'U.S. bashing no longer a game'
September 14, 2001 6:58 PM   Subscribe

'U.S. bashing no longer a game' Do you think in light of these events the casual Anti-Americanism of countries like Canada will change? (more..)
posted by smt (57 comments total)

 
"Perhaps we should acknowledge that reflexive anti-Americanism (as opposed to honest disagreement with the United States) is a poison afflicting large parts of the world, a poison we should purge from our own system."

As a dual American/Canadian citizen growing up in Canadian schools I have been very aware of (and at times disgusted by) the underlying hostility towards Americans found in otherwise 'friendly' people.

The international show of support (as mentioned in this thread) has been touching, but will this cause the international community to rethink some of their attitudes about Americans?
posted by smt at 7:00 PM on September 14, 2001


nope.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:06 PM on September 14, 2001


attitudes about americans are based on the foreign policy of america and they might change depending on what path america takes after this catastrophe.
posted by incubus at 7:11 PM on September 14, 2001


In the short term? Maybe.

In the long run? People's views of Americans are going to change only if American's views of them are going to change. It's a two way street.
posted by mkn at 7:12 PM on September 14, 2001


I am much more worried about the self-doubt and self-loathing that Americans are voicing right now, here on MeFi and elsewhere.

I am disheartened by this talk, of which the bottom line seems, we deserved it. Too many people seem inclined to ignore this attack and refuse any attempts at retaliation.

It is a sad, sad day when some Americans refuse to understand that their very existence, and the existence of their country has been threatened with extinction.

This is not the end of the attacks. This is only the beginning. If we do not do something to stop these attacks, we will all die, it is that simple.
posted by dewelch at 7:13 PM on September 14, 2001


It's an interesting question; I think a lot of Canadians need to have at least a veneer of anti-Americanism in order to mantain a sense of themselves. It's funny, though, I've experienced a lot of anti-Americanism in the past, and yet, in the past few days, there was never any question that we'd throw our weight behind you. Kind of like siblings, I suppose.
posted by transient at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2001


This is not the end of the attacks. This is only the beginning. If we do not do something to stop these attacks, we will all die, it is that simple.


Thanks Nostradamus. The posts I see are more about not targeting the innocent and avoiding another Vietnam. They're also about being on a higher ethical plane than heartless terrorists. They're made by intelligent people who understand the horrors of war and don't buy paranoid talk like "we will all die, it is that simple."

Maybe we just see what we want to see?
posted by skallas at 7:20 PM on September 14, 2001


With all the press the Nostradamus is getting this week I guess I should be flattered.

I said, "if we do nothing, we will all die." There is no one but ourselves, in coordination with all who will help us that can stop further attacks from occurring. I believe that to sit and do nothing, while hating ourselves and the actions of our government, are not an answer as they need to nowhere but further attacks.

Everyone loses if we stand by and do nothing.
posted by dewelch at 7:28 PM on September 14, 2001


This is going to come off as flamebait. I'm sorry. It's meant to be good-natured, like I'm sure most of the type of comments I heard daily from Americans about Canada are supposed to be. Except they cease to be funny, and soon build up and cause resentment.

"Oh, the 51st state."

"Canada? It's just like America."

"If we wanted Canada we could take it over in a week."

etc. etc. After hearing that crap on tv and online for as long as I can remember, I can understand why some Canadians have anti-American leanings. Myself, I spent a wonderful month in the USA this summer and hung out with many cool people, but I gritted my teeth every time I heard one of the above sayings.
posted by AdamJ at 7:29 PM on September 14, 2001


Amen, skallas.
posted by sylloge at 7:29 PM on September 14, 2001


It's back and forth. Like AdamJ said, both sides take shots at each-other. It's not like the US is the only victim in this little childish war of words between neighbours.

I don't think it's a big deal, because when it all boils down, Canada still cares about America, and one would assume that the opposite is true. (Though I'd hate it if it came down to another event such as this, in order to find out...)
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2001


what's so wrong with not jumping to become part of the global american machine?

living this summer in china, i was constantly disgusted by the blonde models in advertisements - not only for overseas companies, but local ones as well.

the rest of the world who dares to question america, they're the sane ones. blindly following anything, be it religion or a nation, is stupidity. from this stupidity comes suffering and war, for those who stop and think will eventually realize that there is no winner in war.

and that's the thing, there is no good short-term solution to this issue. we can't change the root beliefs of entire nations overnight, and politicians cannot afford to not take action. so we will react violently, and hurt the innocent, whose sons and daughters will be all the more ready to heed the next call to arms.

to bring my rant back on topic, i guess what i want to say is that we shouldn't hope that anti-americanism will die down, but that perhaps it - not the blind hate that drove the terrorists, but a willingness to question all our actions - should take root within american borders.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 7:38 PM on September 14, 2001


I'm an US citizen living in Australia and the anti-American sentiments voiced by some Canadians are similar to what I hear in this country. I've always taken it with a grain of salt - and don't really blame them for wanting an identity of their own, when they're practically saturated with everything 'American.'

However, just as transient has said, I have heard nothing but support and sympathy from my neighbours, co-workers and friends. I have no doubt Australians care about me and my 'home' country.
posted by cyniczny at 7:44 PM on September 14, 2001


dewelch wrote: Everyone loses if we stand by and do nothing.

So if we stand by and do nothing, let's assume we have a going-forward annual terrorist-induced death toll of X. Let's assume there's an action A (say...'bomb afghanistan to all hell'), and this results in an annual terrorist death toll of 100X, because it angers otherwise non-terrorists to the degree that they will turn to terrorism. Wouldn't you say it would be at least worth discussing alternatives to action A? Just discussing, weighing the merits, trying to hazard a guess as to the response of people, since it still seems to me that another attack like this could be mounted by somewhere on the order of five or six sufficiently angered people?
posted by jeb at 7:47 PM on September 14, 2001


When you are the Alpha male you got lots of pups nipping at your ankles. Is there an advantage to be top dog? you get the bitches. And the negatives? Envious small dogs try to take you down a peg or two however they can.
But you lead and they follow nonetheless.
posted by Postroad at 8:17 PM on September 14, 2001


I absolutely understand the need to preserve a Non-American society from domination by American culture. However, i think a nation needs to be defined by more than what (or who) it isn't.

I remember discussions of "Canadian Identity" in my high school classes.. when the teachers would open it up to the class for discussion, the definition repeated over and over again was "NOT AMERICAN!"

This is an important distinction, especially when you consider the history of the two countries, but at the same time I don't think that must automatically lead to hostility.
Yet time and time again when the subject of america came up in casual conversations, I would hear other students sneer and discuss what they'd like to do to the American flag.. (As opposed to now, when we're presented with images of people proudly waving American and Canadian flags together on Parliament hill - something i would never have expected to see before this)

There is good-natured anti-americanism.. but there is a less friendly side to it as well. In Canada it's basically all talk, but it's still an attitude that shapes our culture.

It's sad that it takes events like this for people to remember who their friends are.. I just wonder how long it will last.
posted by smt at 8:19 PM on September 14, 2001


Sorry, but this is way freakin' long. And it's not that I'm too lazy to post my own opinion; it's that this has a lot of info that I'm too lazy to dredge up by myself.

As the person who forwarded it to me wrote, "I don't usually forward stuff like this, but... well... damn."

I think this is actually really old but it probably still holds true, and if we're lucky, it will be the rule rather than the exception.

---

Interesting commentary by a Canadian Television Commentator-
A TRIBUTE TO THE UNITED STATES

America: The Good Neighbor.
Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television >commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars! Into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.

I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed
Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technology, and you get radios. You talk about German technology, and you get automobiles.

You talk about American technology, and you find men on the moon -! Not once, but several times -and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are
breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both
are still broke.

I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at
the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

---
posted by iamrobotandproud at 8:31 PM on September 14, 2001


As a dual American Canadian citizen that grew up in Vancouver, BC, I'd like to state for the record that nothing even remotely similar to this:

I would hear other students sneer and discuss what they'd like to do to the American flag...

occurred during my elementary/high school.

It was, however, tacitly understood that even if American teams won the Stanley Cup more often, it was only due to the efforts of the largely Canadian talent on their rosters.
posted by juv3nal at 8:31 PM on September 14, 2001


The joys of living on the oh-so-open minded prairies. *g*

The extreme comments were obviously from some of the less mature students, there were many respectful students as well. However, there was still a lot of hostility aside from the good-natured humor, even from the teachers.
posted by smt at 8:38 PM on September 14, 2001


iamrobotandproud - yes, that article is quite old. it was written at the end of the vietnam war, in response to reports that the American Red Cross was on the verge of bankruptcy. so a different set of circumstances.. but at the same time, it still holds a message that has obviously been uplifting to many, judging by the amount it has been circulating this week.
posted by smt at 8:46 PM on September 14, 2001


Just a quick thought. It seems that nearly everytime I hear a Canadian talk about 'defining themselves' they inevitably end up referencing or comparing to or talking about where they stand compared to Americans. However, if you ask an American to define himself/herself you will find no such references to Canadians (or anyone else for that matter). Why? Because we define ourselves by what WE do, not what other people do. Does this make sense? Why does it always seem that for a Canadian to define oneself, or their culture, they must always do it in reference to someone else?

Don't get me wrong though, some of my best friends are Canadians :p
posted by underdog at 9:04 PM on September 14, 2001


(warning: semi-crude attempt at levity ahead.)

the last time i was visiting our neighbor to the north, i was sitting in my hotel room, flipping channels when i came upon a comedy program.

said in reference to Canada:

"we're bigger and we're on top. if we were in prison, America would be our bitch."

yes, i have the sense of humor of a twelve year old...
posted by brigita at 9:09 PM on September 14, 2001


Why does it always seem that for a Canadian to define oneself, or their culture, they must always do it in reference to someone else?

I don't know; perhaps it is because when Canadians look at their culture, they do not see Canadians. They see someone else.
posted by transient at 9:11 PM on September 14, 2001


Why do we wait until they kill thousands of civilian Americans before we begin to critically examine our foreign policy? Regardless of your viewpoint, you have to see danger in allowing terrorist actions to change our behavior to the benefit of the terrorists. BF Skinner would have something to say on this subject.
posted by dr_emory at 9:14 PM on September 14, 2001


Annoying. But I guess myself and other Canucks weigh in on America enough, and in a fairly consistent negative light, that a little payback foolishness of the sort that underdog and others were dribbling about Canada is to be expected, if not welcomed.

Love Americans, deeply dislike America. This is the only viable option for most people around the world who are students of anything other than navel-gazing. I'm sorry, but it's a simple fact, and looking beyond their own borders for anything other than people to bomb, exploit, or sell crap to would show Americans that in a moment of reflection.

There's a groundswell of heartfelt sympathy for the people of America at the moment, a desire to help in any way possible, and well there should be, but that does not alter history, or make any less egregious the venality, corruption and dishonesty of the vast majority of America's leaders in living memory.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:40 PM on September 14, 2001


Well if America is such a bastard, why do you buy stuff from them?
posted by dr_emory at 9:59 PM on September 14, 2001


as a canadian, i've poked my fair share of fun at americans.

but the fact is i have many good friends from the united states, and they are good people.

let us not lose focus that people died. many of them were not americans. my sentiments toward america - whether good, bad, or indifferent - really don't matter.

the horror i feel has more to do with the inhumanity of the act.

remember the people.
posted by bwg at 10:17 PM on September 14, 2001


" but that does not alter history, or make any less egregious the venality, corruption and dishonesty of the vast majority of America's leaders in living memory."

Or Canada or India or English, you act like corruption is a purely American trait. We may get more, but that's because we are a big country and a world leader.
posted by madmanz123 at 10:26 PM on September 14, 2001


When America as a whole loses the remarkably misplaced superiority complex, the anti-US sentiment will settle down.

In other words, no, it will never end. Nor should it.
posted by Electric Jesus at 10:37 PM on September 14, 2001


madman, yes, you're right. But it's America that proclaims itself the Good in the Battle of Good and Evil, and thus opens up the way for comments such as the one I made above.

dr_emory : What the hell are you talking about?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:43 PM on September 14, 2001


Sorry to doublepost, but this has got me pissed off.

This whole affair really has nothing to do with Americans. It's about X thousand innocent *people* who have been slaughtered through no fault of their own, regardless of where they live. I'm not an American (obviously), but I still stood around the TV in disgust with all the other jackasses as this whole thing unfolded and wished for the death of those at fault. Patriotism? Hardly. Americans, for the most part, richly deserve every last dig directed toward them by the rest of the world and, in many ways, the displays of solidarity by sympathizing countries only feeds the bloated US ego even further. This is about the souls who were crushed by a quarter-mile of concrete and steel and their country of residence should have no bearing.

If the same terrorists had toppled the CN Tower or the Petronas Towers onto countless thousands of innocent citizens below, would the US have played the victimized national anthem in tribute? Not a chance. It's heartening to watch as a whole nation comes together in such an awful circumstance but, to me, it's about those who were murdered long before the country that was wronged.

This is no time to be waving flags when there are five thousand non-denominational humans missing and an equal number of grieving families.
posted by Electric Jesus at 11:01 PM on September 14, 2001


Thank you, Electric Jesus
posted by ducktape at 11:05 PM on September 14, 2001


Thank you Electric Jesus
posted by ducktape at 11:05 PM on September 14, 2001


As a dual American-Canadian citizen growing up in both countries, I have to say that I hear a lot more anti-canadian rhetoric in the US than vice versa.
posted by jnthnjng at 11:07 PM on September 14, 2001


Agreed, to a degree, EJ. In my admittedly slightly inflammatory post above, I tried to draw a distinction between Americans (the people, of whom there are many good and some bad, just as there are anywhere in the world, including the Middle East) and America the nation. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

I think the events of the past several days are about both the people and the nation. America the nation has been targetted, and one can argue forever with patriots and America-haters both about how justifiable that attack was or wasn't. Few would argue in the most of the 'western world' that the attack on the nation was justified, but some in other parts of the world clearly might, if only privately.

Tragically, though, it was the people of America who have been killed and wounded. People who had little to nothing to do with the policies and decisions that America as a nation has made and pursued in decades past.

So yes, it's about the innocent people who were killed and injured, and their families, and loved ones. Americans, Canadians, Koreans, Australians, whatever. Their nationality should be secondary to the awful fact that they lost their lives because some evil men wanted to make a geopolitical point. They were living people, and now they are dead.

But it was America the nation that was attacked, and because of that attack, the people lost their lives. To ignore that is to think simplistically, and would be to do a disservice to their memory.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:18 PM on September 14, 2001


When America as a whole loses the remarkably misplaced superiority complex, the anti-US sentiment will settle down.

My reply on this is just a variation on madmanz123's so I'll just leave it at that.

iamrobotandproud...nice post! I wonder how many people realize that many democracies out there modeled their own constitutions after ours? Maybe America is good for something after all....
posted by PeteyStock at 11:26 PM on September 14, 2001


"But it's America that proclaims itself the Good in the Battle of Good and Evil, and thus opens up the way for comments such as the one I made above."

No its not American's its our damn president, there is a difference . I've been reading up on some of the really stupid things we did to piss these guys off. I realize we made a boatload of mistakes and that these all should be addressed in the coming months, we also have been one of the most supportive and active countries in the world, mostly because its a luxury we can afford.

As far as any sort of ego or anticanada sentiment. The only posts I've seen here are criticizing us. Most Americans could give a damn about Canada on a day to day basis.

We (in general) think you have a nice country and people. Our basic stereo type is a bunch of polite, hockey loving people (slight joke). I generalization I'm sure, but damn it could be worse. At least your not considered arrogant shitty people who need to be knocked down a peg.

Our biggest reason to rib a Canadian seem so polite and harmless. That SouthPark song entitled "Blame Canada" because its one of the most friendly nations we could bitch about. We generally get along rather well and I have several close Canadian friends. We have lots of national pride, but I think every country does, especially the better it is doing economically. How do you like your country my Canadian friends? Nice right?
posted by madmanz123 at 11:32 PM on September 14, 2001


Chicken:

"People who had little to nothing to do with the policies and decisions that America as a nation has made and pursued in decades past."

I have a hunch that those left behind care about little else at this point. The politics of a country suddenly mean that there's no daddy/husband/wife/mother/son/daughter coming home this weekend and labelling them as faceless "Americans" does a greater disservice than anything I could say.

Whatever retaliation comes from this is richly deserved -- if only it were for the people who are buried instead of the country that was embarassed.
posted by Electric Jesus at 11:36 PM on September 14, 2001


OK - I think we're talking the same thing here at the end of the day, EJ. As far as retaliation goes, though, I really don't want to think about that right now.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:45 PM on September 14, 2001


Let's start a club shall we? The only thing that scares me more then the attack is what we may do next.
posted by madmanz123 at 11:49 PM on September 14, 2001


But it was America the nation that was attacked, and because of that attack, the people lost their lives. To ignore that is to think simplistically, and would be to do a disservice to their memory.

I think it's a difference of views on this very matter that have caused much of the disagreements in the context of the WTC bombing.

You feel, stavros, that the disaster was a symbolic attack on America first, and an act that killed thousands second.

I feel that the disaster was an act that killed thousands, first, and a symbolic act second.

Correspondingly, you may feel it's "simplistic" to look at it in the terms that I do. I feel the same about your view.

I think it's more important to act wisely here than to act decisively. I would prefer to find a solution that avoids bombing a third world country - preferring a less dramatic answer to the guns and fireworks 'symbolic' one. Regardless of how much people want to blow "them" the hell off the earth.
posted by Marquis at 12:04 AM on September 15, 2001


No marquis, I don't. Please don't put words into my mouth. I apologize if I'm not expressing myself clearly.

In the intention of the terrorists, the symbolic attack on America the nation was foremost.

In the results of their actions that America and the rest of the world must now live with, the needless death of thousands is clearly of overriding importance.

What I was trying to express is that in mentally juxtaposing the intentions of the attackers and the horror and pain of the results, in thinking about both the intentions and results of this attack, we can miss the importance of drawing a distinction between the Nation (and it's leaders) and it's People. We can miss the fact that the attack was aimed at the Nation, and the carnage that resulted (which I reiterate must be the focus of our outrage) was squarely borne by the People.

My primary point in backing up my original statements is that it's useful and essential to keep that distinction in mind, and doing so might tamp down the fury that seems to erupt every time someone dares to criticise America the nation in these dark days.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:24 AM on September 15, 2001


I've sworn off front page posts for a while, so I'll link this here. If anyone cares to promote it, that's your call.

Chomsky weighs in : "As to how to react, we have a choice. "
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:11 AM on September 15, 2001


Kind of lost now, but here's one more dual US-Canadian citizen (also in Vancouver) repeating that I haven't really experienced widespread anti-Americanism of the kind that smt describes. There are a few people who really do hate Americans, but there are just as many who really do hate Jews, Chinese, Sihks or whatever.

As nations, we have different mainly on those things that the US has been plainly wrong about (Vietnam, Cuba) but we are still closer by far than any other two nations and most of the ribbing on both sides is good natured (sibling-like, as transient pointed out).

As for Canadians having to define themselves as distinct from Americans, it has to do with most of the population living an hour's drive from the border, speaking the same language and watching all the same crappy TV. And Canadians aren't the only ones who do it: think Wales, New Zealand, etc.
posted by sylloge at 1:22 AM on September 15, 2001


Generally speaking, I feel that if we (or anyone) change our way of life, the terrorists win.

They would have achieved their (I guess) goal.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 1:46 AM on September 15, 2001


To quote Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda (A wonderful movie, I might add):

"Well, would you like to know what you'd be without us, the good ol' U.S. of A. to protect you? I'll tell you. The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire, that's what. So don't call me stupid, lady. Just thank me!"
posted by noisemartyr at 4:48 AM on September 15, 2001


Perhaps we need to define the terms Anti-American and Pro-Canadian. Just because you are for something, doesn't mean you are against something else.
posted by scotty at 5:38 AM on September 15, 2001


I'm sorry this thread has gone in the direction it has..

I hadn't thought about the answer to my question much, which is why I posted it..

"will this cause the international community to rethink some of their attitudes about Americans?"

And the real question seems to be not whether they will, but whether they should.

From what I've seen so far, most personal grievances with American foreign policy have been temporarily put aside in order to show support for a country that has just experienced tragedy.

To continue the sibling comparison, if I had an older brother who continually got on my nerves or who I disagreed with on many issues and he suddenly became seriously ill, or lost a loved one, or experienced any type of tragedy, I would hope that I would not bring up the amount of money he owes me or the things he's done in the past that I don't like, but would be there for him.
I would also hope that for a time I would continue to be more sensitive to my brother in his recovery.

At the same time, if I had different ideas about politics than him, that wouldn't change. If i disagreed with some of his past actions, that wouldn't change. But if I felt the need to continue to express those ideas to him, I would certainly try to find a more sensitive way to do it.

There is absolutely a good natured bent to much of the percieved anti-americanism. But there is the other side of it too (and yes, I know it goes both ways). I just hope that some of the hostility can be forgotten for a time while the country deals with the aftermath of what happened. (which seems to be happening, for the most part)

But will it eventually continue? Yes. Should it? That will depend on what happens in the future.
posted by smt at 7:15 AM on September 15, 2001


If any nation out there wants to show this wasn't an attack specifically on America and that America does not shoulder the burden of protecting freedom across the globe, then feel free begin decisive military action action against those states promoting terrorism outside of their borders without waiting for the US.

Anyone want to take a bet on how many step up to the plate?

Here's my esitmate: zero.
posted by NortonDC at 7:25 AM on September 15, 2001


You make the assumption that "decisive military action against those states promoting terrorism" is the proper mode of action. As nations that are more distanced from the events (and therefore less flushed about them), I think it's more likely that Canada et al would have much less of the knee-jerk "let's shoot their countries' people" reaction. And rightfully so.
posted by Marquis at 8:29 AM on September 15, 2001


I will not say I agree, but even playing along I don't see this version playing out any different:

If any nation out there wants to show this wasn't an attack specifically on America and that America does not shoulder the burden of protecting freedom across the globe, then feel free begin decisive action against those states promoting terrorism outside of their borders without waiting for the US.

Anyone want to take a bet on how many step up to the plate?

This is still my esitmate: zero.
posted by NortonDC at 8:32 AM on September 15, 2001


> Do you think in light of these events the casual Anti-
> Americanism of countries like Canada will change?

Yes, it will change. When the latest American jingoism wears thin, there will be more casual anti-Americanism. And the casual anti-Americanism will become far less casual if America starts killing innocents in revenge for the actions of criminals.
posted by pracowity at 8:48 AM on September 15, 2001


As I read through these posts, it occurred to me that sometimes Americans don't even realize that they are viewed as greedy, self-centered, whiney, etc. by the outside world, and I don't think many who posted even read the linked article.

Comments like...

"I wonder how many people realize that many democracies out there modeled their own constitutions after ours? Maybe America is good for something after all...."

...lose the point. I don't think there are many people who don't feel that the form of government America has set up—for the most part—is a remarkable piece of work. For the most part.

IMO, non-Americans see Americans as not appreciating what America and Americans can do with their wealth. They see Americans as complaining too much about taxes, when others pay much more. They see Americans as a society that creates and craves disposable products which flaunts their wealth to other countries who are less fortunate.

This article; however, is speaking to the unique relationship between Canada and the United States and their respective citizens.

More than wanting other countries to to ease up on the "America bashing," I hope that Americans will take a look inside as to why other people think such things about them.

Many of the people I have met around the world have certain opinions about the United States, and *many* formed their opinion by watching American television. Nearly all of these people told me that the Americans they eventually met are nothing like what they expected, and that is a good thing.

What this tells me is that folks need to get together, and not form opinions so quickly. Walk a mile in their shoe shoes or skin. And at this time Americans should consider doign this themselves as well.

It also tells me that American television sucks ;)

And now that the networks have changed their 24-hour-a-day-coverage from "Attack on America" to "America Recovers" I guess we are all expected to feel safe and go about our days, so I bid you adieu.
posted by terrapin at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2001


This is a wholely stupid article. It is a waste of ink/electricity. I am Canadian and I admit to various shots I have taken at my American friends in fun, with their shots at me for being an Eskimo also in fun. I garuntee that a very large part of this 'Anti-Americanism' is simply in jest as much of the 'Anti-Canadian' attitude is as well.

Jeebus, it's just ridiculous. We Canucks are totally devistated at the 911 events and will do anything we can to help. Americans have been there for us many times (such as the ice storm in 1998) and the many floods in the plains. We have fought beside you, laughed with you and now cry with you.
posted by tinfoil at 1:25 PM on September 15, 2001


tinfoil, yes, much of it is in jest, and I'm glad for that.

But as one last (i promise!) example, I heard from a friend tonight who teaches English at a Canadian high school. When her grade 10 class heard about the attacks, what did they do?
Cheered, and made comments to the effect of "finally, someone gave them what they deserved!"

To me, that's shouldn't be considered funny, no matter how it is intended. The impression my friend gave me was that they meant it.

When they learned the full extent of what had happened, they changed their minds and become serious.
That's the only thing that seperates them from the people cheering in the street - the fact that when it fully sank in, they stopped.
But their first reaction when hearing of tragedy was that it was a good thing, since it was happening to the Americans! These are 15 year old kids. These are kids who were not alive for vietnam, and to whom cuba means nothing more than Elian and cigars. For the most part, these are not people with fundamental problems with US foreign policy. These are people just barely past childhood who have learned that type of humor from their society.

I don't completely agree with the conclusions drawn in the article, but I think he makes some valid points.

(the end.... i swear!!) :-)
posted by smt at 8:17 PM on September 15, 2001


I have always disliked the facile anti-americanism that exists in my country. We have been blessed to have the Americans as our neighbours.

The sheer brutality of this attack is sickening to me. There are people in Canada who, even now, badmouth and denigrate the U.S.A. But I have never been one.

Your sorrow is our sorrow, and your anger is our anger. It cannot be diminished by sharing. When you see clips from our country mourning your losses please do not feel we are trying to take anything from your sadness. We are trying to find a part of it to call our own, as Canadians, as people. I am not a warmonger or a hawk or a militarist, but this action must be answered so that terror in the U.S.A. or any other country can be inconceivable in the future. We should not be motivated by thoughts of revenge or anger, even though we are full to the teeth of anger. You must act as a just country. Any action should be deliberate, serious and fully cognizant of future consequences.
posted by houndyboy at 1:33 AM on September 16, 2001


I am much more worried about the self-doubt and self-loathing that Americans are voicing right now, here on MeFi and elsewhere.

I am not worried about anti-Americanism - it is founded on a number of things, including moral repugnance for the hypocrisy of American foreign policy. This is not to say that the US government is alone in perpetrating or facillitating many of the acts it condemns (i.e.: allowing an assassination squad from Chile to work in Washington DC, its support of Idi Amin, etc... etc...).

The thing is, I, who share this moral repugnance, love my country... and that is why I am incredibly indignant when I see statements equating "calls for reason" with "helping the enemy." It is because I believe in the promise of democracy and the promise of freedom that I continue to not only hold but share my convictions. To do anything less would be to let the terrorists win.
posted by LAM at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2001


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