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Old 04-06-2013, 05:08 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
Reputation: 806

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Great thread. The blog post in the OP is rather silly, and doesn't really reflect a balanced and complete view of America and Americans in general.

But it does describe some of the SPECIFIC Americans who have posted on this thread rather well
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:27 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
Reputation: 806
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I'm gonna actually make my way through the author's tripe, and break it down:

He says:

1. Americans are way too sensitive. As a person who has traveled all over the world, I've certainly run into some very touchy people in Europe - most markedly in Austria. I simply don't understand how he reaches the conclusion that we're more sensitive than other ethnicities. There's such a wide variety of emotions and reactions in Americans - individually and within regions - that I don't see how he could possibly make such a wide generalization and expect to be taken seriously.

Maybe he means that we often go out of our way to TRY TO BE ACCEPTING AND POLITE TO PEOPLE WE MAY PRIVATELY DISLIKE OR DISAPPROVE OF. In other words, we try not to offend others. He says this like it's a bad thing. Sheeze!

2. Everything is awesome. Hey, dude, guess what - most of us may REALLY LIKE where we live and REALLY BE GLAD TO BE ALIVE. Life is awesome in so many ways, especially American life. Sorry you're not as enthusiastic or grateful, but don't begrudge those traits in others.

3. Smiles mean absolutely nothing. This is another ridiculous generalization. GENERALLY SPEAKING, Americans are a friendly bunch. Why would this guy assume that when people smile, they don't mean it in a friendly way? Sheeze, who ate his sack lunch? He really seems to be unable to grasp the fact that many Americans do genuinely feel pleasant, happy, grateful to be alive, open, and/or friendly.

This tells me a lot more about HIM than it does about Americans, by the way. I'm just sayin'...

4. Tipping. Wow, what a surly, ornery traveler this guy seems to be. He is actually disdainful of courteous, helpful waitstaff - and the way we generously show our appreciation for their service, and expect him to do the same (much as I am sure he would expect us to respect HIS local customs). By the way, dude, tipping ISN'T mandatory. You will just look like a jerk if you don't tip for good service - and believe me, you probably already look like a jerk, so really - what do you have to lose? GO FOR IT. Don't do anything half way! LIVE LIFE FULLY AS THE JERK YOU ARE!

5. False prices on everything. I found this one to be particularly odd. He seems to hate to pay sales tax. Well, guess what - I don't particularly like paying the VAT taxes when I visit Europe - but it's a freaking hassle to figure out how NOT to pay these taxes that I don't really owe and can technically avoid in many cases. So I just pay their inflated prices, and taxes that I don't owe, and don't sweat it. I'm on vacation. I'm there to enjoy myself, not fret over a few insignificant taxes. By the way, don't even get me started on PETROL PRICES in Europe. My gosh. But I digress. Hey, if I want to toodle around in Europe in a car, then I know before going there that I'll be paying more for "petrol" than I do at home. It's part of the price of the vacation. See - I'm already over it!

6. Cheesy in your face marketing. Ok, cheesy marketing bothers me too - which is why I watch, for the most part, channels that don't have much marketing. I have Netflix, and Amazon.com, and XM/Sirius, and a DVR, and any other number of channels and stations and sources that don't bombard me with marketing. That being said, so far, this one - #6 - is the first of his many tiresome complaints that may have some validity to it.

That being said - have you ever watched European TV? There's a reason why American TV is so popular over there - so much of their stuff sucks SO badly. You really oughtta watch an Elvis movie in German - with plenty of German beer (iced, not at room temperature) it's even BETTER! You'll be BEGGING for a commercial break!

7. Wasteful consumerism. Let me tell you something. I think I KNOW why Europeans don't have as much stuff as we do: THEY HAVE NO CLOSET SPACE. And often, there is an added TAX for each closet or room! Hell, if I didn't have so much space in my house - and my garage - and my yard - I wouldn't have as much stuff! But let me assure you, if you haven't been to Europe - their houses and closets (or wardrobes since they often don't have closets) and tiny one car garages are just as full of junk as any Americans' house. They just have less individual space. So spare me the holier than thou attitude.

8. Idiotic American stereotypes of other countries Really? The irony of this statement has apparently escaped this guy.

By the way, when I tell Europeans that I'm from Texas, you ought to hear some of them cut loose with the ridiculous stereotypes. No, I don't own a horse. No, I don't live in a mansion. No, I don't have any cacti in my yard. No, I don't own a Confederate flag. No, I'm not Baptist. No, I don't have illegal aliens doing my yardwork or cleaning my house.

Yes, I do say "y'all." And yes, I do own some cowboy boots and I really do wear them on occasion. Yes, you can order them on Amazon and have them shipped to me and I'll mail them to you. No problem. Aren't us friendly, helpful Americans AWESOME?

9. Heritage. Get over it, is all I have to say. It's an American thing - you wouldn't understand. What I don't understand is why you're so touchy about it. Guess that hypersensitivity is an Irish thing - and I don't understand. But I'm prepared to be gracious about your touchy, judgmental attitude when I'm visiting your country. In fact, I will probably find it interesting - and in a strange way, endearing.

One thing for sure is this - if you're an example of an Irishman, well, I'm glad I'm only 1/8th Irish.

10. ID checks & stupid drinking laws. Guess what - we agree on this one!

11. Religious Americans. All I can say is that this is very ironic coming from someone from Ireland. You guys are STILL blowing each other up over religion. Before you correct me, I know that it's more complicated than all that - but come on - Europe's history of religious tolerance, or the lack thereof, is a pretty tattered and bloody one.

Unlike your country, ours was founded on the concept of FREEDOM OF RELIGION - that's right, our ancestors were trying to get the hell away from Europe's intolerance of religious differences, so please excuse us if we revel a bit in our hard earned freedoms.

Don't tell us to "tone it down." You have a whole lot to learn about tolerance.

12. Corporations win all the time, not small businesses. My father and my husband and myself, and my ancestors way back on down the line, have been successful small business owners. This country was founded on their success and the success of many others like them. In my little town in Texas, the most successful restaurants are the privately owned ones, not the chains.

Sorry that we have so much land that you have to drive a car to go to a restaurant. We like it that way.

13. A country designed for cars, not humans. SPEAKING OF CARS! American cars are affordable. Our gas (you know it as "petrol") is about half the cost of that in Europe. We have a lot of space, we own more land individually than Europeans. We have a less dense population. We have a lot of really great roads and highways. Rental cars are very inexpensive. Mass transit, public transportation simply isn't feasible in many of our communities. It would not be cost effective. In other words, it would be a STUPID WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS.

When I am in Europe, I nearly always choose to rent a car rather than rely on public transportation, which, for tourists anyway, is VERY EXPENSIVE. I can rent a car for a week for a lot less than I can buy a BritRail pass for a week.

To each his own. But no - we didn't build our towns and communities to cater to the needs of European tourists. Sorry if that bothers you.

14. Always in a hurry. I don't know what "posh sit down restaurants" you visited where you got your food in five minutes or less - PLEASE SHARE. That's really AWESOME. I have never experienced that!

As for punctuality - yes, we are a punctual people. We consider punctuality to be a sign of COURTESY.

You think we're stressed out because we're punctual and time-efficient. I think that YOU are projecting your own angst onto us. Most of us like our pace of life. We like that for the most part, we can rely on others to be thoughtful of our time by being punctual and efficient as well. This does NOT mean we don't know how to "stop and smell the roses." We just don't make others wait for us to do so.

15. Obsession with money. This is way too much of a generalization. Some people are obsessed with money, some aren't. I've met plenty of Europeans who have much the same mentality. By the way, how do you pay for your traveling? With coconuts? Beers? I think not. Traveling is a priority to you - and I doubt that you'd consider a job which didn't pay you enough to enjoy what you place a priority on. Just because someone has different priorities or desires in life, doesn't mean that their priorities are wrong and yours are right.

16. Unhealthy portions. Dude, I don't know what to tell you. You're overanalyzing this WAY too much. If you don't want all that food, just don't eat it all. I usually take my leftovers home and eat them for lunch the next day, or feed them to my very grateful dogs.

Honestly - this ranks up there as a serious reason why you don't want to live in the United States??????? Wow.

17. Thinking America is the best. Well, let's just be honest about this - the United States has been considered "the land of opportunity" by many Europeans (and others, of course) for hundreds of years. After all, most of our ancestors voluntarily dismantled their lives in other countries, and took great risks to move to a completely foreign country, to start over totally - to get OUT OF the land of their birth and to take advantage of what our country offered them. Most of us were raised by these very grateful people (or their children) and taught to be grateful ourselves. Our country has gone from fledgling colony to a world power in just a couple of hundred years or so. Honestly, the world has never seen a country grow and prosper as quickly as this one has, with power and influence as far reaching in such a short amount of time. Now - that doesn't mean that we're superior in all things, but damn - we ARE good at a lot of things, and in spite of our flaws, we still offer great opportunities to those who choose to live here. I hate to rub your nose in it, but we have had a lot more influence and offered more opportunity than Ireland ever has or could. That's just the way it is.

That doesn't mean we're "the best" at everything. You guys make some great wool sweaters - and beer. I really appreciate those things - hell, you do them better than we do! But...we really are a great country, in spite of our flaws. I hope we remain great and I will do all I can to keep my country strong.

Have an awesome day. Hope you come back again - in a better mood.
It's a real shame that you couldn't dismiss the silly generalisations and unfortunate attitudes linked to in the OP, without making lots of silly generalisations and displaying various unfortunate attitudes of your own
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:07 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
Reputation: 806
Another thing is, while I can't be sure of his perspective, I would tend to read a blog by an Irish person on 'why I don't want to live in America' as coming from the implicit starting point that most Irish people WOULD want to live in America if they got the chance. As someone else pointed out, America has for some time been seen by (in particular, though not exclusively) people from poorer or marginalised parts of Europe as the land of opportunity. As such you can see the blog as a work of devil's advocacy - he may well have come from a place in which any mention of America would be met with ooh and aahs of delight and envy, and in this context, the blog comes across much more sympathetically, not as an attack, but as an attempt to balance the uncritically adulatory view of the US that possibly prevails in some parts of Irish society.

Personally, while I accept several of the criticisms he makes, these faults only register very dimply in my overall, very positive impression of America and Americans. But notwithstanding the weaknesses of his particular criticisms, I don't think the lesson from this thread is that we should all belt up and keep our negative thoughts to ourselves - I think it's that we should aim for a situation in which likes and dislikes can be shared openly as they come to our attention. I have many friends here in London from all over the world, who have been here long enough not to be shy in mentioning the things about live here they dislike. Of course, some relentlessly negative people can get dull, but generally, criticism are balanced with compliments, and the fact that the former have not been shied away from greatly increases the authenticty of the latter. If someone has nothing but praise for any given place, I sometimes assume they are just being polite. Just the same, I've found that I can be openly critical of elements of other parts of the world I don't like so much, just as long as I remember to mention all the things I do like as well!
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:21 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
Reputation: 806
At the risk of going on, I'd like to say I think it's a real shame that these exchanges become so oppositional and polarised. I think this is an artificial thing of people retreating into set positions, rather than thinking openly.

Take the dense urbanity/public transit vs open space/car ownership example. You have Europeans saying 'America relies on cars because they can't build proper public transit', and Americans saying 'Europe has dense towns and low car usage because they can't afford gas and don't have the luxury of space'. There often seems to be an attempt to show that one of these statements trumps the other, when really both are self-evident truths. Many Americans would love to have more choice of walkable cities, and more and better public transit options. Many Europeans would love to live with more space around them, or to own one or more vehicles, or to be able to drive the vehicles they do own without always looking at the fuel gauge. It seems like people often have to deny the attraction of one system or the other, when to me, in an ideal world, the best elements of both would be combined - however unlikely that may be in reality.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
64,241 posts, read 53,272,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George & Bill View Post
It's a real shame that you couldn't dismiss the silly generalisations and unfortunate attitudes linked to in the OP, without making lots of silly generalisations and displaying various unfortunate attitudes of your own

Sorry. Next time I write something TONGUE IN CHEEK, I'll be sure to say so in big neon letters so that you'll recognize what I'm doing.

I thought it was pretty obvious that I was going a bit over the top intentionally - much as he was. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:41 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
Reputation: 806
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Sorry. Next time I write something TONGUE IN CHEEK, I'll be sure to say so in big neon letters so that you'll recognize what I'm doing.

I thought it was pretty obvious that I was going a bit over the top intentionally - much as he was. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?
Nope, sorry, you can't do tongue in cheek with neon letters - you have to find the tone, to summon the laughter of the gods, if you will. I'm afraid you came a bit wide of the mark
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,346 posts, read 114,911,396 times
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I agreed and disagreed with many items. I'd like to comment on this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepless in Bham View Post
I gotta agree with him on his comment on heritage.

Yes knowing where your ancestors came from is great, but unless your family has came over in the last 20 yrs. I could give two rips about it. I dont need to be reminded every week that your irish-french-german-african..lol.
That's just how we talk here. They also talk that way in South Africa, which has a large white immigrant population. I have a friend from there. She says she's Welsh. She says her husband is Greek. They were both born in S. Africa. I wonder if they do the same in Australia and NZ?

Trying to relate one's Irishness to the OP is just a way of trying to bond, for cryin' out loud!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zonababe View Post
What are the odds of running into "Minnesota Nice" people all over the country?
There are a lot of them here in Colorado! (Native Minnesotans)
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
64,241 posts, read 53,272,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George & Bill View Post
Nope, sorry, you can't do tongue in cheek with neon letters - you have to find the tone, to summon the laughter of the gods, if you will. I'm afraid you came a bit wide of the mark
Not based on all the comments and reps I got from that post (if each was a Euro, I could get afford to get quite drunk in an Irish pub several nights in a row!). I'd say you're in the minority if you didn't catch the humor and silliness of it.

But that's OK - humor is often a matter of perspective, and is quite subjective.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:34 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,173,200 times
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Lots of people who replied seemed to appreciate your thorough - nay, exhaustive! - rebuttal of the '17 Reasons' blog. Didn't notice anyone comment on the humour! But then, people often rep me for reasons I wouldn't, too...
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
1,469 posts, read 1,711,258 times
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cool i guess. i'm tired a bit so i was just reading in a hurry, but i do agree with some points.
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