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18-Valve

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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2014, 11:23 »
American mean Colorado get legalized weed so when krebs visit mew she just send him for grocery every couple of hours.
That is America!

It's only one of 50 states. Lots of Americans, particularly young black males are serving prison time for marijuana possession for personal use. In California you can kind of get away with tiny amounts, but even there I wouldn't want to risk it, as a foreigner. Colorado really is ahead of the curve. Good for them. Denver is booming, as well.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #31 on: January 05, 2014, 12:08 »
    Wow. After a good night's sleep (7:00am here now) there's a lot of ground to cover here! All excellent responses. This will take me a bit of time.

    I will say though, most of you probably have no idea how refreshing it is to even have such a conversation without the hysteria and ignorance that would likely envelope the same were it to take place amongst my own. I can safely say that the very thing I enjoy the most about cycling forums—and where I've benefitted the most personally—is the mostly European (and other) perspectives that tend to dominate the conversations. It's given me a greater perspective on so many things, to the point where I can now only look at with amusement at the domestic-based forums (cycling and non-cycling related) that I used to participate in.

    That being said, the one difficulty (although I haven't experienced it as much on Velorooms) is the misunderstanding and misinterpretation that often occurs with humor. Some things just don't translate well, I suppose.

    But now to address some specific points...
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  • Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #32 on: January 05, 2014, 12:22 »
    When/if we - Belgians - call ourselves "anti-American", usually we are referring to the American elite (the administration, Wall Street, etc.) and we do realize that the American people is far from that. Yet the USA are an Empire and we are the colonies. This elite is probably the most inhuman and awful that there's ever been and I guess it's normal for Vietnamese to feel resentment towards America, even if stereotypes are unjustified ...

    But behind this elite there's a people, respectable as are all peoples in the world. During the last Presidential election, some 63% abstained ! That shows how much they distrust that elite. I know about the long abstaining tradition in the USA but this is huge, I think.

    Besides I recently watch the great doco "The Money Masters", presented by William Still and realized the USA had a long tradition of mistrust towards the great banks and money changers, who unfortunately won the battle (temporarily?).

    Reading HD Thoreau and Christopher Lasch also made me realize that the Americans would usually fight for independence and self-sufficiency. They would reject wage labour as slavery because they believe workers should control the means of production. They are very close to nature (while the elite destroys it). I'd really like to read thinkers such as Brownson and Emerson too.

    I'd identify the USA with cowboys (the real ones, not Hollywood's), folk & country music (though country music primarily has nothing to do with the West), rodeos and the huge Western landscapes ... Sometimes watching US cyclocrosses give me that picture.  :D

    Also I'd always have respect for the Cajuns in Louisiana who still speak (pidgin) French till date and also for the descendants of Belgian migrants to Green Bay, Wisconsin (1855/56 or so) where you have small towns with the names Brussels, Namur and parties like the Belgian Days: http://www.belgianamerican.org/default.aspx  ;)

    The frivolousness of the big cities on both coasts, Disneyland, Hollywood, Burger King, Miami Beach, the NFL, Santa Monica, the NY skyscrapers, Vegas and sh*t pop music is nothing for me.
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    Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #33 on: January 05, 2014, 12:40 »
    Drummer Boy set his post up to coming close to America bashing...
    On the contrary. It has generated exactly the kind of responses I was hoping for. Of course it could have (and very well might) turn into a bash-fest, but I'm not here to "defend America's honor!" We are most often referred to as "Americans," and I've always been curious as to just what that means to people.

    Many of the points raised so far represent the perfect example of how the defining characteristics of a nation are usually in the hands of so very, very few. From the severity of invading Iraq, to the frustrating inability to adopt the metric system, these are things that were decided by how many people? Two? Three? Four? Seriously. How many individuals could've changed the course of history with a "yes" or a "no"? It's frightening to contemplate.

    To further the metric conversation:
    It's a shame it didn't happen in the '70s, because nowadays, with the toxic atmosphere of political division, fueled by digital media, it would be nearly impossible to pull off now, I think. Such a move would be viewed with suspicion and cast in the light of conspiracy in ways that never, ever would've happened thirty or forty years ago.

    Conversely, had it happened, even twenty years ago, the growth of the internet combined with the adaptation to social networking by the younger generation would've meant that doing otherwise would likely be viewed as anachronistic if not just plain dumb by tomorrow's leaders and decision makers.
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  • Havetts

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #34 on: January 05, 2014, 13:06 »
    I can say that most Americans I have met are really nice people, not the stereotypical "Americans" anyway. Just your regular people, like most of us. And then on the other hand you have the stereotypical Americans. I can remember the group of Americans I met in Germany, in a small village near the Mosel. They were American tourists on a boat vacation through Europe. They had the American flag waving on the back of the boat, were heavily overweight and were loudly shouting at an elderly German woman behind the Bratwurst stand, not speaking a word of German and upset that the woman wasnt speaking, I quote, "American".  And they were oh so happy to talk about America once I met them, talking about how strange Europe was. But besides that, still nice people.

    And thats the thing, Americans always seem nice. But it at times feels so superficial to me, whenever Im at a public place in the States, or Canada, people will ask me "How are you doing?" and when i feel like responding, they honestly dont really care about it, they just said it to be nice, its more of a greeting than an interest in people. And that wonders me, cause in the Netherlands I don't just say "Hey how are you doing" and then completely ignore it. If we ask someone in the Netherlands how he is doing, we care about how they are doing and we are not just greeting each other.

    With regards to politics, all I can say is that whenever I watch American politics, I feel like America is being embarassed by their politicians. I sometimes wonder whats wrong with Dutch politicians, but if you relate it to American politicians, we dont have it that bad. And the whole discussion about universal healthcare, etc. just cracks me up. Europe is socialist, and universal healthcare is supposed to be bad, but I'm 10000% sure nobody would swap their healthcare in Europe to that of the States.

    Oh well, enough off topic rambling.

    Where I'd like to go? I'd love to visit Wyoming. Dont ask me why, I dont know why I want to visit those plains either. It just has something to do with the bad ass name. I've been to Minneapolis and transferred in St Paul, although that doesnt count I guess. Denver is a place I'd like to visit, not sure about the rest. Ive never had the fascination with NY City or LA. Maybe Miami. :)
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  • Gotland

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #35 on: January 05, 2014, 13:14 »
    On the contrary. It has generated exactly the kind of responses I was hoping for. Of course it could have (and very well might) turn into a bash-fest, but I'm not here to "defend America's honor!" We are most often referred to as "Americans," and I've always been curious as to just what that means to people.

    Sure, I understood that your purpose was curious rather than defensive. Which is why the question is so interesting because I always thought that America was founded on sharing some cultural beliefs. Like naming a few presidents,  citing the pledge of allegiance, the english language, the national anthem, and you'll be fine. As supposed to other nations who define citizenship by blood. America are often described as being post-modern and the question is some sort of meta reciprocal post-modernism.

    From my Swedish perspective the more I think of this, the harder it is to disentangle American culture from Swedish. For instance Swedish youngsters born in 80's and 90's usually adopt english phrases in their Swedish. There's a development from older generations who used a word or two in their Swedish. They learn these phrases and cultural dispositions from watching American tv-series and phenomenon on the internet to describe their world. (I feel shivers  through my spine when the youth can't master their Swedish properly  ;) )

    Even in more formal settings like the evenings news on television I can hear Swenglish constructions like That's all for now! Which is impossible to say in Swedish. Another influence is that many Swedish speakers say that the've "Spent some time" which is also impossible to say in Swedish because the word "spent" only can be used with money. Another influence is expressing possesive as the english 's in written text.
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  • « Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 13:33 by Gotland »
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    Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #36 on: January 05, 2014, 13:21 »
    1. Nationalism/Patriotism
    Standing to attention for the Star Spangled Banner, everyone having the stars and stripes flying from a flagpole outside their house.
    What's funny about this is that so many "Americans" (particularly from my generation) are more likely to fly the flag (often figuratively, sometimes literally) of whatever nation their parents came from. Friends of mine whose parents are Italian, (although they themselves may never have even been to Italy) will identify strongly with their Italian heritage. That's the flag you will find hanging from the inside mirror of their car, or on their bedroom wall.

    First generation Puerto Ricans will very often hang their own flag outside their homes, and plenty of people will fly the Confederate flag of the South (usually on the back of a pickup truck or on the side of a fence) long before they would ever display the Stars and Stripes (this was true even in the northeast when I was growing up, even those these same people had absolutely zero connection to the South or its history. I guess they just thought it was "cool").

    Being considered IRISH American, ITALIAN American...or even AFRICAN American was (and sometimes still is) much more important to many people than simply being "American." I have to say though, over the past twenty years or so this is largely becoming irrelevant due to the increased cultural, and often mixed-race, diversity of the population. Telling your German neighbor that you were ITALIAN, or telling the same to  your neighbor whose own family history may have gone back several generations in this country, may have seemed important twenty years ago. But now that your neighbor is more likely to have parents of different nationalities (and whose grandparents may also), the whole point becomes more and more irrelevant. And thank god for that.

    Come to think of it though, I don't think I've ever seen anyone flying the Union Jack, even though my own roots lie there, as was the case with some of my parents friends growing up.
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  • Havetts

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #37 on: January 05, 2014, 13:25 »
    One more thing I never ever have understood about American culture. Why are soldiers who served their duty being hailed as heroes? Whenever you see an American veteran post something online, its always "Thanks for your service". They get discounts, benefits and all those other things in society. Why? Why is it so revered in American culture to go fight a war outside of America, where America shouldnt have been in the first place and then get thanked for it?? I have never understood, and probably never will.

     
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #38 on: January 05, 2014, 13:26 »
    I've definitely come across Americans out of their own country who expected preferential treatment because they were American, and of course they were apoplectic when they realised that nobody gave a sh1t and they'd have to wait their turn just like everyone else  :D

    That can't be very different from the way the British behaved in the 19th and early 20th century, and curiously people like me are still subjected to the resentment caused by the behaviour of my forebears even though it took place many decades before my birth. You get it particularly strongly from some Australians who don't seem to realise that the pith-helmet wearing generation of British are long extinct.

    Americans. If you want a vision of your future, pay a visit to the UK,  ;)
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #39 on: January 05, 2014, 13:31 »
    One more thing I never ever have understood about American culture. Why are soldiers who served their duty being hailed as heroes? Whenever you see an American veteran post something online, its always "Thanks for your service". They get discounts, benefits and all those other things in society. Why? Why is it so revered in American culture to go fight a war outside of America, where America shouldnt have been in the first place and then get thanked for it?? I have never understood, and probably never will.
    Precisely.
    Firefighters, nurses, policemen ... sure.
    Soldiers? Hmm.

    One other issue that hasn't been touched upon (much) yet is the gun culture. I'll share a story about that later.
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    Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #40 on: January 05, 2014, 13:38 »
    Come to think of it though, I don't think I've ever seen anyone flying the Union Jack, even though my own roots lie there, as was the case with some of my parents friends growing up.

    Well, you know exactly why that is. It is because a large part of American mythology concerns the Revolution and defeating the British.

    As ever, the truth is a little less palatable. At the time the Americas were of minor interest to the British. They were far more interested in their Empire in the East, as it was enriching the mother nation and military assets were assigned accordingly. The forces sent over to America were a gesture and nothing else.  They literally did not give very much of a sh1t about it.

    It is very similar the the British mythology of The Battle of Britain. This was the air war over Britain in the early years of WW2 where the massively outnumbered British air force saw off the German Luftwaffe.

    Even over 70 years later it is referred to as one of the last few great British triumphs it the reality  is that the Germans really didn't try very hard to win. If they had, they would probably ave done so.
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  • Dim

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    Come to think of it though, I don't think I've ever seen anyone flying the Union Jack, even though my own roots lie there, as was the case with some of my parents friends growing up.

    Funny thing here is, if you had a union jack flying outside your house, or even worse, the cross of st George, it would be assumed you were some sort of extremist racist.

    And thats not exagerated. If I flew the cross of St George outside my house, i would have people accosting me in the street calling me racist, the Union Jack less so, but it would still get some peoples backs up. But thats largely due to our flag being associated with the negative elements of our society.

    In many ways, our view of flag toting brits (thugs, football fans, bnp supporters), leads us to our view of Americans who similarly have flags hanging from their windows or outside their houses.

    Im many ways that also displays, how, despite their huge racial problems, America are in some ways ahead of britain. An integrated African American might display the stars and stripes, very few non white british residents would even consider displaying the cross of st george.
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  • « Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 14:44 by Dim »

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #42 on: January 05, 2014, 13:55 »
    What do Americans have against trains.
    They're horrible here.  :D

    Case in point:
    If I want to take a train from Hartford, CT to New York City, it would end up costing me two to three times as much in train fare as it would for me to spend the money on gas and parking for my car—and the trip would be longer. Not only that, I would be limited to departure times of three to four hours between trains. NOBODY I know takes a train from Hartford (our Capital city) to New York. Most people will typically have to drive 45 minutes (or more) south to the stations in New Haven or beyond (which get closer and closer to NYC) because it will be more affordable with more time options.

    Driving one's car nearly half the distance just to get on a train seems silly. If there are multiple people in the car to share the gas, tolls and parking fees, than it's a no-brainer: jump in the car and just go. Only on the rarest of occasions have I taken the train to NYC (for New Year's Eve, a sporting event, and just after 9/11). I have never taken a train to Boston. I prefer the freedom to come and go as I please, and to make diversions in the journey that wouldn't be possible on a train. But if it were much more affordable and the schedules were better, I would jump on them regularly.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #43 on: January 05, 2014, 14:28 »
    Well, you know exactly why that is. It is because a large part of American mythology concerns the Revolution and defeating the British.
    Whereas if someone were to fly the German flag (and some do), even though the conflict was more recent (to state the obvious) nobody even associates that with WWII or that it represents "the enemy" (accept, of course, for some WWII vets, and maybe my mom).    :D
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  • 18-Valve

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #44 on: January 05, 2014, 14:48 »
    What's funny about this is that so many "Americans" (particularly from my generation) are more likely to fly the flag (often figuratively, sometimes literally) of whatever nation their parents came from. Friends of mine whose parents are Italian, (although they themselves may never have even been to Italy) will identify strongly with their Italian heritage. That's the flag you will find hanging from the inside mirror of their car, or on their bedroom wall.

    First generation Puerto Ricans will very often hang their own flag outside their homes, and plenty of people will fly the Confederate flag of the South (usually on the back of a pickup truck or on the side of a fence) long before they would ever display the Stars and Stripes (this was true even in the northeast when I was growing up, even those these same people had absolutely zero connection to the South or its history. I guess they just thought it was "cool").

    Being considered IRISH American, ITALIAN American...or even AFRICAN American was (and sometimes still is) much more important to many people than simply being "American." I have to say though, over the past twenty years or so this is largely becoming irrelevant due to the increased cultural, and often mixed-race, diversity of the population. Telling your German neighbor that you were ITALIAN, or telling the same to  your neighbor whose own family history may have gone back several generations in this country, may have seemed important twenty years ago. But now that your neighbor is more likely to have parents of different nationalities (and whose grandparents may also), the whole point becomes more and more irrelevant. And thank god for that.

    Come to think of it though, I don't think I've ever seen anyone flying the Union Jack, even though my own roots lie there, as was the case with some of my parents friends growing up.

    I wonder how many Battle Flag wavin' white Southerners want to secede from the rest of the U.S., though? That sentiment definitely exists in the Deep South.

    Yeah, there are pretty much only Puerto Rican flags in Puerto Rican neighborhoods.  They're immigrants, or descendants of Spanish-speaking immigrants, though. Descendants of American slaves, though? Different issue altogether, more like a second-class citizen issue, but you'd be equally hard-pressed to find a Stars and Stripes in black neighborhoods also, with the exception of government buildings or whatever.

    One thing that is typically American is the police. My first day in the States as a youth and I thought I was in a ****ing Hollywood movie. Like fifteen(!) cop cars chasing a fugitive like a bunch of retards and wrecking other cars in the process (which could have easily been avoided). It was a small miracle that no pedestrians got ran over, as the pigs had no issue with testing the sidewalks. Some people literally had to duck or run for cover.

    Having spent much more time in the States since then, I know that wasn't an exception. It probably rarely if ever happens in safer neighborhoods, but still.
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  • Havetts

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #45 on: January 05, 2014, 15:29 »
    I always had the feeling that the States is not the melting pot it says it is, I always get the feeling that everyone is living segregated. Black people live in blck neighbourhoods, same with hispanics, with asian communities. Only in America you can hear phrases such as "Thats such a white thing to do", people identify themselves with their colour/race/religion/etc. not with whether theyre American or not.

    Our Princess, Maxima, said that there is no Dutch culture, as it is a mix of a lot of cultures and has formed itself. But is there even an " American "  culture, or is it just all different kinds of people living in a country with their cultures being kept seperate? Can anybody explain that to me, is there a way Americans portray their own culture, or what do you see as your own culture?
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #46 on: January 05, 2014, 15:41 »
    "What does it mean to be American?" Is a very American question to ask, in terms of the kind of inward looking self-absorbtion that seems prevalent over there.
    Yes, and if I were posing that question while standing in front of a classroom of school students it would be consistent with that. Of course, that's not the question that I've put forward. I put "Americans" in quotes to specify the interpretation of Americans (by others), and directed it outwardly to the mostly European contingent of this forum—and you've offered some insightful responses.

    One thing that strikes me is how often Americans in american TV news or factual programmes refer to themselves as 'Americans' rather than 'people'. I don't know why this is but I wonder if it displays a deep-seated lack of cultural cohesion.
    It very likely does, as there is definitely a lack of cultural cohesion here.
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #47 on: January 05, 2014, 16:15 »
    Our Princess, Maxima, said that there is no Dutch culture, as it is a mix of a lot of cultures and has formed itself.

    I know you've been abroad a lot, but you should at least be aware that she is our Queen right now, not our Princess any more ;)

    About the US and Americans: I haven't been in the US, so can't say much about it. I have studied, travelled, lived and in one case dated with Americans, but they were mostly students in Europe, so not exactly average Americans. I don't dislike American culture, and those experiences with American students were very positive.

    American politics I will never understand though. Americans (as a stereotype) hate everything that diminishes their freedom. Obamacare and universal health insurance are horrible because they limit the freedom of Americans. The government cant tell us what to do or not to do! Same with bearing arms for instance. But in some weird way, they do want the government to forbid people from marrying someone of their own gender, of euthanising people who suffer unbearably, of abortions... How is forbidding those things not restricting people's freedoms, while requiring a license before being allowed to carry a gun is?
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  • Havetts

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #48 on: January 05, 2014, 16:34 »
    I know you've been abroad a lot, but you should at least be aware that she is our Queen right now, not our Princess any more ;)

    Technically there can be no Queen once there is a King, only one person in the Netherlands can hold the title of King. Therefore there can be no Queen, as that is equal to the title of King of which there can be only one. I deliberately used the word Princess because of that reason ;)
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #49 on: January 05, 2014, 16:35 »
    But is there even an " American "  culture, or is it just all different kinds of people living in a country with their cultures being kept separate?
    Havetts, you've raised some really good questions in all your posts but I'll need more time to address them all.

    As for the above (and I just realized that even this is a much more complex issue than I have time to properly address at the moment), I'd say it's a bit of both. There is definitely, often self-imposed, segregation between cultures, but that often does lead to a certain amount spill-over from one to another, and into the greater community at large. That greater community is sometimes what is referred to as American culture.

    And the there is a segment of the flag-waving crowd—often with deep, generational roots—that consider themselves to be "true" Americans. The notion of a melting pot is an easy and convenient catch phrase for politician to use (when it suits them), and is largely embraced by immigrants and those with other than European backgrounds—and it makes for great advertising—but the very concept is also viewed as a threat by many of those flag wavers (as well as some others).

    But there are so many gradients, and blurred lines, and different perspectives that I'll have to return to this topic when I'm more able.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #50 on: January 05, 2014, 17:02 »
    I have ... in one case dated with Americans

    OK, come on then, let's hear that story, Slow. I'm curious ...  :cool
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #51 on: January 05, 2014, 17:07 »
    I read a great book some time ago on how the French identity was basically invented in the nineteenth century by an élite worried about social cohesion in what was at the time a young composite nation of rather disparate and sometimes very separate entities.

    I think the same may be true of the US and other federal states like Germany: beyond the obvious patronage of a few painters, writers and musicians, the pressing need to create a unified cultural identity leaves one clutching at a fistful of intangible, often specious straws.
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #52 on: January 05, 2014, 17:19 »
    Technically there can be no Queen once there is a King, only one person in the Netherlands can hold the title of King. Therefore there can be no Queen, as that is equal to the title of King of which there can be only one. I deliberately used the word Princess because of that reason ;)

    There can't be a King if there is a reigning Queen (as was the case with Beatrix), but the other way around does work: A King's consort is named Queen in the Netherlands. The technical term is Queen Consort ;)
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #53 on: January 05, 2014, 17:31 »
    OK, come on then, let's hear that story, Slow. I'm curious ...  :cool

    Heheh, what is it with you and stories about dating? ;)

    Not much special in that story tbh. We were both studying in the UK for some months, she was friends with my roommate, it went from there. It didn't last beyond when we both went back to our homes, which to be honest was fine with me.
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #54 on: January 05, 2014, 17:47 »
    Just to bring a bit of positivity back into the thread, there are some plus points about America. At least youre not Australia :P
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  • Gotland

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #55 on: January 05, 2014, 18:01 »

    We have touched the topic but I found this posting interesting. A 55. 000 $ hospital bill in America would cost me 51$.  1$ is roughly 6.8 SEK

    http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vr7y8
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #56 on: January 05, 2014, 18:18 »
    We have touched the topic but I found this posting interesting. A 55. 000 $ hospital bill in America would cost me 51$.  1$ is roughly 6.8 SEK

    http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vr7y8

    This is why the excellent TV series Breaking Bad could not have been made in the UK.

    If it had it would have lasted one episode:

    50 year old science teacher gets diagnosed with cancer. Gets treated. Paid for by state (no need to finance by cooking meth)
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  • « Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 19:53 by Joachim »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #57 on: January 05, 2014, 19:50 »
    One more thing I never ever have understood about American culture. Why are soldiers who served their duty being hailed as heroes? Whenever you see an American veteran post something online, its always "Thanks for your service". They get discounts, benefits and all those other things in society. Why? Why is it so revered in American culture to go fight a war outside of America, where America shouldnt have been in the first place and then get thanked for it?? I have never understood, and probably never will.
    I'll try to tackle this issue from my own perspective. One thing to understand is that it is ingrained into our national psyche that soldiers are "protecting our freedom and way of life!" regardless of where they are or what their assignment. But I also think part of it is due to a desire to rekindle the spirit that welcomed back and hailed the WWII vet.  Much has been made over the years about how veterans from other wars, namely Vietnam (I'm not even going to touch the broader topic of why this happened at the time), received nothing of the same. A fair amount of guilt was put in place as a result. So there has been a very deliberate effort over the years to ensure that all veterans would be treated with respect, regardless of the circumstances of their service.

    A more simple interpretation of that would be that most people would never want to find themselves in the situations that many military personnel are put into. And regardless of the policy or politics behind the decisions that put them in that position, it's just a way of showing support to someone who was likely not paid very much, and if injured or in need of other kinds of support, is at the mercy of a broken system that is notorious for neglecting and mishandling the very people that are, at the same time, propped up as "heroes."

    I can also offer an example from my own past.
    I used to work in a music store, and one of the young, part-time employees joined the National Guard, as many others did, in the interest of receiving financial help with college while only having to commit to some weekend training and other service that would be considered very much "part time." It's a route that countless others before him had taken for the very same reasons.

    Then while he was in basic training, 9/11 happened. Surprise! You're going to Baghdad!
    Next thing you know, he's behind a machine gun, racing through the dessert as part of one of the earliest waves of troops. The short version of this story is that he did make it back, but with some internal injuries due to explosions, and with more nightmares than one could imagine. In addition, one of store's managers had served in the Army years before all this (he was stationed in Germany during the 1980s). As a result, we always offered discounts to military personnel. Again, policy, politics and one's morality (as it applied to the war itself) had little to do with it. It was simply a gesture of support to another human being.

    Firefighters, nurses, policemen ... sure.
    Soldiers? Hmm.
    Well there are certainly places that offer discounts, etc, to firefighters and police. Nurses? They tend to be paid quite well, and quite often more so than the others, so...
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  • « Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 20:01 by Drummer Boy »

    mew

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #58 on: January 07, 2014, 03:27 »
     :cool :)
    interesting thread DB
     :luv :niceday



    dim where did the kitty emotie go?
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  • 42x16ss

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #59 on: January 07, 2014, 04:28 »
    Just to bring a bit of positivity back into the thread, there are some plus points about America. At least youre not Australia :P

    Grr, don't get me started!  :angry

    Australia isn't a caricature of the USA yet but there's a sizeable portion of the population trying to make that happen. It's like they are trying to live their lives like an American film or music video  :S

    A major US paper had our PM finish second in it's ar$ehole politician of the year competition (miles behind Ted Cruz) and he wasn't even a candidate - he had to be added manually through "other"! We also have similar obesity rates and it looks like our once wonderful health care system is heading the same direction as the USA. School curriculums are getting watered down and the levels of literacy, numeracy and general knowledge in our school students are terrible for a country of our economic standing.
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