I agree with maybe 90% of your post. What follows isn't personally directed at Spendocrat, except where obvious (ie the next paragraph). This is sort of a mini-rant that's been coalescing in my head for days now.
Please note, though, that the North American continent does not consist of a "grand total of 3 countries". Central America is not a separate continent, and is not part of South America. So including Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, you have 10. This of course does not include island nations that sit off the continent but are technically separated, like Cuba.
I agree totally on US-centrism. It's human nature, sadly, to be myopic. My in-laws from Mexico have the same view about Mexican vs. "American" culture, as if either one were monolithic. I consider myself fairly well-informed about international events, and yet I know, as you so well point out, that I don't keep up as much as I would like with, say, events in Africa or even Europe. The Pacific Rim and Latin America are just plain more interesting to me.
And although I've never been to Canada, what you're describing seems like something I see in a lot of other countries that are "rebelling" against the Americanization of their cultures: while they don't want to be defined by the US, it's nearly as much of a defeat to define yourself as the inverse of something else. It's much more fulfilling, IMHO, to define yourself as you are, or maybe as you want to be. If there's overlap or distinction, so be it. Just as we Americans have much to learn from other countries, other countries have much to learn from each other and from the US as well. No, the US is not perfect; far from it. But it's not purgatory, either. It is what it is. We are what we are. You are what you are.
It could well be said that there are as many cultures on the Earth as there are humans. Fortunately, there are enough similarities between many individuals that they can be grouped into "cultures", and that those cultures are not mutually exclusive. I am a geek, and a Texan, and a football fan, and a Jehovah's Witness, and a history buff, and a basically good husband, and a UNIX sysadmin, and a bunch of other things. All of those are separate cultures, and the fact that I belong to one doesn't mean I can't belong to another.
Let's move beyond identifying ourselves purely by our nationality. That hasn't gotten anyone anywhere. It makes far more sense to simply be ourselves, members of a set of sets. Anyone who reads my posts has a good, though incomplete, idea of what kind of person I am. The same for Rusty, and Inoshiro, and all the rest of the people that make up this interesting little community. I bet there's a lot more to Inoshiro than being Canadian, for instance. In fact, I'm sure of it. There's something to be said that we're all the sole member of an intersection of an arbitrary number of sets, and the more sets to which I can be shown to belong, the better someone will understand me.
So my plea to the K5 collective^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcommunity is this: Get over it! Yes, there are people who are obnoxious about being American and can't see past the end of their noses. No doubt about that! There are also Britons, and Germans, and Egyptians, and Iranians, and Indians, and Japanese, and any other nationality you care to mention, who have the same problem. And any other way you slice the cake, the same thing happens. Virtually every culture sees itself as the center of its own universe. But that doesn't mean that all members of that culture are alike, and that doesn't mean that any particular culture is flawed for that reason; it's something we all share to one degree or another.
IOW, don't judge me by the way some other UNIX sysadmin has expressed her opinion, and don't judge some other Texan by the way I've expressed mine; he deserves better than that.
Here within K5, and the rest of humanity, we all do.
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