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Old 11-10-2005, 03:55 PM   #16
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Originally posted by indra

I'm not denying that there is anti-Americanism, but many Americans also despise people from other nations for no good reason either. I think it happens all over.
I hear this mostly from Americans who have never been abroad. The people I know who have traveled widely--both Americans and non-Americans--are much less quick to pass simple black & white judgments.

I spent time recently with a Chilean writer who has been living in Denmark since Pinochet's reign and it was so refreshing to hear what he liked about America. He was extremely critical of American policy but would live in the US in a heartbeat were it not for his family in Denmark. He described a freedom about American life that in his experience is not available anywhere else, not even in Europe. And they were the little things I would never even think about for a second, like the freedom to rearrange the chairs in a restaurant to accommodate unexpected guests, he said, would raise eyebrows where he lives, possibly even to the point of being scolded by the management. Now please don't every Dane here tell me this is dumb--it's just his experience--and it was a long list of similar things that contributed to his viewpoint. He's traveled all over the world and insisted that despite all the things he doesn't like about America, it is truly the one place where he feels he can be himself. He's been in Denmark now longer than he was in his native Chile and said SA is too disorganized for him now while Europe is too uptight (his words) and America is the right balance for him. I was very surprised. I relay this not to offend the Europeans here but just to offer a different point of view. I thoroughly enjoyed myself the months I spent in Europe and had very few unpleasant experiences and I just think if everyone had the opportunity to travel outside their own countries we'd all have a deeper understanding of each other but that's just not going to happen so it's understandable that people rely on what they see on TV.

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Originally posted by Irvine511
(a low point was arguing, drunkenly, with an italian about banana tariffs in a bar in Helsinki
the funniest thing I've read all day

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Originally posted by Irvine511
or that all public schools in New York were violent. and i obviously owned a gun.
I had similar experiences in Europe as you describe and I've been to every country in Western Europe except for Finland although it was years ago when America was a bit more popular in Europe than it is now. But one maddening thing about the view of America as a violent and scary place to visit is that when my Italian friends finally did visit me in NYC, we were walking around Washington Square Park one day and witnessed a little fender bender. In bumper to bumper traffic going 10 mph, one car rear-ended another. It was so minor, no big deal, right? Except that the woman in the car that was rear-ended--who looked like an ordinary white woman like me--suddenly jumped out of her car and started waving a gun at the man in the car who had rear-ended her. Of course in 15 years of living in NYC I had never ever ever seen a gun in anyone's hand but of course this had to happen in front of my Italian friends which only served to strengthen their already strong stereotype. They went home and told all their friends and 8 years later, they're still talking about it.
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:02 PM   #17
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Originally posted by menelaos
I think that anti-americanism in Europe comes from the political situation that happens right now in the States...
Here in Europe we can't understand how you voted for persons like Bush or his "teamates" and the decisions they take...
C'mon, how can you invade in a country without any serious excuses, don't ask UN
about it...I don't know what does the CNN show there, but have anyone from you heard about CIA airlines...??
I guess no...
I think that these are the causes of the anti-americanism here in Europe...
That's all, I don't want to look offensive, sorry but this is the truth...

i don't want to come off harshly, because i imagine that language might be an issue, but this is precisely my problem.

i despise bush. i deplore his policies. i didn't vote for him. i marched against the invasion of Iraq.

(however, i am going to ignore the CIA airlines comment because i don't know what it means)

yet, it seems as if you have lumped me in with the stereotype you have of Americans. i live here too. so do the other 49% of people who didn't vote for Bush.

and, besides, just what stereotypes -- other than self-serving ones -- can you pull merely because of the way that someone votes? i know people (who are now regretful) who voted for Bush on the basis of domestic issues that no one outside of the united states would (or even should) care about.
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:18 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Irvine511

yet, it seems as if you have lumped me in with the stereotype you have of Americans. i live here too. so do the other 49% of people who didn't vote for Bush.
This drives me crazy, too. Because Bush was re-elected, obviously all Americans support Bush, when in fact the country was passionately split down the middle, and now the majority of Americans disapprove of Bush's policies. Even my Italian friends were very surprised that I didn't vote for Bush! I was like, excuse me, you've known me for 12 years--exactly what about me made you think I would ever ever ever vote for Bush or anyone like him?!
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:28 PM   #19
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I agree with the people who are saying the "anti" stuff (books, movies, speeches) is just noticed more and people fixate upon it more because it's easier to market. America's positive influences in the world, i believe, far outweigh the negative, but it's so part of everyone's conscienceness, it's taken for granted. I grew up in Pakistan in the '60s and '70s, and despite the anti-Israel sentiments (and, therefore, relatedly, anti-American...at least on the political front), the number one country in the world was America...that's where all my school mates wanted to go, that's what we all dug...the comics, the movies, tv shows, Abe Lincoln, Washington, pop culture, its heroes, the whole lot. You'd be surprised how much everyone craved America and American culture. You don't see many books on that stuff...that craving...it's taken for granted.

I think i was reading some quote in last month's Atlantic, where the writer said something about the relationship between America and France...something like "The French hate America, but love Americans, while Americans hate the French but love France." I suspect, when it comes to having opinions about America, that's true for a lot of the world (i.e. the distinction about American people/culture and American foreign policy/government).
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
Interesting to me that so many in the US whine about anti-Americanism, but then have absolutely no qualms about bashing other countries and people (France and the French spring to mind, as yolland has just pointed out).

From what I can tell, this springs more from America's past as British colonies than anything else. The Brits have French bashed for a few centuries, something that many settlers carried over here with them. Even though many Americans were grateful after the Revolution for French help, many others just could not stand them. Once the French Revolution got under way, this caused an even larger split in American opinion on the French. French bashing is nothing new in American history.
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:54 PM   #21
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I get tired of stereotypes of Americans, of being "hated" because I am one. I judge people as individuals, I don't care where they live or where they're from.. and all I ask is that they judge me that way.

It's like stereotypes some people have about "religious" people, often it comes from prejudices and misconceptions. Some people will want to hold on to those no matter how you might try to reason w/ them. Sometimes it's easier to hold on to those than it is to make an effort to listen to someone/get to know what someone is really all about and to get beyond stereotypes.
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Old 11-10-2005, 05:43 PM   #22
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I've travelled through the US a lot - I've seen probably somewhere just upwards of 20 of the states. I've never come across people who have been rude or unkind to me in any way. There have been occasions where I've heard dumb comments (like the woman in South Carolina who asked us in July whether we were happy to be out of Canada and enjoying summer), as well as one occasion in Florida where upon hearing my Mom's accent, the storeowner asked her very loudly and very slowly where she was from and then commented on her English. Nevermind that her English is flawless, that she got a graduate degree here, and that she speaks 3 other languages fluently. That sort of thing.

But I love the country - it's beautiful. Some parts are like nothing else you'll see in the world. The Southwest in particular really impressed me, because it was so unique. I would have no qualms living in the US temporarily, although not permanently because some things like health care really make no sense to me at all, and I think the disparity between the races and the socio-economic classes is too large for my liking. But spending time there? Absolutely.

Another point I've noticed on this thread is that a lot of you are lumping Europeans into some huge category as if they're one people with one POV. Anybody from Eastern Europe (or the Southern Balkans) will be able to tell you that the Western Europeans ain't exactly too kind towards them, and for centuries managed to exploit them, their land and their resources. It was a type of colonialism, and to this day, go to a place like Germany and see how well liked the Gastarbeiters from the former Communist countries are.

In Eastern Europe, which I've travelled extensively, I've always seen a lot less hostility towards America as a whole, and generally people there believed in the idea of America still today, to some extent.
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Old 11-10-2005, 05:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
There have been occasions where I've heard dumb comments (like the woman in South Carolina who asked us in July whether we were happy to be out of Canada and enjoying summer), as well as one occasion in Florida where upon hearing my Mom's accent, the storeowner asked her very loudly and very slowly where she was from and then commented on her English.


Ah, we're so dumb we're cute sometimes.


Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Some parts are like nothing else you'll see in the world. The Southwest in particular really impressed me, because it was so unique.
I live in the Southwest and I have to say, it's my favorite place in the world.
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Old 11-10-2005, 06:32 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Another point I've noticed on this thread is that a lot of you are lumping Europeans into some huge category as if they're one people with one POV. Anybody from Eastern Europe (or the Southern Balkans) will be able to tell you that the Western Europeans ain't exactly too kind towards them, and for centuries managed to exploit them, their land and their resources. It was a type of colonialism, and to this day, go to a place like Germany and see how well liked the Gastarbeiters from the former Communist countries are.


fair enough.

after i posted, i thought about amending my experiences to say they were mostly representative of Western Europe, but then this whole job thing got in the way and i had stuff to do and never got back to it.

but, yes, on the whole my experiences in Eastern vs. Western Europe holds true with the paradigm that you put in place. i spent a bunch of time in Slovenia, living with Slovenians, and there was a palpable resentment towards the UK, France, Germany -- who were they to tell the rest of Europe what they could and could not do, etc. it also being only 10 years or so out of Communism (though Tito was far different from, say, Ceausescu) there was an enthusiasm for the much more rough-and-tumble American-style capitalism.
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Old 11-10-2005, 06:57 PM   #25
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
A predictable FYM response
I love the omniscient nature of people here that knew all along that Saddam had no WMD at all and that the entire issue was an invention of the Bush administration forcing the CIA's hand.
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:00 PM   #26
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Our commentariat does manage to effectively portray Americans as ignorant, gun loving, bible thumping, gay beating hicks who do nothing at all but get fat from fast food, get diabetes and sue anybody in sight.
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:27 PM   #27
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A_wanderer, I wouldnt worry, youre the best walking advertisement america ever had.

in melbourne no less!
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:29 PM   #28
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/sarc
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Our commentariat does manage to effectively portray Americans as ignorant, gun loving, bible thumping, gay beating hicks who do nothing at all but get fat from fast food, get diabetes and sue anybody in sight.
You've certainly described the demographic that voted in Bush, that's for sure.

Congratulations on everyone who helped President Bush get reelected!

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Old 11-10-2005, 07:34 PM   #30
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Our commentariat does manage to effectively portray Americans as ignorant, gun loving, bible thumping, gay beating hicks who do nothing at all but get fat from fast food, get diabetes and sue anybody in sight.
What do you have against Christians?
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