    there is a concurrent attitude through Australia's history that we don't take ourselves seriously. We laugh at everything we do

    I've gotten this sense from some canadians, too; it's one of the things that I love about both cultures. Yankees (as latin americans call *all* US residents) are generally bad at it --- I don't understand quite why; it seems like it's a more healthy way to look at the world. If you have faith in yourself, then whatever it is you aren't laughing at *can't possibly matter*, right?

    [ Parent ]

    Ironic (none / 0) (#236)
    by palou on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 04:20:09 AM EST

    An Australian laughing at how anybody else elects presidents is really ironic. How are YOUR elections coming these days?

    [ Parent ]
    Anecdotes. (2.77 / 9) (#202)
    by RangerElf on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 02:59:34 AM EST

    Well, my opinion of USians (hell, I'm an American too, but a Mexican native) can be resumed in a few anecdotes, and the way USians behaved in them:

    • When my father was studying his Ph.D. at Wash. State U. in Pullman, Wa., a friend of ours from Japan (Toyoshi Seko, hi!) was chatting with my father about returning to Japan because he finished his studies, a USian aquaintance listening asked "Oh, you're returning to Japan? Are you driving?".
    • Me, my father and some aquaintances (Mexican all) were chatting in a cafeteria in Penn-state U., in spanish. A student who was sitting close by asked us "What language are you talking in?", "Spanish" we answered; "Oh, I thought it was German; where are you from?", "from Mexico", "ahh, where is that?".
    • Over at an archery tournament in Las Vegas, a kid came to us and asked us "Do you eat Mesquite in Mexico?".
    • "Where are you from?", "From Central America" (Nicaragua actually), "Oh! You're from Kansas?".

    So, the US-centric and English-centric world view many of you hold (not all, of course, exceptions that prove a rule and all that) is quite frustrating; "If english is good enough for me it's good enough for all", and that kind of stuff, really gets on people's nerves.

    But it's not all bad, I mean, there's millions of you people, so there's got to be some gems in there. I've met a few whom I'm honored to know.

    -elf



    Pocho (4.00 / 2) (#261)
    by theboz on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:18:51 PM EST

    I started to reply in Spanish but changed my mind so everyone else can read it.

    Anyways, I have been in both Mexico and the U.S. for long periods of time. I have especially moved a lot in the U.S. and have known many cities and states.

    I would say that the stereotypical person in the U.S. is equally accurate as the stereotype of Mexicans. Yes, there are some people that fit the stereotype and you will notice them clearly, but that does not mean the stereotype is the majority. I am sure you know what I mean, as there are people with very pale skin blue eyes and blonde hair in Mexico, and not everyone is short (presidente Fox is more or less 6'7" from what I heard.) There are different classes of people with different lifestyles, although there are more people in poverty in Mexico than the U.S.

    Anyways, my point is that you listed four examples of idiots that you have encountered in the U.S. There are many more people you have been in contact with than that, so the majority of people in the U.S. can not be idiots by that definition.

    It's ok, I know you have some resentment for the U.S. and from the comments you made in this message you seem to be a pocho (do not know the meaning in English) but that is ok to a certain point as well.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    Dear Europeans.... (4.58 / 12) (#204)
    by John_Booty on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:08:37 AM EST

    The main knock that Europeans have against Americans seems to be that we think we're the center of the universe. (Yes, yes, I'm American).

    I have to say... well, yeah, a lot of Americans do think that way. But it's sort of an unconscious decision, due to the nature of our country. We simply don't know any better.

    It's a huge country. I can travel three thousand miles away from home, and still be inside America. Think about it! In Europe, it's a different story. A three thousand-mile trip can take you through a half-dozen different countries.

    I really envy that! I can't imagine how cool it would be to hop on a train for a few hours and be in a different country. Here in America, must of us just don't have the wonderful traveling oppurtunities that you Europeans take for granted. The average American simply cannot afford to go see other countries outside of North America!

    No, that's no excuse for acting like we're the kings of the world. We're not the kings of the world, and ignorance is never a good excuse for one's actions. But you have to understand, it's a lot easier to understand other cultures when you can actually experience them... but when you're living in America, and you're not rich, it's really hard to do that.


    _______________________________________________________________
    Anime, game, and music reviews at www.bootyproject.org... by fans, for fans.
    Yeah, but you don't make the effort (3.50 / 2) (#215)
    by goonie on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 08:13:12 PM EST

    ...whereas Australians, who live in almost as big a country, and is much further from anywhere except South-East Asia and Polynesia, mostly do. It's not just the size of the country, it's the disinterest in seeing the rest of the world.

    [ Parent ]
    Size of the country (2.50 / 2) (#217)
    by B'Trey on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 09:35:52 PM EST

    I'll confess that I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to Australians (as well as Europeans). My impression is that while Australia might be fairly close to the US in physical size, it's not as culturaly large as the US. If you take a typical person from New York City, another from Los Angelos and a third from, say, New Orleans, you'll have three very different people culturally. I'd guess there's probably as much difference as there is between, say, an Englishman, an Irishman and a Australian. (If you feel this isn't accurate, feel free to say so but please tell me why.) Does Australia itself offer that much diversity?

    [ Parent ]
    Can't speak for Australia but for Germany (2.00 / 2) (#272)
    by uweber on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 08:29:49 PM EST

    Well I don't know about Australia but here in germany somebody from Hamburg (in the north ;-) and somebody from Munich (south) will be very different culturally. In Munich people are a lot deeper into traditions and such (like the special Bavarian dialect) whereas people from Hamburg are a lot more open to the World which is due to being the second largest port in Europe. For me, living in the southwest, however both act and feel rather differently people who are at college here and come from both cities had a hard time to addapt to our way of live. (however it should be noted that we are 80milliuon germans and if i remember corectly there are only three times as many USians)

    [ Parent ]
    I'm sure Australia has diversity >= USA has (none / 0) (#320)
    by galmeida on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:47:49 PM EST

    Hi, I have 3 things to say.

    - Regarding size of the country I must say, I live in Brazil. Brazil have almost the same geographical size USA has.
    Being so large and being "a country of immigrants" as said Remus Shepherd about USA. Brazil is culturaly large, people from Bahia (NE) have lots of cultural diferences from people from Sao Paulo (SE), the same is true for people from Rio de Janeiro (SE), Parana (South) and even when comparing people from the same city if the city is as culturaly large as Sao Paulo. I don't know Australia very well, but I have 8 relatives living in Autralia for more than 10 years, and I'm sure the same diversity can be found in Australia.

    - Why the hell USans call theyselves Americans? Americans are people who born in America and America IS NOT USA. USA is only a small part of America. Mexicans are Americans. Colombians, Canadians, Venezuelans, Cubans, Brazilians are americans, people from Suriname, from Guianas, from Peru, Chile, Uruguai, Nicaragua and many others are Americans too.

    - The Brazilian capital is not Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires is not in Brazil, it is in Argentina. Brazilian capital is Brasilia.

    I'm sory about my poor speeling english is my 4th language. I speek Portuguese, Deutsch and a little Spanish.

    [ Parent ]
    America vs USofA (none / 0) (#383)
    by B'Trey on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 08:02:00 PM EST

    I can't tell you why America is a synonym for the US of A but I can tell you that it's use has been in existence longer than the country has existed. Thomas Payne used it in "Common Sense", published in January of 1776, as you can clearly see here. The first line of the second paragraph says "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."

    [ Parent ]
    Education (4.50 / 4) (#205)
    by caine on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 10:26:52 AM EST

    If we set aside the "We're the greatest country on earth" idea, which holds fairly well on political/cultural influence and a lot less when it comes to how good people in the country really have, I think that the U.S biggest problem is the educational system. I should say here that I'm swedish and as such, as are all, rather biased. First of all, it seems rather limited in what it teaches. I've met (several) US. citizens that don't have a clue where any country except the US, Canada and perhaps Mexico is. I've also met several people that think everyone in Europa speaks french. And this was an average cut of the population, whom I've met on various places (IRC, Newsgroups, RL, and so on), not #dumb-us-citizens or something.

    Secondly I saw on 60 minutes that 86% of the college students have cheated on a test. That too is awful. One should really ponder why they cheat that much? (Because that's a lot higher than in most countries).

    And at last I think that the whole "pay for education" system is down right wrong, excluding many from higher studies and making higher studies a perk to show you're rich.

    In summary I think these things have a lot to do with the "ignorant and stupid people in the US" that's very common in Europe in general and Sweden particulary. Many swedes although they might find some particular US citizens nice and intelligent, think of the population of the US as stupid, uneducated and laughable.

    --

    The Ends Justify The Means (5.00 / 1) (#277)
    by reeses on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:09:40 PM EST

    (I'm an American, so I may have missed something based on my context and perspective. That said, now I can miss everything based on my context and perspective...)

    I saw on 60 minutes that 86% of the college students have cheated on a test. That too is awful. One should really ponder why they cheat that much? (Because that's a lot higher than in most countries).

    I'm going to be a pretentious dork and say that this is because most Americans see the final goal (in this case, a grade) and don't understand the point (that is, learning). How are they judged when applying to college or for a job? Typically, at least a large part of the decision is based on their GPA (and possibly standardized test scores). The pressure to obtain a high GPA is high.

    In addition, much of the popular legend in our culture has instructed us to ignore common morals when pursuing our own goals. There are many stories of entrepreneurs who mowed down obstacles in their paths through sheer force of will, neglecting people and laws to achieve success. These are often the heroes of our culture. In fact, when charged with their transgressions against law, common sentiment views the captain of industry as persecuted.

    As a result, a student will often decide that the moral impact of cheating on one particular test is so small as to be insignificant when considering what he sees to be the larger issue, that of obtaining a decent GPA. That's why we don't know that Andorra is a country, and not a character from an old sitcom.

    [ Parent ]

    GPA? (none / 0) (#297)
    by Bakunin on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:34:28 AM EST

    Not knowing a whole lot about your education system, I have no clue what a GPA is. Based on the context, it's not hard to make a guess, but it would still be nice of you to explain instead of taking for granted that everyone knows.

    <insert joke about self-centered americans here>

    [ Parent ]

    D'oh! (none / 0) (#309)
    by reeses on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:01:07 PM EST

    Short Answer: GPA == Grade Point Average == mean of grades received

    Long answer:

    In the US, we have the following educational segments:

    Elementary School (Kindergarten (age 5), then first through sixth grades). Children are not usually graded here.

    Junior High (seventh through ninth grades). Children are graded here, but only ninth grade applies for college admissions and other relevent statistics.

    High School (Tenth through Twelfth grades). Grades are also given, and calculated (together with grades received from ninth grade) to generate GPA for college admissions (among other things).

    There is some variation on the distribution of grade levels within segments, if the school system involves a middle school instead of a junior high school, but the general delineation applies.

    For graded classes, grades are assigned based on a four-point scale. 4.0 maps to 'A', 3.0 maps to 'B', 2.0 maps to 'C', 1.0 maps to 'D', and 0.0 maps to 'F' (for Failure). The higher the number (and the lower the alphabetical value), the better the grade. The mean of all of the numerical values received within a segment (either all of high school, or all of post-secondary (college or university)) is referred to as the GPA.

    Thanks for pointing out the assumption I was making. If I were speaking face-to-face with a person from another country, I would have explained all of this automatically.

    [ Parent ]

    "pay for education" system is RIGHT! (none / 0) (#376)
    by MalbaThaan on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 01:35:13 AM EST

    Here in Brazil, the best Universities are public, and there are 200:1 candidate/vacancy ratio to some careers like medicine. There are a public test called "vestibular" where the rich boys who afford good basic education schools often beats everybody else. The irony is that the poor boy have to pay the university because he can't pass the tests with the bad teaching of the public basic educational system, and the teaching is low quality because government spends huge money with public universities...

    To me the EUA system is right: spend government money in basic education.

    [ Parent ]

    Why choose? (none / 0) (#382)
    by caine on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 06:51:07 PM EST

    Here in Sweden, all education, from basic to university is paid for. In fact, as long as you manage to pass your tests you actually get paid for it too. (Not so much that you can live on it, you have to take student loans, but still it's nice). I think education should be open and free for everyone, basic as well as higher.

    --

    [ Parent ]

    'merkins (4.50 / 4) (#211)
    by arcterex on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 04:39:35 PM EST

    Greetings from Canada!

    As far as americans go, I don't recall meeting one that I disliked. I've been to the states many times, on business trips, day trips, etc, and except for doing normal stupid things, no american sticks out as being overly patriotic, stupid, or anything other than, "normal" (to me, but then again, I consider you guys just another province of Canada! :).

    However, the *stereotype* of americans I dislike. Overly patriotic, "we're the best, everyone else sucks" attitude, and having to throw their dicks on the table at every opportunity are the types of things that either the press or hollywood seem to express as being "typical" americanisms.

    I live in a wired world. I think we all do. A lot of us live more online than offline, and because of that I think a lot of the borders have been broken down simply due to the fact that when I email someone I don't know (or care) if they are in the US, mexico, the UK, or some random tiny country in africa or europe. My mail goes to them just the same as it does to my boss down the hall. I've contributed to projects lead by americans, mexicans, and brits. Does it matter? No. Did I know at the time? Not really.

    In my opinion if you are going to have a problem with someone have the problem with that person, NOT with their country, race, gender, skin color, or length of hair. That's called "racism" ladies and germs, and that's bad :)

    So if you're going to hate an american, hate them as a person, not an american! (feel free to substitute your country of choice for "american" of course).



    uhhhhh (4.50 / 2) (#212)
    by vsync on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 04:57:19 PM EST

    In my opinion if you are going to have a problem with someone have the problem with that person, NOT with their country, race, gender, skin color, or length of hair. That's called "racism" ladies and germs, and that's bad :)
    (emphasis mine)

    No it's not.

    --
    "The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
    [ Parent ]

    maybe (none / 0) (#369)
    by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 06:48:31 AM EST

    I tihnk the best way to view US citizens is through US comedy shows. Most of the times these ridicule US society, and are made by bright people with incredible insight. Even shows as simple as "The Simpsons" can show you a lot about how the makers of the show think about their fellow countrymen.

    [ Parent ]
    I love Americans (3.33 / 3) (#216)
    by Dacta on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 09:02:25 PM EST

    I'm from Australia, and I really like most Americans I've met. Generally, they are outgoing, likeable and friendly.

    Sometimes, though, a whole country full of them gets to be a little much, though.



    a perspective - american "world news" (4.23 / 13) (#220)
    by semis on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 03:17:56 AM EST

    Most Americans I have met are very friendly, nice, generous people.

    However, when you get a bunch of them together (ie: a nation), I must admit I quite dislike the attitudes and opinions that seem to surface.

    When I watch "World News" on our Australian news service, we see stories and articles from right around the globe. Most of the articles and stories discuss issues that have little to do with Australia - or America for that matter.

    Sometimes I tune into NBC at 3am when it is rebroadcast in Australia. No wonder Americans think of themselves as the center of the world! Not one news article strays from discussing the United States, not one single foreign conflict can seem do be discussed without mention of America and how it is going to be affected, or what the U.S. is going to do.

    Any talk about China seems to be incredibly hostile - with any correspondance related to the military being about some chinese missile going off course and killing thousands of civilians.

    Now, while there is no blatant distortion of the truth with what is reported - American news seems to be particularly picked and filtered to ensure that it

    a) always discusses the United States
    b) views competing countries (ie: China) in the worst possible light
    c) never ceases to drill the point that America is the best country on Earth

    Now, I don't expect any citizens of the United States to believe any of what I just said. My opinion is purely based on observation and comparison - a perspective that can only be made from looking in - not out.

    However, I think the media in the U.S. unwittingly subjects the people of America to propaganda in the form of ignorance. When I meet people from the States, and the topic of foreign politics is brought up - the same lack of general world knowledge is constantly come across.

    If you gave me a piece of paper, I could draw a map of the world and draw in most of the nations, capitals, and discuss to you the cultures and politics of each area. Most Americans can't even draw a map of my country, let alone pinpoint any cities.

    Most confuse the place I live (Tasmania) with Tanzanea (sp?) - or ask if we have "them Tassie Devils like on the cartoons". Those that haven't visited Australia ask me if we have kangaroos jumping down our streets, or if I ride one to school.

    (In fact, as an aside, my State Government had to purchase a license to use the cartoon figure of the Tassie devil for advertising purposes - something that I find completely absurd, considering that my state is the _only_ place in the world where the Tasmanian devil lives!)

    It is this kind of ingorance that infruriates me - and I blame it directly on the media of the U.S. - it breeds a lack of understanding about the rest of the world, and in my opinion, this is a bad thing(tm).

    For this reason, I can't deny that I dislike the United States. But don't mistake that opinion for Americans - when in groups of less than - say - millions, I quite like you guys.

    As an American... (3.00 / 2) (#226)
    by Redeemed on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 06:38:19 PM EST

    I don't think I'd argue with you that American media does tend to talk about America. My question for you, though, is why that's really a bad thing?

    One thing I've noticed around here is that globalism is really the One True Way. I don't quite understand why that is. Sure, the world is shrinking with the mass communication that is now available, and there's no reason for us to be ignorant of the world around us. At the same time, however, I don't quite understand why it's necessary for me, as an American who isn't affected at all by the political climate in Chad, to be well-versed in what's going on there politically.

    Personally, I'm very interested in the politics around the world, and I try to read up on them, and I have the resources to do so besides the evening news. However, the average American may well want to simply live his life by dealing with things which directly affect him. What's wrong with living a life, say, on a farm, and worrying about the weather and how it will affect your crops, but not worrying about the South African elections?

    Basically, I don't understand why I have to think globally. If I want to live a simple life, and if I choose to live in ignorance of the world around me, except for what directly affects me (which is what most of the media around here gives, as you've said), why is that something that should infuriate you? Its an awfully big weight to put on many people's shoulders to tell them they're required to tune into the whole world, when they're content living their lives in the context of their hometown.

    [ Parent ]

    Globalism (none / 0) (#247)
    by pkej on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:27:48 AM EST

    I do agree with you to a certain extent. I'm for keeping things small and local, why on earth do we need a Ford, GE or IBM? Large corporations which doesn't care about things close to their employers local environment, but just on their global bottom line?

    But I do care about what happens in say Africa, I don't care for people suffering, even if it isn't me doing the suffering. There is a great Norwegian poem "You must not sleep" which sums it up:

    You must not sleep
    You must not sit safe in your own house,
    and say: It is a shame, poor those,
    You must not abide so well,
    the unfairness which doesn't strike your self.
    I shout with the last breath of my voice:
    You don't have the right to walk and forget!

    Arnulf Øverland, You must not sleep, 1937

    (My own poor translation, I couldn't find it on the web.) The first line ends in home in the original.

    When enough people look away and don't care, human suffering will be a continous state with no hope of getting better. The only times (afaik) in modern history where things have getten better for most people have been after radical changes in the society, brought about by a large number of people not satisfied with their lives.



    [ Parent ]

    Worry about other countries - (2.66 / 3) (#315)
    by jwallwebcaster on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:03:46 PM EST

    What I have always found amazing, is that I always here people saying Americans (USans??) need to butt out, and not get involved in things that aren't there business, while out of the other side of their moths complaining that Americans don't care enough about what happens in other countries.

    My personal worries - My Family, Myself, making money, and then maybe worring about my country (although I could care less about my country and it's politics as long as the taxes are low). I don't really care if someone has a bad opinion of me or my country. Lost of people hate Bill Gates, and I am sure he cries about it all the way to the bank (not!). Someone down the street starves, well, they should get a job. Sounds cruel, but at least I am honest about it.

    [ Parent ]
    You're right (none / 0) (#393)
    by pkej on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 04:50:37 AM EST

    The world expects America not to interfer, yet they want them to interfere. I agree totally.

    But when USA interfers it is only to protect its supply of oil or something similar. When we want the US to interfere, by paying their debts to UN or to let poor countries debts be nulled, you balk.

    The world is complex.

    I bet a lot of people would take a job, not every starving person is an alcoholic wretch who couldn't care less for anything but himself and his alcohol. (Just to give an example.)

    Everything isn't a person's own fault; not even in the USA. I don't mean that people shouldn't get up and pull their share, but I mean that people working on for example minimum wage and thus can't afford medical insuranse should have the same rights to medical treatment as anyone else. Perhaps that person is working his way to a better life but gets cut off on the way? Though?

    Because BG earns a milliom times more than a minimum wage person doesn't mean he is more worth as a person nor more deserving of medical attention.

    For Americans that might be hard to understand, since you don't accept anything but that which can be measured in dollars and paid for. To generalize.



    [ Parent ]

    China, and talk of hostility to it (none / 0) (#231)
    by mattw on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 11:57:26 PM EST

    Any talk about China seems to be incredibly hostile - with any correspondance related to the military being about some chinese missile going off course and killing thousands of civilians.

    It goes without saying that in America, bad news sells. So, any news tends to be bad to get aired, related to China or not. Also, since the audience is Americans, the news tends to be oriented to them because people want to hear how things affect them. If you wanted to become more aware of other nations, there are better ways than watching the news.

    That said, its tough to not be hostile towards a country which sells nuclear-weapon manufacturing tools, like ring magnets used to refine fissible material, to rogue nations. It is very, very hard to not be hostile towards a nation which runs over protestors with tanks, or makes it illegal to speak ill about the government without being thrown in jail. This isn't to deny that american news is jingoistic or comically prejudicial, but some nations tend to deserve a bad rap.

    None of this is to say the people are bad, of course. But because of their government, the bad overshadows the good by a large margin.


    [Scrapbooking Supplies]
    [ Parent ]
    It's tough not being hostile (5.00 / 3) (#296)
    by Bakunin on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:22:20 AM EST

    Yes, I agree with you. It's tough not being hostile to a country that sells weapons to "rogue nations".

    But, I'm afraid what in the news is portraied as a "rogue nation" isn't decided by any objective standards.

    Do you consider Iraq under Saddam Hussein a "rogue nation"? The USA sold them weapons.

    Like Iraq, Turkey is very violent to the Kurd minority. Thousands of villages being destroyed, millions of people fleeing for their lives. Those that dare speak up against it are murdered or thrown in jail and tortured. Yet Turkey is still one of the largest buyers of weapons from the US of A.

    If you take some time reading up on the history of foreign politics of USA, you will find a long record of supporting murderous dictators, allowing genocide to happen, even overthrowing democratic regimes!

    The concept of "rogue nations" is very false. It has nothing to do with actual crimes. Who gets that label is decided by which nations the USA might need to wage war on, nothing else.

    [ Parent ]

    As an american... (none / 0) (#241)
    by keick on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:42:51 AM EST

    ... I couldn't agree more actually! Over the past few years I've come to have my own personal hatred for the kind of crap the media calls "news". There are 2 reasons actually, and they may even seem to conflict with each other. First, like you said, our news seems only to focus on ourselves, and look on other countries as being "lower class" than our own. You would think we would get a clue! Hello, we've been there, we know what it's like to put down on, and to be hated... That's why this country was formed. Somehow in the process, we inflicted the same medicine onto the Native Americans of this land, and now it seems the rest of the world as well. I personally feel quiet horrified at the full circle the US has come to. Secondly, I don't like hearing all of the bad crap that goes on! Somehow I beleive that if the news were to focus on the good in our country, and in others, that we wouldn't get this greater than thou attitude. Yes it's sad to hear about a bus-bombing in Detroit, or yet another school shooting. But what about the teacher in the Bronx who is giving everything so that young kids, who might not get the chance, can get a good education? What about the good? I'd bet 80-90% of the news reported here in the US, is sad news, not good news! People need good news!

    [ Parent ]
    Well, DUH! (5.00 / 1) (#312)
    by jabber on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:26:29 PM EST

    The one thing about US media that sets it apart from all others is that it is a business. Even the 'news only' programs and networks (CNN) are a business first, and a source of information second. They talk plenty about journalistic integrity, but if it doesn't sell itself, or fit with the current advertising contracts, it doesn't get air-time. As mattw mentioned (in an otherwise arguable post - more later) in America bad news sells. What sells is what gets aired, because if it doesn't sell, the advertisers will go somewhere else. The US is Capitalist.

    What sells is excitement and entertainment. People don't want to be troubled by television - they watch it to relax. If they wanted to be troubled, they'd talk to their kids about sex, or drugs, or their feelings - they don't have time or energy for that. They want to see things blowing up, but not too close to home. They want to know of toxic spills or fires or floods. They want to see many people far away suffer, so they themselves could feel better about their problems. This is also why Jerry Springer is so popular. Seeing two obese transexual Nazi cross-dresser redneck lovers punch each other on television makes your own family problems seem almost bearable - it's a new Vaudeville Freak Show - but I digress.

    What sells is fear. American Evening News shows bait and hint at a story to keep viewers watching tripe, commercial advert after commercial advert, "Comming up next, a household tip that just might save your life"... After 20 minutes of stringing people along, waiting with 'baited breath', the tip turns out to be a reminder to hold the hand-rail while walking on stairs, with some statistics on hip fractures in Senior Citizens, to add credence to the whole gimick. It's a simple-minded trick that well-meaning people fall for each time, and they watch plenty of commercial adverts in the process.

    People don't want to know about the homeless - but they have to. How else to you keep the middle-class working, other than scaring them with the possibility of becoming the lower-class? How else do you keep them in a position where that fear is realistic, other than by getting them to spend all of their 'disposable income' on shinny trinkets? Hence stories about a homeless man freezing to death under a bridge on Christmas Eve, closely followed by an advertisement for a new Bose radio for your kitchen ($39/month, for 36 months).

    What people also want to see is that which reinforces their programmed beliefs, and here's where mattw's post comes in again. We've already had the 'rougue nation' and arms dealing rebutted, but the view is indicative of a vast majority of Americans. They simply don't know any better. Americans are not Free, they are only told that they are - and then they start to believe it. And they will fight and die if anyone claims differently.

    Goebbels has nothing on the US Media as far as propaganda goes. It's a self-feeding monster. The media stupefies people to the point where they are unable to concentrate for more than 8 minutes at a time (the length of programming between adverts). Then, people demand concentrated, banal and sensationalistic programming to fit those habits - and they flock to shows with better commercials - forget all about content.

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
    [ Parent ]

    tasmanian devil, american culture, et cetera (4.00 / 1) (#354)
    by quesera on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 06:40:24 AM EST

    but why does your state choose to use a character owned by an american company to market itself?

    because that american company spent enormous amounts of money building that character into a brand that your state wants to leverage and be identified with, probably to attract foreign (often american, definitely american-influenced) tourism income. otherwise why wouldn't a stock photo of the animal serve the same purpose?

    yes, american corporations shove a lot of questionable material down the throats of foreign citizens. they shove the same stuff down our throats too, and many of us don't love it either -- we just don't have the privilege of lumping it all into one conveniently xenophobic category and blaming someone else for the fact that a large percentage of our brethren *do* love it. we have to accept that it comes from within.

    canada tries to preserve its national identity by requiring radio stations to broadcast a certain quota of canadian artists (30%??). why do canadians living in border towns listen to american radio?

    why do foreign citizens blame american companies and culture for being so memetically successful? that *is* what they are designed to do. if you (the collective you, not the individual you) didn't love it, it wouldn't work.

    most americans don't seem to regard foreign influence on our culture as degenerative.

    i don't have answers to these questions, but i don't think anyone else does either. i understand and have felt most of the frustrations i've read in this and other fora, but i'm probably less offended by it than most.

    then again, keep in mind that i'm a white, middle class, american male and therefore my laissez-faire attitudes are luxuries of my station. furthermore, my opinions are inherently invalid, despite the fact that i am squarely a member of the *statistically true* minority here in america and worldwide. :-)


    [ Parent ]
    Parochial (4.14 / 7) (#221)
    by holdfast on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 05:51:32 AM EST

    For those who odn't know what parochial means, please feel free to look it up. I expect most people here do know.
    That is how many Europeans see USians in general.
    For example some of you ask yourself about school history. How long did you spend on US history and how long on the rest of the world? OK so everybody concentrates on their homeland. You folk just seem to do it a bit more!
    How much of your national news talks about the US and how much about the world?
    Make up more questions as you feel inclined...

    You define any bad thing as un-amercian. Somebody around this site has a sig-line saying "Censorship is unamerican". How arrogant! I dislike censorship and like freedom of information because I dislike large companies stealing ideas and shafting people.

    Some of you label any political sytem where social justice matters as Socialism or Communism. They say how terrible it is that better paid people pay more tax so that poorer people have decent welfare and everyone gets edcent healthcare. I doubt thy would know a socialist idea if it came out of the Bible!

    Most Europeans agree that anyone who feels the need to carry a gun around is either foolish, igorant, misguided or (most likely) a dangerous lunatic who should not be allowed near anything more dangerous than a TV remote control. There are people who need guns - soldiers, (some) police, dangerous animal handlers and so on. People should never carry guns for political purposes. You get violent revolutions and the crazies get into power. This happened in France, USSR, China, Cuba and so on. DO you want the French revolutionary "terror"? If you do you are not a fit person to have a gun!


    Some people will now read my .sig line and say how the characer who said it was really right wing and the author was too. I agree with that statement, not all of either of their attitudes!
    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    Censorship and other fine arts (4.00 / 3) (#229)
    by aphrael on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 08:49:49 PM EST

    How long did you spend on US history and how long on the rest of the world

    In high school, I took (1) year of US history, (2) years of European History, and (1) year of Asian History. (I agree with your generalization, by the way --- but please remember that it *is* a generalization).

    Somebody around this site has a sig-line saying "Censorship is unamerican". How arrogant!

    I think you're misreading this, although I understand how that can happen. Given that Americans, by and large, are parochial, imagine this sentence in a context where it is *assumed* that the intended audience is American ... and you get an argument that censorship is bad because it violates the fundamental tenets of American political philosophy. In every context where i've heard the phrase, is *not* intended to say that only Americans are opposed to censorship; nor is it intended to brag about America being better than the rest of the world. It is a world-neutral comment, intended for use in a conversation *between Americans*, about why something is bad --- it's bad because it violates our core beliefs. This is no different than a Christian saying: "[x] is unChristian".

    Some of you label any political sytem where social justice matters as Socialism or Communism.

    In general, the words socialist, communist, democrat, liberal, conservative, or just about anything else political and emotionally charged have ceased being meaningful decades ago; I doubt this is a solely American trait. Yeah, American political culture has an annoying tendency to go "Stalinism bad. Socialism = stalinism. Progressive taxation = socialism. Progressive taxation bad." I suspect this is a result of (a) oversimplification (there *is* a relationship between progressive taxation and socialism, if you view both through the lens of certain other political philosophies) and (b) lack of meaningful political education in the schools.

    Most Europeans agree that anyone who feels the need to carry a gun around is either foolish, igorant, misguided or (most likely) a dangerous lunatic who should not be allowed near anything more dangerous than a TV remote control.

    For the most part I agree with you. On the other hand, a lot of my friends have guns, and they seem perfectly rational. And I have to ask: is it maybe necessary to carry a gun to protect yourself *if you live in a culture where everyone else does?* That is to say, maybe the social rules are sufficiently different here than they are there that here it *is* necessary and there it isn't?

    Also --- a couple months ago when I thought there was going to be a war, a bad one which most of the world would get involved in, I *desperately* wanted a gun --- because I thought the social order was going to break down completely in the event of that war; and with no functioning state, and everyone around me having guns ...

    People should never carry guns for political purposes. You get violent revolutions and the crazies get into power.

    The belief in America is that *everyone* having a gun is what makes tyranny impossible: we can never end up with a Hitler, or a Stalin, or a Mao ... because the common man won't tolerate it and can prevent it with their guns. Remember, our government and our culture trace a continuous path back to a revolution, with no change of government in between; the idea that the people should have the power, and should be able to enforce it if they decide to use it, to overthrow the government is a bedrock principle of our political culture. (Whether it's really practical in this day and age is another matter).

    DO you want the French revolutionary "terror"?

    Very few people do, and they are outnumbered by those who do not, even among gun owners. The question is: do you think there is more danger of terror imposed by a popular revolution, or of terror imposed by an out-of-control government?

    [ Parent ]

    May I point out that... (none / 0) (#361)
    by MKalus on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 05:15:49 PM EST

    >>The belief in America is that *everyone* having a gun is what makes tyranny impossible: we can never end up with a Hitler, or a Stalin, or a Mao ... because the common man won't tolerate it and can prevent it with their guns. Remember, our government and our culture trace a continuous path back to a revolution, with no change of government in between; the idea that the people should have the power, and should be able to enforce it if they decide to use it, to overthrow the government is a bedrock principle of our political culture. (Whether it's really practical in this day and age is another matter). <<

    ... you look at the end of the east german government and how that was accomplished (as most of the collapse of the soviet union) without one shot fired?

    As such americans (us) REALLY need some fresh up courses in politics.
    -- Michael
    [ Parent ]
    Two words (3.50 / 2) (#246)
    by finkployd on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:09:49 AM EST

    Most Europeans agree that anyone who feels the need to carry a gun around is either foolish, igorant, misguided or (most likely) a dangerous lunatic who should not be allowed near anything more dangerous than a TV remote control.

    Two words: LA Riots (ok, two letters and a word)

    If you honestly believe nothing like that could ever happen again, then you haven't been paying attention to the currently social and political tensions in the US. When that happen in LA, the only stores that weren't looted where the ones where store owners defended their property and lives with firearms. Police are not around to protect the citizens, they are around to clean up after crimes have already taken place. You are responsible for your own safety.

    Finkployd
    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    Please don't think you proved your point. (none / 0) (#287)
    by B'voYpenburg on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:59:45 AM EST

    Because the riots in LA were a _reflection_ of the social situation (which is pretty bad). It is not the duty of an USian to protect himself: IT IS THE JOB OF THE POLICE (yes, I'm shouting). Citizens shouldn't need guns and if they do, something is terribly wrong.

    [ Parent ]
    Unfortunatly, you are incorrect (5.00 / 2) (#292)
    by finkployd on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:34:04 AM EST

    Shout all you want, several court cases have established that the police have NO obligation to protect individules. Ask a law professor sometime. Two years ago a drunk moron with a gun decided to get into a fight with some kids in the parking lot outside my place and shot up a couple of cars at random. I called the police when it started, and 45 minutes later they showed up. Had he decided to enter my home and rob / rape / kill any occupants, I would have been left to protect myself and roommates, which thankfully I would have been equiped to do. If you think gun laws are going to keep guns out of the hands of people like that then you must think the drug laws in this country have worked as well.

    The LA riots were the same situation, only on a larger scale. Poliece chief Darryl Gates was at a dinner party for the begining of the riots and the severly under staffed poliece department could not protect the lives and property of the many innocent citizens. Many citizens needed (and used) guns to protect themselves, I fail to see where they would have been better off of the didn't. The reasons for the riot certainly don't matter to a innocent trucker being beaten for sport, or a store owner losing his means of income and livelyhood. Of course something was terribly wrong with this situation, and it is a perfect example of why citizens need guns to protect themselves. Social breakdown can and does happen occationally. Until the state can guarentee my and my family's safety, I don't plan on shirking my responsibility to protect myself and them.

    Finkployd
    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    Some changes? (none / 0) (#294)
    by davidmb on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 08:57:04 AM EST

    Sounds like what you need is for some changes to be made so that the police are obliged to protect individuals and prevent crimes, rather than clean up afterwards.
    After all, prevention is better than the cure. And much much cheaper. More money spent on preventing crimes saves millions on investigating them (not counting the social benefits of preventing crime).
    Then maybe it'd take the police 10 minutes rather than 45 to respond to your call.

    ps. A drunk moron with a gun? Let's not start down that path...
    ־‮־
    [ Parent ]
    I agree (none / 0) (#295)
    by finkployd on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 09:22:59 AM EST

    I agree with you, but now there are logistical problems. This is a pretty spread out country, and as a general rule, the police are not trusted in big cities anyway (which is pretty much the cause of the LA riots to begin with) so some kind of happy medium needs to be found.

    Don't make the mistake of assuming every gun owner is a nut case who wants to emulate Rambo and thinks his job is to kill criminals. The vast majority of us simply want to retain the ability to protect ourselves. I live in the State with the second most firearms in the US, but you would never know it because there is little crime (comparativly) and most of us are quiet, normal people. A little less than a quarter of us have carry permits and yet there is no stooting in the streets over parking spaces or constant fights getting out of hand like many predict.

    And a drunk moron with a gun is probably one of the most dangerous combinations around (aside from possibly a drunk moron driving a car), but making guns illegal is not going to help one bit. Drugs are illegal and I see them everywhere (granted, I live near a huge University), so I have little doubt that guns can ever be completly removed from our society, as much as that would be ideal.

    I guess in short, my view is: Once you have disarmed all the criminals, come get my gun. I'll gladly give it up then. Not before.

    Finkployd
    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    Americans and little about guns. (4.00 / 2) (#258)
    by Skorpion on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 01:40:31 PM EST

    Most Europeans agree that anyone who feels the need to carry a gun around is either foolish, igorant, misguided or (most likely) a dangerous lunatic who should not be allowed near anything more dangerous than a TV remote control. There are people who need guns - soldiers, (some) police, dangerous animal handlers and so on. People should never carry guns for political purposes. You get violent revolutions and the crazies get into power. This happened in France, USSR, China, Cuba and so on. DO you want the French revolutionary "terror"? If you do you are not a fit person to have a gun!

    Hey, I'm European (Polish) and I'd like to have the option to carry a gun at my will. Not for political purposes. I live in a bad neighbourhood and some of my neighbors do have illegal guns, so having a legal one as a mean of selfdefense would be nice. I'm quite proficient with a pistol (not a sharpshooter, though) and practice regularly (with .22 LR TT-Olympia and 9mm Makarov). Does this make me specially unfit for carrying a gun?

    Leaving guns aside, the most annoying thing about Americans is their naivette. All stories should have happy endings. Violence on TV - good, tits on TV bad. Thinking that by censoring TV, Internet and prohibiting teens to buy alcohol you make them better people is so damn naive. It is like keeping a child in a sterile environment to protect him against bacteria and viruses. You won't make a healthier man this way. Instead you will make a being unfit to live for not having immunal system. Similarly I think you can't have right attitude to alcohol without being drunk until drop dead - once in a lifetime. More naivettes - thinking that every social problem has a nice neat solution that solves everything.

    What else... (I don't want to be specially sharp against USies, I work with them and in general like them). Religion. Damn continuous references to religion. Why for americans religion is considered a) the Right Thing and b) universal, its a complete mystery for me. I have the impression that in Europe one's religion (and faith) is a more private thing. I consider myself righteous Catholic and leftious Discordian. My mother is Catholic. My father is a protestant. My girlfriend was raised Jewish. We live without constant referring to Jesus or Goddess or whoever is your religious father-figure. It's a private thing - apparently not for Americans. And you USies have the notion that you are God's favourite people - this endlessly astonishes me considering how your capitalism system with its underlying greed is good is against the God's word. Remember Mt22:39? This dichotomy amazes me to no end.

    A.

    [ Parent ]

    Us crazy americans (4.50 / 2) (#290)
    by zordon on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:23:20 AM EST

    Most Europeans agree that anyone who feels the need to carry a gun around is either foolish, igorant, misguided or (most likely) a dangerous lunatic who should not be allowed near anything more dangerous than a TV remote control. There are people who need guns - soldiers, (some) police, dangerous animal handlers and so on. People should never carry guns for political purposes. You get violent revolutions and the crazies get into power. This happened in France, USSR, China, Cuba and so on. DO you want the French revolutionary "terror"? If you do you are not a fit person to have a gun!

    The logic behind concealed carry is this:
    Suppose you are a mugger. You see me on the street, wearing a nice suit and shoes, clean cut, and some nice jewelry. Then you see me walk up to an ATM. If guns are illegal, and I look like a law abiding citizen, I won't have one, and you can rob me with little worry of personal injury. But, if it were legal for me to carry a gun, you might question your desire to rob me. I might pull a gun on you and send you to the hospital (before the jail).

    This is *EXACTLY* the reason the united states never nuked russia and vice versa. Instead of a nuclear deterrent however, this is a ballistic deterrent.

    And to move on to your "revolutionary terror" statement. Most americans are pretty easy going about most things. Not many people would support a revolution, unless the conditions were truly bad. But once we crossed that line, and we REALLY needed a change, it's comforting to know that 50 some million households own a firearm. We *COULD* overthrow the government if we were to make a few mistakes in an election and put some Bad People(tm) in office. Especially if those bad people decided to point our military in the direction of those foreigners who are talking shit about the Good 'Ole U.S. of A. It'd probably never come to that, but then again, you never know.


    zordon
    [ Parent ]

    Eh? (3.00 / 2) (#293)
    by davidmb on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 08:50:01 AM EST

    So, please correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't you saying that the US should have a much lower rate of mugging compared with Europe, due to this "ballistic deterrent?"

    This doesn't seem to be the case. So what's the problem. Do you need more guns?
    ־‮־
    [ Parent ]
    Guns Vs. Crime (4.50 / 2) (#314)
    by jwallwebcaster on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:53:39 PM EST

    Actually, it is the case, if you look closer.

    Each state has thier own gun laws, and concealed and carry laws. The states which allow citizens to carry guns have the lowest violent crime rates.

    I live in Oklahoma, and we voted in a concealed and carry law a few years ago, and there has been a drastic drop in crime.

    If the arguement that guns equal crime was true, then New York City, which has the lowest gun ownership rate in the country, would be very safe, while New Hampshire, which has the highest gun ownership rate, would be a war zone. For those of you who are not familiar, the opposite is true.

    Now, on this whole Americans=Bad rant that is always going on. All I can say is that I regret that it is the dumbest, most ignorant, and rudest of Americans which always make the most noise on the Internet. However, these are the minority, not the majority.

    Jerry

    [ Parent ]
    Americans (4.75 / 4) (#227)
    by ekj on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 07:59:50 PM EST

    Americans, as individuals, are like all other nations: diverse. Some are idiots, other are smart. Some are kind others seem to be unaware that the world doesn't stop where their nose ends.

    That being said, from the point of view of a Norwegian the most annoying thing about many "Americans" (why is it American, ain't America bigger than the US???) Is the fact that too bloody many of you are absolutely convinced that the US is the best possible country in every imagineable way. (to the extent that they're aware that there _are_ other countries)

    For example, on this very site it's not more than a week or two since we had a long rant in defence of military spendings (US military spendings ofcourse) which used as one of it's arguments that "The USA is the most cultured country in the world". Give me a break.

    Or this cockiness that you're the most democratic country in the world and defender of everything that's free. Why is it then, that 40% of american kids have their internet-access censored while the same number is 2% for Europe ? Why is it then that most people over there don't even bother voting when you do have an election ? Why is it then, that you still hold on to the hopelessly clumsy and outdated electoral-system ?

    As for being free, the US has a larger part of its population in prison than any comparable country, and you've got barbarian punishments like the capital punishment which most of us abandoned decades ago, and in spite of all this you've still got crime-rates far in excess of anything I'm accustomed to.

    It's not that the USA is such a bad place. It's not. But you _really_ would benefit a lot from opening your eyes and learn a bit from the world around you rather than being so convinced you're the best that you also think you've got nothing to learn.

    Re: Americans (none / 0) (#286)
    by B'voYpenburg on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:49:54 AM EST

    >why is it American, ain't America bigger than the US???
    In the US (and certainly in Canada) America means the continent America (including Mexico,...). FWIW, "ain't" is slang for "isn't". Just in case :-)

    [ Parent ]
    hrmn. (none / 0) (#288)
    by zordon on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:07:12 AM EST

    Why is it then, that 40% of american kids have their internet-access censored while the same number is 2% for Europe

    Because of all the ultra conservative bible bangers who think the government and the schools should raise kids, instead of parents raising kids. Blah. If only people would take responsibility for their own actions and their own families, the united states (and the world, for that matter) would be a much better place.

    And for anyone wondering, I am an American (a USian? Doesn't sound right...), and for the most part, I like it.


    zordon
    [ Parent ]

    ultra conservative bible bangers (none / 0) (#307)
    by kc0dxh on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 01:39:49 PM EST

    I must take a contrary position to your statement. I'm very conservative in fincancial and moral matters and find myself perpetually wishing my federal government would not dictate how I rear my children and otherwise manage my household. A quick review of USA history will provide more than enough evidence of the "ultra conservative bible banger" attitudes of the founders of this union. It's all in there, from George Washington to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock - all fiercly devoted to the God of the Bible. Even Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who was not known for his virtuous lifestyle, maintained a healthy respect for those who chose to order their actions in accordance to the teachings of the Bible.
    _____________________________ My .sig can beat up your .sig
    [ Parent ]
    View of America from a discontent insider (3.66 / 3) (#232)
    by krach42 on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:25:47 AM EST

    Well, first off, I'm American, but that's only because that's where I was born. I was once told by a Slovak that I "seemed more European than American... Americans are more... active". I've also been accused of being German on more than one occation (one guy insisted that I was joking with him, when I told him during a Starcraft game)

    I'm also *shudder* a user of AOL (yes, yes, I know... much burden upon my soul yada yada yada) Well, I often enter into chat rooms in AOL in order to speak in Japanese or German (AOL offers chatrooms in both languages) And more often than not; there are a large number of American hecklers. In the German chatroom the hecklers have been so fierce that if you even say "Hitler" in a room (even in a valid discussion) they automatically brand you as one. These US chatters insist on doing nothing more than entering into a room, which is blatently marked as non-american, and insist on heckling people. The fever is a little less in the Japanese room, but still, quite often you get people, who hide behind the anominity of chatrooms, to promote their US-centric bigotted ideas.

    I've actually learned much about these hecklers in the years I've continued to chat in AOL non-american chatrooms, and I've generally found that they are young children; 12-16 normally. Now, this is the most disasterous thing to find out. The US insists it is raising a generation that is "Devoid of all the anti-racial, and sexist ideas" But we are obviously far from being un-bigotted, because our young children have been so brainwashed by the US-centric situation in America, that they can't recognize anything else.

    And last, for the record, I live in the state of New Mexico, and surprisingly, I need explain that New Mexico is a state of the United States to more US chatters than to non-US chatters. If you don't believe me; pick up the book, "One of our Fifty is Missing". This book documents a number of cases where people speak with New Mexican residents under the assumption that they are not US citizens. (For instance, a cop asking for a passport. Letters going through customs (and not going through)) The situation is grave, not just because we don't know where Mexico, a bordering country, is but even when we know where it is, we mistake the location of one of our own states, just because it shares a similar name. (For you Americans out there, equate this to thinkng New Hampshire is in England)


    Krach42, the universe's most death-resistant entity. *** VACUUM BAD!!! ***
    From Down South... (4.16 / 6) (#243)
    by Troggie on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:02:46 AM EST

    Hey Folks,

    And now a view from another continent... I'm from South Africa....

    In essence, I like Americans. Most of the citizens of the USA who I've met in person have been friendly, likeable people. That having been said, the vast majority of Americans I've run into on the net have irritated me in one way or another.

    The first*major* irritation is the seeming inability America to educate children in the proper use of grammar; the rules governing the uses of "you're" and "your" and mind-blowingly simple, yet I seldom spend a day on the net without reading at least ten misuses of these simple constructs... a similar problem comes to mind for the use of the apostrophe.

    The second thing which drives foreigners around the bend is the not-so-subtle signs that some Americans forget that there is a world outside their borders. Would it have been so hard for the writers of the HTML specification (or basic, or pascal etc..) to remember that the rest of the world spells it "colour" and so make that a synonym? Similarly for "centre".

    (and don't even get me started on how conter-intuitive MM/DD/YYYY is a a date Format...)

    Tony


    HTML standard (1.00 / 1) (#244)
    by pkej on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:47:21 AM EST

    It was written back in the days of Tim Berners Lee (well perhaps not the color thing), he's a Dane, iirc.

    I agree with you on the other issues of internationalization.

    [ Parent ]

    He's English (3.00 / 1) (#250)
    by nickwkg on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:55:23 AM EST

    He's not a Dane - he was born in London, England.

    Denmark is little-endian as is most of England, but a few Brits still use MM/DD/YYYY.

    [ Parent ]
    True (2.00 / 1) (#245)
    by finkployd on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:02:56 AM EST

    (and don't even get me started on how conter-intuitive MM/DD/YYYY is a a date Format...)

    I agree, I have no idea why we do that.

    Finkployd
    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    yyyymmdd makes sense... (2.00 / 1) (#255)
    by pallex on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:34:11 PM EST

    ...then you could sort things nicely. Think the Japs use this system already.

    [ Parent ]
    "conter-intuitive "?? (none / 0) (#275)
    by mjs on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:53:26 PM EST

    Sorry - just couldn't resist... :) mjs

    [ Parent ]
    A brief explanation of the attitude... (4.62 / 8) (#249)
    by Remus Shepherd on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 11:40:29 AM EST

    I am American, living in the Midwest USA. And we happened to have a local show on PBS recently about why americans think of themselves as better than the rest of the world. It was more or less an interview with some sociologist who, in convincing terms, argued that we are indeed better than any other country.

    His reasoning?

    The United States is a melting pot, with all that entails. Our society is fluid and changable, both by generation and geography -- and we have as much room as western europe with which to separate ourselves. But most important is that we are a country of immigrants, with non-native populations higher than any other developed country. Because of that our culture is the most adaptive on earth, and possible the most adaptive that earth has ever seen. Walk down Main Street USA and you'll see Italian street markets, Cuban dance festivals, Kwaanza celebrations and Tae Kwon Doe classes. Even tolerance and intolerance both, in turns, is an American tradition. It's all here, and we welcome, even hunger for, new imports to our culture.

    Countries of the world, we're not *better* than you. We *subsume* you. We've integrated all the pieces of your culture that we consider interesting, and we're more than capable of assimilating you in toto. Americans, deep down, consider the rest of the world as states of the union that just haven't been annexed yet. If you took the world itself, all of its separate diverse pieces, and integrated it together, americans know instinctually that the result would be very like America.

    I am *not* saying that I agree with this reasoning, so please don't light your flamethrower. :) I *am* saying that this rationale feels right to me, as an American -- it feels like the subconscious attitude we have but find difficult to properly put into words. I just wanted to try and explain it to you, although I understand it's probably provocative and scary. It's an attitude I intend to guard against in myself...although I must say that our uniqueness, even our arrogance, is part of what makes me proud to be an American.

    ...
    Remus Shepherd <remus@panix.com>
    Creator and holder of many Indefensible Positions.
    Irony? (2.50 / 2) (#254)
    by pallex on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:32:11 PM EST

    I hope so!

    [ Parent ]
    Assimilating the World (3.50 / 2) (#262)
    by Morn on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:40:48 PM EST

    Countries of the world, we're not better than you. We subsume you. We've integrated all the pieces of your culture that we consider interesting, and we're more than capable of assimilating you in toto.

    Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own.

    Your uniqueness will be combined with our perfection.

    Your culture will adapt to service us.

    Resistance is futile.

    [ Parent ]

    Don't knock the Borg (3.66 / 3) (#264)
    by SecretAsianMan on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:55:30 PM EST

    Hey, don't knock the borg. What an efficient, perfect society! Everyone is provided for, everyone pulls equal weight, and there is no unhappiness or loneliness. They have the best-implemented society that I've seen yet. When they come, I'll definitely be the first in line for assimilation.

    --
    SecretAsianMan
    Lead me not into temptation, for I can find it myself.
    [ Parent ]
    America - Perfect Society? (3.00 / 1) (#265)
    by Morn on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 03:00:02 PM EST

    What an efficient, perfect society! Everyone is provided for, everyone pulls equal weight, and there is no unhappiness or loneliness.

    And thus, my metaphor crumbles... :-)

    [ Parent ]

    By that reasoning... (3.00 / 2) (#267)
    by Zagadka on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 04:14:04 PM EST

    ...Canada is better than the US. Canada has less strict immigration than the US, more land area (most of which is frozen, admittedly), and a higher standard of living.

    [ Parent ]
    Response to that idea.... (none / 0) (#310)
    by Kismet Noire on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:53:22 PM EST

    The idea that america is a melting pot is one touted by a lot of americans....but not one I've seen a great deal of proof for. Admittedly I can only see what is shown outside america - small chunks of your popular culture, news items, and so on.

    However, the fact that it's repeatedly mentioned signifies to me that it's not true. If it were a melting pot then you wouldn't even mention it - 'cos you wouldn't think to.

    America has a hell of a lot of hate crime than the UK - comparitavely.....which doesn't suggest melting pot - more of an uneasy mixture.

    It is funny to watch america claim to be so wonderfully comfortable with it's ethnic blend when it's apparent to me that it's not. Nor is it a great place for tolerance - the huge number of murders of TS's proves that...that and the very existance of the kkk.

    On the other hand nearly all the americans I've met IRL and a reasonable proportion that I've met online have been perfectly nice, reasonable individuals.

    Perhaps this is due to the places I frequent online and the people I deign to meet irl ;-)

    I don't know what causes this discrepancy that I see - perhaps there's something odd that happens when you get lots of americans together....but anyway....

    [ Parent ]
    America is a melting pot (5.00 / 3) (#313)
    by LunaticLeo on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:47:12 PM EST

    Compared to American nearly every nation of europe is a homogeneous enclave. England has let the Scotts spiral off into their own pseudo-contry. Germany pays germans of turkish decent to leave the country. Austria...well we all know about Austria.

    Compared to Europe, America get's along quite nicely (except we are thinking of spinning off Florida). The elementary school I went to in a middle class hamlet outside DC (gaithersburg for the curious), now has students which speak 50 different languages natively.

    Our ingnorant-dumb-ass population likes to hate people that don't look like themselves. And because we have a problem with violence, the ingnorant-dumb-asses express their hate with violence.

    We're not doing so bad as europe or the middle east when it comes to religions. Most americans don't even know what the difference is between Catholics and Protestants (one advantage of poor primary education). I went to high school with people who had they been in the Islamic world would have shot each other, rather than be the freinds they were.

    Someone once said we (americans) are not so much a Melting Pot as a Stew. That is probaly closer to the truth.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh you're from Sweden, how 'bout them Alps? (3.20 / 5) (#252)
    by MantorpCity on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:19:22 PM EST

    Just because 90% of Americans; can't tell the difference between Sweden and Switzerland, don't know the capital of their largest neighboring country nor most other countries, think Africa is a country, can't speak any other language than English, don't know the difference between your and you're, say same difference when they mean same thing, etc. ad nauseum, doesn't mean they're all biblehugging, guntoting, conservative, egotistical, moneyhungry maniacs.
    Seriously,
    I've lived here for 11 years and have yet to be mugged, shot at, or incarcerated. If they could only stop asking questions about igloos and penguins.

    Xenophobe's guide to the US (2.50 / 4) (#260)
    by slaytanic killer on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:16:03 PM EST

    I notice that peoples' opinions on the US depends on the country they're from and their personality. Whereas Americans just have stereotypes: "The French like eating cheese and screwing each other blue by the Tower of Pisa." So perhaps the question has a hidden assumption -- that people have a certain definite feeling about Americans, the way that Americans have about other countries. Other people have a lot more information about the US than Americans usually have about other countries, and so the opinions are more varied.

    I think the constants are generally a distaste when America goes on the rampage like a bull, and some small fascination for what's in America's water that makes everyone so active. The Bible Belt sucks, while San Fran is terribly interesting. The lack of education and gullibility is astonishing, but on the other hand they're creating history.

    Bible Belt Woes (2.75 / 4) (#263)
    by SecretAsianMan on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:49:03 PM EST

    The Bible Belt sucks

    I live there, and you are exactly right. I'm an Oklahoman, and have been for all 21.95 years of my life. The influence that Christianity has on life here is amazing, and of course, very opressing at times. It's very uncomfortable for those of us who don't really care.

    --
    SecretAsianMan
    Lead me not into temptation, for I can find it myself.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Bible Belt Woes (4.00 / 1) (#276)
    by sigwinch on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:58:35 PM EST

    Having spent ~26 years here, I agree 100% about Oklahoma religosity. You cannot understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment until you have had your law made by Southern Baptists: "If you sell beer on this day of the week, you are going straight to hell, so we must save you from sinning." Seriously. They'd outlaw dancing if they thought they could get away with it, and they might be able to.

    OTOH, at least the Jesus-soldiers and ultra-conservatives are relatively peacable and honest about their goals. When was the last time the Sons of the Confederacy tried to occupy Tulsa? Or the Cherokee Liberation Army bombed Oklahoma City? Never, and in fact the Cherokee (and various other tribes) are openly recognized as sovereign powers. *cough* Basque *cough*

    --
    I don't want the world, I just want your half.
    [ Parent ]

    Of course you know this... (none / 0) (#308)
    by minusp on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 01:47:47 PM EST

    Q: Why don't Baptists have sex standing up?
    A: Because someone might accuse them of dancing.

    Couldn't resist...
    Remember, regime change begins at home.
    [ Parent ]
    The Tower of Pisa (none / 0) (#281)
    by roffe on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 01:16:19 AM EST

    is in Italy. I presume you mean the Eiffel Tower.

    --
    Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren
    roffe@extern.uio.no


    [ Parent ]
    Ummmm.... (5.00 / 1) (#291)
    by slaytanic killer on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:27:58 AM EST

    I know, 'twas a joke. ;) It was from the Xenophobe's guide, where Americans have the vague feeling that the Eiffel Tower is somewhere near the Leaning Tower of Pisa; since after all, it's like the distance from Baltimore to Florida. (Or something.)

    [ Parent ]
    the anti-communist agenda... (3.00 / 4) (#266)
    by juzam on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 03:16:33 PM EST

    what follows is a long disorganized rant with numerous speling erors, proving my ignorance as an american (duh):

    well i think its obvious that americans are "usually" self-centered bigots, gun freaks, evil destrucitve people, etc. but i dont have much of an explanation as to why.

    im third generation lithuanian, and people seems to know absolutely nothing about that country. but for some reason i can hardly blame them. there were other stereotypes that poped up: lithuania was in the USSR, therefore i must be a communist agent. and i represented vietnam in the student UN conference at duke. yet nothing i say will ever convince them otherwise.

    anyway, my point is that i agree. i am really digusted, and many times ashamed to be american. america uses so many reasorces, only care about money, blah, blah, blah.... but i cant stand listening to all the morons at my school saying that america is the best country because uh, its america. and its not communist. and we have a flag. and a basketball team that almost lost to lithuania (yes!!!!!).

    i also hated nbc's coverage of the olympics. if an american won, we were treated to a half hour show about how he/she overcame not having a house, dad, aunt, money, legs, and the loss of their sister to drugs (god bless 'merica), and made a comeback due to their coach who lost to the evil german guy years ago in whatever event we are in. yet when the russian/aussie/brit/japanese/mongolian/whatever else wins we flash to the next event where there is an american competeing. and its also impossible to have a running event that contains any german athlete without mentioning how jesse owens humiliated hitlers minions years ago.

    ahh.. well i feel alot worse about being an american now... at least im a nader supporter.
    .:rim vilgalys:.
    Americans (3.00 / 2) (#271)
    by cetacean on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 08:15:27 PM EST

    Personally, I see the US problem as one of awareness. How can you be interested in another's problems if you are not aware they are there. A decent and well rounded education is one of the things many people around the developed world take for granted. In the US however, unless you can recite the 43 presidents in order you are seen as un-American. Now ask them to name 43 other countries in the world, and you are more likely to the names of the US states. What amazes me most as a non-US citizen, is that educator around the world look to US education programs to upgrade their sucessful programs!!! Roy and H.G. (a comedy duo who commented on th Olympics after each days competition) hit the nail right on the head too, when they said to get one American by themself was OK but two or more is disasterous. The US was founded by puritans and the puritan thing of navel-gazing is alive and well in its present society. Actually I was sitting watching a special on the 100 greatest US movies when my girlfriend confronted me with the comment that the UShad become Citizen Kane and that their greed was sending them in a spiral up their own rosebud.

    Ooh, I can (5.00 / 1) (#280)
    by Waldo on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:57:56 PM EST

    Washington Adams Jefferson Madison Monroe Adams Jackson van Buren Harrison Tyler Polk Taylor Fillmore Pierce Buchanan Lincoln Johnson Grant Hayes Garfield Arthur Cleveland Harrison Cleveland McKinley Roosevelt Taft Wilson Harding Coolidge Hoover Roosevelt Truman Eisenhower Kennedy Johnson Nixon Ford Carter Reagan Bush Clinton.

    I did that from memory, I swear to you. I am such a geek.

    -Waldo

    [ Parent ]

    Education (4.00 / 2) (#300)
    by Lord Kano on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 11:54:09 AM EST

    Think of it this way- how many other countries REQUIRE (and enforce) all children from the ages of 5 to atleast 16 to go to school? The US has this burden, this REQUIREMENT to educate ALL citizens between these ages. Of course some slip through the crack, it's not for the privleged like in other countries but a LAW.

    [ Parent ]
    Hmmm (3.00 / 1) (#301)
    by blane on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:01:39 PM EST

    Just like the rest of the western world, and probably much of the rest of the world too. Amazing isn't it. Or did you think that this was somehow unique in the world?

    [ Parent ]
    *cough* (3.00 / 1) (#306)
    by Lord Kano on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:56:50 PM EST

    We have a much bigger population than those countries, so we are educating many more. We also perform right along with those countries in standardized tests, sometimes even out performing them. Besides, why else would everyone come here to go to college?

    [ Parent ]
    re: *cough* (5.00 / 1) (#322)
    by z00t on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:11:15 PM EST

    (1) The size of our country is irrelevant, it's the proportion of our population that gets a decent education that matters.

    (2) Higher education is another matter. Yes, there are a great many international students in American colleges & uni's. And yes, it's because they're generally world-class and a good deal when you factor in the contacts one can make in the process. However in the context of this discussion the question that should be asked is what proportion of our citizens in the US are adequately prepared for one of those institutions by our public education system.

    Perhaps the real question is what proportion of our population is well enough educated to...
  • be good citizens of the world?
  • view the corporate & national media with critical eye?
  • question the sense of entitlement and superiority we're encouraged to adopt?

    I'd say not enough.

    [ Parent ]
  • re: *cough* (5.00 / 1) (#336)
    by bluebomber on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 10:11:15 AM EST

    the question that should be asked is what proportion of our citizens in the US are adequately prepared for [ postsecondary education ]

    In my experience and opinion (and as a US citizen and fairly recent college grad): not very many. International students are far better prepared, especially in the areas of math and science (which were my areas of concentration so I can't really comment on the arts).
    -bluebomber
    [ Parent ]

    So? (none / 0) (#331)
    by blane on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 06:24:35 AM EST

    Yes, you have a bigger population, but you also have far more natural resources. Why does this matter? It means industry can be more mechanised, meaning more production for less labour, so you should be able to support education of your larger population. Likewise, as such a rich nation, you should expect to out perform, not be suprised that sometimes you do.

    As for everyone going to the US for the colleges - there are plenty of oversea's students in the UK universities.

    What you have is an education system no different to Western Europe. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse. American's need to get over the attitude that the US has to be better than anywhere else. In some cases it is, in some it isn't.

    We have some California's over here at the moment doing the rounds. It's interesting to discuss the differences and similarities between our cultures and attitudes (more similarities than differences I must say). In any case, I would never dream of telling them that the UK was intrinsically superior to the US, and they would never state that the US is better than the UK.


    [ Parent ]
    Re. Education (4.00 / 1) (#302)
    by draoi on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:13:51 PM EST

    Think of it this way- how many other countries REQUIRE (and enforce) all children from the ages of 5 to atleast 16 to go to school?

    Ummm ...... Britain, Ireland, Spain, France, Singapore, etc, etc ...... is this some of that 'darn American' arrogance surfacing? 8-b

    Pete C

    [ Parent ]

    Well... (none / 0) (#305)
    by Lord Kano on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:56:20 PM EST

    We have a much bigger population than those countries, so we are educating many more. We also perform right along with those countries in standardized tests, sometimes even out performing them. Besides, why else would everyone come here to go to college?

    [ Parent ]
    But... (2.00 / 1) (#303)
    by Anna Marie on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 12:54:27 PM EST

    Personally, I see the US problem as one of awareness. How can you be interested in another's problems if you are not aware they are there.

    *Why* should we care? Perhaps that is selfish, but it's true. Why should we care about other countries problems, each to their own. Our government seems to think that it's ok to stick their noses into every other country's business, but perhaps Americans are seen as self centered is because of the fact that most countries want us out of their business and we do too, it's our government. Why should I give a damn about anybody else, no one else is looking out for me.

    [ Parent ]
    Yet another Canadian Perspective (3.00 / 5) (#278)
    by Zorkon on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:13:43 PM EST

    I live in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) and would like to offer yet another Canadian perspective on Americans. I work in the high-tech industry, and as such deal with the US on a frequent basis. I've also been required to work in the US from time to time and generally enjoyed myself. Many people here have commented on the stereotypical American "self-centeredness" (good grief, is that even a word?) - I'd have to say that I agree with this. Many of the Americans I've met and dealt with seem ignorant of the world outside their borders. A few examples pop to mind: 1. While visiting a friend in Rochester NY (a mere 2 hr drive from where I lived in Ontario at that time), his girlfriend asked me if Canada's government was a democracy. She apologized beforehand, saying that she was taught nothing of Canada in school. 2. Working on a helpdesk, I received a call from a woman in Utah - when she discovered that the help desk was located in Ontario (the province - about as large as Texas), she asked me if I knew a "Gary" - apparently "Gary" from Ontario stayed at her motel one evening, and had left some luggage behind. When I explained to her how large Ontario was, and that millions of people lived in it, she wanted to know when it had joined the US. Although Canadians generally do like our American neighbors, their seeming ignorance of everything north of the border has become somewhat of a joke in our country. There is a Canadian TV show called "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" (http://www.22minutes.com) that often features a segment called "Talking to Americans". A 22 Minutes "newscaster" usually wanders around an American University campus or city street, asking off-the-wall questions about Canada, and taping the responses. The questions are always "not-quite-right", ie: "Should the Seal Hunt on Saskatchewan's iceflows be stopped?" (Saskatchewan is one of our prarie-provinces) or "Should the Canadian government ban the practice of Tete du Merde where senior citizens are placed on iceflows and left to perish?" (Tete du Merde is French for "Head of Shit" or "ShitHead") or "Canada's Metric Calendar results in our New Year being on February 30, would you like to be there to celebrate a second time after celebrating somwhere else on January 1." (Canada uses the Gregorian calendar, like many other countries.) It's actually quite a popular segment, and shows just how far the stereotype goes. On the other hand, as I recall the profs and students at Stanford U. didn't do so well with regards to the Saskatchewan question, with most stating they'd be more than willing to board a boat and protest the seal hunts... :)

    Re: Yet another Canadian Perspective (none / 0) (#279)
    by Zorkon on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 10:24:38 PM EST

    Apologies for the formatting in the above. Forgot to include a couple

    's. :)

    [ Parent ]

    American movies are to blame. (4.00 / 3) (#284)
    by Overturn on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:05:47 AM EST

    Most people don't really see americans or get to visit they're country yet will have an opinion on them. What do they base it on? Mostly on what they see coming from the entertainment industry where movies such as Independance Day will make americans look like the only ones able to save the world or movies like U-571 which try to rewrite history to make americans look like they did something that they in fact haven't done.

    I also see the US as very much against other cultures. The US' entertainment industry is good for exporting itself to other countries but totally lacking to import. While this is slowly changing with movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon playing in major theaters we have yet to see the tip of the iceburg. When I was in a cinema class taking about american movies I got to see a french movie and how hollywood made an american version which cut off alot of plots so that it would fit the normal american script form of writing. Basicly, they rewrote the film to what is considered to be the successful form to present a film and because hollywood believes that most americans are unable to understand foreign films. So instead they adapted it for americans.

    It's a rather loisy double-standard where american movies will be seen all over the world yet americans will not let foreign film into their country.

    Same goes for the TV industry. Rather then play the show Red Dwarf in it's british version, american networks tried to make an american version. While only 2 pilot episodes were make it's a wonder why they simply didn't try to air the show in it's original form. Thank god that your PBS network has some taste as opposed to the big networks.



    Which film? (3.00 / 2) (#317)
    by tewl on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:55:46 PM EST

    Which French film are you speaking of that was butchered by the US? Just curious :)

    I'm an american with a recently acquired film degree (I know, real useful ;), and am very interested in learning about this. Fortunately at my college, we focused on a broad range of films from many countries, so I feel as if I have a good grasp on the industries of other countries, but because I sought it out, you know? Maybe more Americans would have interest in other countries' film industries if they were exposed to it more often. Unfortunately Hollywood keeps churning out the same bullshit every year.

    BTW, Red Dwarf ROCKS! :)


    [ Parent ]
    This film. (none / 0) (#326)
    by Overturn on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:55:44 PM EST

    We actually compared 2 movies. One I can't remember since I took this course years ago and the other, the one I mentionned in my previous post was 3 Men and a baby.
    Some of the major points I recall was the differences in the order that things happenned in between the 2 versions and that a sub plot involving drug traffickers which was completely eliminated from the US version.

    BTW, during this same course we viewed 2 classic american movies that were very good for the times such as Citizen Kane and Mr Smith at the senate. The first showed american movies at it's finest and the second showing just how little american movies have changed in their script formula over the last 40 years.

    BTW, can't wait to see that Red Dwarf movie that's coming out. :-)

    [ Parent ]

    Movies re-done (none / 0) (#347)
    by waulok on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 07:45:33 PM EST

    Another was the Australian movie "The Castle". Apparently, the music was re-written and some of the dialogue changed.

    [ Parent ]
    Even germany makes american movies (none / 0) (#351)
    by Overturn on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 01:14:09 AM EST

    Just remembered another movie I saw last summer at a film festival. It was a german made movie but had Columbia Pictures as it's distributor and from what I could see, they had a hand in everything else. The movie was called Anatomy. It was pretty good and was well received at the festival but it was written with the same american script writing method and even had american type music. The only way you could tell it wasn't american was the fact that everyone was talking in german(accompanied by subtitles for the german impaired). If someone dubbed this movie well in english, you'd probably think it was and american production and that the actors are just typical american students.

    While I did enjoy the movie, this tells me that not only is hollywood not happy just exporting their movies all over the world, they have to make sure everyone else makes movies they're way.

    Thankfully, not all movies in germany are made by americans as the german produced movie In China they eat dogs which was also playing at that same festival showed me.

    [ Parent ]

    Americans just didn't get "The Castle" (none / 0) (#370)
    by goonie on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 09:05:51 AM EST

    If you go and look up the user reviews on the IMDB, it actually gives a good indication as to some of the cultural differences between Australians and Americans. American reviews pan the film, Australians love it. My guess that as well as missing the local humor (even after the dialogue changes), they just aren't comfortable with the idea of even "respectable" working-class families as content with their lot in life.

    [ Parent ]
    Funny story (2.50 / 2) (#285)
    by B'voYpenburg on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:42:58 AM EST

    I went to the US this year, and I wanted to get my pilots license validated for the US. So the FAA issued a temporary pilot license ("...only valid with Dutch license #...."). When I got my permanent one it read "...only valid with Denmark license #...". I had a good laugh :-)

    view from a french in Canada (2.60 / 5) (#298)
    by Aldebaran on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:53:15 AM EST

    Hello, As french living in Canada, working for a .com company and in contact with US people every days, traveling in US on a regular basis, I have the following perception of american people :

    - Communist is evil :
    The cold war effect is still present and when you told one american that there are communist in the french gouvernment, they are looking to you as you came from a goulag in siberia. Socialism is democracy as other system (I don't speak about ex ussr where this was a dictatorship) and it seems very hard for them to understand that.

    -General cultur level is very low :
    People seems to be more comsummers than anything else, with an average cultur level very low. If you are talking with them about history or anything a little involved with cultur (books, music, painters ...) , they now less than an average european.

    For me, the main thing for north american, in opposition to European or asian, is to open their minds to the world and to accept that the american way is not always the only valid solution.



    Turn the question around (2.50 / 2) (#311)
    by LunaticLeo on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:20:33 PM EST

    I am an american that works in my nation's capitol. I have become convinced that USA is a pretty great place. I am not suprised by the myopia and arrogance that my fellow american's exibit. We are a big place, with a lot of people, and most those people are very different (in a decade or two %50 of our population will be non-white).

    What I really wonder about, what truely puzzles me, is why on god's green earth does the rest of the world love our pop culture. What is it about Michael Jackson, Jerry Lewis, McDonnalds and Coke that so many people around the world love?

    If the rest of the world is going to like anything about us, let it be democracy, liberty, the struggle for egalitarianism, even science, or economic opportunity. But MADONNA ?!?!? BAY WATCH ?!?! Those are the things we are embarased about, like Brittain and their football hoodlums.

    Why do people not like us, but try to emulate us? There is every good reason to like your own cultures, why adopt ours?

    Because America exports its pop culture (none / 0) (#349)
    by goonie on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 08:45:07 PM EST

    As I understand it, LA (a city half the size of Australia) is an economy almost entirely devoted to producing popular culture - movies and television. Because of the size and complexity of the US market, it's very good at developing stuff that the lowest common denominator can accept, and is so big that it can afford to spend a lot of money hiring talent and spending time getting it right. It also has no delusions about producing stuff of permanent cultural value - it gives the people what they want and what they will buy. It's also run by hard-headed marketing men who are very good at selling their product.

    Therefore, is it really all that surprising that American pop culture is popular the world over, any more than French food or Japanese electronics?

    [ Parent ]

    Reponse from an American (4.40 / 10) (#327)
    by John Goerzen on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:42:03 PM EST

    I have found this thread to be quite interesting. As an American, I would like to reply to some of the criticisms leveled at us here.

    First, like every place, the United States has its share of problems. Education and health care are two big examples, and I don't think anyone really suggests that our education system is particularly excellent. On the other hand, let's not form prejudices on an entire country's inhabitants based on anecdote or AOL. Critizing the intelligence of Americans based on behavior of a few teenagers on AOL is like criticizing the athletic ability of (to pick a random scapegoat) the British based on a visit to a hospital.

    Secondly, our national TV media stinks. See above comparison with AOL :-) Note: PBS is a marvelous exception to this. Yes, NBC's Olympics coverage stank. Do you really believe that nobody in the USA noticed this?!

    Thirdly, I have no dispute with the criticism that Americans tend to be less involved with foreign affiars than those of other countries. I agree it is a problem. I would like to try to explain why, though. First, consider the size of the USA. Compared with, for example, western European countries, the USA is far larger than any individual one. What this means is that many differences, interstate trading, etc. goes on entirely within the USA. We have only two main neighbors to our mainland, and if you'll look, you'll see much interaction with both. Since the USA is not part of Europe, things like discussions in the EU Parliament are of a lot less relevance to the average American than to the average European. The converse is true as well -- things that happen in the American Senate are not going to be of a lot of relevance to the average European in most cases.

    Fourth, there appears to be a tendency to say that "your culture is different, therefore it is not culture." I see this coming from both sides and it disturbes me greatly. One person wrote (errors his), "People seems to be more comsummers than anything else, with an average cultur level very low." Now, I'll grant that this is true for some people. He goes on to critize Americans for not caring about things like painters. OK, I don't. So what? The mere fact that my interests are different than yours does not automatically mean that my interests are inferior. Also, to me it seems rather silly to talk about the "average culture". Culture in America varies deeply. Compare, for instance, South Bend, Washington, Wichita, New Orleans, San Francisco, El Paso, rural Mississippi, and Anchorage. You'll find large differences. While they no doubt aren't as large as the differences between London, Tokyo, and Johannesburg, they are still remarkable for a single country. Like any other place, differences exist along non-geographical boundaries as well. Unlike many others, I dislike rock & pop music, prefering opera instead. Don't discount individualism.

    Fifth, anybody that claims that Americans are not capable of finding faults with their own society or government has not been paying even the slightest bit of attention. Reading virtually any American or many international media will surely show the deep political divisions going on, attempts to reform government, to fix problems in society such as juvenile crime, etc. Surely one is not arguing that something believed to be perfect is to be reformed?

    Now for my next-to-last point. Our government has lots of problems. I agree that capital punishment is one of its most serious. I do not agree that the electoral system is one of them. It is actually a far more direct way of selecting the people's representatives than is used elsewhere. To pick on Europe once again, (sorry guys) let's look at a Parliamentary system such as the British. Do you people really believe that they have a more direct vote for Prime Minister than we do for President? What about the EU, which operates on a principle similar to the Electoral College, but where the influence of each member state depends on political clout rather than population! Now that is an example of a flawed and deeply biased system.

    Finally, I find it laughable and hypocritical that some people are criticizing Americans for being prejudiced and unaware of people in other countries. One poster said, "well i think its obvious that americans are "usually" self-centered bigots, gun freaks, evil destrucitve people, etc.". What a stupid remark! It demonstrates no real perception of Americans, and is roughly the same thing as saying that "It's obvious that Australians spend most of their time fighting crocodiles." Obviously this is not true and it's just as silly for you to waste everyone's time with your prejudices against Americans because it dilutes the legitimate criticisms that people are pointing out. Similarly, making a generalization based on an anecdote is a classic logic mistake. Reasoning that all/most Americans are stupid because a couple really are (don't know what New Mexico is, for instance) makes no sense.

    -- John Goerzen

    Voting systems (none / 0) (#333)
    by spiralx on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:25:47 AM EST

    To pick on Europe once again, (sorry guys) let's look at a Parliamentary system such as the British. Do you people really believe that they have a more direct vote for Prime Minister than we do for President?

    No, not in a purely theoretical sense, because both us (Britain) and the US use a very similar system based on First Past The Post nomination of representatives who then elect a leader. In terms of deviation from proportionality (the difference between the percentage of seats in the House of Commons and the percentage of the total vote) this is a very bad method indeed. However given that the US has slightly less votes of the Electoral College (538 vs 653 in the House of Commons) and that these are grouped into blocks by state rather than individually I'd imagine that the American system is slightly less representative, if not by very much. Of course, this is just my initial reading of the subject, I may be wrong :)

    There's an interesting read on the various voting systems in Britain and Europe, along with an analysis of the recommendations of the Jenkins Report on voting reform, at this site here.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    Flaws both ways (none / 0) (#335)
    by John Goerzen on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:57:06 AM EST

    One flaw with both systems is that the candidates produced for head of government tend to be more radical than the general population, since they are picked by the party (Britain) or members of the public aligned with a party's viewpoint (USA). Interestingly, recent elections both places seem to have produced more moderate victors.

    In the USA currently, at every step along the way, the candidate selection for President is done by the voters, not by party officials or particular party members. To be elected President in the USA, in general, a candidate must have sufficient support to appear on the ballot in the primary election. The primary election is open to all voters and is used to decide the nominee for Presidential candidate from each national party. Then, the candidates face each other in the national election, which again is determined by popular vote. This is why it is not at all difficult to have a split government, as we have had for the last several years: the public may vote for members from one party to be their representatives in Washington and for a candidate from another party to be President.

    The report you mentioned was interesting. I am also in favor of some sort of system that allows voters to "rank" their choices. Our current system tends to help the two major parties in the USA remain in power and shut out others. Unfortunately, the two major parties agree that they should hold on to power, so it seems unlikely that we'll see actual reform in this regard.

    [ Parent ]

    Truly (none / 0) (#337)
    by spiralx on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 10:26:32 AM EST

    I also found the report quite interesting, as the proposal made would allow for a more representative viewpoint in terms of minority parties whilst still allowing us to avoid the worst of the pitfalls that true proportional representation can bring - shifting coalitions, deadlocked government etc.

    As I recall somewhat hazily after the last elections the Labour party and Liberal Democrats here were going to form a coalition, but because of the overwhelming victory that Labour acheived this wasn't possible due to a lack of any perceived need for it. This might have gotten the idea moved ahead to a national referendum more quickly because the Lib Dems are all in favour of it - after all in the last election they secured almost 17% of the vote but only 7% of the seats, whereas this would have almost doubled under the AV+ system.

    Anyone have any more info on the status of all this now?

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    America-Centricity and Inclusivity (3.00 / 1) (#330)
    by malcohol on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 05:57:25 AM EST


    When I submit comments on a site like this, I try to ensure that my comments makes sense to everyone.

    By everyone, I mean people of different countries, economic backgrounds, gender, race, religeon, sexuality and ability (I may be missing several other distinctions).

    No doubt I often fail in this ambition but my intention is to be *inclusive* --- to include everyone in the discussion.

    Most internet discussions will have international readers, and I would like to suggest that a good parallel is an international cocktail party. The parallel to the America-centricity on discussion sites is that of the Americans at this party shouting to each other about their concerns. Non-Americans at this party would be well justified in feeling annoyed, they have been completely over-looked. Were it to keep happening, eventually the Non-Americans will leave and the party will (in my opinion) be diminished.

    If a comment is worth making at all, it should be worth making it to everyone.

    Malcohol.

    <Nationality>Irish</Nationality>

    the ugly american (4.00 / 2) (#338)
    by bsmfh on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 10:31:27 AM EST

    I lived in (West) Germany for two years, and spent a couple months in southern France during the trip. I was on a special project for my company, and I learned some horrible things about Americans abroad. They are often very ugly, and have expectations that everything should be like home. I got pretty proficient at my speech patterns, so that I could be mistaken for a German instead of an American, because I was often ashamed of my countrymen. I did learn that if you were open-minded, and flexible, and didn't take things too seriously, you could have a lot of fun, make some great friends, and expand your perceptions of the world.

    I also came back to the states for part of the project, with my German colleages, and I learned that they also have stereotypes of ugly German tourists. And the French have similar impressions of themselves.

    My conclusion: it's not just Americans that have these problems, it's Humans.

    The ugly american (5.00 / 1) (#342)
    by theboz on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:20:04 PM EST

    Ah yes...I've seen it in Mexico as well. I often tell these people off if I can't ignore them. I remember two Novembers ago I was in Guadalajara for a friend's wedding. I know Guadalajara fairly well, and am more comfortable there than I am in the U.S., but I noticed how bad some Americans are when travelling. I saw this very strongly in the airport. There was a family travelling, and the wife was thinking that the Mexican immigration officers should let her through without viewing her paperwork because she didn't want to wait in line. She was complaining about it and I'm not sure what happened, but I doubt she got her way. On another occasion, I was in a restaurant with friends of mine (all Mexican) and some Americans were at another table. We were drinking beer and having a good time, but apparantly when travelling to other countries most Americans go deaf. They were yelling at people across the table from them, and acted like noone else was in the restaurant so they expected service even if it meant interrupting someone ordering at another table. Also, while riding in a bus where there were other Americans, I heard lots of comments about how ugly the spraypainting was on the walls and them saying something about "I guess tagging hasn't gone out of style here yet...hahahaha." Belittling a problem is not amusing to me, and also this guy must not have been to any cities or driven near any bridges on the highway (You know, "Jesus Saves" and all that crap.) I really don't see a need to be critical of the way another culture acts just because it is different than your own, yet I have heard lots of complaints that Mexicans are bad to do business with because they are "lazy" (they prefer to know someone socially if they are going to do business) and "indecisive" (preferring to be polite and non-confrontational if they disagree.) When I am in the U.S. I see it too. It's probably why I don't like to go out into public much in the U.S. but I enjoy it while in Mexico. It only takes a few idiots to ruin a reputation of a whole country, and I can definitely understand why so many people have the view of "the ugly american" for all of us.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    Hypocrite!!! (none / 0) (#356)
    by Lord Kano on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 10:30:56 AM EST

    I really don't see a need to be critical of the way another culture acts just because it is different than your own,

    You're doing nothing but complain about Americans because their actions are different from yours!!!

    [ Parent ]
    Not exactly... (5.00 / 1) (#371)
    by theboz on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 10:51:47 AM EST

    I didn't mean it in quite a simplistic manner as that. It is different to complain about something when you have the forum. If I was with a group of Americans in Mexico for example, and someone would say, "What don't you like about this country?" then they could bitch all they want...but to do it constantly and to belittle another country because they are different for no reason is wrong. I don't dislike all Americans, as I know quite a few since I live in the U.S. myself. :o) However, what I don't like is the lack of manners I encounter. When I am a guest somewhere, I am on my best behavior. I would think that most other Americans that travel could at least make an attempt to do the same.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    URG .. an american .. on americans (3.00 / 2) (#339)
    by Rembrandt on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 10:56:41 AM EST

    hello folks, I will appologise for spelling mistakes, and gramatical errors in advance. I never was good at such things, and 18 hours a day infront of a computer certainly doesn't help matters. *grin*
    Many posts here about americans .. both good and bad.
    As an American bourn in New England, (typically known for fairly good education, and the stereo-type of lots of $$.) I grew up the 'typical' american way. two parents for most of my childhood, a few sisters, a small town, a car at 18, and the typical euro stereotype of a high school sweetheart.
    I then moved to Maryland (right near DC for all you Europeans), and spent a Year abroad working for Games-Workshop. (I helped start their Japanese division, which put me in the U.K. for a year.)
    Great time, good experience, and above all- I was working in the 'foreign' division .. meaning there were hardly ANY English folks there.
    (just as an aside, People whom say Americans are anti-foreign - should spend a year working with the 'working-class' of England in the midlands. (around Manchester and Nottingham) Nothing against the British, but you have to admit, you guys dont exactly embrace foreign cultures yourself. Hence South Africa, the Faulklands, India, HongKong :P)
    Was A great time, the guy to my right was from Bilboa (spelling) Spain, the one of the left from Warsaw Poland. (he was a mathamatical freak, doing Calculus in his head, and speaking 12 languages.) We had guys from Holland, France, Germany, Japan (my guys), Finland, the Netherlands, Err .. im sure im forgetting a few.
    One thing for sure was that EVERYONE had opinions of America. (it was kind of interesting to see, for example - Poland had TOTALLY different stereotypes than Spain.)
    The U.K. guys were the worst :P we were considered outcast bastards to them. (of course, they still don't 'trust' austrailians since they were a penal colonoy.) please keep in mind during my ramblings, that im talking to sierious 'working class' fellows here, not From Surrey or Oxford.
    Another great thing i was able to witness was 'before/after' opinions. our job involved a lot of travel between countries, and it was fun taking some of the very 'opiniated' people over the pond, and see how their opinions changed. (one of the english guys spent the next 2 years trying to get transfered to the U.S.)
    I spent a year destroying peoples fragily built up stereo types. (its MUCH harder to say 'THOSE DAMN AMERICANS' when the guy next to you (who just loaned you a fiver) is FROM america :P)
    Ironically, people say that Americans don't know about world history etc. And in the next sentance they shout about how we all carry guns, and are a violent and religious society.
    Just a reminder (as this is a conversation i had QUITE often over the pond.) American cultire was FOUNDED by the use of militia and fire arms. Many of our original colonists were seeking religious freedom (or escaping prosecution) and when we wanted our independance from Great Britian .. almost every American man between 15 and 40 was expected to be able to aid in the fight for our independance. It helps explain why guns are a large part of our culture, since it was militia and firearms that allowed us to START forming an American culture. (same to go with religion btw .. but that depends on where in the US you go.) In a country that is less than 400 years old,(I once saw a BED in the U.K. that was older than this country) A recent event such as our revolution (or the first american civel war if your English) is still promanent in our past.
    Anyways , *putting on flame retardant suit* thats my 2 cents



    Yet another view (4.00 / 4) (#341)
    by heino on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:13:20 PM EST

    Well, I would like to post my view too here. I am German, if anybody wants to know, have met my fair share of US soldiers here and people married to US citizens, my sister is in the USA at the moment and perhaps I am going to fly to the USA again this year. Well, whats so special or not so special about the USA? First of all, I dislike the word "Americans" here. I am talking about the United States of America - see the difference? The USA are a part of North America; but there is more to North America and America than only the USA, like Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguy, Uruguay and so on.
    • There are some people who think about the USA as "God's own country." This slogan is rubbish for me. God sure doesn't care about nations and countries (there are some people in Europe who refuse to call the USA nation for various reason BTW, even books about it), he cares about people. Thats at least my opinion. Of course, if your believe in him or not matters here greatly. Its not the country you were born in that matters - nobody of us could choose it. We were born where we were born, this was out of our influence, countries rise and decay - we are all people of one Earth. That's what matters.
    • The USA are one of the most influential nations of the world, thats true. But they are not the biggest democracy in the world - thats India, not the country with the biggest population - thats at least China for the moment, not the biggest country by area - thats Russia. Its still one of the most influential countries in economic sense, too.
    • Of course over the big lake here are many US tv series and movies showing. The series more precisely are a reason why still some people think about the stereotype that the average US citizen has plenty of money to spend. A few years ago a soldier of the US Army complained about these stereotypes being fueled about such series, he was in a middle rank of the army.
    • Speaking of cultural differences - I don't get the heck why the gun regulations are so flap in the USA. There is one world famous clock in New York City, I guess at the Broadway, where the number of guns and rifles in the USA in private property is being shown. Statistically at least one per citizen. But its ok for me, since I don't live in the USA, nor want to anyway at the moment. Heck, you should look at the US constitution not only in the common sense of words, but you must also consider the historical context. There are some historians who consider the right of carrying guns was meant not to be in the way as today, but more to garantuee the hunting of animals.
    • The judicature in the USA is world famous for the big amounts of money some can get if being harmed by someone or else curious stuff happens. E.g. there is this anecdote about the US housewife who tried to dry her cat in the microwave, the cat died of course, then sued the producer of this thing because it wasn't stated in the manual. The amounts of money possible reach high up in the sky, the judicature compared to other countries seems to be in need of serious reforms. I've talked last year with an old friend of mine, he is being a lawyer and has his fair amount of experiences with the US system, too. In his opinion the judicature is producing "mug justice" more or less. And the lawyers in need of introducing a mandatory scale of charges and fees to overcome these circumstances.
    • The democratic system is at least in one point in need of a reform, too, more precisely in the constitution. It is a fact that in the constitution of the USA there is no mentioning of parties, no mentioning about the right of having an unharmed body among other things. But if you look at the last electional campaigns (Gore vs. Bush Jr.) you could see the need to define, how parties should be financed by law, and parties are such a big and elemental force in a democracy that they should be part of a constitution anyway. In the USA this is historical, since in the times when the constitution was written, parties were merely nonexistent. There were billions of dollars spent in this campaign, and of course it brings the viewpoint of corruption. If someone (prefereable a big industry tycoon) who helped finance Bush Jr. with a nice amount of money in the next four years needs something from the president, Bush Jr. would surely like to listen to him more than to a normal person. That's not the thing; the thing is - how much would Bush Jr. be tempted to follow the biddings?
    • I dislike the firm attitude of the USA at the World's climate conferences, the last being held in Den Haag, Netherlands. Every country needs to help to come over the global warming - the big stopping factor are always the USA, because they don't want to cut their wealth where necessary (e.g. energy prizes).
    • In a civilized land there should be no death penalty. You only have to look into the yearbooks of Amnesty International to know whats happening. I know that not in all states of the USA there is death penalty on the one hand. On the other hand when I look at Texas, where Bush Jr. was governor, and look at the rankings of executions, there comes to me the sneaking suspicion that Texas was the leader of executions in the USA to boost Bush to a certain degree. The USA are a country where private prisons are a booming market. My opinion - a country, where prisons are a booming market has a big social problem. It is statistical known that there are always more black people being executed than white ons. If - god forbid it - I was ever in the need of being executed by a country, I would choose China instead of it. They are far more human there. Human in the meaning of not waiting perhaps decades to being executed like in US prisons. Instead of it having it happen real soon and without much pain (an electrical chair surely causes pain), like through a neck shot.
    • The US citizen normally lives in his state. Washington, D.C. is far away, other lands probably, too. So, most of what he knows and is of interest to him is about the state.
    • There is a cultural difference about nudity and violence between USA and Germany. In the USA nudity is not well endowed; in Germany, its more violence. You have to look at computergames. In the USA there are games, where figures are in clothings while in Germany/Europe they are nude, or you could at least see the breasts. At least in Germany, the same is about violence; take e.g. "Half Life". In the US version you shoot on Marines, in the German version you shoot on Bots. This was necessary to overcome the index. Otherwise, the same game (e.g. Giants: Citizen Kabuto) where the figure in the USA was covered is at least partially nude in Germany.
    • I guess its blaming for the USA that they still haven't paid their debts to the UN (about 1 billion US dollars).
    • Patriotism is fine, is its not too big. But if you have only patriotism left - then something is wrong. Of course not every citizen feels so, but some maybe.
    • Besides, US people are usually nice people. You can live with them, talk with them, have fun with them and do other stuff. In every counry there are nice and not so nice people, the difficulty is to find the nice ones, perhaps.
    • The USA are in need of a better health system. Over 40 (50?) million people without social insurance - thats really big.
    • The latest election of the president made the world lough about the USA. Many outside the USA don't understand the need of the electoral college anymore. True, in former times it was perhaps needed because of the history and not so good traffic possibilities. But today? Its a tradition, but not really needed anymore in the age of cars, trains, telephones, radio, tv, internet. Al Gore had 540.000 votes more than George W. Bush, but Bush is the next president. In any other democracy Gore were the next president. In Europe there is the word "banana republic", meaning and describing the situation of such countries like Columbia. Even Italian newspapers - among others - now called the USA a "super banana republic" because of this. And Italy was famous in Europe not quite so long ago to have an election for the parliament at least about every two years before their last reform of the system. But you always normally get the politicians you deserve, they are not better than the folk, so...
    • There is this stereotype about the US people not having much common knowledge compared to other countries. There were studies of college pupils, if they could locate the USA on a world map - many failed. But this surely differs greatly.
    • If you look at TIMSS you have a scientifically founded study of how the US school system compares to other countries.
    Err, its rather large now - I wish all a nice day anyway. Just my two cents.

    Not to be too technical... (5.00 / 1) (#344)
    by tewl on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 05:53:51 PM EST

    ...but look what Merriam Webster has for definitions of American.

    Main Entry: 1Amer·i·can
    Pronunciation: &-'mer-&-k&n, -'m&r-, -'mar-, -i-k&n
    Function: noun
    Date: 1578
    1 : an American Indian of No. America or So. America
    2 : a native or inhabitant of No. America or So. America
    3 : a citizen of the U.S.
    4 : AMERICAN ENGLISH

    Otherwise, you made some really great points. As for the electoral college, one of the main reasons of keeping it over the popular vote is it atleast gives the citizens in smaller states a say in the matter.

    This hits home for me, coming from a very small state (Vermont), with well under a million residents, and even less registered voters. A presidential candidate would only have to win a few of the heavily populated states in order to take the election, so he/she would of course only campaign in the larger states and cater to their wants and desires. It does need reform though, that cannot be denied after the recent fiasco.



    [ Parent ]
    Why? (none / 0) (#367)
    by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 06:29:23 AM EST

    A presidential candidate would only have to win a few of the heavily populated states in order to take the election, so he/she would of course only campaign in the larger states and cater to their wants and desires.

    Why would this be bad? If people only vote on someone because that someone showed his face in their state, then the problem is with the people, not with the electoral college. In fact, the only reason the electoral college will not disappear is because it counteracts the incredible dumb reasons people vote for. Even something as silly as speeches, or TV ads can have a massive effect on who you vote for. While in reality you're supposed to vote for the person that best represents your beliefs. All you need is internet, and one hour, and you know immediately who your candidate should be.
    Maybe the whole idea of campaigning should stop. It's the glitter and glamour of the campaign that stops people from really thinking about who they want to vote for.
    There are two reasons the democrats and republicans are so famous, while other candidates are not. Campaigning, and the media. Take away campaigning, and you make a big difference. Force a minimum airing time for every candidate to expose their views, and you make the system healthy.

    [ Parent ]

    Campaign Finance Reform (2.50 / 2) (#373)
    by tewl on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 04:16:11 PM EST

    I agree with your sentiments, but my point was, without the electoral college, a candidate would only have to cater to the needs and wants of the most populated states to win. Campaigning needs reform, I'm more for finance reform though. You can sign a petition being circulated by Senator John McCain here.



    [ Parent ]
    You have made many assumptions (none / 0) (#350)
    by weirdling on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:18:58 PM EST

    I must disagree with this post on many fronts; I'll try to be brief.
    First, I am an American who was born and raised abroad, mostly in Asia.
    As such, I have had the opportunity to come into contact with many different people of many different cultures, and most of them were personable and nice, the ratio being about equal amongst all races. However, they all had a certain moral certitude about their beliefs that was unimpeachable.
    So, my premise is that America does *not* own the franchise on telling others what to do. The rest of the world has come to some conclusions about America without much understanding of America, just like Americans have about the rest of the world. It is a lack of understanding that causes this, not any particular thing. Yes, Americans are notoriously bad about understanding other cultures, but I've met plenty Europeans with the same problem, primarily that they do not understand Americans.
    Now, for many reasons America is where I live despite the fact that being a software engineer, I could move to just about anywhere at the moment. The only other place I'd consider is Switzerland.
    Now for the reasons:
    The US isn't the only one to be proud of who they are. Bragging when you are on top isn't allowed, though. We had to be very careful about being proud of where we were when overseas.
    The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our constitution. Most of the world, and a lot of the US, believe that the constitution either does not refer to combat arms or should be re-interpreted as such, but the constitution is quite clear on this point; it protects only such arms as 'are in common usage' in the military. Our constitution does *not* protect hunting and sport weapons. Now, as for revoking this right, first, there'd have to be proof that this would reduce crime, and no credible proof exists. Switzerland has high gun ownership and lax gun laws and yet has very low crime. England has much higher crime, although their gun laws are very strict. Crime isn't related to gun ownership at all, as these are law-abiding citizens, not criminals. It is an erroneous assumption made by most people that possessing a gun will cause one to effect a homicide.
    Most of the stories of high payoffs in tort lawsuits are apocryphal. There is a thriving rumor mill about it, though. The tort system in the US is a problem, but it also keeps corporations honest, so I'm willing to live with it.
    As to global warming, that has never been demonstrated to exist. Once a consensus is reached by scientists that it is actually happening, you can insist that the US do more. It is like gun control; no credible study exists to show what you wish to have the US do, and until one does, why should we do it?
    The US has a big social problem. It is called the war on drugs, but I won't go into that. Private prisons invariably keep prisoners more cheaply than do public ones, and as a prisoner, you can sue a private prison for bad treatment, as is happening in Colorado right now. As for the death penalty, whether or not it is civilised, it is effective. The statement that 'no civilised country should have a death penalty' makes no premise, shows no data, and therefore is not an argument; it is a smear based on a prejudice that is a result of your upbringing. I was brought up that if someone murders someone, they die. That is justice. How a civilised country can not have a death penalty escapes me.
    Cultural situations vary from state to state. In Colorado, alcohol and nudity are freely available and not much denegrated, but guns are, while in Texas, the reverse is true. That's more a reflection of the moral panorama of the area. I do agree with you that the US is needlessly prudish, though.
    The USA isn't fond of the UN right now. The UN has made many moves to remove freedoms we like in the interest of uniformity, and as long as they continue to do so, my support of the UN will continue to fade. The US is a sovereign country, an idea that seems lost on most of Europe. I have written both my senators and my congressman insisting that I do not like the UN right now and would appreciate if pressure were applied through diplomatic means to let the UN and the rest of the world that the old adage still stands, "don't tread on me". And, this is one of the things other cultures find annoying about America: we'd rather go our own way for the most part. We won't sacrifice merely for unity or the common good of the world. Well, the US has a long history of being screwed by other world powers and are understandably paranoid about it. This fundamental paranoia goes along with a fundamental laziness to explain much of what America does, but both those things are considered wrong by much of Europe, which is an opinion, not a fact. American paranoia has kept us on the winning end of most our wars and American laziness is responsible for our wealth and technological growth.
    The lack of social insurance is a good thing. There are many examples of failing social insurance programs around the world. I don't know how well Germany's is doing, but here, with the system we have, it is hard to get health care. The quality of American health care is very high right now. Most socialised systems result in lower quality.
    Hmm, lessee, the parliamentarian system is a vast improvement over the electoral college? The rest of the world may laugh, but the system has worked for a very long time and we *don't* have a government failure every time someone manages a vote of no-confidence. I don't know what Germany's system is, so you may not have this problem, but most of Europe does, it seems. As to who is president, the popular vote was a statistical tie. The press here are reporting that Gore won it, but it was well within the margin of error, and in such cases, we resolve it by the electoral college. This is because the federal government is *not* directly elected by the people. It is voted through the states. The states are free to allocate their electors as they please, and some states do split their electors, but it is a state issue, and none of the federal government's business.
    Now, about schools. The US school system is deplorable about drilling facts, but if you look carefully, you'll find that most people do not need to know these things for their daily life, and Americans are fundamentally lazy. The US school system does, however, teach a person to think independantly, which is something many European schools fail at. Also, if you have the money, you can pursue any subject you like at any pace you like. Getting the money is easy as long as your grades stay up. The opportunities available in the US school system are vastly better than those elsewhere.
    The rest of the world, who use the term 'civilised' to refer to themselves, automatically assume themselves superior and get upset when an American disagrees. This anger is often made worse by the fact of the American success. It is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. Often, people assume that they are right, meaning someone else must be wrong. However, in these cases above mentioned, this country more closely suits my worldview and yours more closely suits yours. Yes, the US tries to influence other countries to be more like it, but so does most of Europe. You yourself insist we get rid of guns and the death penalty. What is so different about what we do?

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    Some comments on your comments ;) (none / 0) (#358)
    by MKalus on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 02:02:25 PM EST

    >>As for the death penalty, whether or not it is civilised, it is effective. The statement that 'no civilised country should have a death penalty' makes no premise, shows no data, and therefore is not an argument; it is a smear based on a prejudice that is a result of your upbringing. I was brought up that if someone murders someone, they die. That is justice. How a civilised country can not have a death penalty escapes me. <<

    Considering the fact that the US calls itself a "christian" country this form of punishment should NOT happen.

    Yes yes, the old testament states that "eye for an eye", but guess what: Christian Believe is basedon the new testament and there Jesus told something totally different, as such the death penalty IS morally wrong.

    Besides? Did it prevent any murder / crime at all? I doubt it, people who rob a bank or shoot somebody don't get stopped because they suddenly realize that they might get killed for it.

    The problem for the high (and violent) crime rate is poverty, and that is extrem for a rich country like the US.

    >>The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our constitution. Most of the world, and a lot of the US, believe that the constitution either does not refer to combat arms or should be re-interpreted as such, but the constitution is quite clear on this point; it protects only such arms as 'are in common usage' in the military. Our constitution does *not* protect hunting and sport weapons. Now, as for revoking this right, first, there'd have to be proof that this would reduce crime, and no credible proof exists. Switzerland has high gun ownership and lax gun laws and yet has very low crime. England has much higher crime, although their gun laws are very strict. Crime isn't related to gun ownership at all, as these are law-abiding citizens, not criminals. It is an erroneous assumption made by most people that possessing a gun will cause one to effect a homicide. <<

    I read an interresting post from a history professor of a major US university (unfortunatly it escapes me right now), neverthless, his statements where that the "right to bear arms" was meant towards the ability to form a milita to defend the constitution, not to allow everybody who wants to have a gun.

    Additionally, if you think about it: There is not much sense today to have a gun. Back in the 18th century there where a lot of wild animals and other dangers out there, but nowadays?

    >>Well, the US has a long history of being screwed by other world powers and are understandably paranoid about it.<<

    Do you have some examples?

    I don't remember anything that would support this statement, so far the US always used it's economic power over the other countries, be it in war or peace time to get what they want.

    The US, might not be interrested in a "good world" but in a "world according to the US" and that is something that shows very clearly in the international politics.

    When the war on the balcan errupted the US didn't care much, why? Because they're financial interrests where not at peril, though Saddam is coffing in the gulf and within days you have a couple of thousands US soldiers down there.

    >>The lack of social insurance is a good thing. There are many examples of failing social insurance programs around the world. I don't know how well Germany's is doing, but here, with the system we have, it is hard to get health care. The quality of American health care is very high right now. Most socialised systems result in lower quality. <<

    What good does it do to me if I can see all the fresh baked bread through the window of the bakery but cannot afford a loaf?

    That is the standard in the US as I see it. If you have money (and the amount of people who can consider wealthy are getting fewer and fewer) you can get very good health care in the US, no doubt about it, if you are a poor soul or even a "normal" person the costs of a doctor can ruin you.

    The Medical system in Germany is first class, and so I would say it is in most european countries, if it isn't good enough for you you always have the choice to get private health insurance.

    Bottom line is: People in "socalist" countries get overall the better healthcare.

    >>Now, about schools. The US school system is deplorable about drilling facts, but if you look carefully, you'll find that most people do not need to know these things for their daily life, and Americans are fundamentally lazy. <<

    To that I only have one comment: "Those who do not learn out of the past are condemmend to repeat it.".

    In other words: I might not need to know about chemistry as I am working in IT, but yet, knowledge is NEVER for nothing, there are always ways to use your knowledge.

    >>The US school system does, however, teach a person to think independantly, which is something many European schools fail at. <<

    WHERE exactly does that happen? I don't think the US system is in any way "teaching" people to think on their own. In fact I would go the opposit way that people merely are teached to think in certain ways about things, but that is not "independant" that is just an illusion of it.

    As for european schools, there goes the same way, if or if not somebody is thinking on his own is up to the person, and as you said so yourself several times: US Americans are lazy, and as such I don't think that'll happen too often (of course with 300 Millionen people you'll find a handful or two).

    >>What is so different about what we do? <<

    One word: Money.

    That is what the US is all about, if you stripp of the money there is nothing going to be left, the US is a cutthorat society where the value of an individual is measured by it's wealth, not by it's knowledge or character. You can be the biggest ass, as long as you have money or fame (which in return is based on making lots of money, or who in the US would respect an artist who wouldn't charge a large sum of money for his / her art?).

    I guess that is MY beef with you guys, the fact that you are very self centered to a point where the rest of the world is only seen as something that doesn't count.

    Considering tha ta country that only sports 5% of the world population is taking 66% of it's resources is a very frightening thought.

    If the rest of the world (or let's just say china) is becoming like the US the earth will be dead in no time.


    -- Michael
    [ Parent ]
    hmmmmm ... (none / 0) (#366)
    by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 06:18:29 AM EST

    As to global warming, that has never been demonstrated to exist. Once a consensus is reached by scientists that it is actually happening, you can insist that the US do more.

    If you honestly believe this then you're not willing to see the truth. Even a simple search on Yahoo for "global warming" will immediately give you all the facts and proof you want. It is a fact that temperatures have risen dramatically over the last century, and continue to do this at the highest rate since we started taking climate logs.
    Now, of course there are still some studies who claim otherwise, but then again, studies are made for someone. And if that someone pays for the study they don't want to hear what they don't like. Try it. It's very easy to buy a study claiming all trees are purple with red polka dots on them.
    For the most part, however, the scientific community agrees global warming is happening, and will have dire consequences. Although not immediately for the US. Studies have been made that prove the US can counter the effects of global warming effectively for it's own territory. Although at the same time they show that several countries are in danger of disappearing due to rising ocean levels. And we're talking about a timeframe of 30 years here. Again this shows the amount of self-centeredness of US politics. If it doesn't hurt the US, they don't care.
    Global warming is a planetary problem, and it can only be counteracted by the entire planet. And what the planet sees is that every time there is an international meeting about global warming studies are released showing the disasters that lie ahead if changes aren't made (at the cost of economic welfare, that i'll give you), and every time the US response is "we need to study this further before we take action". Although that's probably not the way you hear it on the US news.

    Now, about schools. The US school system is deplorable about drilling facts, but if you look carefully, you'll find that most people do not need to know these things for their daily life, and Americans are fundamentally lazy. The US school system does, however, teach a person to think independantly, which is something many European schools fail at.

    To use your own argumentation against you: Show me your proof. If people really thought independantly, then you would not have the two party system. I refuse to believe that so few people would have a different view than the democra-publicans (basically they stand for the same things) if people thought for themselves. Even from across the pacific I can see right through the democra-publican smokescreen, so surely any US citizen who wants to think about it can think about it.
    Besides, I know local people (I live in Belgium) who went to study in the US and laughed at how easy your schools are (and that was on a masters level btw), and I have also heard (although not directly) of US people coming over here and be wowed by the high level our education is at.
    Ofcourse, it's not like you can't get a good education in the US. It's just that if you want a good education, you need to pay for it, a lot. This is a system that keeps poor people poor, and powerless, and that can't be right.

    [ Parent ]

    Yes, but... (none / 0) (#388)
    by weirdling on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 05:15:26 PM EST

    The fact that temperatures are rising cannot be *proved*, as the difference is within the error rates of equipment used. Also, it is *assumed* that greenhouse gases are to blame, while it is well known that we are coming out of an ice-age and it could be a natural warm-up if it can be proved to exist in the first place. Further, no one has even approached the impact of naturally produced greenhouse gases in any kind of rigorous study, and it is not known what kind of consumption trees have. On the basis of this rather fragile system of beliefs, the rest of the world expects the US to change its behaviour radically. The fact is that only in Europe is it widely assumed that global warming is happening in the scientific community; the US has had a long-term running battle over it because we require a higher level of proof before stepping in and changing people's lives and removing freedoms.
    So, it is not that I have chosen to ignore facts; it is that the facts do not prove what global warming people claim they do. This is a situation where a fundamental disagreement becomes a moral issue: Europeans and American leftists firmly believe that something must be done because there might be a problem while conservatives firmly believe that solving a problem that is not well understood and might not exist is idiotic.
    As to the education, there is no doubt that European schools are harder. This means that education is *not* available to all. Improving your social position is much harder. In this country, you can study if you like. In much of Europe, you must pass stringent entry exams to do so. Which is better? Community colleges in the US are within reach of anyone willing to try, and their education is adequate to improve one's stature in life significantly.
    As to the ability to think independantly, that is largely my own experience interacting with different types of education products in different countries. I found that the American and Canadian were far more likely to simply plunge into a job, such as repairing a generator, than were the French, Belgian, or British. I haven't known many Germans. While teaching computer repair in Africa, I had a terrible time throwing curves to the largely French and Belgian system products there, as they simply could not understand why I would make a problem in their computer that I had not told them how to fix. Of course, I was using the American system, where such behaviour is common-place in order to train the student to handle unforseen problems. Perhaps this has changed in the European system, but last I checked, it was a glaring problem. Yes, those students could almost quote me word-for-word on any lecture I gave, but they never understood a thing I said for the most part. As long as I gave them something to memorise, they were fine.
    I, myself, am a product of the British and American school systems, having done two years in the British system when I was young, and the drill was fearsome. It was also rather pointless. There was very little work on making the student handle the unexpected and a lot of work making the student repeat what was said. Mimes excel in this style education; I did not. I always prefer to think for myself, and fared much better in the American system, although it was still quite boring.
    So, while I do know people who would have trouble locating their state on a map of the US, these people can fix their own cars, work on their own computers, and generally handle anything you throw at them.
    It is possible it is only the people I met, but I doubt it. The lack of willingness to try the unfamiliar is a definate setback in a missionary.

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    okay (none / 0) (#391)
    by Joeri Sebrechts on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 03:45:41 AM EST

    The fact is that only in Europe is it widely assumed that global warming is happening in the scientific community; the US has had a long-term running battle over it because we require a higher level of proof before stepping in and changing people's lives and removing freedoms.

    Fine. We'll wait until the ocean water across the planet has risen a couple of meters so we can absolutely be sure that nothing else but greenhouse effects are causing it. Although by then it will be too late ofcourse, because several islands will have effectively disappeared.

    As to the education, there is no doubt that European schools are harder. This means that education is *not* available to all. Improving your social position is much harder. In this country, you can study if you like. In much of Europe, you must pass stringent entry exams to do so.

    In fact, this is not true. A lot of countries have very few entry exams. Only where the education costs a LOT of money to the government, or where too many students want to follow that education (leading to a saturation of the workforce market) do they have entry exams. And besides, entry exams make it so that only the best and the brightest pass them, instead of the ones who's daddy has most power/money like the US system encourages.
    Besides, we're talking about university level schooling. Anything below that only rarely has an entry exam. THey're even planning on passing a national law here that forces schools (even private schools) to accept students, so nobobdy is denied a good education. Also, on the lower levels it's obviously a lot easier. So, although it's true that it's quite difficult to pass at a university level, if you can't pass for whatever reason you can always try the lowel levels. That'll still land you a job, and you'll still get a good education, it'll just be easier, and you'll not get a job _that_ easily as you would with a university degree.

    I was using the American system, where such behaviour is common-place in order to train the student to handle unforseen problems. Perhaps this has changed in the European system, but last I checked, it was a glaring problem.

    That's just as a-typical for Belgian schooling as it is for US schooling. And being a product of Belgian schooling myself, I can guarantee you that. I think that trying to get students to be inventive is something that originates at the teacher's level, not on a national or continental level. Besides, there isn't such a thing as European education anyway, since the only thing shared between the different countries over here is the socialist approach of paying for the students, so students can do whatever they want without worrying about money too much.

    [ Parent ]

    The funny thing is (none / 0) (#392)
    by weirdling on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:28:36 PM EST

    You speak of the government forcing the schools to accept anyone below University level and of the socialist school system being the commonality; here in the US, we've had required schooling until the age of 16 for a very long time. Not only must the school accept them, but they must go to school. Thus, the government must foot the bill for the school, so we have the government-funded school mess that is the US school system.
    I guess my big point in the previous post was that no European schol system is significantly better; no European philosophy is morally superior; no European form of government is perfect, either. The disdain most Europeans feel for Americans isn't rooted in any real superiority anymore than your average American's nationalism is founded on 'manifest destiny'. However, Europeans continue to bash America and Americans bash Europeans and nothing real happens.
    America is different. It works. I like it better than Belgium. No offense; you obviously like Belgium better. That's your business.
    I'm not as rabid as a normal American; I would consider moving to Switzerland, but that's about it.

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: The funny thing is (none / 0) (#394)
    by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 05:26:44 AM EST

    You speak of the government forcing the schools to accept anyone below University level and of the socialist school system being the commonality; here in the US, we've had required schooling until the age of 16 for a very long time. Not only must the school accept them, but they must go to school.

    What I meant was that you can go to ANY school now, even a private school, and demand to follow school there. They can NOT say that because they're a private school they won't take you in. There are obviously some loopholes, like if you're thrown out, you can't come back, and you must be able to foot the bill (but if you can't, the government probably will). I should have been more clear about it.

    America is different. It works. I like it better than Belgium. No offense; you obviously like Belgium better. That's your business. I'm not as rabid as a normal American; I would consider moving to Switzerland, but that's about it.

    You're right. The bashing is stupid. Maybe there should be a European slashdot, that way I'd get to see more of the crap from over here. Then again, maybe there is and I haven't found it yet.
    Belgium isn't so great btw. I don't think that we as a country are _better_ than the US. I just think our school system is more fair and delivers better educated students on the whole. Although I admit that my knowledge from the US school system isn't as thorough as I'd want it to be.
    Oh, and guess what, I'd consider moving to Switzerland too :-) Although I'd probably like Canada better.

    [ Parent ]

    Democratic countries are all the same (none / 0) (#352)
    by Overturn on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 01:38:34 AM EST

    Al Gore had 540.000 votes more than George W. Bush, but Bush is the next president. In any other democracy Gore were the next president. In Europe there is the word "banana republic", meaning and describing the situation of such countries like Columbia. Even Italian newspapers - among others - now called the USA a "super banana republic" because of this.

    If you think the states is the only place where one could lose for the wrong reasons then you are sadly mistaken. Here in Canada a political party can win the popular vote yet not get enough seats to get the majority needed to become the governing party. Worse yet, the party can win the election yet see it's party leader (who would normally become the prime minister) not win his seat. These things have happened in the province of Quebec.
    The only reason Canada doesn't get the Banana Republic treatment is because not all eyes are on us and I'm certain that we are far from being the only democratic country where such political blunders have/will happen.

    [ Parent ]

    Bit of serendipity here... (3.00 / 1) (#343)
    by TrentC on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 04:55:58 PM EST

    I've been reading the discussion from kind of a standoffish POV; I'm not terribly wrapped up in what other cuntries think of "us", but I like hearing people's perceptions.

    But then I was listening to the Rick Emerson show on my way to pick up my wife at work. Their topic was something along the lines of "Is being an American an advantage or disadvantage when traveling abroad?"

    What followed was the most obnoxious, jingoistic drivel I could have imagined. Some armchair psychiatrist weighed in with the considered notion that "French are rude to everyone; it must stem from their anxiety about being invaded"(!). Someone else called in saying "I think that if they just bulldozed the entire country [of France] and paved it over it'd improve things 100%". The host responded to every instance of someone pointing out that the French or Greeks(?) don't like Americans with "Well, who in their right mind would want to go to [France/Greece] anyway?" It was like "Gee, Americans are so cool, do any other countries think we're as cool as we do? And if not, who the hell cares?"

    I didn't listen for too long; but if anyone cares, I think there's an archive of his shows on his web site. (Then again, if you don't want to up his hit rate, I wouldn't blame you either.)

    Jay (=



    As an addendum... (none / 0) (#357)
    by TrentC on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 11:55:53 AM EST

    I was listening to the same station yesterday and I found out that the Rick Emerson show is being replaced by another show as of next week.

    God, I love karma (not the /. kind, but...)

    Jay (=



    [ Parent ]
    Then again.. (1.00 / 1) (#345)
    by k5er on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 05:56:20 PM EST

    If people from other countries don't like it, why do they come. It seems like most discussion sites are done in the US so of course they are gonna reflect the values of the US. I am from Canada and if it really pissed me off, I would make a discussion site ending in .ca but I really don't care.
    Long live k5, down with CNN.
    and .com is the US? (1.00 / 2) (#362)
    by Foul_Irony on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 06:25:12 PM EST

    The US does actually have its own country domain, so this should be org.us .. but US citizens being as they are decided they were in fact the world and stole the generic domains!

    [ Parent ]
    As they say... (5.00 / 1) (#364)
    by k5er on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 07:17:13 PM EST

    First come, first serve
    Long live k5, down with CNN.
    [ Parent ]
    US of A (3.00 / 1) (#353)
    by kpeerless on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 01:50:36 AM EST

    During the Second World War the British complaint was that the Americans were "overpaid, oversexed and over here." As a Canadian I have no comment on overpaid nor oversexed but The Us is certainly a difficult neighbour for a country with 1/10 their population. Trying to retain a separate cultural identity next door to the US is a difficult balancing act. The problem isn't with American Citizens as much as it is with American Corporations and the American Government that supports their interests. Our cultural values, medical system, social safety net and now to some extent our political system are under constant assault. Our politicians are so lapdoggish as to be useless in protecting our different values. Our borders are largely undefended and American cultural garbage don't so much leak across as storm across like a series of tsunamis. Even something as simple as movie releases are under the American thumb as Americans own the Canadian Releasing companies. A Canadian made film is shown in Canada as a foreign film. American Corporations are inclined to treat us as their personal stash of resources kept handy in the north. When the Brits abandoned the Commonwealth and joined the European Common Market the rest of us should have petitioned for inclusion also. Its for sure that Oz, the Kiwis and the Canucks have more in common as far as social values are concerned than we Canadians have with our neighbours to the south of us who seem intent on shooting each other, imprisoning their poor folks in their now rapidly becomming private prison system or just executing them. One can only hope that the 'brain drain' will tend to ameliorate these unfortunate tendencies. And as for the Canadians that move south and like it... good. You should be happy and stay there. Don't be returning in your old age when you become ill and the American Medical System plucks you clean.

    A nice example of US-thinking in their products (none / 0) (#355)
    by krbonne on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 07:57:31 AM EST

    A couple of months ago, I had to buy a new mobile phone. ('GSM' in euro-speak ;-))

    As my boss pays the bill, I didn't get to choice, so now I have a motorola. Not such a bad thing, but one thing did strike me.
    - The GSM norm allows messages to be broadcast by the network, that can be shown on the phone. (called 'cell-broadcast messages'). Those messages have a 'language' tag attached to it.
    - In the phone, there also a a 'language setting' that corresponds to the language of the user. (Among others, it controls the language of the menus on the screen).

    It turns out that the motorola phone will only display the cell-broadcast messages that have the same language-tag as the language of the user.

    This does make sence "say the user is french-speaking (manipulates her phone using french menus), she will probaby only be interested in french-language cell-broadcast messages.
    But, apperantly, the (probaby US) engineers didn't consider the fact that a lot of people actually understand and speak more then one language.

    (I did say 'US', I hope and not america, as Canadians should now better!).


    Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

    think again (none / 0) (#377)
    by ritesh on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:52:40 AM EST

    errr, a few things,

    1. Cell phones have quite limited memory, so the reason that they display one language is probably because the OS they run is small and lack of flash memory makes it impractical.

    2. your phone is essentially a thin client. there is not much intelligence in the phone. most of the intelligence resides in the base station switching hardware. the world leaders in GSM switching hardware are Ericcson, Nokia, Alcatel, Siemens and Nortel. Motorola has a small share of it. Since Europe is where the multilingual problem is most severe, you should blame the European telecom equipment providers for not making their base station hardware smart enough. wait, they were probably dumb and did'nt realize it.
    3. Motorola's GSM research and development is done in Swindon, UK. Quite useless to blame those damn Americans for it.



    [ Parent ]
    mobile phones and languages (none / 0) (#380)
    by krbonne on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 04:36:55 PM EST

    Hmm. There goes my nice theory! ;-(

    Responding to your message:

    Conserning 1 and 2:
    I don't really understand. This is just the fact that the GSM-operator 'tag' their cell-broadcast messages with a certain language and that the morolla phones do not filter the cell-broadcast messages they show based on this language-tag and the language the user has chosen to operate his phone.
    In the panasonic I had before this motorola, I was able to select the language of the cell-broadcast messages I wanted to receive. The alcatel phones have an option 'only local language or all-languages'.

    In my case, my operator (which operates a dual-band netswork) put a message 'dual band' in the bases-stations that operate on 1800 Mhz. As Belgium in tri-lingual (dutch, french and german), they tag in these messages as 'english'. (as a 'neutral' language).
    If I put my mobile to operate in dutch (my native language) I do not receive these messages.

    IMHO, this is has nothing to do the bases-stations, but only the phones.
    (But correct me if I am wrong).

    Conserning 3:
    ;-)
    (I should put here a remark about the knowledge of foreign language of the British, but I'll keep my mouth shut, I guess). ;-)


    Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: mobile phones and languages (none / 0) (#386)
    by ritesh on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 01:16:12 AM EST

    hmm. you are right :-( i guess then motorola or its engineers did a shabby job of designing their phones. however, therein lies in the rub of global capitalism, motorola is no more a US corporation than nokia is finnish with its r&d centers all over the us and asia is finnish.

    i know this will sound contradictory - but i am truly baffled when people say the US is guilty of cultural imperialism. i am talking as someone who has lived here for the last 10 years only. the biggest cultural export of the US is the credo of maximising profits and by implication to cater to the lowest common denominator. this leads to products which are generally tasteless which is different than cultural imperialism.

    [ Parent ]
    Intrigued by your views about Americans(USA) (none / 0) (#359)
    by Grandmom on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 03:08:43 PM EST

    I just love it! I'm what they call a liberal-democrat USAmerican and our motto is Jesus was a Liberal. Republicans hate it because they think that they have full ownership of Jesus, meaning ownership of USAmerican style religion which are Fortune 500 religious institutes for the promotion of capitalism. Liberals are not against capitalism. We are against the abuse of religion, the abuse of God's words for the promotion of capitalism and greed. The republicans are the ones with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. If you'll like to read some free speech and read USAmerican liberal-democrat (supporters of Prez Clinton & Hillary), visit Bartcop.com and Bushwatch.com. Let's get to know some real liberal-USAmericans. Thanks you and Happy New Year!

    I disagree. (none / 0) (#360)
    by 3than on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 03:25:03 PM EST

    I haven't met any americans around here, and I don't see what the big fuss is all about. Sure, I've seen some tele-visual entertainment about these haggard ruffians, I've read some codices of treatises on their comportment, but I don't really believe that this particular group of undesirables could ever be much trouble. Now, I've met a lot of South Americans, they seem to be good people; I've met some Asian- and African-Americans, solid, decent folk all. But these 'Americans,' I just don't know about. Despite the fact that I live on the Columbian Continent, in the north, in New Amsterdam City, I haven't had too many problems with those hooligans and scallywags, the americans. Sometimes I have terrible dreams about great bands of American Barbarians trying to bash down the gates of Columbia, after having crossed over to New Amsterdam by the Holland Tunnel perhaps, but they are just dreams...and my life continues undisturbed in this wonderful port city, where I am surrounded by Italian wine, German Beer, Russian Vodka, Nipponese Sushi and Korean restaurants...there is precious little evidence of those other imperialists, the Britons and the French, save for a bistro now and then. I just hope that someone nips this 'americanism' problem in the bud before their actions begin to affect decent citizens of the world like you and me.

    I say media is the best thing about the US of A (none / 0) (#363)
    by Damone on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 06:59:06 PM EST

    actualy its the worst part of it but i think its wrong to bash the USA over grounds such as not having gun control, death penalty, crime and other junk. First off gun control is a big issue in the USA in places like CAnada they are slowly banning different types of guns until all of them are banned. People here realize that the Can is not to different from us besides paying twice the taxes and that we may be next. Fact says that it is much safer to not own a gun than have one for self protection but its not about how its stupid to do so its over the principle. In a world where certian personal freedoms are being repealed we dont want to lose any more personal freedom. Even though it is a lost cause moral issues always win over time such as murder slavery all that junk. Next when it comes to crime the reason we have it is because of population density. Name one large city that has a lower crime rate than the rural areas in that country. It is unfair to say that. Thats like saying Chinas population eats to much food when they have the largest population to feed in the world. Also when you say that Americans are bad about hating other countries look at Europe. Nationalism is what has kept the Euro dollar to being worth nothing. Thats why no European country will ever be ever to challange the US in imports exports productivity since they are all nationalists and cant agree on crap. Next you critize the US for not paying its debt to the UN. First off the UN is a joke in its own right, what has it done right. When every it gets involved in any situation it just hurts instead of helps, and theirs alot of other junk the US does to help out other countries such as the ISS wouldnt exist without the US, a Dictatorship would of been the first to the moon. When you question the civility of the US through the death penalty or crime look at EUROPE. How many conflicts and wars have started their. The two biggest wars in human history were started by it. Also when you question the death penalty have you ever heard of anybody that got the death penalty to have a life of crime. Have you ever seen a pendulim swing one way higher than it swings the other. Any other problems you have with the US you can blame it on the Liberals since they are the reason why people pay 25% of their income on taxes which could be spent on buying stocks. BTW who said jails were a booming business their the reason why their was a hike in tax increases over the last admin. The reason they are so full is not because they are full of murderers and rapists is because their full of junkies. Some drugs need to be legallized in the US so they can be regulated and jails will have more room.

    My two units of local currency! (1.00 / 1) (#365)
    by Foul_Irony on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 07:24:22 PM EST

    Having spent well over an hour reading every single post on this thread (130 odd!), I came to a conclusion of what I think of US Citizens.

    I don't like them.

    But I must be careful of how I define my conclusion.

    Individuals are people, some are ok, some really need to be removed from the gene pool quickly, but as a collective of citizens, u stink!

    The stereotype of fat, loud and stupid must be correct for the stereotype to exist in the first place, but the true damage is coming from your corps and media.

    With the hire/fire attitude of US companies having taken a hold in the UK, its not such a nice place to be anymore. We seem to have imported all the worst aspects of US culture, from long working hours to the no win, no fee claim companies who are ruining the whole insurance industry and helping to make society much more weary of each other.

    Your media is based on a 10 second attention span and an IQ of 6. All Holywood films are based on one of 3 stories, and are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator - then you export it!!

    Your attitude to technology is amazing. Any product that is successful somewhere else first, has to be modified for the US market. e.g. GSM.

    Your technology companies spend their R&D money on buying in technology rather than inventing it, and your definition of improving technology is to make it bigger rather than make it more efficient.

    As for your political system, it seems to be based on style not content. No other country in the world would vote in such low brow people to govern them. (e.g. a sexual pervert, an illitrate VP, a celebrity with a mental condition, and your latest recruit, a man with no stamps in his passport and a taste for babaric justice)

    Yet there is something you can be proud of. You really know how to make money. Your economic skills are very good. You know how to buy and sell everything, and maybe this is the way you can refocus all that mis-directed patriotism. You can sell flags to each other!

    Actually, there was one other thing I hated about Americans, you talk too much, you analyse things out of proportion but only using limited information, so based on one 10 second news story, you think you know everything about a subject, and unfortunatly, you don't!

    I hope this helped you find out what someone for Wales (use your map reading skills!) thinks of the US of A.


    KKK vs. Lietkulture (5.00 / 1) (#374)
    by ritesh on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 08:19:22 PM EST

    Many posters commented how the US must be a horrible place because of the hate groups, guns, the skewed public defender system which is biased against the poor and hence minorities, the incarceration of millions of youth for minor offences and so on so forth. What is worse the KKK or "Leitkulture"? I have lived in the US for 10 years in various parts mostly on the east coast and have visited Europe; previously I lived in India for 16 years. Some observations on the cultural/economic/political angles from having lived/visited 3 continents.
    • Multiculturalism: Most European societies are having nightmares about multiculturalism. A very instructive nytimes article For 'New Danes,' Differences Create a Divide on this subject. For someone used to the inclusive culture of the US, words like "lietkulture" invoke horror and disgust to put it mildly. The Germans/Danes/Swedes/French invited these immigrants or let them in legally. What will they do when these immigrants refuse to subsume their distinct culture/religion into the greater whole. Deport them or gas chambers? Given that this is Europe neither possibility should be discounted.
    • Economic opportunities: Another nightmare facing Europe is economically integrating their immigrant populations into their societies. England has done an admirable jobs at this. However in France, most immigrants from the former colonies live in ghettos and are economically disenfranchised. Germany is trying to induce engineers to immigrate by offering them temporary 5 year green cards. Which engineer in their right mind would give up economic and cultural rights available in the US for braving the cultural police, bombings and rampaging skinheads of Germany? According to newspaper reports Foreign observers in Germany note that a significant fringe of German public opinion views all foreigners with distaste or outright hatred and while bombings and attacks on foreigners are not commonplace they are not rare either . Ugh. At the same time arson and armed attacks are on the rise in Scandinavian countries; which have a reputation for tolerance and human rights.
    • Political: I would venture that on this measure inclusiveness in the US is un-paralleled. Yeah this is a red herring, but a candidate whose veep was an orthodox jew almost won the presidential election. Pray tell me which European country with significant second and third generation immigrant populations has participation of this kind? The existence of hate groups in the US like the KKK and the Aryan Nation is well documented but more often than not this is the lunatic fringe of society. They have not been able to execute their agenda either through organized political or violent means for quite a while. I can confidently assert that per capita violent hate crimes of the above kind are lower than Europe. It is worth mentioning that it is frequently the American Civil Liberties Union that springs to the defense of these groups.
    I would propose that while the KKK is the lunatic fringe, "Leitkulture" represents a institutionalized make over of the same principles. Yes, guns are a problem in the US - but that is a tough nut to crack as it goes to the fundamental divide among urban residents who desire safety and rural citizens who want to be able to hunt. The skewed criminal justics system is a problem, but there are efforts underway to remedy that. The Republican governor of Illions just imposed a moratorium on executions and passed legislation to increase funding for the public defender system. The governor of New Mexico (again republican) has proposed to drop mandatory sentencing laws for minor drug possession. There is growing concern nationwide about this and it is will be addressed if not at the speed that most fair-minded people desire. That however is the pace of democracy. - Ritesh

    Re. Leitkultur vs. KKK (none / 0) (#378)
    by thomase on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 06:29:48 AM EST

    Your post is a nice example about what disturbs me about many americans, especially the type of american 'geeks' that show off on places like kuro5hin, slashdot etc. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that over the last years there are ever more posts that are just plain ignorant, sometimes outright stupid, when it comes to foreign politics, culture and so on. It seems to me that the 'America #1' idea has got so strong in the 90s that some of you guys talk like you are on crack or something. I remember some post on slashdot (or kuro5hin?) when there was that thing about Germany having a 'tax' on CDROM and someone suggested HP not to sell them to those stoneage Germans anymore. That will get them in line, hah! Sheesh ! Another fine example of lousy journalism, ignorance and stupidity by the way as the whole thing does not have anything to do with taxes. Now, what really was disturbing about it was that there were indeed two or three posts putting things into perspective but it seemed that these were just ignored by the majority, as the troll posts went on and on and on. What gives ? I can only imagine what strangely distorted notion of the concept 'Leitkultur' has come to the US but if you got it from nytimes, ehm well, I know it is regarded very highly in some parts of the world, but then sometimes I have that strange thought that they are quite deliberately painting a distorted picture of Germany/Europe. I remember seeeing an interview with some nytimes journalist that won the pulitzer and he said something like 'American journalism is about 10 years ahead of europeean'. Now if that is not a stupid sentence please tell me what stupidity is. Seems to me that pulitzer price is not quite the same as it was years ago. Or is it just me being ten years behind ? Think about 'Leitkultur' whatever you want but putting the guy who coined the concept even below some KKK arseholes is pretty gross. Why ? You can only take my word for it because even is you'd want to you wouldnt have a chance to get some real information about this guy other than a few US newspapers. And what **background** information would you get there ? None! Or do you think you know all about Germany because you visited Europe for a few days ? In any plane I go around here, even going inside of Germany, there are international newspapers, Britsh, French, Italian, and US American. And just out of curiosity I do *READ* those in english. At Berlin's Kudamm newspaper outlets you'll find those and spanish, russian, chinese and more. I watch american tv news occasionally, ABC, NBC, CNN (which years ago really tried to make an internaional newscast, but have fallen back to that all-american point of view gradually. Sad.) Surely it was just because of my ignorance but I thought it sucked that I couldn't find a place anywhere in NYC where I could get some European newpapers in three weeks. Yeah, let's get more of that american multiculturalism around here! Now, if all of this sounds like I am hating everything American, no, not at all. Actually, there are a some things I do admire about the US people and I think there are a few things Americans can indeed be proud of. But then there's only a thin line between pride and arrogance. And arrogance paired with ignorance, well, ehm...., nuff said.

    [ Parent ]
    zero information content (none / 0) (#385)
    by ritesh on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 12:55:03 AM EST

    i can't really take issue with you as you do not rebutt any of my points other than disparaging my news sources, disparaging mass media in the US (which i incidentally agree with you) and generally ramble about the lack of foreign newspapers in the us.

    next time you visit NYC, try Hotalings near Times Square or Hudson news downtown. (try Foreign Language Resources in NYC).

    and as to my news sources, i read newspapers and magazines from 3 continents. US mass media journalism is lacking and mostly present views on on uni or bi-dimensional axis. chomsky demonstrated that through his thesis in manufacturing consent.

    however the web is a beautiful thing if you know how to use it. meanwhile, you should go back reread the earlier articles and understand why i suggested that lietkulture is more insidious than the kkk.

    [ Parent ]
    Zero information.. nyah,nyah,nyah... (none / 0) (#387)
    by thomase on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 04:59:14 PM EST

    Did you learn that in rhetorics 101 ? Guy, I tried to avoid it but you are beating me to it. Yes, you seem to be exactly one of those arrogant and ignorant americans that are getting on my nerves lately (at least you are pretty convincing about it anyways). I cannot see that you are really interested at all in *information* as you seem to be oh so sure you have it all already.

    But hey, here are two webpages for a start, www.cdu.de and www.friedrich-merz.de. Can't read it ? Use the fish. Friedrich Merz is the guy that coined the word Leitkultur, but you knew that already, isn't it ? (LEITKULTUR, IT IS *LEITKULTUR* dammit. If you think you know so very good what it means you should at least try to spell it correctly.)

    "How about asking them to get gene therapy so they can look more "German"? I am curious to know what are the punishments proposed for not conforming to the guidelines." Oh, what a pearl of deduction. What information did you base that extrapolation on ? Should I think that your misuse of statistics is deliberate or just plain ignorance ? You are just full of prejudice and the only thing I wonder about is what makes you think that yours is better than theirs ? Do you really think I should care whether you are 'shocked' ?

    Last not least, yes those were largely ramblings, I should not have interleaved those general viewpoints about america/ns with a response re. your misconception of german politics.



    [ Parent ]
    Prejudices (1.00 / 1) (#379)
    by Eremit on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 06:59:21 AM EST

    ritesh compares the USA with Europe and mentions Germany rather often. As a German I wonder where all those prejudices come from. I'll try to address a few of his points:
    • I don't think that Europeans have a "nightmare" about a multicultural society. E.g. in Germany we allow immigration and grant asylum to lots of people. Every country I know of, including the USA, limits the amount of immigrants to a certain number per year. Why does it appear as a problem if Germany tries to find an acceptable limit for itself, too?
    • Every immigrant to the USA is supposed to speak English to perform official things (like filling out forms, going to court or whatever), is expected to live by the constitution and respect the laws of the state they chose to live in. The term "Leitkultur" is really unfortunate and misleading, but those things were meant. One example: Our consitution and law say that everyone has the same rights, including of course women. Now there are religions which don't see the woman as an equal to a man. Should you now put the law of Germany aside to allow this speciality of religion? This would compromise the consitution! "Leitkultur" was meant to find a way to express what is expected from all citizens, including immigrants. The acceptance of female equal rights can be viewed as a cultural thing, therefor that term. We had heated discussions about the term here, too. No one is really happy with it, but there seems to be some kind of consensus about what is meant (see above).
    • ritesh goes on about racism and hatred groups. He claims only minorities in the USA think that way. Well, I have no problem believing this. But why does he assume that that is different e.g. in Germany? I can't imagine that there are that few incidents of racism and hatred in the USA as becomes public knowledge. But here in Germany it is seen as a problem and so many incidents appear in nation wide news. For outsiders it must seem as if there are that many more incidents here than elsewhere. But big demonstrations held from hundredthousands people showing they care about racism and want to do something against it don't seem to be that interesting to catch foreign news. I think pointing fingers doesn't help. Try to get rid of the problems in your own land and offer ideas to others how to go about solving those problems in their lands, but don't assume you know everything better. Help is appreciated, accusation is not.
    • ritesh claims that the per capita numbers of hate crimes are lower in the USA than elsewhere. Without numbers this is only personal opinion. Unfortunately I don't know any numbers, so I can't really comment.
    • One other thing that catches my eye from time to time: Citizens from the USA often talk about "we Americans", meaning citizens of the USA. It seems easy for them to forget the rest of North and South America. But this is only my personal experience. I can't judge the average American.
    In conclusion I would say: The problems ritesh addressed got a bit biased by prejudices or uneven news coverage. Unfortunately this seems to be quite common. Please, people, remember that the news media don't show all things in the normal proportions, but concentrate on the more dramatic things. And the farther you get from the actual point where something happened, the more preselected those reports get and only the big headlines get through. Keep that in mind and try to judge other countries and people by personal experiences, not only news coverage.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Prejudices (none / 0) (#384)
    by ritesh on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 09:59:29 PM EST

    Off the bat I will grant some valid points raised by you: namely that I used Germany as a reference point often in my article and hate crimes (or racist violence) in Germany receives world wide coverage. The problem in the rest of Europe is quite bad also.
    • Hate crimes in USA: The US hate crimes report at FBI hate crimes report shows that there were roughly 5000 hate crimes based on race and ethnicity. They do receive wide spread coverage. Hate crimes legislation has passed several state legislatures. In the 1999 beating death of a black man in Texas; 2 of the perps were given death sentences and 1 was sent to life in prison. This incident made it to the presidential debates in reference to the need for federal hate crimes legislation. Furthermore, the FBI and Justice department take active interest in independently investigating hate crimes in addition to the local and state authorities. Being such a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society, no one is immune from hate crimes; they can be based on race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Hence there is acute awareness and there are watchdog organizations like the ACLU and the ADL in every city.
    • Rest of Europe: Lets look at the report Youth and Racist Violence in the Nordic Countries. Sweden with approximately 12.5% or 1.2 million immigrants. More careful analysis reveals that more than half of these immigrants are from other nordic countries or overseas Swedes who have returned. There were significant number (1034) incidents reported in 1993. While the overall number of incidents have declined, the number of incidents of serious bodily harm have gone up including an incident of someone who hunted dark skinned people with a laser rifle, he shot 9 people.
    • Germany: According to data compiled from news reports (sorry I could not find a government source) there were 5,223 hate crimes in Germany in the first 6 months of this year according to Right wing violence in Germany. A survey taken by Searchlight Magazine shows that A recent large-scale survey of 1,600 school students in the eastern city of Rostock revealed the mindset that is now widespread among young people: 40% attributed unemployment to foreigners; 26% thought Germany need a "Führer" and 18% thought violence was a solution . Searchlight put the rate of fascist violence in the FDR at .68 and the GDR at 2.19 per 1,00,000 inhabitants. The US rate comes out at .562. Furthermore, a huge chunk of immigration in the US is illegal and hence not counted. Most of these immigrants cannot speak english adn are unskilled laborers. Another huge influx falls under the H1B or "guest worker" category which I do not think is counted as immigration. It is not fair to compare immigration in Europe to immigration in the US.
    • Equal rights under the law: This debate has been rehashed quite a few times around the world. It has been used mostly by right wingers as trojan horses to push their agendas. For example, Islam sanctions polygamy and has discriminatory laws wrt. to divorce procedures. This does not mean allowing a Islamic minority to respect their culture and religion would imply that they would keep multiple wives. It is possible to have one law for everybody. Multi cultural societies around the world have shown that you can a modern uniform civil code without outlawing most religious and cultural practices. BTW, but most Islamic nations do not allow polygamy.
    Even I ignore all the statistics of violence in Europe or attribute them to the lunatic fringe of society; leitkulture is far more insidious. It represents an institutionalization of xenophobia and a forced move towards assimilation. Many people that I know stateside are shocked as to how a word like lietkulture and the ambigious ideologies associated with it are bandied about in the nature of political discourse. Every country has the fundamental right to regulate immigration and Germany invited quite a few of these immigrants in the first place or let them in. Now they are asking these "guest workers" to give up their religious and cultural values. Where will this stop? How about asking them to get gene therapy so they can look more "German"? I am curious to know what are the punishments proposed for not conforming to the guidelines.

    [ Parent ]
    Re^2: Prejudices (1.00 / 1) (#389)
    by Eremit on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 06:08:07 PM EST

    Unfortunately I can't produce exact numbers. I scanned several official press releases of government agencies. If they are representative for the whole situation in Germany, than your number of over 5000 hate crimes in Germany seems to be nearly twice to high. Just to quote one official number: According to the government there were 157 antisemitic crimes in the second quarter of 2000, 140 in the first quarter of 2000, 110 in the second quarter of 1999.

    Right extremestic crimes in June 2000 were 129 (May 2000: 82, June 1999: 97). If those numbers are not misleading, it seems save to assume about 3000 crimes over the whole year. (We don't need to discuss, that this is over 3000 crimes too many!)

    (Here the link where I had this data from. Sorry, it is a German text: http://www2.pds-online.de/bt/presse/2000/08/20000801-001.htm )

    I can't tell anything about the Searchlight Magazine. I don't know about it and its page doesn't seem to offer clear information where it is based upon. (At least I didn't find detailed information.)

    Okay, back to your critic of "Leitkultur". You say yourself with the example of the Islamic law that you need one law for everybody. Okay, we have here certain laws. E.g. there is a law protecting animals and therefor a certain style to kill animals is forbidden. Unfortunately this style of killing is needed for certain religious duties. So now what? We don't want to prevent people from excercising their religion or giving up their culture, but the law upto now protects animals from this kind of killing.

    The unfortunate term "Leitkultur" was intended to describe that cultural values that are stated in laws (e.g. this animal protection) should be taken as a guideline from which to reach a compromise. It is not meant as an order to "become German or go away" as you seem to indicate. Upto now the bigger part of your articles seemed to be based rather on data and sane argumentation, but suddenly you begin to flame away. Why?

    BTW: We had quite a lot of discussions about this term. Many people aren't happy at all with it and want to see it gone rather sooner than later. But some politicians just stick to it. They think the concept behind it is the thing to be discussed, not the naming of it. So, if you have a better name for it, propose it to our politicians. ;-)



    [ Parent ]
    Intent (none / 0) (#390)
    by ritesh on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 10:45:30 PM EST

    You are implying that the intent behind Leitkultur is basic integration into German society. That idea has been vociferously advocated in multicultural societies. It includes concepts like
    • Desegregation of schools in the hope that children of immigrants are educated under one curriculum and in one language so they can be productive. there is already ample evidence that most turkish students in germany are not fluent in german and are not proficent in the other R's either.
    • One language: Making sure all immigrants learn the language of common use (i.e. german)
    • Common civil code based on progressive western ideals i.e. equal rights for men and women, compulsory primary education for men and women, property rights etc.
    If that is truly the intent of the politicians (it seems to be the intent of majority of german public opinion that i have seen in newspapers) then it is commendable. i think a more appropriate phrase is "join the mainstream". sorry, i can't translate it :(
    however, it seems that the CDU is angling for the votes of the right wingers to regain power (this block might be as much as 8-10%) "leading culture" smacks of primacy and forced assimilation rather than integration.

    animal cruelty laws vs. islamic slaughter guidelines: germany should look as to how these problems are solved around the world, they can certainly find examples in progressive islamic states. i am not knowledgable on islamic law nor a practitioner. however, my islamic friends tell me that halal meat slaughter is similar to slaughter for kosher meat - it should be done with as little pain to the animal as possible. there was supposedly a study at University of hanover that showed halal slaughtering is less painful than the traditional western bolt stunning method!

    i found few numbers except in press releases during an exhaustive search. the number i quoted is from the world socialist society web site and it is widely quoted, though completely unsubstantiated and probably inflated. on the other hand human rights groups also suggest that there might be significant under reporting by victims.

    sorry, i was'nt trying to flame or incite; simply contrast race-relations in the US vs. Europe. it is incumbent on everybody, german or otherwise, to contemplate on how far the idea of leitkultur can be taken. is it the first step down a slippery slope? some of the uses of the idea (gene therapy ;) might sound outlandish but the term is vague and a presents a moving target.

    [ Parent ]
    EUA compared to Brazil (none / 0) (#375)
    by MalbaThaan on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 12:54:03 AM EST

    • We are very informal compared to a north (american); easier to make friendship, but this friendship tends to be shallower. To a north, seems to be strange start to talk with someone you do not know in the street, here is very natural. Here the stranger is welcomed, it's a good place to be a tourist.
    • Our culture is really a LOT MORE sensual; sex is not something to be ashamed, and Brazilians are very hot compared to norths.
    • Inter-racial marriages are very common here compared to EUA. This mix seems to create a sort of racial democracy, everybody have some african, japanese, native and european blood.
    • The world speaks english, but Brazil is almost the only big country (180M people) that speaks portuguese. A north-american can be understood in any place, but a Brazilian have troubles even with our spanish-speaking neighbors. This makes communication a lot harder to Brazilians, so forgive my spell and grammar :-)
    • EUA taxes are very lower then here; everything there are cheaper because they have lower taxes.
    • EUA citizens tend to be more politically proactive; here the people expects everything coming from estate
    • Things like start an enterprise, to buy a house, to sign a contract, are a lot simpler in EUA than in Brazil. Everithing is incridble bureaucratic here.
    • Somethings are newer here and work better; our democracy is newer, so our public elections are 100% eletronic and very faster. Our financial system is heavy wired and ou can do everything with your bank account through Internet, pay almost any bills, transfer money to another people in another estate to an account of a different bank firm almost instantly.
    • There are a huge difference in the distribution of wealth: 90% of the people owns only 8% of Brazilian wealth
    • Brazilian constitution is REALLY A MESS
    • Law interpretations here are based in Latin tradition, not Germanic tradition like EUA (letter of the law against spirit of the law). If you think the north-american legal system is a mess, try the Brazilian!
    • They are viewed here as hard workers and practical people, but also as people who values money over everything else, who does not care to understand nor respect the different.
    • The list goes on...


    Those darn Americans | 394 comments (389 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
    Display: Sort:

    kuro5hin.org

    [XML]
    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!