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18-Valve

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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #60 on: January 07, 2014, 06:05 »
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.

And yet, it seems that lots upon lots of Brits can't wait to leave their country for Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. Just going by immigration stats.   :o
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  • 42x16ss

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #61 on: January 07, 2014, 06:09 »
    Maybe their views of Australia are based on too much Neighbours and Home and Away? This is still a great country, but the bogan component is just getting too much.
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #62 on: January 07, 2014, 06:10 »
    Have you seen the weather here? ;)
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    18-Valve

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #63 on: January 07, 2014, 06:25 »
    Maybe their views of Australia are based on too much Neighbours and Home and Away?

    I doubt that. Many of them already have family there.

    Have you seen the weather here? ;)

    That explains why Canada is the #2 destination for Brits then...

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  • 18-Valve

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #64 on: January 07, 2014, 06:55 »
    Really, though, the U.S. would be the top migration destination for British citizens instead, if only America's immigration laws weren't so tough in comparion. At least, that's what I've been told.

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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #65 on: January 07, 2014, 07:25 »
    Are they? I really don't know.

    Funnily enough, for migrants coming into the UK, Americans are very close to the top of the list (about 4th place)
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  • The Hitch

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #66 on: January 07, 2014, 07:36 »


    /end thread.
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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #67 on: January 07, 2014, 07:38 »
    and racism is a huge issue in Aus too ... much like in America   :(

    I have only been to the US once, and that was a very touristy trip, not one where we got to see much about anything actually real (Vegas, Disneyworld etc).  We did go to a few places in the south where we met quite a lot of people ... many of whom surprised me  :D

    Until then, all the Americans I had met were either stationed here (perth) for work, or while I was travelling, so not your typical, everyday guy.  Most of them where lovely, normal kinds of people.

    In the south we did meet some pretty weird (and incredibly dumb) people - I guess that was my overwhelming impression  :lol   They honestly believed that the world revolved around the US, and many did not have a passport (why would they need one, they were never likely to even admit the rest of the world existed, much less go there).   Some other gems :
    - we got ask if we (Aus) had our own currency
    - we were ask if we spoke our own language (other than American)
    - we were ask if we celebrated christmas at the same time as them

    Anyway, was all amusing.  As I said, most people we met were lovely, and I am still in contact with some.
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #68 on: January 07, 2014, 09:47 »


    /end thread.

    USA

    Be who you want to be...

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  • 18-Valve

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #69 on: January 07, 2014, 10:20 »
    Are they? I really don't know.


    Yes, unless you marry an American, it's pretty damn hard to get in, even for academics etc. unless you already know people in the U.S. who can help you out. You pretty much need to have a job lined up, for one, and your American employer must have a good reason for hiring you over U.S. citizens.

    Probably because so many people from all over the world want to migrate to the U.S. It kind of make sense - but the country-specific quota (every country has one, last I checked) really don't, IMO.

    But since the U.S. population growth rate has slowed down markedly, 2013 saw the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression, maybe they'll relax those laws a bit? Doubt it, though.


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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #70 on: January 07, 2014, 10:57 »
    About 25 years ago a friend of mine, Pete,went to stay in Salt Lake City as an 18 year old. He needed a job so he borrowed the ID card of the American he was staying with, a guy called Bruce Weigal.

    Pete got a job in a diner, and naturally having said his name was Bruce he had to keep the pretence up.

    After a year of working there and getting to know some of his colleagues very well, including being invited to their homes and even travelling to places with them, he left.

    On his last day he said to his colleagues "By the way, my name isn't Bruce"

    Apparently some if them were really upset by that.

    :)

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  • Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #71 on: January 07, 2014, 19:15 »
    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.

    It's not true. The French Nation is a political construction that developed throughout centuries, whether Under Monarchies, Republics or Empires. In the 19th century the Republicans only tried to redefine it but saying they invented it is very far-fetched. The monarchs already tended towards centralization.

    It's a composite of people, that is true but assumed and not incompatible with their identity because the French Nation is not based on ethnicity but on common values. Jacques Bainville had a nice quote about this: "The French people is a composite. It's better than a race. It's a nation." Hence the French feel inextrically bound to their (centralized) state.

    It's very different from the German concept of nation, which I'm afraid is based on ethnicity (I hate to say it, I like Germany but I'm afraid it's true !)

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    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.

    One thing I hate about European Left is their anti-militarism. I mean soldiers are the first to realize how infernal a war is (Grandson of a WWII and Congo War Vet speaking). The opposition to the Vietnam War started in the army and not on the campus. W never was sent to war. Neither was Wolfowitz nor Rumsfeld because they did not know what it was. So I understand people remembered their soldiers killed on the battlefield (whichever was their country).

    By the way your Hitchens supported a war where the US should not have been in the first place, thereby showing his true face.
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    Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #72 on: January 07, 2014, 19:30 »
    By the way your Hitchens supported a war where the US should not have been in the first place, thereby showing his true face.

    Christopher Hitchens was a bloated, drink sozzled hypocrite and fool of enormous proportion. As the main intellectual cheerleader for Bush's disgusting war he has to take some responsibility for egging on the killing of thousands of men, women and children.

    Its a pity he isn't still around to face the consequences of the disaster that he did everything he could to fanfare.

    So, you mustn't judge the UK population on the basis of one idiot. A million people marched on London's streets against that war.
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #73 on: January 07, 2014, 20:06 »
    George Bush jnr does have to take much of the responsibility for America's reputation.

    Every hates George Bush, George Bush is corrupt, and stupid.
    America voted for him
    Therefore, America is stupid and loves George Bush.

    (Of course the vagauries of the american voting system, like britain, mean that a vast percentage of Americans dont actually support their president). Theres a lot to be said for dictatorships. Democracy, generally leads to minority rule.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #74 on: January 07, 2014, 21:11 »
    One other issue that hasn't been touched upon (much) yet is the gun culture. I'll share a story about that later.
    It is now "later".

    To illustrate the whole culture with regards to guns that is apparently so deeply entrenched into Americans Stateans, let me tell this little story:
    A friend of mine was in the US on holiday, and stayed with a family somewhere (can't remember where, but it hardly matters) for some time during her stay. Said family was baffled that she had never handled or fired a gun - they owned several, and went to the shooting range regularly, with everyone having a go. My friend was invited to fire the various weapons (from pistols to shotguns) as well, since they couldn't imagine leaving her without that experience.
    For me this whole attitude is - in the true sense of the word - incomprehensible. Sure, I come across people with guns in my everyday life (every single one of them a police officer), and I know a couple of people that hunt. But that's far, very far, from the apparent matter of course with which guns are treated in the US.

    Another aspect is that whole "stand your ground" idea. I worked in a supermarket some years ago, and we were told that when there as a robbery, we should under no circumstances play hero: It wasn't our money, in fact it wasn't even the supermarket's money (insurance would cover it). Just comply with instructions, remember as much of the robber's appearance as possible, and push the alarm when the robber is gone. If I were robbed myself, I'd probably do the same, despite it being my own money. It's just not worth it.
    I suppose if a country is founded on the fundamental belief in property rights being sacred people might feel a bit different, but it still can't explain to me why I would pull my gun if the café I'm drinking a tea at is being robbed.
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    Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #75 on: January 07, 2014, 21:19 »
    Well, Americans want to maintain the right to protect themselves with firearms.

    The huge irony is that the cost of that is more gun deaths than any other country in the developed world.

    I mean...duh  :S

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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #76 on: January 07, 2014, 22:27 »
    A friend of mine was in the US on holiday, and stayed with a family somewhere (can't remember where, but it hardly matters)...
    NO NO NO NO NO! IT ABSOLUTELY MATTERS!  :o

    That's part of my point: What happens "there" probably wouldn't have happened "here."
    Many people, many cultures, many beliefs and many different perspectives, all under the same flag.

    Another aspect is that whole "stand your ground" idea. <snip>... but it still can't explain to me why I would pull my gun if the café I'm drinking a tea at is being robbed.
    Well, that's not really the way it works. That café wouldn't necessarily be considered "your ground" in that scenario.

    (That's not to suggest that there aren't plenty of gun-crazed lunatics in this "great land of ours."  Because there are.  :()
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #77 on: January 07, 2014, 22:33 »
    America voted for him

    But most of those who turned out actually voted for that "other guy."

    50,999,897   48.38%   for Gore

    50,456,002   47.87%  for Bush



    It's true.  :S
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  • KeithJamesMc

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #78 on: January 07, 2014, 22:48 »
    NO NO NO NO NO! IT ABSOLUTELY MATTERS!  :o

    That's part of my point: What happens "there" probably wouldn't have happened "here."
    Many people, many cultures, many beliefs and many different perspectives, all under the same flag.
    Well, that's not really the way it works. That café wouldn't necessarily be considered "your ground"

    Well, I was in America, a city to the South called Rio de Janeiro...

    ... and we were trying our best to build a cellular network under extreme time pressure...

    ... so we were floating some balloons in the strategic high points of the city for line of sight and cell site planning purposes which just happened to be in the favella's....

    ... and the locals (mainly teenage kids) were using the balloons for target practice...

    ... very frustrating as although the guns looked pretty ancient, the kids were pretty accurate.

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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #79 on: January 07, 2014, 22:49 »
    But most of those who turned out actually voted for that "other guy."

    50,999,897   48.38%   for Gore

    50,456,002   47.87%  for Bush



    It's true.  :S

    Exactly, democracy inevitably puts the minority in charge. Lots to be said for dictatorships and coups. :D

    BUt America should never underestimate how badly Bush Jr damaged the worlds opinion of you. Then again, maybe people feel like that about Britian and Blair. Certainly some people still hold Thatcher against the entire nation (Then again, in some countries britain is revered because of Margeret Thatcher)
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  • L'arri

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #80 on: January 07, 2014, 23:09 »
    Moderator Comment Back on topic please, folks. Discussion is about what it means to be American rather than a coin toss over the merits of political figures. Thanks. :cool
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    Capt_Cavman

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #81 on: January 07, 2014, 23:15 »
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

    I used to be hugely irritated by lots of character traits and policies, all mentioned above. But it seems to me now that a lot of them were (accidently or by design) there to prevent abuse of power by what Echoes calls the elite but I think is too generous a term. Bizarre electoral systems, gun ownership, federalism, allegiance to the flag, isolationism to name but a few; all seem to me now to have been the consequences of trying to keep the Land of the Free relatively free of those who would abuse their power. The elected and, far worse, the unelected and unseen have gained control, e.g. NSA, Goldman Sachs, Rumsfeld, Homeland Security, blah blah. Copying the European model, we've all managed to end up in much the same place in the end.


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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #82 on: January 08, 2014, 08:49 »
    NO NO NO NO NO! IT ABSOLUTELY MATTERS!  :o
    OK, it matters. But I still can't remember exactly where it was. :P
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  • Joachim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #83 on: January 08, 2014, 09:55 »
    The flag waving thing is interesting. The US is a new country. However it is older than some countries that are viewed as ancient and historic, like Italy.

    The difference of course is that US is composed almost entirely of recent immigrants with little shared history. This accounts for the Americans flag-waving, but also their rather desperate attempts to invoke heritage. It is symptomatic of a deep-seated need for cultural cohesion and identity.

    Of course, the dark side of patriotism and flag-waving is that it can be used to stifle questioning of acts of the state. This, coupled with an ignorance of the outside world has possibly enabled the US to be the most aggressive nation of the past half century, attacking scores of other countries.

    We had that kind of bullsh1t in the UK during the 19th and early 20th too. Now it has been replaced by embarrassment
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  • « Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 10:18 by Joachim »

    18-Valve

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #84 on: January 08, 2014, 10:54 »
    OK, it matters. But I still can't remember exactly where it was. :P

    It doesn't matter that much, though. Only Hawaii has a gun ownership rate of under 10 percent, and the states that are in between 10 and 20 percent are still in the minority. Mostly Northeastern states with tougher gun laws like NY and NJ. Florida *just* makes that list IIRC (something like 18 percent, I think), which was the only surprise for me, given the messed up stuff that happens down there. It's mostly "Southern" or quasi-Southern outside of Miami and Southeast FL, anyway.

    But it's not just the South that has high gun ownership rates. Also states like Iowa, one the safest states in the Midwest and the U.S. and a state that voted for Obama twice in a row, by a reasonable margin I might add, scores upwards of 40 percent. Even WA has a high rate.
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  • Dim

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #85 on: January 08, 2014, 14:08 »
    We had that kind of bullsh1t in the UK during the 19th and early 20th too. Now it has been replaced by embarrassment

    This is true, most Brits actually find the words to Rule Britannia an offensive reminder of our colonial past. Twenty years ago RB was still very much in vogue as a patriotic song. Outside of a small gathering of toffs once a year at the Albert Hall, you barely hear it anymore. Britannia also left our coins several years ago. In fact, Britainia as a symbol has been pretty much killed off
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #86 on: January 08, 2014, 14:37 »
    This is true, most Brits actually find the words to Rule Britannia an offensive reminder of our colonial past. Twenty years ago RB was still very much in vogue as a patriotic song. Outside of a small gathering of toffs once a year at the Albert Hall, you barely hear it anymore. Britannia also left our coins several years ago. In fact, Britainia as a symbol has been pretty much killed off
    Pretty sweeping statement...

    Not true either.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #87 on: January 08, 2014, 14:46 »
    America ...  :s  ;)
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  • Anthony Moan

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #88 on: January 08, 2014, 16:25 »
    I love America coz it is land of Krebs!!!!
    And I love America coz mew the Doolittle!!!!

    I want green card really, will do any job, drugs and arms included, and will bring well known Slovenian bunnies to country!
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    Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #89 on: January 08, 2014, 17:10 »
    So, you mustn't judge the UK population on the basis of one idiot.

     :S Did I?

    (and I don't think he would have any regret if he were still there)

    Quote from: Drummer Boy
    But most of those who turned out actually voted for that "other guy."

     50,999,897   48.38%   for Gore

    And yet that's merely 51M out of 300M inhabitants. I don't know how many adults but the abstention rate must've been pretty high in 2000 (+ the Nader voters). How can you say a President is supported by his population while these don't even go to the polls?

    Just to say I'll never cry for Gore (whose name fits him very well) :P

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  • « Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 18:20 by Echoes »

     



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