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Jonah Goldberg on why the British are like dogs,
November 12, 2001 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Jonah Goldberg on why the British are like dogs, and the French like cats.
posted by Ty Webb (22 comments total)

 
Wow

I'm sure that the british would just love to be called our lapdogs... "leaping to our aid at any sign of distress".
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on November 12, 2001


Lapdogs don't leap to anyone's aid.
posted by kindall at 11:06 AM on November 12, 2001


Speaking as a Brit: Woof!

So what animals are Americans? I would say elephants: Too big to be attacked by any other animal, capable of flattening everything in it's path while charging about, yet intelligent and sensitive.

(That wasn't meant as a troll, by the way!)
posted by salmacis at 11:23 AM on November 12, 2001


salmacis: How dare you call Americans intelligent and sensitive! Kicking us when we're down...

If movie stars like Alec Baldwin should shut up about politics, as Goldberg has asserted in the past, maybe political pundits should steer clear of evolutionary biology?
posted by Ty Webb at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2001


So, I don't get it.. do the British bury pancakes in the back yard and hide under a chair, barking, whenever company comes over?
posted by Hildago at 11:34 AM on November 12, 2001


Next week, "why columnists are like donkeys".
posted by holgate at 11:35 AM on November 12, 2001


This was an unfortunate comparison. Maybe the British will eventually forgive him, but the cats ...

FYI, when he mentions Stephen Budiansky I think he's referring to an Atlantic Monthly article from 1999: interesting concept about dogs exploiting our anthropomorphic tendencies, plus some informative stuff about how closely dogs are related to wolves.
posted by coelecanth at 11:41 AM on November 12, 2001


What a stupid article. The English are actually much more like cats - loyal bur fiercely independent. Might as well try to match the relevant animal to the European nationality, following from the idiotic donkey's simile. (My own suggestions bracketed)

Snakes(French)
Pigs(Germans)
Cockatoos(Spaniards)
Pussycats(Dutch)
Gerbils(Belgians)
Poodles(Austrians)
Sardines(Portuguese)
Peacocks(Italians)
Hamsters(Luxemburgers)
Ostriches(Norwegians)
Mink(Swedes)
Basset hounds(Poles)
Badgers(English)
Parrots(Irish)
Weasels(Swiss)
Dolphins(Danes)
Lemmings(Hungarians)
Moles(Welsh)
Aardvarks(Finns)
Mongooses(Scots)
Rhinos(Russians)
Magpies(Romanians)

And I leave it to you to guess Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Californians. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:52 AM on November 12, 2001


The English are actually much more like cats - loyal but fiercely independent.

I'm sorry, MiguelCardoso, are you logging in from an alternate reality? I have nothing against the Brits, any culture that could produce Red Dwarf is worthy of utmost respect, but independant? I think not.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:58 AM on November 12, 2001


Ty Webb, they are. My mother's English and I lived in England for eight years. They are stubborn, rational and fair. Here in Portugal if your friend kills someone you protect him and agree with him. Someone English will protect you but they won't agree with you. In fact, I think it's their great quality. Everyone speaks and thinks for him/herself. Blair's backing, you can be sure, is utterly honest and steadfast.
In fact I'll go further: I know of no other people as independent - starting with independent from each other - as the English. Not the Brits, btw. The Scots are independent collectively. Same for the Irish. (I could never understand the Welsh... ;-)). Perhaps the Australians. That is why Jonah Goldberg's article is such an arrogant, ignorant piece of poo.

P.S.

Red Dwarf is, I swear, the only thing I have against them!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:06 PM on November 12, 2001


Ty Webb: Upon whom, and on what terms, are you claiming that "the Brits" are dependant?
posted by davehat at 12:13 PM on November 12, 2001


MiguelCardoso, I understand your point. Moreover, I agree that the article is an arrogant, ignorant, and worse, poorly written, piece of poo. One could say the same of Goldberg himself.

It's important to not pretend to discern national character from the actions of a current national government; this is where the major fault of the essay lies, I think. But according to that admittedly flawed premise, I maintain that the British government has been anything but independant of the U.S. in matters of global economic and military policy. Bush can barely come up with initiatives fast enough for Blair to rubber-stamp them.

Maybe not a dog, but surely an over-enthusiastic little brother.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:18 PM on November 12, 2001


I understand your point. Moreover, I agree that the article is an arrogant, ignorant, and worse, poorly written, piece of poo. One could say the same of Goldberg himself.

Well, that took the wind out of my sails. :) But - what a knack you have, Ty Webb, of awakening the worst in me! - I think it's extremely cheeky of you to regard England, or Britain, as your "little brother". What language are we speaking? Who exactly started the U.S. off? Little brothers generally come after. No, I think the Brits are more like your grandfathers.You did well to shake them off(I'm a Burkean through and through)but it's a bit ungrateful for the grandchild to call his grandfathers "little brothers"... Next thing we know, dammit, the Brazilians will say they invented the Samba and the Bossa Nova all by themselves.
And we can't have that! (Thanks for a truly amusing post and all the essential comment-support, Ty Webb)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:37 PM on November 12, 2001


MiguelCardoso: Again, I mostly agree with you. English culture is, in many ways, father to American culture. Most of our social institutions were handed down from the English legal tradition.

But what I'm talking about here is not cultural heritage, but political authority. How many times since WWII has England taken the lead in global matters, and the USA backed them up, instead of the other way around? It doesn't really matter that England existed before the US, what I'm talking about is the relationship that exists now. And actually, the little brother comparison came from an English friend of mine.

Again, no slight against English people intended, just an observation.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:52 PM on November 12, 2001


*sulking something terrible* Alright then; carry on...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:01 PM on November 12, 2001


Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said of the United States, in a speech to the National Press Club in 1969: "Living next to you is like sleeping with an elephant; no matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."
posted by Carol Anne at 1:03 PM on November 12, 2001


How many times since WWII has England taken the lead in global matters, and the USA backed them up, instead of the other way around?

Well, most recently in Kosovo. And perhaps even now: Blair's playing a very intriguing diplomatic game here, implicitly asserting his position as elder statesman (relatively speaking) through the greater outreach of his recent speeches in comparison with those of Bush. (And it's Britain, or the UK, if you're talking about the political entity. Which you were. So it is.)
posted by holgate at 2:59 PM on November 12, 2001


So what animals are Americans? I would say elephants:

You forgot to mention how panicky we tend to get over little mice....

*****

Okay, MiguelCardoso, I'll bite: on what basis do you self-identify as a sardine?
posted by rushmc at 3:38 PM on November 12, 2001


(I fear this thread is turning into a urinating contest)

Holgate, I disagree that Britain took the lead in Kosovo. The slaughter in and around the former Yugoslavia went on for years while the UK, and the rest of Europe, sat around, fretted, orated, and waited for the US to lead the charge.

Blair's a much better speaker and statesman than Bush, no argument here. That has little to do with the power relationship between the two nations.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:41 PM on November 12, 2001


Swimmingly, rushmc. Sardines are slick, tasty little bastards, I'll have you know. They stick together and are great to have for lunch, tea or dinner. They spread easily and don't mind being grilled. On the negative side, they're mobbish, easily caught and perhaps a little too greasy. As our greatest writer, António Vieira, wrote in his most famous sermon - Sermão aos Peixes - not only do the big ones eat the small ones but the small ones gang up to eat the big ones, to ensure that no one ever has the moral upper hand. Besides, I love fresh sardines!

Also, what holgate said. Heh, you Americans, being quite new at this diplomatic game - ever so slightly naive - are more easily led than you think. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:53 PM on November 12, 2001


"The slaughter in and around the former Yugoslavia went on for years while the UK, and the rest of Europe, sat around, fretted, orated, and waited for the US to lead the charge." actually, i can't find back any article, but what the american did there was worst than doing nothing - now what could be solved is broken for decades, even people at peace now want to fight. They'd better *think* before acting, actually .... anyway, doing nothing wasn't a solution either.
posted by aureliano buendia at 2:34 AM on November 13, 2001


Are you drinking with me Jesus, won't you buy a friend a beer....

One of my favorite sound-bitey things from university times which has stuck in my regrettably porous brainmass :
"Mr Kissinger? Steve Felton, Sesame Street Gazette. If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?"

(By the by, isn't aureliano above a name out of A Hundred Days of Solitude, or has the acid kicked in already?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:47 AM on November 13, 2001


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