I found this an interesting read...
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  1. #1
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    I found this an interesting read...

    An opinion piece on the BBC I found the compare & contrast approach very refreshing, and a bit enlightening.

    I can't help but say that I tend to throw my lot in with the Europeans. But, that's just me.

    I'd love to hear other's thoughts.*






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    anh, don't move to Europe just yet.

    His specific examples are taken out of context.
    Private Ryan: This movie was shown while the FCC was busy handing out massive fines to Clear Channel and Viacom in the wake of Janet Jackson's boobie and was considering fining individual performers and network affiliates. Some of the local stations that pre-empted the movie might have been uptight weenies that objected to the content, but most of them were likely scared of 7-figure FCC fines. If he wants to write an article about how stupid the FCC's "decency" attack is, go right ahead.

    Religious Zealots: The authors cites "Millions of Americans, 17% according to a recent survey" without naming it or the demographics it polled. There's no doubt that some of the people in this country that consider themselves religious believe in a Armageddon scenario, but I doubt that they comprise the majority of people that go to church/mosque/synagogue regularly.

    European Relations: It's no secret that many Europeans have a dim view of the US and enjoy tearing us down -- the author is a fine example of this. He didn't spend very much time saying anything positive about the people he met, the closest was to say they were "polite." He must have had a reason to take his family to Colorado to ski in the Rockies instead of in the Alps. With regards to over-large SUV's, no one put a gun to his head and made him rent one. I'm sure he could have chosen a compact or wagon with 30mpg instead. It's a reversing trend anyway. Take a look at any car magazine, smaller more efficient cars are selling better than ever before and hybrid engine SUV's will soon be widely available.

    Do we have our problems? Sure do. I think most of them can be covered by stating that Americans are commonly over-worked, over-tired, and selfish with what little free time we have. I think it's also fair to say that most American's get their news in 5 minute bites that are highly abreviated or polarized to elicit reactions and sell advertising.

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    Nah, wasn't planning on moving to Europe right now, Victoria, B.C., maybe

    I don't think that he was necessarily right on with everything, and certainly there are subtleties of American culture that he's going to be overlooking (the whole FCC thing, but even with that, America is pretty well the prude when compared to Europe).

    However, what I found interesting was his impressions of us, not so much the accuracy, because an impression is almost always flawed, if you follow.

    The whole thing with the conversaion with the people he shared the car with was also interesting not so much for content, but the way in which it was handled. I know from experience that Europeans tend to pretty well straight forward. My wife's mother is off-the-boat Irish, and what she and her sisters and friends consider "normal conversational everyday topics" are pretty well outrageous by American standards.

    Edit: Also, the sense of humor, what's appropriate, what's not. RE: Prince Williams' outfit.

    As for the religious zealots, I realize that this is going to be primarily a geogrphical thing, but I'm the *only* agnostic I know. Seriously. (excluding certain CA.org board denzions) And, well, yeah, all of the Christians I know, whatever brand they may be, pretty well go along with the end times idea. I know a couple that don't, but I can count them on one hand. The rest are either wannabe buddhists, some other choice out of the food court of spirituality and pretty dang wonky in my opinion (no offense to anyone intended here, but you've *got* to admit some of this stuff is a little.... yeah, well anyway).

    As for our problems, yup. You nailed that one

    It's just that, I don't know, I think we've lost a very real amount of realism and pragmatism somewhere along the line...
    ~S


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    Yeah, the impression of America that people get is horrible...and sort of tragic in a way...so many people victimized by advertising, propaganda, and political spin.
    Certainly that happens all over....but in the US it's like the way of life(or so the impression goes)

    On another note, I don't think it's crazy to believe in an end time coming soon...that belief doesn't in any way mean that it's being banked on....I mean it's not like prepping a bomb shelter is going to help at the end of the world....it's not like anything about the belief has any implications beyond being a good motive to lead a better life in the moment.

    at any rate...Europe, Canada, and everywhere else, we've got plenty of retardations in our own systems too, so there's no use in the pot calling the kettle black.

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    On another note, I don't think it's crazy to believe in an end time coming soon...that belief doesn't in any way mean that it's being banked on....I mean it's not like prepping a bomb shelter is going to help at the end of the world....it's not like anything about the belief has any implications beyond being a good motive to lead a better life in the moment.
    from what i hear, in 15-20 years china will be the dominant superpower, so
    you're not that far off.

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    ...lol, didn't say that I necessarily believed in it...just that it's not crazy to.
    It seems that the article was implying that such belief put those people at fault in a way...and I just disagree.

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    I recently re-read the bible as my girlfriend is christian, and i wanted to get some insight to what she believes, but I honestly can't understand how people can believe what's written there. I suppose it has to do with faith or something obscure like that, or perhaps I'm missing something.. Jesus seems nice enough though.

    Anyways, the article pretty much sums up some of my impressions of america, it's just sad that the writer has such a black and white view of it all. I never been there myself, but I know theres more to the US then big cars, censorship and religious fanatics. I've met americans that are more "european" then most europeans, and europeans that act like the stereotypical american. We're all fucked up in our own special ways..

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    i was born in israel and lived there for 23 years, and have been living in living in Florida for the past 7 months. I thought I had a pretty good idea of the american stereotype before i came here, and i have to admit it is not far from the truth. there are more sides to it, its deeper than that, but what comes to ur head when u think of an american thats pretty much what i find it to be in life.

    the thing about america is because its so fucking impossibly big, there is not consistancy. people from some areas would not find certain conversation topics outrageous, while others would. i often get really weird reactions when i do or talk about stuff with certain people while others wont give a dick.. it depends where they are from, essentially.

    countries in europe, and also israel, are much smaller. if u r british, u r british, if u r french - u r gay
    WHAT *kidding!
    i mean u r just french, etc. outsiders consider "americans" as americans, nobody from europe would say oh this guy is minnesota-ian or marryland-ian, because there r so many states and they r all considered America. but it actually makes a *lot of difference, so i find it anyways

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    Hehe...honestly you don't need to compare how wide the differences are across the atlantic. Its a world apart just by comparing the US with Canada.

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    Being an American living in Europe, I can comment on this to an extent. People think of American as American's, and not according to states or regions, as Eyal said. They ask me about general things, and expect me to answer for the whole nation, or construe some east coast thing as a blanket rule for the whole nation. People seem to just view american's as a solid block, instead of the broad demographic that they really are.

    One guy insists that I must listen to hip-hop, and that I freestyle rap. After all, I'm American! I practically eat, sleep and breathe that shit yo!

    Another is asking me about New York. He knows I'm from San Francisco, and he knows I've never been to New York, but he still expects some sort of answer. I mean, I'm a coast away! The farthest place you can get from New York without going into the Arctic circle, or having to hop on a boat, but he treats it as the same thing.

    Yes, there are uniting traits that make an American, but every state is the size of a country, and there are 50 of them, so it's a bit silly to expect some sort of uniform americanism.

    To comment on the article, I do agree that American's are too cought up in fairy tales. I think this is greatly aided by the rather sensationalist media, that tries to push anything interesting (and the more heroic and miraculous, the better), while sweeping the grim realities under the carpet. Because of this, and other factors, we Americans seem to be rather infatuated with a percieved reality that has no place for the more unsavory aspects of life.

    It's like the famous quote from "A Few Good Men": "You want the truth? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!", except that American's may not even want the truth at this point, because it honestly sucks.


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