Join 3,427 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Loving the US
February 19, 2003 6:50 AM   Subscribe

How to love the US is a story on the newly redesigned BBC pages, just recently mentioned here. I was struck by the tone of the piece, which seemed to me to be a desperate bid to find good things to say about the US.
Have things really sunk so low? Is the US so despised that it needs the BBC to pimp it?
posted by jpburns (86 comments total)

 
yup (well, for "America", read "US Government").
posted by dash_slot- at 6:56 AM on February 19, 2003


They don't hate us. They hate what we do.
(You're not bad...you just have some bad behaviors!.....and one of those bad bahaviors is called the US Government.)

Brit's favorite things American: Jazz, Elvis, Jimmy Hendrix, the Simpsons. Also - "I love visiting America, where their predilection for fast food means that - if only for three weeks a year - my normally portly 14 stone frame feels like the body of an Olympic athlete. Oh, and I think they invented snowboards too." Sven, UK
posted by troutfishing at 7:03 AM on February 19, 2003


they just hate our freedom, is all. therefore we should give up some of our freedoms.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:03 AM on February 19, 2003


I love this US:

Thomas Jefferson
Eugene Debbs
Abbie Hoffman
Noam Chomsky

William Burroughs
Kurt Vonnegut
Thomas Pynchon
Phillip Dick

Richard Feynman
Murray Gel-Mann
Robert Oppenheimer
S.J. Gould

Cpt. Beefheart
The Ramones
Sonic Youth
Beck

Michael Jordan
Michael Johnson
Jesse Owens
Magic Johnson

The 500,000 people that attended the rally this past Saturday in N.Y.

Which US do you love?
posted by talos at 7:04 AM on February 19, 2003


If Americans could understand why they were hated, a lot fewer people would hate them.
posted by websavvy at 7:05 AM on February 19, 2003


Heck, I hate many Americans, and many of them are folks that appear in the international media as representing the US. Fortunately, some people separate us from our politicians.
posted by answergrape at 7:07 AM on February 19, 2003


Erm.... it's not meant to be taken seriously.
posted by Markb at 7:08 AM on February 19, 2003


Ahhh... the beloved "Why America Sucks" and "Why We Hate Them" thread. Fuck off!
posted by Witty at 7:15 AM on February 19, 2003


If Americans could understand why they were hated, a lot fewer people would hate them.
posted by websavvy at 10:05 AM EST on February 19

Gee, I understand why people would hate us for some of our stupid political actions. Have I thus alieviated some of the world's hatred by way of this understanding? I really think that this is a simplistic jingoistic response to the situation.

I guess my question is; what county is blameless in its interaction in the world, and is it fair to tar the people of a country with the evil their country does? Is it fair to discount the good it does?
posted by jpburns at 7:20 AM on February 19, 2003


How can you separate "the people of a country" from "the evil their country does"?
posted by websavvy at 7:23 AM on February 19, 2003


Wearing helmets in football must look pretty silly to the rest of the world. It's cheating. Football is most akin to rugby, imagine rugby players wearing armour so they don't get injured. What's the point, it's a full-contact sport your supposed to get injured and those who keep playing with an injury are the heroes. Helmets level the playing field. Which is a very American thing.
posted by stbalbach at 7:25 AM on February 19, 2003


Re: The Simpsons

And the irony (US readers, I suggest that you look up this word in the dictionary) is that the joke is about Americans and the Americans still haven't realised. OK, a few have cottoned on, but are happy to share the joke.


Okay, this just bothers me. The generalization that Americans don't grasp Irony is flung far and wide by practically every pasty Englishman I've ever met, and yet England and rest of the whole world seem to quite enthusiastically buy into our unique sense of humor via movies, televisions and music.

(Did you see that? Did you see what I did? I inserted a British stereotype in there with comments otherwise meant to discourage stereotypes. Eat that Irony, Nigel!)
posted by dhoyt at 7:30 AM on February 19, 2003


Seems like that's a pretty easy thing to do, websavvy.

As a child growing up in America during the cold war, even in the midst of the most extreme "evil empire" rhetoric spewing from the President, I don't think I ever heard a discouraging or derogatory word about the Russian people. Whatever the official line was on the Soviet Union, it was not aimed at demonizing its people.

When it comes right down to it, even as we do have a republican form of government (lower case "r"), U.S. foreign policy has rarely been an extension of the will of its people.

As far as other reasons for "hating" Americans, it's no more correct to over-generalize about us than it is any other national or ethnic group.
posted by psmealey at 7:32 AM on February 19, 2003


How can you separate "the people of a country" from "the evil their country does"?

Websavvy:

That's my question. What's the answer?

Am I, an American born in 1959 to be held responsible for the massacre of the native-americans during the 1800s? For slavery?

Is a French citizen to be held responsible for the sinking of Greenpeace ships?

Is a modern-day German responsible for Nazism (sorry to Godwin here, but it's actually a fair point).

Are you happy with all of the policies of your government and are you to be held responsible for them?
posted by jpburns at 7:33 AM on February 19, 2003


There's a fine line between hatred and politely asking if it wouldn't be possible to stop beating up all those small children and taking away their sweets. Having said that:

is it fair to tar the people of a country with the evil their country does?

Difficult to answer, because I don't really know anyone who does. The beeb must be targeting this at the lowest common demographic. Or maybe MarkB is right, and I just need a humour transplant.
posted by walrus at 7:33 AM on February 19, 2003


I hate America and Americans but love the policies of George Bush.
posted by Summer at 7:34 AM on February 19, 2003


I forgot that the American government was comprised of, and elected by, squirrels.
posted by websavvy at 7:38 AM on February 19, 2003


Fuck off websavvy! You got your two jabs in... now please, fuck off!

Football is most akin to rugby...

But not the same... therefore different. The game dictates the equipment used and vice versa. Rugby withg studded collars would be akin to rugby without, but certainly not the same.

posted by Witty at 7:38 AM on February 19, 2003


Or maybe MarkB is right, and I just need a humour transplant.

I never said it was funny. not even slightly amusing really.

But it's not meant to be taken so seriously.

Americans - Try and laugh along with some of the silly steroetypes instead of getting angry and it wouldn't be so much fun to wind you up. You could even join in, kind of subvert the joke......
posted by Markb at 7:41 AM on February 19, 2003


Many people say they dislike the USA when they actually envy the USA; no other country has given the world so many great ideals (free market, democracy, meritocracy and so on), and absolutely no other country has stood so many times against the threat of totalitarianism.

Also: Don DeLillo, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Pynchon, James Tate, Raymond Carver, Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, Elvis, James Brown, The Byrds, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Michael Jordan, Surf music, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Orson Welles, cartoons, comics and so on...
posted by 111 at 7:43 AM on February 19, 2003


Freedom! Democracy!! Microwave nachos!!!
posted by planetkyoto at 7:47 AM on February 19, 2003


mmmm....nachos
posted by dangerman at 7:49 AM on February 19, 2003


Yeah, I'm sorry, but fuck this and every fucking post that raises this tired issue. The U.S. is an amazing country. It gave birth to true democracy. It harbored and protected people fleeing from repression in their home countries. Its record of creativity and inventiveness was unmatched in the 20th century. It has been a staunch ally to its friends in time of need. It is the source of more aid to developing countries than any other nation.

There can also be no doubt that it has some horrendous blemishes on its past. The treatment of the native people and the legacy of slavery are the two most prominent, but there are many, many others.

I wouldn't even say I'm "for" war with Iraq -- at least not now. If I ran the country, absent an imminent threat, I would probably give the U.N. more time if that's what the rest of the world insisted it needed. But I don't run the country, and (call me old fashioned), but that's the job of the President*, and his decisions are entitled to some deference (he doesn't get a blank check, but nor should his decisions be dictated by the way the wind is blowing any given day). I voted for Gore, not Bush, but I respect the office, and respect that fact that Bush is, like it or not, the President of the United States until at least 2004. As such, he gets to call the shots.

So I'm sorry. I know it's oh-so-chic for the ROW to pile on the U.S. right now, and anyone who dares defend the U.S. "just doesn't get it." And I certainly can't quibble with honest critiques of U.S. foreign polciy. But this and other similar pieces are less about the nuances of international policy than about broad brush anti-Americanism. Get a crack in about "footballer helmets," but ignore the airplane, the automobile, refrigeration, the Polio vaccine, the cotton gin, the movie projector, the telephone, the phonograph, the steamboat, etc., etc. Such bullshit. I'm sure the BBC's readers and viewers got a good laugh, though.

*Insert obligatory "Bush was not elected" joke here.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:52 AM on February 19, 2003


Where would we be without you?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 7:52 AM on February 19, 2003


I don't think I ever heard a discouraging or derogatory word about the Russian people

Difference is, America is supposed to be a democracy and its actions the actions of the people it represents.

Granted this kind of thread is pretty dumb, but I can't stand to hear one more time "we gave the world democracy" when the percentage of voters in the U.S. is embarrasingly low, lower than most other countries that "were given democracy". Did you give it away or what?

(Jazz, movies, rock and roll, cars, spacecraft, cowboys, the 60s, sports, Lenny Bruce, Las Vegas, New Orleans, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.)


But not gay rights, dear poster of the BBC site.
posted by magullo at 7:58 AM on February 19, 2003


The generalization that Americans don't grasp Irony is flung far and wide by practically every pasty Englishman I've ever met, and yet England and rest of the whole world seem to quite enthusiastically buy into our unique sense of humor via movies, televisions and music.

Yes: we do it ironically.

the airplane, the automobile, refrigeration, the Polio vaccine, the cotton gin, the movie projector, the telephone, the phonograph, the steamboat, etc., etc.

From the top of my head: the automobile was German, the movie projector was French, the telephone was invented by a Scot, the first steamboat was French. I'm sure others will get back to you on the rest. We'll give you the aeroplane, anyway.
posted by riviera at 8:03 AM on February 19, 2003


Difference is, America is supposed to be a democracy and its actions the actions of the people it represents.

Sigh.

But it's a republic, not a democracy. Therefore if represents the will of some of the people, not all of the people...
posted by jpburns at 8:04 AM on February 19, 2003


The irony is, this article is meant to be light hearted, irreverent and ironic. Don't take it too seriously.

As for mentioning footballer helmets, the picture is of David Beckham, probably the most popular footballer (or rather soccer player) in the UK. This week he's been all over the news as his manager accidentally kicked a boot at him, cutting his forehead. That's the target of the joke, not the US.
posted by tomafro at 8:06 AM on February 19, 2003


Americans - Try and laugh along with some of the silly steroetypes instead of getting angry and it wouldn't be so much fun to wind you up. You could even join in, kind of subvert the joke......

Ahh my bad. Anti-Americanism (or whatever the hell it is) is all just a big silly joke. Got it. The joke is old. These threads are old. I'm flattered that you think we Americans can handle the joke over and over... which I guess is the only reason you feel it's ok to continue to pound the front page with America bashing threads. I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Who's ready for some good ole' nigger jokes?
posted by Witty at 8:09 AM on February 19, 2003


From the top of my head: the automobile was German, the movie projector was French, the telephone was invented by a Scot, the first steamboat was French. I'm sure others will get back to you on the rest. We'll give you the aeroplane, anyway.

Alexander Graham Bell, though born in Scotland, was living in America well before he even embarked on his career as an inventor -- which included the telephone. And while Lumiere is sometimes credited with the first motion picture projector in 1895, most regard Edison's kinetiscope in 1891 as the first movie projector (albeit to only one person at a time). And American John Fitch built the first steamboat.

I stand corrected on the automobile, though. I was thinking about the first gasoline-powered car.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:12 AM on February 19, 2003


William Faulkner.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:14 AM on February 19, 2003


But it's a republic, not a democracy.

Sigh (twice)

Right, and England is a monarchy. I guess none of them are democratic then. My bad, I apologize.

I am also very embarrased at my enormous mistake, so here is my retraction: I was wrong before, the population of soviet Russia can indeed be compared to the population of modern day Americans when it comes to their participation in the government.
posted by magullo at 8:20 AM on February 19, 2003


By the same token, magullo, I am very angry with my friend Mathieu, and all other 58MM Frenchmen because of the French government's interference in Algerian elections, as well as their military actions in the Ivory Coast. This is fair game, since France is a democracy after all and he helped elect the people responsible.

I am not trying to be overly snarky, just making a point that this makes about as much sense... unless you think it's okay to be ticked off at the French for this reason.
posted by psmealey at 8:28 AM on February 19, 2003


....Bush is, like it or not, the President of the United States until at least 2004. As such, he gets to call the shots.

That's right, including the right to declare war on behalf of America, now that we've repealed Article I, Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution.

And what's with all these lists-a-folks? Ever hear of Brittney Spears? She's American too, I'm afraid.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:32 AM on February 19, 2003


Richard Nixon.
Carrot Top.
Trent Lott.
Tonya Harding.
The Starland Vocal Band.
posted by websavvy at 8:34 AM on February 19, 2003


Alexander Graham Bell, though born in Scotland, was living in America well before he even embarked on his career as an inventor -- which included the telephone.

Errr... Apparently not. Italy 1, USA 0.
posted by Cobbler at 8:38 AM on February 19, 2003


So that Greenpeace boat? that tried to stop that nuclear test in the Pacific? those Greenpeace people? They must be anti-french... all of them...
Can anybody remind me who was it that said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel?
posted by talos at 8:42 AM on February 19, 2003


Ahh my bad. Anti-Americanism (or whatever the hell it is) is all just a big silly joke. Got it. The joke is old. These threads are old.
... which I guess is the only reason you feel it's ok to continue to pound the front page with America bashing threads.


What's so 'America Bashing' about an article entitled 'How to love the US'?
You and the other flag-wavers piling in and leaving your sense of humour at the door turned a post about a vaguely humourous article into an America-bash-a-thon. At least in your mind you did.

I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Feel free to 'Brit bash', as a nation we've been doing it to ourselves for centuries. It's part of our national character, we don't take orselves too seriously and don't expect others too, either.

Who's ready for some good ole' nigger jokes?

Who's ready for a straw man?
posted by Markb at 8:42 AM on February 19, 2003


That's right, including the right to declare war on behalf of America, now that we've repealed Article I, Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution.

Wow. I didn't realize war had already been declared.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:45 AM on February 19, 2003


f & m: the lists were sort of an attempt to dispel the fiction that there is a single US with common views and common interests that one can be anti- about. Or something like that anyway...
posted by talos at 8:48 AM on February 19, 2003


And what's with all these lists-a-folks? Ever hear of Brittney Spears? She's American too, I'm afraid.

Fold, I don't know where you're from, but these resentful rants against the USA usually include the misguided notion that americans are just a bunch of hamburger eating philistines who listen to Britney Spears all day. The lists are here to remind everybody that the USA, despite being a young country, has many important contributions to the world's culture which are taken for granted. There's a lot of pop trash being spawned every day everywhere. Try watching french or spanish TV for a week, for instance.
What talos said.
posted by 111 at 8:50 AM on February 19, 2003


Wow. I didn't realize war had already been declared.

The concept of war has been blurred by the introduction of the "War on Drugs", the "War on Terrorism", and the "War on Double-Parking".

The US government, who was apparently elected by nobody around here, gets a lot of mileage from the "war" idea. They seem to realize that their constituents rally round the flag and become a lot more manageable when they think they're at war.
posted by websavvy at 8:52 AM on February 19, 2003


psmealey If we can't blame the Iraqi people and we can't blame the American people, then what is the difference between Saddam and Bush?

I completely understand your point, but we either accept that democracy comes with responsibilities for every citizen or we might as well move to Cuba, where at least they have nice beaches, fresh daiquiris and great stoogies. Not to mention the hilarious and often beautiful locals. And all the time in the world ...
posted by magullo at 8:55 AM on February 19, 2003


talos, it was Samuel Johnson.

Not getting involved in this pointless bickering. I do like The Simpsons though.
posted by squealy at 8:57 AM on February 19, 2003


"witty" - I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Who's ready for some good ole' nigger jokes?


You're only half right with that moniker of yours, you half-wit.

So this truly is the "other side of the coin" for right wingers, eh? I knew it all along you racist bastards.
posted by nofundy at 9:09 AM on February 19, 2003


I'm just wondering how the world did anything before 1776...
posted by i_cola at 9:48 AM on February 19, 2003


Grow up, nofundy.
posted by dhoyt at 9:56 AM on February 19, 2003


Cain't we all just git along? Rodney King, another great American!
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2003


which I guess is the only reason you feel it's ok to continue to pound the front page with America bashing threads.

For some strange reason you seem to have typed 'America' instead of 'France'. An easy mistake to make I s'pose. Or maybe I'm just missing the irony ;-)
posted by i_cola at 10:03 AM on February 19, 2003


Don't you see, all of this "your side sucks" is exactly what the powers that be want. Pit us all against each other and we'll be easier to control. How about we just forget all the man-made territory lines and begin acting human again? Hmmm?
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:07 AM on February 19, 2003


If Americans could understand why they were hated, a lot fewer people would hate them.

If the French could understand why they are hated, perhaps fewer Americans would hate them.

On the other hand, the US did spawn political correctness. We should be despised, for that reason alone.
posted by Beholder at 10:12 AM on February 19, 2003


Why do (some) americans hate the French?
posted by signal at 10:28 AM on February 19, 2003


Because they're not American.
posted by websavvy at 10:32 AM on February 19, 2003


American John Fitch built the first steamboat.

Another bit of revisionist history, based on the curious notion that receiving a US patent means you're the actual inventor. In fact, that honour goes to the Claude de Jouffroy d'Abbans and his Pyroscaphe. From the Columbia Encyclopaedia:

Marquis Claude de Jouffroy d’Abbans is generally credited with the first experimentally successful application of steam power to navigation; in 1783 his Pyroscaphe ran against the current of the Saone River for 15 min, although the boiler could not generate enough steam for extended operations.

Of course, the Party invented the helicopter. (And I'm happy to celebrate Americans as the great refiners of others' inventions, including democracy.)
posted by riviera at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2003


Ever hear of Brittney Spears? She's American too, I'm afraid.

It's one "t", and thank God she is.
posted by owillis at 10:41 AM on February 19, 2003


Yeah, but why the French? Why not hate Belgians or Czechs or something?
posted by signal at 10:51 AM on February 19, 2003


It was Edgar Allen Poe who created the detective story. Where would Agatha, Conan Doyle and all the other uptight British mystery novelists be without Dupin?

It was Muybridge, Edison and Lincoln who paved the way for the motion picture.

It was America that created jazz, the telephone, the television, a transcontinental railroad and the steamboat.

It was America that gave the world Tarzan, Superman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, to name only a few internationally recognized cultural figures.

But the American government? Slavery, the Trail of Tears, McCarthyism, My Lai, Japanese internment camps during WWII. To name only a few massacres.
posted by ed at 11:13 AM on February 19, 2003


what the world needs now
is love, sweet love

-american tune, btw
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:13 AM on February 19, 2003


they just hate our freedom, is all. therefore we should give up some of our freedoms.

They also hate our government's transparency and public accountability. Perhaps we should give those up too.

Oh wait, we already have. Well done.
posted by homunculus at 11:23 AM on February 19, 2003


off the top of my head:

emma goldman
bruce springsteen
martin luther king, jr.
woody guthrie
mark twain
matt groening
duke ellington
georgia o'keefe
tennessee williams
Orson Welles
Frank Capra
posted by condour75 at 11:42 AM on February 19, 2003


jerry lewis
david hasselhoff

posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:48 AM on February 19, 2003


And don't forget muckraking journalism, to whom the Fleet Street hacks are indebted to.
posted by ed at 11:55 AM on February 19, 2003


signal: Why do (some) americans hate the French?

There are about 59 million people in France. They live in an area of about 547 030 sq km.

Some Americans will say "I dislike the French."

There are about 55 million people in California and New York. They live in an area of approximately 536 000 sq. km

Some Americans hate them too. For many of the same reasons.

This isn't a flip answer. Pretend a lifelong resident of Versailles, Kentucky is interviewed. Most likely he has never met anyone from France. There's a good chance he also hasn't met anyone from California or New York. They're all abstract concepts.

More than likely he can only speak thirdhand about the governmental policies, the people, the environment, etc about any of the three populations.

But, God knows, he knows that California is a bunch of drugged-out hippies, the people of New York are gangsters who talk funny, and the French are ungrateful that his granddad saved their asses.

In short, signal, some Americans hate France for the same reason they hate California, and New York. For exactly the same reason some French hate America. For exactly the same reason some Parisians hate Quebecois.

Sheer ignorance. Plain and simple.
posted by ?! at 12:00 PM on February 19, 2003


Alexander Graham Bell, though born in Scotland, was living in America well before he even embarked on his career as an inventor

For the record, America's claim to Bell is extremely dubious. He was in fact living in Canada well before he embarked on his career as an inventor, and did most of his significant work (on the telephone and otherwise) there.

Of course, we Canucks have thick skins when it comes to being lumped in with "America." And we generally react with humour, not anger, to the quaint American custom of forgetting that there's more than one country in North America.
posted by gompa at 12:12 PM on February 19, 2003


Muybridge

I'd never realised Kingston-upon-Thames was in the USA.
posted by raygirvan at 12:13 PM on February 19, 2003


I forgot to mention that the views expressed above do not represent an actual resident of Versailles, Kentucky. Please do not contact me if you are from Versailles and wish to express your displeasure. Besides, you people can't even correctly pronounce the name of your city.
posted by ?! at 12:13 PM on February 19, 2003


?!: While I agree with you on the ignorance thingie, what I don't get is why single out France?
posted by signal at 12:19 PM on February 19, 2003


And we generally react with humour, not anger, to the quaint American custom of forgetting that there's more than one country in North America.

gompa, I've lived in the U.S. for all 32 years in my life, and I have never once heard anyone claim that the United States is the only country in North America.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:33 PM on February 19, 2003


Oh, and according to this bio, Bell had settled in the U.S. by 1871 -- four years before his invention of the telephone. I was aware that he lived in Canada after Scotland -- I wasn't equating Canada with the U.S.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:39 PM on February 19, 2003


Am I, an American born in 1959 to be held responsible for the massacre of the native-americans during the 1800s? For slavery?

Well logically, it seems like if you want to be proud of Americans, you've got to also share the blame. But if you disavow national pride completely then you're off scot-free. Or yank free, in this case. Does that basically make sense?
posted by condour75 at 1:33 PM on February 19, 2003


Am I, an American born in 1959 to be held responsible for the massacre of the native-americans during the 1800s? For slavery?

Well logically, it seems like if you want to be proud of your American heritage, you've got to also share the blame. But if you disavow national pride completely then you're off scot-free. Or yank free, in this case. Does that basically make sense?
posted by condour75 at 1:34 PM on February 19, 2003


doh, sorry about the double post. cleanup in comment 23689!
posted by condour75 at 1:36 PM on February 19, 2003


I'd never realised Kingston-upon-Thames was in the USA.

Well, a poo poo upon me for Eadweard (and Bell). He's a Brit. But he was here for several decades, most notably winning a bet with Leland Stanford.
posted by ed at 2:06 PM on February 19, 2003


Bell had settled in the U.S. by 1871 -- four years before his invention of the telephone

Correct, pardonyou?. But your bio neglects to point out that Bell continued to spend considerable time in Brantford, Ontario throughout the 1870s - as this chronology (repost) points out, the "three great tests" of the telephone were conducted there in 1876. Also, ca. 1890, he and his family moved back to Canada, settling in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, where they would live until his death in 1922.

I have never once heard anyone claim that the United States is the only country in North America.

On this, you caught me. That was hyperbole. I was using it as a quick shorthand way of illustrating the experience - absolutely universal to any Canadian who's ever spent time in the US - of meeting Americans whose questions or surprised reactions to descriptions of the nature of modern Canada make it clear that many Americans know absolutely nothing about the country they share the northern half of the continent with. These range from the (false) claim made by Nixon in the early '70s that Japan was the US' largest trading partner (then, as now, it's Canada) to more mundane incidents. To mention two from my personal experience, I have been commended by Americans more than once on my command of the English language, and I once shocked and amazed an American when I told him that Canada was a larger country, geographically, than the US was. I'm pretty sure I didn't convince him.
posted by gompa at 2:32 PM on February 19, 2003


... and yes, Americans cross the Rainbow Bridge, in Niagara Falls, in 90 degree summer heat. With their skis.
posted by websavvy at 3:13 PM on February 19, 2003


How to Love the US is a very funny name for an article.

The article wasn't very funny, though.

On the upside, you people are a laff riot.

I still fear and loathe America as personified by its government (while loving many, if not most, Americans).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:18 PM on February 19, 2003


What's so 'America Bashing' about an article entitled 'How to love the US'?

Nothing.

You and the other flag-wavers piling in and leaving your sense of humour at the door turned a post about a vaguely humourous article into an America-bash-a-thon. At least in your mind you did.

No. websavvy opened the door and I decided to nip it. What was funny about the article?

Flag-wavers... whatever.

So this truly is the "other side of the coin" for right wingers, eh? I knew it all along you racist bastards.

Believe what you will.
posted by Witty at 5:35 PM on February 19, 2003


I swear that I was taught in 'American' public school that the US was the biggest country in the world. My mother informed me that 'all countries do this' - apparently, as she was taught geography, Ireland is the largest country in the world.

I think that the America/France thing is kind of a masculine pioneer resentment - it might also be that we side with England on most hatreds (except when we're hating them).

In terms of inventions - I think that it's the country whot reared you that gets to claim you as it's own.
posted by goneill at 7:20 PM on February 19, 2003


(via z+blog :)
posted by kliuless at 7:27 PM on February 19, 2003


Wait... so Crasspastor is Zimbabwe? And... it looks like Hama7 is Iceland! And Woo Hoo! I'm Chile!
posted by Stan Chin at 7:30 PM on February 19, 2003


signal: I don't think France is singled out. The aim of the anger is usually at whatever country they see in the media. When Japanese car companies built plants in the US there were always reports of anti-Japanese sentiment. If the media reported protests in Belgium against America we'd see stories about "Freedom Waffles."
posted by ?! at 7:39 PM on February 19, 2003


witty: I have to say that your point was overshadowed by the completely unnecessary racist comment. People will believe about you what they read.

websavvy: I can tell you that Canadians can be as ignorant of their neighbors to the South. The Rainbow Bridge allows idiots to cross both ways.
posted by ?! at 7:46 PM on February 19, 2003


?! - Perhaps unecessary indeed (the moment getting the best of me... shock value). However, nofundy is going to believe what he/she believes despite my comments.
posted by Witty at 8:15 PM on February 19, 2003


Of course it allows both ways. Otherwise there'd be a lot more Americans left stranded in Ontario.

Isn't it amusing that we're seeing Americans protest that, in hating America, Europeans make the mistake of ignoring the individual?

Potkettleblack.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 PM on February 19, 2003


sorry, gompa. I was unnecessarily edgy yesterday. I live in the Detroit area, so I know a fair number of Canadians and have visited your country many, many times. While I can't speak for the U.S. as a whole, I do feel confident saying that in general people who live in Southeast Michigan have always had an extremely positive perception of Canada and Canadians. So when I now hear Canadians talking about how ignorant us Americans are about their country, it doesn't ring true to me at all, and just appears to be more piling on the anti-American bandwagon.

That said, of Brantford's two most famous citizens, who do Canadians love most? ; )
posted by pardonyou? at 7:30 AM on February 20, 2003


Apology accepted. I should've added an exemption for border-state dwellers. Vermonters, as well, in my experience, are quite familiar with and appreciative of their neighbour.

As for that Brantford question, you know the answer as well as I do, but just so it's settled: Gretzky's the most beloved Brantford citizen ever. By a country mile.
posted by gompa at 10:19 AM on February 20, 2003


« Older Wonder Woman to turn in her V-Card...  |  Despot or Sexpot?... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments