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 Post subject: Why does the world hate America?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:44 pm 
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I wrote this for another forum but figured that given I spent almost three hours writing it that it might be useful here, if for nothing else then as a timewaster or an actual debate, so feel free to contribute as much bile about loving the US or not loving it as you like.

Someone mentioned that American's don't have a close connection to other cultures so they don't understand them which affects their ability to deal with them when they travel overseas. Thats how is started, I then kind of went off on a tangent. Also the guys on the forum were kind of dicks about how great they thought America was, mostly ignoring every point along the way. I tried to cover every idea I could think of, and went on a few tangents here and there. Also my facts were based on about ten minutes of trying to remember stuff from a few years ago so I'm probably about half right for most historical stuff, but its not like I'm being graded on this. So enjoy....




Australians are in the same position as Americans, because outside of South East Asia(dictatorships in every direction) travelling around the world from Australia is even more difficult than travelling from the US, yet we've got a decent view of other cultures. I think it might be in part because our history is so boring, Australian history is essentially taught as First Fleet arrived, LOL Sydney created, Woot Melbourne Created, Brisbane found by idiots(some guys got shipwrecked and thought they were south of Sydney so they walked north for a few weeks, they were very far north of Sydney when they were wrecked), Federation, No Blackies are allowed in (first law in Australia was the White Australia Act), World War 1/Gallipoli, Donald Bradman playing Cricket, World War 2(when the Americans showed up and stole our women), the Sixties and then the dismissal. It leaves a lot of time for world history(aka European and American history, Asian and African History doesn't count and south America is non-existent) because our country's history isn't all that complex, its got a lot of interesting parts to it, but there isn't much you can sit down and talk about for a long while forming differing views about the various cultural forces and groups interacting with one another.

America has an arseload of history to its credit, early settlers, revolutionary wars, wars with everyone and everything, civil wars, immigration, both world wars(although WW1 was a bit of a whitewash), cold war, civil rights and a few thousand other things, each of which could be discussed and examined forever and ever in an educational environment.
Its a complex interesting and detailed history but it leaves little time for a deeper understanding of the history of the rest of the world. I'm not sure if thats how it happens(given that I'm not an American student and have only been over there once(it was nice, you're country is very nice)) but thats always been a bit of my understanding as to why some Americans don't seem to have much of an understanding of the rest of the world outside of the few times they've gone to war against/with them.

Also looking at the US geographically, your country is freaking massive. You've got several distinct cultural areas(not sure how close I am here but East Coast, The South, The Mid-West, The Pacific North West, the West Coast and Idaho are the cultures I think of when I think of geographical diversity in the US its probably a lot deeper than that but I'm talking from an outsiders perspective here) the only major distinction between these places and the nations in Europe is that you all speak the same language and are part of one country, you've got your distinct cultural areas, its just the borders are a little blurred unlike Europe where a line in the dirt drawn two hundred years ago shows you where the German speaking people stop and the French Speaking people begin.

America has an insane amount of luck when it comes to Economics. You've got enough viable land to feed an ungodly percentage of the population of the planet, you've got decent mineral reserves to feed industry, you've got nearly flat country right from the Atlantic to Pacific which makes moving goods easier(and is great farmland), you've also got a standard rail gauge(Australian states all have different rail gauges so none of our trains are inter-changeable which means that no-one travels by train outside of their own state and no freight goes out of state by train its all by truck or by sea, and because of the Great Barrier Reef in QLD(preventing sea freight to a degree) and the sheer distance between most major cities everything in Australia that has to be transported comes with additional expenses that we shouldn't have but do because our States were run by idiots back in the 1800s) and your industrial bases are pretty safe in times of war(until ICBMs were invented obviously), in Europe and Asia pretty much their entire industrial base was destroyed(by American, German and Russian bombs, but I'm pretty sure no-one minded at the time as they were being liberated, not that Asia had much of an industrial base at the time outside of slave labour camp construction firms) and America had a head start on the rest of the world, to your credit the US helped Europe rebuild, restock and retool, you sent food, supplies and aide to the Europeans for years after the War(some might say for political reasons due to the cold war, but thats only half the argument).
You dominance of Science(R&D) and engineering wasn't luck, that was due to hard work, a diverse population and some of the best education options on Earth, I don't doubt that even without its other features that the US wouldn't be high on the list of most powerful countries, I just think that you guys had a good base to start from and that you've used it well and wisely to your advantage, it would be a reason to hate you if you'd have wasted that opportunity instead of admiring the sheer level of achievement made by the US scientific community, even if a little to much of it was from military research(which thankfully almost always has some secondary civilian applications).

Europe also had a large degree of luck, most of their cities were demolished in WW2, so they could rebuild them better and more equipped for the modern world instead of having to Jerry-rig a solution on top of existing infrastructure, thats why their public transport grids are so fantastic, thats why their cities seem so picturesque, everything worth rebuilding was and everything that they didn't want they destroyed. They had the advantage of re-building most of their governments from the ground up so they don't have the two hundred years of laws and regulations stacked on top of each other that you do.
Most of their cultural divisions are across national borders, so if Germany was against Gay Marriage but France wasn't then France could allow it, Germany wouldn't and that would be the end of it, unlike the US which if the South(or East Coast or West Coast or Idaho) is against it and can rally enough federal support they can get it banned/outlawed in the rest of the country even though no-one else minds all that much(see laws about weed or Abortion in the US for a less Gay Marriage example).
And for those that are being smug about US culture being copied in European cities, I'd say part of that was the dominance of US entertainment around the world. Its almost scary to think about it. Kids are raised by their TV sets, all they see is American shows, dubbed in German, they're going to come off with a lot of US ideas, not all of them bad(freedom of speech, freedom in general, democracy being vital) but not all of them good(guns are good, dressing like a whore is empowering(note: I'd love to meet the guy that convinced women of this, he's a perverted genius, I don't like that little girls are doing it however but the teen-bar-skanks around here look scary-fine for it), sleeping around a lot is safe) I hope, honestly that the good stays around a lot longer than the bad because your country has so many good things about it and those good things can only improve the rest of the world by being shared out.
European countries, like America have a lot to be proud of and I think they resent the US's apparent ignorance of their achievements. I'd say this is mostly because movies from the US focus almost exclusively on the US contributions to anything, no matter how small. Remember most of peoples understanding of the US comes from the news and US movies.

The news media around the world are all the same, they want ratings(except the BBC and the ABC in Australia and a few other non-propaganda Government Sponsored Networks here and there) so they pick the news based on what gets people in, and a story on "Why you should hate Americas military might" will get better ratings that "The American military's new portable medical facilities can be used during recovery from natural disasters and flood, and will save thousands of lives this year, good for them."
Does anyone think that the media in Europe is any less muck-raking than the American media?

One area that everyone feels smug about when it comes to Americans is guns, thats a whole debate in and of itself, but essentially... we think you have too many of them and its stupid. You probably agree that too many of the wrong people have guns, its just that non-Americans agree but think that "the Wrong People" is probably twice the number of people that you'd think.

A lot of my friends have the attitude, hate the U.S but love Americans, we don't like your government. I know you're proud of it, I know that a lot of you were raised to believe its the most near-perfect system achievable in political history, but it doesn't mean that they always do the right thing. It doesn't mean that people not raised under it are going to just fall over and love it as much as you do.
Theres a reasons that people outside of America are sick of your flag, because sometimes it feels like Americans think "We're number 1! And in no way or form will you ever even aspire to be this awesome unless you assimilate and do things our way." Now I know this isn't the case with almost all of you, but it can feel that way a lot of the time. On TV shows and movies where your flag is almost a character in itself, where your country is talked about like its the promised land, when you actually like living in your own country having a TV show tell you that the US is the best country on Earth can be a bit annoying, and I know that its only partially your fault, we don't bother to make our own shows, we don't have our own content and thus deserve to be a little put off by the fact that American shows are going to be very much pro-America, but after a while we begin to resent it, and ignore our own countries part in it(on an unrelated note trade negotiations with the US are bollocks(on both sides), lowering tariffs on TV shows and movies makes it cheaper to produce local content but the US and local media who want cheap easy content lobby to get rid of it so they can pump the airwaves with freaking "The OC" and "Californication" instead of at least trying to make decent Australian programming).

What you guys export culturally reflects on your country and McDonalds and a lot of your TV shows/movies/Dane Cook are a bad reflection on your country and thats sad because America has made some amazing contributions to arts, dining and world wide culture, its just the worst lowest common denominator shit gets pumped like a sewerage pipe on top of the rest of us and that one nugget of gold can slip by before we know what we've missed.

So to sum up this impossible to comprehend rant: I don't really like your government, I don't like having your countries patriotism shoved down my throat, but I accept that my own country is as responsible for letting your stuff in as you were for giving it to us, I respect the achievements you've made because they are staggering(the FUCKING Plane, the FUCKING ATOMIC BOMB and Internet! in just under 80 years) but also understand that you did have some luck with it, I love your people, I never met an American I didn't like while I was over there(and I'm sure that a only a really small part of it was that the people I met in Restaurants and hotels and tourist spots were in jobs that required you to be nice to people, because the people I talked to on Trains and just looking around were universally helpful and friendly) and I've never met an American over here or when I was in Europe(I was nine at the time so memories are blurry) who wasn't nice, friendly and open.

The fact that some people in Europe don't like America shouldn't worry you guys so much, it makes you look insecure in your own identity, you should be able to just shrug it off, let it be and move on. Jumping up and down screaming "HOW FUCKING DARE THEY! DON'T THEY REMEMBER THE NAZIS THAT WE and the soviet union SINGLE-HANDEDLY DESTROYED AND SAVED THEIR ARSES?!!! FUCK THOSE FUCKING SURRENDER MONKEYS AND THOSE NAZI CUNTS, I'M GOING TO PISS ON THEM FROM THE INTERNET, WHICH WE INVENTED!" just proves their points.

Actor.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:02 am 
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Government. it is not perfect, but it is ours, and we are honor bound to defend in against the opinions of other countries.
But funny enough, you will find just as many people here who are unhappy about it but are in the state of mind of "what can I do about it"

This upcoming election should be an interesting one.

As for other countries hating my country.
Im ok with that. If you are happy where you are, Kudos to you.
You have every right to your own opinion, and I hope you respect my right to completely ignore you when you express one that disagrees with mine. I will not bash you for your opinion, but please refrain from the demeaning commentary about me when I choose not to engage you in a conversation of which I feel neither side will be able to change the mind of the other.
I do not believe in arguing for the sake of arguing.
it wastes your time. It wastes my time.

As for products from other countries.
Britian has developed some really good tv shows, and while mainstream US audiences may not get all the subtle and british type of humor, the premise is good enough to where US versions of these shows are doing well (The office is my example of this, and was Whose line is it anyway)

As for people judging my country based on what it exports to them, I cannot blame them one bit. They are making their opinions based on what they see, and without contrary eveidence, this will continue.

And for the dumbing down of entertainment.
I agree.
especially inthe music industry.
the more mindless and basic the music, the more popular it has become.
it is sad, and has led me to ignoring much of the radio airplay there days.
I am not personally musically inclined, so I choose to turn a figurative deaf ear to this.

As for your post as a whole.
Very well written and thought out. I followed every point with ease and there is an abundance there to converse about

I enjoyed it
John

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:29 am 
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Actor_au wrote:
"We're number 1! And in no way or form will you ever even aspire to be this awesome."

Yeah thats true. [/sarcasm]

Actor_au wrote:
...we don't like your government. I know you're proud of it...

I don't know of to many people who are actually proud of the government, especially under this administration. Like Blue Sun said, this will be an interesting election. I just wish that we would use our votes for what we want not what the politians tell us we should want.

Actor_au wrote:
The fact that some people in Europe don't like America shouldn't worry you guys so much, it makes you look insecure in your own identity, you should be able to just shrug it off, let it be and move on.

Hey sorry but we are the little emo kids of the world. We (at least from my perspective) have been taught that what other people think of you is one of, if not the, most important thing(s). I know that sounds kind of vain but hey it's there.


On the topic of americans don't understand other cultures very well, I believe that to be the fact that so many americans are fucking lazy assfucks who did not pay attention to any of their world history classes and who are too busy jerking off to their own inflated self-worth that they can't go to the library and pick up a book about another country.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:24 am 
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That last comment was more aimed at the forum I originally posted to.
But yes, they were angry people.

Actor.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:48 pm 
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It's funny that you should mention that Australia has such a limited history, when it has such an interesting pre-history that you never get told about. 40,000 years of human inhabitation! 40,000 years! Fucking hell, there's a lot that went on between early aboriginal settlement and the honkeys arriving.

And isn't Australia almost as big as the US?

I digress. What I meant to talk about what the American's awareness of other cultures.

For the past three summers, I've spent a significant amount of time working on an archaeological dig in Thailand. Part of our funding comes from American volunteers who spend ludicrous amounts of money to come and work for us through a corporation called Earthwatch. Some of them are absolutely amazing, kind and helpful people, while others are selfish and short sighted to the extreme. They complain about the heat, about the accommodation, about the food, about the transport, about everything. We work in the poorest region of Thailand, where the average persons earns about $3US a day. We stay in a hotel with the only swimming pool for hundreds of kilometres, with TV, air con and western toilets. And you have the gall to complain about the conditions? To complain about how you think Thai temples are garish, and to wear clothes that offend the locals?

Dicks.

That said, it's not just Americans. We once had an Australian man, whose job was to push a brand of infant formula on new mothers in poorer nations, because they weren't allowed to push it in Australia anymore as it was shown to be dramatically worse for the babies. Then there was the Belgian Headhunter, Michel Grandsart, who owns the world's largest private collection of heads, and is known to traffic in stolen artefacts. They were dicks too.

In summary, travel while young, it opens your mind and your soul.

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 Post subject: Re: Why does the world hate America?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:45 pm 
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actor_au wrote:
Theres a reasons that people outside of America are sick of your flag, because sometimes it feels like Americans think "We're number 1! And in no way or form will you ever even aspire to be this awesome unless you assimilate and do things our way." Now I know this isn't the case with almost all of you, but it can feel that way a lot of the time. On TV shows and movies where your flag is almost a character in itself,


Patriotism is rather ingrained into American culture.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:08 pm 
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To digress further with patriotism and Australian history, here's an interesting opinion piece from the abc that I read not too long ago and remembered when actor posted his commentary.

Quote:
Facepaint patriots: the phenomenon of nationalism
By Gideon Haigh

What is remarkable about the First World War is that it was not the last, so hideous was its cost, so lingering were its traumas: by rights, it should have discredited nationalism ever more. For confirmation that it had perversely opposite impacts, go no further than the rituals of ancestor worship at Anzac Cove each April 25.

Before the First World War, Australians could sustain the boast of Tom Collins that their land was 'free', 'recordless' and 'clogged by no fealty to shadowy idols'.

But their country's nationhood had been shaped by forces similar to those at play in Europe, albeit with slightly different outcomes, reflecting Australia's colonial controls and geographical isolation: it contained a drive both to exclude and to be included.

Federation drew on sensations of racial superiority, articulated by the first prime minister ('I do not think the doctrine that the doctrine of equality of man was ever really intended to include racial equality'), not to mention in the original objectives of the Labor Party (among which was 'the cultivation of an Australian sentiment based on the maintenance of racial purity and the development in Australia of an enlightened and self-reliant community').

It also betrayed what would now fashionably be called status anxiety. The Constitution's designer Sir Samuel Griffith explained that he was 'tired of being treated as a colonial': a word which reeked of the derived and the second rate. 'We are children,' he complained, 'dependent on a superior people.'

Our fabled egalitarianism - the accent of nation builders falling on 'the people' and 'the working man' - may even be partly faute de mieux.

The spread of democracy in the second half of the 19th century, and retreat of the propertied to upper houses, had left politics to what Francis Adams summarised as 'the monopoly of men whose verbose incompetence is only equalled by their jovial corruption': the Australian contempt for its elected officialdom is no outgrowing of the age of spin and modern political puerilism.

But how might Australia join the comity of nations other than by legislative fiat? In one of the earliest sociological expositions of the phenomenon, What Is a Nation? (1882), the French philologist Ernst Renan proposed that happiness could never be as effective as 'common suffering' in the incubation of collective drives: 'National sorrows are more significant than triumphs because they impose obligations and demand a common effort...a grand solidarity constituted by the sentiment of sacrifices which one has made and those that one is prepared to make again.'

Indigenous dispossession scarcely registering, Australia's past had not offered enough: Paterson's 'Song of the Future' (1889), for instance, had to nod to its lack ('In sooth there was not much of blood/No war was fought between the seas'), while Lawson's 'Freedom On the Wallaby' (1891) could only acknowledge its future possibility ('If blood should stain the wattle').

So when Richard Somers passed his controversial judgement in Kangaroo (1923) that 'somebody will have to water Australia with their blood before it's a real man's country', it was belated attestation of Anzac Day's made-to-measure qualities.


Discovery Day

Commemoration even fitted seamlessly into the calendar. For the five years before the first Anzac Day, Australian schoolchildren had been honouring Discovery Day, 19 April, which marked Cook's first sighting of the Australian coast, and was devoted to celebrating explorers, pioneers and an earlier set of 'diggers' - those of gold.

The Anzacs might not have seized the Dardanelles, but they effectively colonised Discovery Day, with teachers encouraged to include in their new Anzac Day rituals 'matter appropriate to Discovery Day, such as reference to the discovery, settlement and development of Australia'.

The commemoration also became a means of inclusion. April 25 is the feast day of St Mark, and at first no Catholic priest could give an Anzac Day requiem mass: a potential source of division given the Catholic opposition to conscription.

But in the first months of his reign, Pius XI granted permission for masses consecrated to the Anzac spirit: a gesture of healing.

And for all its maudlin and bathetic tendencies, Anzac Day has been the gift that keeps on giving: a self-contained military engagement that evokes both the futility of war and the magnificence of sacrifice, that did not involve the venting of an ancient antipathies, that left behind no legacy of hatred, that did not involve civilians, or even settlements; a sort of knightly conflict, in which, the legend holds, there was a mutual respect and admiration; one set, furthermore, on the picturesque coast of an exotic faraway country that today can be taken in as part of a young Australian's standard European backpacking jaunt, and where he or she is bound to find like-minded countrymen.


Faraway events

Anzac Day has also reinforced existing patterns in Australian nationalism.

The act of honouring a defeated army is often remarked on; it is peculiarly Australian, too, that so many of the acts and events occasioning greatest pride have occurred far away: from Beersheba, Kokoda and Long Tan to Bradman at Lord's, Florey at Oxford, Fred Hollows in Eritrea and Vietnam, Kylie in London, Russ and Nicole in Hollywood.

This outward turn may be partly an accident of history, a residue of colonialism; it also establishes the self-protecting distance from the implications of indigenous dispossession inherent in maintaining Stanner's 'great Australian silence'.

And it may be that this lurking low-level unease - that 'whispering in the bottom of our hearts' to which Richard Windeyer immortally alluded in his address of 1842 - has exercised a restraining influence on self-celebration.

Certainly, Australian nationalism has generally had an improvisatory, 'make-do' quality. There has been a cringeing from outright hero worship.

"The Australian world is peopled by good blokes and bastards," said Max Harris, "but not heroes."

There has been a squeamishness about unbridled passions, Australians tending to look askance at American wallowings in their exceptionalism.

Pride is at its most overt only on sporting occasions, when its seriousness is licensed by play, and its symbols are edged with irony: for all its tired hoariness now, the boxing kangaroo was a calculatedly nonsensical creation.

The exhibitionistic, even orgiastic quality of modern Australian nationalism, then, is all the most obtrusive for its sheer incongruity.

Gideon Haigh has written extensively about business and sport, including his great passion, cricket. He has written 17 books and edited six in his 23 years as a journalist.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:15 am 
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I don't like America because a) they oppress us economically and b) I'm too damn jealous of their ability to oppress us.

And Americans *are* self-centered (relative to other similar groups). I say this out of close acquaintance with a few of them. I don't see this as an absolute negative, by the way.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:42 am 
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Ask any american if they think that other americans are a bunch of @$$holes, and more often than not, they will give you a list.

I think the same goes anywhere.

Blue

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