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Maciamo
20-02-05, 08:17
BBC News : Transatlantic divisions run deep (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4276545.stm)


President Bush is about to launch himself into the most ambitious piece of diplomacy he has ever attempted. He will become the first American President in history to visit the core institutions of the European Union, in an effort to patch up relations with the Europeans.

Good initiative.


was the only Englishman, and with customary politeness, the Americans questioned me gently on matters royal.

Amid the stunning snow-capped mountains, a far more open vista than in the Alps, we talked of Camilla and Charles, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

I am ashamed to say that I used the old line about the castle being built too close to Heathrow Airport and they all nodded sagely and agreed it had been a mistake.

Ahh, we won't change this good'ol American folk. :relief: (for those who are still wondering, Windsor Castle (http://www.eupedia.com/england/windsor.shtml) is the oldest inhabited castle in the world, and was contructed over 900 years ago).


Prince Harry, one of the skiers opined, had been very, very badly advised to wear a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party. The others all knew of the incident and nodded in pained agreement.
...
The Harry kerfuffle was utterly incomprehensible to Americans. They simply could not imagine how such a thing could ever be seen, in any circumstances, by anyone, to be funny or forgivable.

Who said Americans didn't understand British humour ? I know people who have done similar things to Harry (even at school !) and it wasn't a big deal. When I was 6, I was forced to attend catechism classes and once went there in a military uniform and a fake gun to shock the old sister that was teaching. :D



A recent example which caught my eye, I thought at first it was a joke, that several television stations refused to allow the screening of Steven Spielberg's film Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, is not pornographic, nor is it grotesquely violent. It is a war film with some shooting and some swearing.

Although it would be shown on any television station anywhere in Europe, with no comment and no censorship, the swearing is too much for America.

At least they say it is the swearing, but I wonder if there is a more profound difficulty here.

My memory of the film is that it is occasionally grittily realistic. In the battle scenes, soldiers are scared and their deaths are not always terribly glorious.

It is in other words true to life, and that is another area where Europe and America increasingly diverge.

America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.

One more similarity between the US and Japan. Sometimes I wonder if the US did not bring back a substantial part of the Japanese mindset after the post-war occupation.


Americans want to believe in miracles, their heads are in the clouds.

While Europeans fret about what they regard as real life, about poverty and social justice and about combating AIDS, Americans find it easier to rally round a vision, however otherworldly it might be.

Millions of Americans, 17% according to a recent survey, seriously believe that the end of the world is coming in their lifetimes and that they will be sucked up through the clouds to heaven.

Of course, we all know how much more religious Americans are, but the crucial point, it seems to me, is that the kind of religious beliefs on the march in America tend to be those stressed in the book of revelation rather than the sermon on the mount.
...
The fact is that Americans have long regarded Europeans as weak-willed, lily-livered, morally degenerate moaners, incapable of clear thinking or resolute action.

My point is that this tendency is accelerating.


This is all the difference between well-educated, cosy and relatively safe Europe, and deeply religious, self-centered, aggressive and intolerant America.

Duo
20-02-05, 13:09
hmm, good points, good points. There is this new book out there by Jeremy Rifkin called the New European Dream that basically compares the US with the EU and how the EU is slowly but sureley assesing its dominance in the world. Very good book, but to expensive, especially for a student :(

Furthermore, i'd just like to add that while many of these things are true, I think that are great differences between Western/Eastern Europeans, eatern europeans for example are still a bit more religious and also supersitcious, all that stuff about gypsi magic, curses, etc etc, and tend to use less logic but rather act insticntively and rashly on strong emotions, reacting especially to anger :p

Mycernius
20-02-05, 13:34
In reference to your piece about Windsor castle being to close to Heathrow. I have found most Americans to be nice and informal with starngers, to the point of being annoying in some cases, but also a bit child like in their view of the world and humour. They seem to like jokes about other people and races, but I have found that they don't like being the butt of other peoples jokes or comments. They seem to take a lot of things said to them a face value. I once told an american that I went fishing with dynamite. He beleived me and said he might try it himself. I had vision of him and his beer buddies blowing themselves up on a lake somewhere.
I have also found that they are lacking in history and knowledge of the world in general. A survey taken several years back found that 45% of Americans think that Central America is Kansas. They do enjoy history of the world and you can see them at many historical sites taking pictures. Of their own histroy they only go back as far as European settlers. Many do not know the history of the Native Americans and appreciate the diversity in that culture.
In this respect Canadians do seem to differ in their view of the world. They seem to be more open to criticsim and respond more openly to it. It might have something to do with the war of Independence and the histroy after that. I wonder if the Americans would be a more laided back (probably not the right phrase) if they had lost the war and gained their independence in the way Canada and Australia did (more alternative history anybody?).
Sorry if I have offended anyone, but this is how I see this :sorry:

mad pierrot
20-02-05, 16:35
Great idea for a topic, btw.

:cool:


Although it would be shown on any television station anywhere in Europe, with no comment and no censorship, the swearing is too much for America.

Definitely a big problem in the U.S. You can't see naked people or hear the word sh*t on public TV, yet "Cops" has been one of the most successful shows of all times.... Can you say double standard?


America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.

Americans want to believe in miracles, their heads are in the clouds.

While Europeans fret about what they regard as real life, about poverty and social justice and about combating AIDS, Americans find it easier to rally round a vision, however otherworldly it might be.

These statements I utterly disagree with, and challenge anyone to tell me they are not unfairly biased.

Allow me to explain myself. :sorry:

There are over 280 million people in America, most of whom you probably never heard of or have no idea what their life is like. Everyone likes to focus on the Southern Baptists or the WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) but this is not the complete picture of America. What about the millions in poverty, the people who devote their life to trying to make a difference? Contrary to popular belief, Bush isn't overwhelmingly loved, nor is he an accurate representation of America. Of the 280+ million, about 200 million are eligible to vote. Of that, les than 60 million voted for our current President. Making a very rough comparison, that's like 6 people out of 28 who voted for him.

Before I stray way off-topic,
:sorry:

My point is this: It's really, really, really, really damn hard to define the average American. This makes comparisons very dubious, and why I think statements like the ones above slightly unfair. Does that mean I think we shouldn't draw comparisons? No. I think we should! For one, I defiantly think the "average" American has a higher chance of being religiously conservative that the average European. But to say all Americans "want to believe in miracles, their heads are in the clouds." Is like me saying "all Japanese people are mindless drones with no sense of individuality."

Getting back to my point about the average American, let me say a little more. I was born and lived in a lower class Hispanic neighborhood, lived in a middle class white suburb, and lived in a (mostly) white poor rural area. I am constantly finding out more and more that there is no such things as an "average" American. Consequently, I tend to lose control abit when faced with lump assumptions about Americans. (And yes, I know this seems like poetic justice for comments I made about Japanese culture, but if you look closely I think you'll see I give great allowance for error.) ;)

Again, I'm not saying that comparisons shouldn't be made. They should, and damn it, I like making them. An average must be reached for comparisons, which are needed continue to learn and educate ourselves. But caution should be included.

Whew! That was alot. I'm going to get some sleep now. I'll see if this post made anymore sense in the morning!

No-name
20-02-05, 19:33
I am shocked. Central America is not in Kansas?

Shucks. Americans are ignorant about everyone elses history? Geography? I guess you have never quized us about celebrity trivia. We excel in popular culture.

By the way, I don't think much is known by anyone about American culture before Europeans came here (except in Mezo-America) because not much was written down. It is however a subject for anthropologists.

I am glad to know that Europe is well-educated, cozy, and relatively safe. When I see picture of neo-Nazi's marching by the thousands in Dresden, or hear how some Pakistani immigrants had their apartment buildings burned down, or hear about a massively disaffected, alienated and unemployed youth-- I get concerned. I keep thinking they should all go to South America, like Texas or Florida.

Ma Cherie
21-02-05, 02:35
In reference to your piece about Windsor castle being to close to Heathrow. I have found most Americans to be nice and informal with starngers, to the point of being annoying in some cases, but also a bit child like in their view of the world and humour. They seem to like jokes about other people and races, but I have found that they don't like being the butt of other peoples jokes or comments. They seem to take a lot of things said to them a face value. I once told an american that I went fishing with dynamite. He beleived me and said he might try it himself. I had vision of him and his beer buddies blowing themselves up on a lake somewhere.
I have also found that they are lacking in history and knowledge of the world in general. A survey taken several years back found that 45% of Americans think that Central America is Kansas. They do enjoy history of the world and you can see them at many historical sites taking pictures. Of their own histroy they only go back as far as European settlers. Many do not know the history of the Native Americans and appreciate the diversity in that culture.
In this respect Canadians do seem to differ in their view of the world. They seem to be more open to criticsim and respond more openly to it. It might have something to do with the war of Independence and the histroy after that. I wonder if the Americans would be a more laided back (probably not the right phrase) if they had lost the war and gained their independence in the way Canada and Australia did (more alternative history anybody?).
Sorry if I have offended anyone, but this is how I see this :sorry:



My darling, where did you get this "45% of Americans believe Central America is Kansas" Don't make me laugh. You know what? Don't make me laugh at your whole view. I don't mean to be a b***h about this, but whenever I hear opinions such as yours, it only makes me think that people view Americans as being stupid. I could tell you how much I love Ancient History, espcially the Sumerians. Interesting group of people by the way, being polytheism and all. But don't ask me about that because I'm just an ignorant American. :clueless: :clueless:

CC1
21-02-05, 02:56
Who said Americans didn't understand British humour ? I know people who have done similar things to Harry (even at school !) and it wasn't a big deal. When I was 6, I was forced to attend catechism classes and once went there in a military uniform and a fake gun to shock the old sister that was teaching. :D

Yes, but to my knowledge you are neither a Prince, nor a world leader...they are (as they should be) held to a higher standard!


As far as the decision as to what is shown on TV? I believe that 2 or 3 years ago, showing Saving Private Ryan wouldn't have been a big deal. I remember watching several movies when I was growing up where the foul language was just edited over, and the gory scenes were cut out (movie wasn't quite as good though!) A lot of this has to do with the religious freaks that went nuts over Janet Jackson baring her wrinkled old breast at the superbowl in front of millions of teens, preteens, and children in the confort of their own homes while watching with their families. People overreacted! It was improper, but not that big of a deal...this put added pressure on Michael Powell (Colin's son and director of the FCC) to ensure that programming that was being aired during "family prime time" was suitable for families...how do you choose what is suitable for my family? ONLY I CAN DO THAT RIGHT? :? So on that point, I will concede to you that the religious nuts (of which I do not associate) have inflicted their will onto the public! I prescribet to the right that if something that you do not want to see is on...don't watch it! :p



I have also found that they are lacking in history and knowledge of the world in general. A survey taken several years back found that 45% of Americans think that Central America is Kansas. They do enjoy history of the world and you can see them at many historical sites taking pictures. Of their own histroy they only go back as far as European settlers. Many do not know the history of the Native Americans and appreciate the diversity in that culture.

Sad that you would say this...I know that the school I attended did an excellent job of educating...maybe not as well as some other countries, but I did know where Central America is located! We also studied, not only Native Americans, but actually went into depth into the different tribes, and the things that made each tribe unique to one another. We also were required spend one year on state history and the Native American tribes unique to our state. Please remember that many times it is not the teacher (or systems) failing to teach, but rather the students failure to learn...both have to be willing right?

Brooker
21-02-05, 02:59
In reference to your piece about Windsor castle being to close to Heathrow. I have found most Americans to be nice and informal with starngers, to the point of being annoying in some cases, but also a bit child like in their view of the world and humour. They seem to like jokes about other people and races, but I have found that they don't like being the butt of other peoples jokes or comments. They seem to take a lot of things said to them a face value. I once told an american that I went fishing with dynamite. He beleived me and said he might try it himself. I had vision of him and his beer buddies blowing themselves up on a lake somewhere.
I have also found that they are lacking in history and knowledge of the world in general. A survey taken several years back found that 45% of Americans think that Central America is Kansas. They do enjoy history of the world and you can see them at many historical sites taking pictures. Of their own histroy they only go back as far as European settlers. Many do not know the history of the Native Americans and appreciate the diversity in that culture.
In this respect Canadians do seem to differ in their view of the world. They seem to be more open to criticsim and respond more openly to it. It might have something to do with the war of Independence and the histroy after that. I wonder if the Americans would be a more laided back (probably not the right phrase) if they had lost the war and gained their independence in the way Canada and Australia did (more alternative history anybody?).
Sorry if I have offended anyone, but this is how I see this :sorry:

It's been a while since I've seen so many broad generalizations in one post. Do all English people eat fish `n chips, drink tea, and have bad teeth?

No-name
21-02-05, 03:10
Janet Jackson's breast is old and wrinked? Say it aint so!

Duo
21-02-05, 03:19
Janet Jackson's breast is old and wrinked? Say it aint so!

:D:D

well she is like 40 or smth :?

No-name
21-02-05, 03:45
It looked pretty springy last year. It was even holding up that nipple jewelry thing.

kirei_na_me
21-02-05, 04:14
It's been a while since I've seen so many broad generalizations in one post. Do all English people eat fish `n chips, drink tea, and have bad teeth?

:D

It's just like Mr. RockLee leaving me two messages on MSN yesterday. What was it you said, Rock? It was a broad generalization about Americans and something about Bush too. I was kind of like, "it's not my fault?". I must admit, it kind of hurt my feelings in a way.

It seems a lot of Europeans are getting a little arrogant and presumptuous. Not every American is a Bible-thumping, Bush-loving redneck. I'm sorry. Some of you can be very judgemental, and it's not fair to people like me, who really hate the way our country is being run right now.

Some of you are very protective of Japan, but when it comes to the U.S., you just have at it. The U.S. is the world's bad guy, so obviously, it's an easy target. You all are so smitten with Japan, though, that you can see no wrong. No country on this planet is perfect, although some are closer than others(and no, I'm definitely not talking about the U.S.or Japan).

Anyway...

Duo
21-02-05, 04:37
ahhhhh rach, although i am a pro- Euro dude, u know that when i criticise the US is mainly the failures in the system or just things that could be fixed, and u know how much i be likin da US, u know since i been to NYC, long island and all, plus my feverish infatuation with your jref alias, kirei na me, won't allow me to disrespect, especially since ur a chica from VA, and you know my fetish with VA girls ;)

Maciamo
21-02-05, 06:15
I am shocked. Central America is not in Kansas?

No Central America is more around the Caribbean and from Mexico to Panama.


Shucks. Americans are ignorant about everyone elses history? Geography? I guess you have never quized us about celebrity trivia. We excel in popular culture.

What's the connection between celebrity trivia/pop culture and history/geography ? History is not what happened last year. Usually, it is about things that happened at least 10 to 50 years ago (but more usually between 8000 years and 50 years ago). Geography does not include pop culture either !


By the way, I don't think much is known by anyone about American culture before Europeans came here (except in Mezo-America) because not much was written down. It is however a subject for anthropologists.

So what ? Most Americans (about 75%) have their roots in Europe. It always startles me when someone (not necessarily American) says that American history starts with the first colonists. No ! These people came from somewhere (no, god did not create the American people directly in a land called the USA), and these people had a culture and history. Denying that the history of (non-"native") white Americans is in Europe is just refusing to face reality.


I am glad to know that Europe is well-educated, cozy, and relatively safe. When I see picture of neo-Nazi's marching by the thousands in Dresden, or hear how some Pakistani immigrants had their apartment buildings burned down, or hear about a massively disaffected, alienated and unemployed youth-- I get concerned. I keep thinking they should all go to South America, like Texas or Florida.

Again, South America is not the same as "Southern USA". There are over 450 million people in Europe, and many immigrants still do not have the European nationality (so I won't consider them as "Europeans"). I also won't count Eastern European countries, as they are noticeably different due to their communist past and different language group (mostly Slavic). I have been in almost all European countries and lived in 5 of them, and I have never seen any neo-nazis or people who got their house burnt. These events are rare enough to make the news (as far as the USA it seems). Although some places in Europe could be safer, it's a fact that the criminality (esp. for violent crimes) and poverty levels are much lower in any European country than in the USA. Just have a look at the per capita statistics for Murders (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_mur_cap&id=OECD) (USA rate is 4x higher than European average), Rapes (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_rap_cap&id=OECD) (3 to 5x higher than EU average), or Assaults (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_ass_cap&id=OECD).

Regarding Unemployment (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lab_une_rat&id=OECD), you'll see that the USA fits just in the European average (Northern European countries, including the UK, have a lower rate). I have already mentioned this here (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=141086&postcount=42), but the USA has the highest poverty level of any developed country (12.7%), and an incredibly high 22,4% of American children who live in 'relative poverty'.

No-name
21-02-05, 06:17
I don't know, but by the very nature of generalities, they tend to be false in many cases and true in others. Americans are probably a more mixed bag than any other "nationality". Even our ignorance tends to vary from place to place.

I for one probably know where Central America is (as well as central America). I don't particularly like our current administration, but I am a bible thumper. I love history and study it for fun. I have five years of Spanish and two in Japanese, but I can't seem to speak a word of either. My students know everything. I teach it. They learn it. Everything--- they hang on every word.

Maciamo
21-02-05, 06:48
:D
It seems a lot of Europeans are getting a little arrogant and presumptuous. Not every American is a Bible-thumping, Bush-loving redneck. I'm sorry. Some of you can be very judgemental, and it's not fair to people like me, who really hate the way our country is being run right now.

Some of you are very protective of Japan, but when it comes to the U.S., you just have at it. The U.S. is the world's bad guy, so obviously, it's an easy target. You all are so smitten with Japan, though, that you can see no wrong.


I think this partly has to do with two things :

1) Many Europeans are taught at school to be critical, and better overcritical than not enough. That include being critical to oneself and one's own country, though.

2) I think that "generalisation" are not seen differently in Europe than in the US (with the notable exception of French people, who are taught to avoid generalisation). For me "generalising" means telling the most noticeable tendency/trend of a particular group of people. It does not mean that all people are like that. Saying that American people are like this or Japanese people are like that only mean that a majority (maybe just 51%) of them tend to be like that or that it is the most representative feature of the group. Personally, if I don't say "all" I don't mean "all", but "a majority of" (I often use the term "most", which does mean 80 or 90% but at least 50%).

You'll notice that it is usually the Americans that dismiss some comments (also about Japan) as "overgeneralization".

Mycernius
21-02-05, 18:39
I seem to have put the back up of a few Americans. :sorry: I do apologise for my post and thanks to those who have made me a bit more enlightened about you. :sorry: It seem that most Americans I have met have been the less informed of you. To tell the truth I have met more Canadians than Americans and have probaly taken on some of their views as well (I have Canadian relatives, ay).
As for education we are taught to be more critical of other people and ourselves, as Maciamo-san points out, this makes us sound a bit arrogant to some people. The problem is that everyone makes generalisations of other people. This is usually perpetuated by a nationlist media and entertainment in the respective countries. As Brooker-san points out, sarcastically (is that even a word?), English people Dring tea, eat fish and chips and have bad teeth. Watch an American programme and that is what we are portrayed like, all with east-end accents. English programs show Americans as loud, ignorant and slow to pick up on things. We see sterotypical views of differnet nationalities every day and it take forums like this to change and correct our view on other cultures. Still not sure on George W. Bush though? :?

Elizabeth
21-02-05, 19:04
:D

It's just like Mr. RockLee leaving me two messages on MSN yesterday. What was it you said, Rock? It was a broad generalization about Americans and something about Bush too. I was kind of like, "it's not my fault?". I must admit, it kind of hurt my feelings in a way.

It seems a lot of Europeans are getting a little arrogant and presumptuous. Not every American is a Bible-thumping, Bush-loving redneck. I'm sorry. Some of you can be very judgemental, and it's not fair to people like me, who really hate the way our country is being run right now.

Some of you are very protective of Japan, but when it comes to the U.S., you just have at it. The U.S. is the world's bad guy, so obviously, it's an easy target. You all are so smitten with Japan, though, that you can see no wrong. No country on this planet is perfect, although some are closer than others(and no, I'm definitely not talking about the U.S.or Japan).

Anyway...
I completely agree, kirei, although if it's any consolation Japanese strengths and points of cultural pride are as overlooked or derided on this board as much as if not more so than Americans....you get the definate impression that European tolorance seems to stop at its own doorstep, where the criticism then freely flows.... :okashii:

Ma Cherie
21-02-05, 21:07
It's easy to believe stereotypes, and at times people do not make an effort to enlighten themselves. But at any rate, if people overseas in Europe or any other country want to believe that Americans are loud, ignorant, overly religious, Bush loving red-necks, then let them believe it. Let them ramain in their comfort zone of ignorance.

Maciamo
22-02-05, 04:14
you get the definate impression that European tolorance seems to stop at its own doorstep, where the criticism then freely flows....

Ok, what you don't seem to get (like MikeCash in his previous post "Europe, more enlightened and tolerant") is that Europeans are usually critical before being tolerant, and that doesn't stop at our doorstep. People are very critical of each others inside Europe, inside their own country, and in their company/school or at home. People who lack critical sense are seen as lacking intelligence, probably because the European education system put so much stress on developing critical sense since an early age (and increasingly so until the end of university).

What many Europeans cannot understand is why the portion of the American people who are disgruntled about the government, education system or whatever, don't take the streets or make nation-wide strikes until things change. Some European (the French, Belgians, Italians...) are specialists at that game. No government can hope to do something completely at odd with people's wishes without being threatened to be overthrown. Look at what happened when the leaders of the UK, Italy and Spain supported Bush's plan to invade Iraq. There were 2 million peopl in the streets of London, 1 million i Rome and hundreds of thousands in several major Spanish cities. As a result, Berlusconi changed his mind overnight, the Spaniards ousted their government at the next election, and only Blair remains because he has done enough good things to compensate, although it is very unlikely that he gets reelected just because of his assciation with Bush.

So how can you say that Europeans are not critical of the own government and country, when we are probably more than any other place on earth. I think that is why we are also so critical of other countries. If something is against our ideals or against reason, no matter is the "country" is a friend or foe, ours or somebody else's, we will criticise it when necessary. until things change. These are core values to many Europeans (especially Western and Continental), and were inherited from the French Revolution and subsequent social revolutions (1830, 1848, etc.).

--

One more point that make me agree with what the BBC reporter about Americans (read the majority, not all, especially if you are not in the majority on this regard) having their heads in the clouds, is the doubel-standard of the US government. They want to make you believe that the US is the freest country in the world, the champion of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But there is no such things in the States. Freedom of speech ? So why would a movie like Saving Private Ryan get censored/banned just for a few bad words ? Freedom of religion ? Isn't the first freedom of religion to choose not to believe in god ? So why would the US President say that Atheists should not be regarded as patriots and not even as citizens ? Had I been American, I would have left the country at once.

This and many other Bushism really remind me of Germany in the 1930's. When discussing with some Japanese businessmen, they tend to agree (or ask me) that Bush is a dictator. If even less critical-minded Japanese people say that (not just think it), especially to a foreigner (and knowing that many Westerners are seen as Americans, even if they aren't), it really must be only Americans that cannot see the reality in their own country. I mean, Berlusconi in Italy is also a kind of dictator, I don't mind saying it, and most Italians will tell you so without embarassment. It's just commonon knowledge, like for Bush. What's so hard to admit one's government problems ? Government are never perfect and Europeans have long made it a national sport to denouce their own politicians and system whenever necessary (read : on a daily basis).

Elizabeth
22-02-05, 05:46
What many Europeans cannot understand is why the portion of the American people who are disgruntled about the government, education system or whatever, don't take the streets or make nation-wide strikes until things change. Some European (the French, Belgians, Italians...) are specialists at that game. No government can hope to do something completely at odd with people's wishes without being threatened to be overthrown. Look at what happened when the leaders of the UK, Italy and Spain supported Bush's plan to invade Iraq. There were 2 million peopl in the streets of London, 1 million i Rome and hundreds of thousands in several major Spanish cities. As a result, Berlusconi changed his mind overnight, the Spaniards ousted their government at the next election, and only Blair remains because he has done enough good things to compensate, although it is very unlikely that he gets reelected just because of his assciation with Bush.
Does paralysing your city, bringing commercial traffic to a standstill in defense of the pensions or benefits or whatever you get from your union make you a critical thinker ? In the same way that taking an anti-war stance in line with 80-90% of your fellow citizens makes you somehow more rational or clear-eyed and sophisticated than Americans who are split virtually 50-50 on Bush's policies ? Being a dictator or authoritarian leader in that context will need to be fleshed out, it isn't a word to throw around lightly. Anyway, I do listen to the BBC, and trust it as an investigative source more than CNN or the other cable channels here in the states, so was speaking more to the lack of anti-European discussions that go on around these boards.... :souka:

mad pierrot
22-02-05, 06:11
What many Europeans cannot understand is why the portion of the American people who are disgruntled about the government, education system or whatever, don't take the streets or make nation-wide strikes until things change.

But they do take to the street! Believe me, my sister who is a journalist has gotten arrested more than once over the last few years covering these events! Specifically, I remember when she was arrested a few years ago in protest in the middle of downtown Chicago, which brought the loop to dead stop until it was broken up. I know protestors who get arrested annually at places like the School of the America's, the E.L.F. base, corporate meetings, etc. American's don't get much credit for many of their grass root movements, but they happen. Also, I really don't get mad at people, European or otherwise, who aren't aware of such things. They are as much a victim of the mass media as anywhere else. These kind of events simply don't get the media attention they deserve. Also, one disadvantage that America has when it comes to organizing nation-wide efforts is it's geography. Sometime the socialists in Madison haven't a clue what the socialists in Detroit are doing, let alone New York. :)


having their heads in the clouds, is the doubel-standard of the US government.

Head in the clouds, no. (Well, maybe a little.) Is the double standard there? Yes. Maciamo, you should take a look at the fine publication known as The Onion. (http://www.theonion.com) A wonderful newspaper devoted entirely to mocking everything that's wrong. -Just one example of some of the wonderful satire out there. Believe me, people know. (Well, maybe not everyone. Personally I think apathy is a bigger problem.)

:)

I am in agreement about America's hypocritical standards. Take for example, democracy. Who isn't cynical about government in America? But if we're so damn cynical about our own democracy, how the hell do we expect to for it to function anywhere else?


That being said, let's all take a deep breath and chill. I know this is going to be a heated discussion and I'm enjoying it so far but let's not have petty difficulties get in our way.

:sorry:

Heh, I have conservative friends who are always complaining about the damn liberals and their efforts....

:blush:

Maciamo
22-02-05, 06:16
... so was speaking more to the lack of anti-European discussions that go on around these boards.... :souka:

You are free to initiate such discussions. However, when I check the news I rarely see anything worth complaining about in Europe that is not already being taken care of by European ctizens. The big news about Europe are usually about the EU's construction, the tense relations with the US, sports, events or accidents of some kinds. But I'd be delighted if some non-European could come with some factual and well-argued criticism about anything that should be changed in Europe. I have written a lot about this when I was at university, and submitted these "critical ideas" to some of my economics professor, one of whom became Finance Minister the next year (and applied part of my ideas for change - but probably because it was in line wit his own).

Maciamo
22-02-05, 06:37
But they do take to the street! Believe me, my sister who is a journalist has gotten arrested more than once over the last few years covering these events!

That is also part of the problem in the US. People protesting against the government get arrested. I won't say it never happens in Europe, but it doesn't when the number of protester is considerable enough and the issue of national concern.

The US government has now become master in protecting itslef from its own people. No wonder that the US government is usually seen with fear, suspicion or disdain. They try to control people via the media, to force their ideals (including religion) on the people, and make their citizens good patriots, and hopefully label anybody who disagree with them as unpatriotic, and more recently even terrorists. If such a thing ever happened in Europe, the government would be forced to resign and those politicians sued in courts. Democracy is power to the people, not to a few selfish politcians. But Europe is very far from perfect in my view. I wish there could be more referendum (like in Spain last Sunday about the EU Constitution) for all major political decisions.


These kind of events simply don't get the media attention they deserve.

And do you know why ? Well, who controls the media ? Not the government itslef, but a few business millionaires who control the government (including the infamous Carlisle Group of Bush Sr. & Co).


Also, one disadvantage that America has when it comes to organizing nation-wide efforts is it's geography.

That's true, but at least the population is more concentrated around some huge metropolitan areas (NY, Chicago, Detroit, LA, Miami...) than in Europe.



Just one example of some of the wonderful satire out there. Believe me, people know. (Well, maybe not everyone. Personally I think apathy is a bigger problem.)

But not evryone is unhappy about the current situation. All those religious extremist from the so-called "Jesusland" are slowly getting all that they want (a president to their image, nationwide religious censorship,..). That is the biggest problem in the States. People are too divided ideologically, and not everybody can win (which explains the current 50-50 divide over Bush). It seems to me that Europe is more culturally divided, but more united ideologically.

mad pierrot
22-02-05, 08:45
It seems to me that Europe is more culturally divided, but more united ideologically.

Agreed. America is contrary to this, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


But not evryone is unhappy about the current situation.

Of course not. Remember, some people are actually benefiting from all these shenanigans. Things wouldn't be happening if there wasn't money being made somewhere.


And do you know why ? Well, who controls the media ? Not the government itslef, but a few business millionaires who control the government (including the infamous Carlisle Group of Bush Sr. & Co).

Duh. Tell me something I don't know. :homer:



They try to control people via the media, to force their ideals (including religion) on the people, and make their citizens good patriots, and hopefully label anybody who disagree with them as unpatriotic, and more recently even terrorists. If such a thing ever happened in Europe, the government would be forced to resign and those politicians sued in courts.

Such a thing did happen. Often. (But mostly ended after WWII.)


That is also part of the problem in the US. People protesting against the government get arrested.

I wholeheartedly agree. The U.S., frankly, has alot of problems. But hey, we're working on them, give us some slack. :) One thing I have noticed, however, is most Americans, (including me, to an extent) aren't overly fond of other people telling us how to run our own country. Which, I know, is ironic considering how much we do it to other people.

More to come later, I have to go head to town to buy groceries!

:biggrin:

kirei_na_me
22-02-05, 16:33
Had I been American, I would have left the country at once.

Well, easier said than done, I guess. I have talked about leaving this country, but it's mostly all talk.

We have bought a nice house here, in the nice countryside, where the air is clean(er) and where the schools are good. No one is uptight about anything much, unless maybe some dogs running free who are harassing the neighbor's cat, and it may seem silly to some, but I like the fact that my family is near. I don't think I would trade it for anything right now.

Of course, as time goes by, I might be more apt to moving somewhere else. I know for a fact that if there is ever a draft after my sons are of age, they will be on a plane to Japan. The biggest benefit of dual-citizenship, in my eyes.

See, having a family of your own makes you see things a little differently. It is much easier for older people who have grown children or people who have no children at all to just pack up and move. Take my cousin, for example. She's one of the thousands of people who are trying to acquire Canadian citizenship since the outcome of this past election. She is a lesbian and she and her partner of 20+ years want to move to Canada so that they might be able to have more rights... besides the fact that they just hate everything about the U.S. now. It's easy for them to do that, though, because they are older, they have no children, and their immediate families are almost gone, with the exception of some siblings. They really have nothing much keeping them here.

Maciamo
22-02-05, 16:59
Well, easier said than done, I guess. I have talked about leaving this country, but it's mostly all talk.
...

I understand that it is not always easy, especially with children. Age however is not a major factor for me. I left my parent's house for good (well still visited about once a year :p ) when I was 18, and studied in various countries (thanks to the numerous exchange programmes).

Even now that I have more or less setlled in Japan, I never really know how long I will be staying here. I could just decide any day to move to another country whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I really feel like leaving because I feel so annoyed by the constant police checks for nothing, and the fact that the Japanese always see foreigners as "henna gaijin" that cannot possibly speak their language and understand their culture. If only this can make me move somewhere else, then the above-mentioned things about the US (esp. Bush) would have much more decisive effects. The problem is always, moving where ? No country is perfect, but some are better suited to one's personality and expectations.

Duo
22-02-05, 18:54
I like moving, I think i would like to stay in Europe, maybe italy, spain, even france, why not, although i am torn, after my studies i don't know, i have come to love Brussels a lot, but part of me feels the brussels era should end, but i don't know, moving to america....... could be possible, but these recent years I have grown very european(whatever that is ) but don't know, for those that like both EUrope and the US, i think Canada is a good compromise :)

@ the topic

There is one thing that I think Europe should be grateful to the Americans, and that's their will to take action, especially in these recent times in the recent Balkan wars. I for one am thankful the US for mobilizing up and fast along with the UK and preventing another catostrophe in Kosovo after the European fiasco in Bosnia, where France ( a sort of underground ally of the Serbs) along with other European powers told the US to stay off, and just sat back and saw thousands of innocent Bosnias slaughtered, and it took the US to fix things up with the Dayton agreement). Europeans can act all high and mighty and whatever they want with the EU now, but let's not forget that they are responsible for other things, one only needs to look at Africa...... I hope that the EU can start a new era for eruope, but one where the West stops acting superior to East europe especially, and stops their favoritisms and still discriminating ways. Soooo, western europeans can criticise all they want, but they still have their own issues to deal with, as do all countries.