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The America-Hating British?
February 11, 2002 8:45 AM   Subscribe

The America-Hating British? In the UK's Spectator : "And this time it’s not just the usual America-haters at the Guardian and the BBC, but the likes of Alice Thomson, Stephen Glover, Alasdair Palmer, Matthew Parris, my most esteemed Telegraph and Speccie colleagues...many people over here had no idea quite how ridiculous you are. You’re shocked by us, we’re laughing at you. In fairness, instead of coasting on non-existent diseases and wild guesses at the weather, the always elegant Matthew Parris at least attempted to expand Guantanamo into a general thesis. ‘We seek to project the message that there are rules to which all nations are subject,’ he wrote in the Times. ‘America has a simpler message: kill Americans, and you’re dead meat.’ This caused endless amusement over here. As the Internet wag Steven den Beste commented, ‘By George, I think he’s got it!....’ PS What is an internet wag anyway?
posted by Voyageman (19 comments total)

 
Voyageman, old warrior: Mark Steyn is a tough Belgian-Canadian Jew - and a musical comedy expert("Broadway Babes Say Goodnight" is a wonderful book of his)- who regularly doles out common sense and humour in the conservative English press, i.e. The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. He sticks up for the U.S. among the increasingly anti-American Tory right and his gumption and intelligence are a tonic to all honest patriots, whatever their country. One of my heroes.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2002


I think the problem lies in a divergence between how America sees itself and how the rest of the Western world sees America. After 9/11, I saw genuine bewilderment among Americans, shocked to dscover that they weren't as universally popular as they had been led to believe.

I didn't particularly like this article. In places I found it patronising, in others, downright offensive. The general tone was "America is in the right, and anybody who thinks otherwise is an idiot". Obviously, that's not quite how I see things.
posted by salmacis at 9:12 AM on February 11, 2002


I second MiguelCarodoso's rave review of Steyn's book, which is actually called "Broadway Babies Say Goodnight." It's as funny and entertaining an overview of the rise and fall of the Broadway musical as you're ever likely to read. While I appreciate Steyn's unique voice as a musical comedy commentator, I have less enthusiasm for his role as pugnacious political pundit. There are plenty of those out there, many of them quite brilliant, and Steyn kind of gets lost.
Still, "Kill Americans and you're dead meat" has a nice ring to it. For the moment, they may be the greatest words in the English language -- even greater than "musical comedy." For the next few years, I'd like those words to be printed on our postage stamps, passports, and be included in our national anthem. Play ball!
posted by Faze at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2002


The Spectator. Do not believe their lies. It is owned by Conrad Black, bringer of darkness. He also owns the daily telegraph. The times, Murdoch's patsy is scarcely better. These newspapers do not adequately represent British public opinion.

But generally I agree with what salmacis said. I like the USA, no, I love it but sometimes I'm amazed at the lack of self knowledge that some of its citizens possess. Remember you can't please everybody. Just do what you think is right. Isn't that the point of the elective dictatorship most democracies now use. To get things done?

posted by nedrichards at 12:26 PM on February 11, 2002


I'm disappointed that this discussion hasn't developed into a major terrorism-musical comedy thread. It's still a potentially rich vein of enlightenment.
posted by Faze at 1:03 PM on February 11, 2002


After 9/11, I saw genuine bewilderment among Americans, shocked to dscover that they weren't as universally popular as they had been led to believe.

No one I know was shocked to learn we weren't popular. We were just shocked to learn that some people considered the resentment justification for two commercial jets being used to kill a couple thousand of our civilians. Big difference.
posted by lizs at 1:21 PM on February 11, 2002


YEah, I'm with lizs on this one; for the last decade or so, my day just wasn't complete without seeing some yo-yo burning a flag in some misbegotten show of hatred. I think most of us were pretty well aware that we were not beloved - in some cases for fair reasons.

I think the bewilderment salmacis saw was simply the same disbelief anyone anywhere would have had if some movie-scale disaster happened in front of their eyes. After all, this simply wasn't a bomb - this was a real four-star, special-effects filled extravaganza. The casualty figures, especially initially, were being reported as possibly being as high as the mid-twenty thousand. Put on a production of that scale in any country, and I'm pretty sure the reaction isn't going to be due to a shattered sense of popularity.

I think -and it is just personal opinion - that Americans, generally could care less about foreign opinion in general. Is that good? Nope; but we are the young punks, and the biggest, baddest bear on the block. We salve our armor with cash advances and humanitarian aid, and anyone who has taken a dollar from us before and says anything now is simply a jealous ingrate. (Not my opinion; just an observation of comments made in conversation.)

The simple fact is we leveled an entire country because of the direct actions of about 12 people or so; we popped the can of spinach, said "That's all I kin stand, I can't stands na more," and finished the leveling of Afghanistan. "Kill Americans, and you're dead meat." Definitely the rallying call of the Bush administration.

To sum it all up: America looks at anti-American anybody, and says, "So... Whatcha gonna do about it?" And when the do something... America does something back. POOR international policy. But a pretty safe estimation of the opinion.
posted by Perigee at 2:35 PM on February 11, 2002


PS What is an internet wag anyway?

You're soaking in it.
posted by todds at 3:31 PM on February 11, 2002


We were just shocked to learn that some people considered the resentment justification for two commercial jets being used to kill a couple thousand of our civilians. Big difference.

To say nothing of the shock of finding that resentment over the possible loss of a nation's oil supply justifies killing children.

Big difference? No.

Still, "Kill Americans and you're dead meat" has a nice ring to it. For the moment, they may be the greatest words in the English language -- even greater than "musical comedy." For the next few years, I'd like those words to be printed on our postage stamps, passports, and be included in our national anthem. Play ball!

Right. Ho hum. And Osama Bin Idiot and every other cosmopolitan gun nut has "Kill *us* and you're dead meat" plastered all over the Near East.

Big difference? No.

Funny how such identical excrement arises uniformly from human animals who happen to also be American-Hating-British...or Moslem-Hating-Americans...or American-Hating-Talibaners.

Big difference? No.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:17 PM on February 11, 2002


Or American-Hating-fold_and_mutilaters.
posted by CRS at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2002


until conservative journalists learn that against-the-war != hating-america, I won't get too worked up about crap articles like this.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2002


todds...Nice.
posted by th3ph17 at 6:53 PM on February 11, 2002


To say nothing of the shock of finding that resentment over the possible loss of a nation's oil supply justifies killing children.

Big difference? No.


I beg to differ. The U.S. did not intentionally target children. Big. Huge. Difference. No shallow moral equivalency - even if in a well-intentioned attempt to elicit sympathy for what you perceive to be a victimized group - will change that. Contrary to what appears to be popular belief in the world of fold_and_mutilate, all U.S.-related conflict in the Middle East cannot be reduced to "oil interests" It's a bit more complicated than that. The numbers you cite have been refuted so many times (on this board, in fact) I don't even feel the need to waste effort rehashing it.
posted by lizs at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2002


fold_and_mutilate - Your brand of moral equivalence didn't hold water back then, and it doesn't now.

Find a new hobby, preferably one that does not involve trolling MetaFilter.
posted by NortonDC at 7:31 PM on February 11, 2002


Anecdotal claims that the "UN denied us antibiotics" really fall flat when you find that the UN sanctions specifically exempt antibiotics: but not including supplies intended strictly for medical purposes. Nobody is prevented from importing antibiotics, nobody on earth, least of all the UN acting as some kind of gatekeeper frivolously denying antibiotics to doctors with children in need. (Source? An anti-sanctions site. (As Ken Layne has said, "This is the age of the internet, and we can fact-check your ass.")

mcsweetie, all it takes is five minutes of John Pilger or Robert Fisk to get the distinct impression that, if they don't actually hate us, they gleefully display their contempt. You can read columnists like Fisk and count the times that a Kalashnikov-toting Afghan is described as "peaceful" and the exclusive use of action words like "attack" and "killing" to describe only Americans. At some point you have to ask yourself which side they're on. Fisk, of course, infamously described Osama bin Laden as "religious" and "shy". Yup, and you-know-who owned a puppy.

By the way, Andrew Sullivan's Whining About America ("How Easy. How Dumb.") was also published this week in the London Times.

nedrichards: don't represent British opinion. Are you sure about that?
posted by dhartung at 10:41 PM on February 11, 2002


given the premise of this thread 'american hating british' is something of a troll, i find it amusing that some people can get so upset about another 'troll'. i would, of course, disagree that f n'm's post was a troll, unless you limit the definition to this:
'The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more like idiots than they already do'

it is the case that america has backed just about all of the repressive regimes that have been in existence since the second world war, in the name of 'creating stability' by 'defeating communism'.
you may dispute the numbers killed, but whether you call it deliberate targetting of civilians, or deliberately forgetting not to target civilians, american weapons have been used against civilian targets, and continue to be used in this barbaric way. this may not be unique amongst the various other inhumane mis-uses of power perpetrated by many governments, but if the us wants to assume the higher moral ground, the us must obey the highest moral standards.
posted by asok at 8:11 AM on February 12, 2002


Hey, it's Fat(head) Tuesday!

Big shocker--it's fashionably "iconoclastic" for Brits to write about how bad America is. Oh, my heavens! I've never heard of such a thing before! How charmingly adolescent of them.

As my father used to say, "There will always be an England; it's too much trouble to change all the maps now."

P. S. -- Andrew Sullivan. Hee, hee, hee. What a maroon.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:17 AM on February 12, 2002


asok undoubtedly has company in the Georges Monbiot rubber room of anti-imperialism. It's quite entertaining, watching him bounce off the walls like that.

I find it highly amusing, and notably revealing, that asok did not seem to believe that any communist regimes were repressive, since "almost all" of the places he sees repression are places that America backs. Somehow I suspect the 1.5 billion people living under totalitarian socialism ca. 1989 might have begged to differ. But nah, they don't count, do they, asok?
posted by dhartung at 5:07 AM on February 13, 2002


Steven Den Beste a "wag"? Give us a break.

and as for dhartung, well, he's bouncing around in another little rubber room called denial.
posted by lagado at 5:28 AM on February 13, 2002


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