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Rubin Farr

How does the World view America these days?

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Expected that pedantry on page 1, tbh.

Edited by autopilot

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What is the headline under it saying?

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jesus some replies here... us' achievements is culture in science are simply unmatched by all of the rest of the world combined. yeah there's some fat people and no proper healthcare because of republicans, but it can't possibly overshadow the achievements. i mean it has its "low points" but the "high points" are way higher than any other country.

 

I'd argue British music's better than yours, but it's all subjective innit?

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All the Americans I've met have been lovely. However, from an outsider's perspective, it does seem to be an enormously strange country. In fairness, much of this probably reflects my own narrow-mindedness.

 

I have never, ever been able to get my head around patriotism, at all, so the anthem-singing, flag-waving aspects of American culture, and the near-sacrosant status of the US military make me deeply suspicious. To me, being proud of your country is like being proud of having size 10 feet, it's pretty much an accident of birth (I know not all Americans are like this, and I find it just as weird when it's England, for instance, going bananas over a royal wedding).

 

I studied Criminology at university and I think one of the nastiest aspects of US policy is the introduction of prisons that are essentially for-profit and deeply segregated; I very much buy into the arguments that the US prison system is tantamount to a modern-day form of slavery in the degrees to which it sweeps up and institutionalises huge swathes of young black men. For-profit, privately-run prisons are now becoming more common in the UK too, and it's not an import I'm particularly comfortable about. There's a great Angela Davis quote where she says that the US prison system essentially relieves the state of having to deal with the problems caused by late capitalism, and I think that's pretty much spot on.

 

The whole Ferguson thing shows a pretty ugly side of American culture too, as does its dubious support of Israel, the endless oil wars in the middle east, and the sleight-of-hand trick whereby terrorism is the big bogeyman of the age whilst people get robbed fucking blind by corporations. Of course, this one's just as prevalent in the UK.

 

On the other hand: no US would have meant no blues, no jazz, no hip-hop. As other people have said, it's hard to generalise a whole country. But those are the things that come to mind when we're talking about 'the US'.

 

Oh, and the gun laws. This has come up before on WATMM, I'm sure, but to a European perspective the US's approach to gun control just seems... alien, almost. I'm probably, again, showing my own ignorance of the debates around gun control here, but to me, every time I hear about another school shooting or whatever it almost seems like the pro-gun lobby is being willfully stubborn and contrary.

 

*waves flag*

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I was going to post a long and eloquent diatribe against the American government, heavily referencing Noam Chomsky. But then I thought, nah I'll just post this.

 

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jesus some replies here... us' achievements is culture in science are simply unmatched by all of the rest of the world combined. yeah there's some fat people and no proper healthcare because of republicans, but it can't possibly overshadow the achievements. i mean it has its "low points" but the "high points" are way higher than any other country.

 

Part of their scientific success of course, is due to their fairly liberal immigration program.

 

I do generally agree though I think if the US had a more Canadian mindset, with the resources at their disposal, the world would probably be better off.

 

 

Another reason is the big venture capital and entrepreneurial culture that exists in some places there. Also the employer has more flexibility to fire people than some european countries. More lax laws on sharing information and datasets etc. They can create startups and big companies and that culture just does not exist elsewhere in the world to that degree. There is a positive aspect to focusing on business rather than the labor force. It is all cost and benefit though. Although, the entrepreneurial thing has been blossoming or trying to in europe, they might catch up some day I don't know. Some groups want a global industrial sector with flexible work and employer arrangements to further technology and others want more traditional local industry with less flexible arrangements to protect the labor force more etc. It's certainly a lot more competitive and stressful now, and I think the US has been pushing for this a lot more than other countries in the world.

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Haven't read the rest of the thread, so I might just be repeating whatever everyone else has said...

 

Lately, the media has mostly focused on the Fergusson and Garner cases which haven't really put the white cops - nor the court - in the best light. And those two cases are totally fucked up.

But since I don't pay that much attention to the news (why would you? It'll only end up making you depressed. I've found my own news sources and only read about the things that I care about and that make me smile) I don't really know if things are looking unusually bleak, but those two cases are definitely two big fat skid marks across the US' face.

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So by not following the news, you are basically sticking your head in the sand as not to let the reality of the world bother you, instead surrounding yourself with fluffy happy stuff that will just enforce your cushy first world existence. Sounds like a solid plan.

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So by not following the news, you are basically sticking your head in the sand as not to let the reality of the world bother you, instead surrounding yourself with fluffy happy stuff that will just enforce your cushy first world existence. Sounds like a solid plan.

 

No. It's understanding that the media reports on the exceptional, not the norm, and not getting caught up in the sensationalism and emotional fervor that pursues. I do the exact same thing as Squee and avoid the constant negative news.

 

The Garner and Fergusson cases were EXCEPTIONAL. It's not an accurate reflection of "the reality of the world".

 

Do hundreds of black men in the US get brutalized and unfair treatment by the police? Yes.

 

But millions of arrests and other police interactions occur annually without incident. Wheres the months of protest and rioting for that?

Edited by StephenG

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You are just creating a bubble around that does not reflect the reality in which you live and living in such a distorted bubble will then affect the way you make your choices. It can't be good in the long run. Face the world as it is, warts and all.

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If your sense of reality is based on the few exceptional cases rather than the norm, then I don't think I'm the one living in a distorted bubble lol.

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I think it's important to get at least some bad news. But I think it's even more important to try to get a big picture overview. A lot of times, behind the headlines, there are examples of theory and structure that gets lost, and understanding those structures can help mediate future problems. I mean a lot of times, news stories are mere symptoms of systemic issues, and not vice versa

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I have never, ever been able to get my head around patriotism, at all, so the anthem-singing, flag-waving aspects of American culture, and the near-sacrosant status of the US military make me deeply suspicious.

Patriotism is more understandable in immigrant-based societies - because for a very large number of people here, they were born elsewhere and moved here. So they did choose what country to live in.

 

The military-worship is like that in Canada too, and as a European living here it makes me very uneasy. I view an organised military as a regrettable necessity (as did the US Founding Fathers IIRC), not something to base a civic religion around. But it almost seems expected by a good chunk of society that you view the military as nothing but an angelic legion of heroes. Yet many of the people I know here who have been in the services are far from heroes on civvy street, and a lot of them seem to have signed-up just so they are able to feel entitled to unconditional respect (obvs there's good guys too). Unless you've seen actual active service, military service is no more or less heroic than any other job IMO. Plus, the way there seems to have been some mission-creep around Remembrance Day, from mourning war dead to almost glorifying the military (that's the same in the UK though) - that also makes me suspicious.

 

That's about the only thing that makes me queazy about life in Canada though. And I think I could very happily live in a lot of the States

Edited by Tricone RC

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I've never understood the ridiculous over-enthusiasm Americans have for their politicians. When the campaign trail is on and you see these hordes of young and old going insane, manically waving the flags for their Democrat or Republican and punching the air in jubilation. That's something which makes me wonder about the American psyche.

 

Over here politicians are met with a sneering derision. And massive dollop of well deserved cynicism shoved on top. All the yee-hahh for American politicians looks frankly gullible and stupid imo.

I think that's because US politics plugs deeply into very fundamental issues around the State and what it's supposed to be for, etc. And I think that's great. Whereas politics in most other countries revolves around what perhaps are more base issues - politics, class, ethnicity, language, back-scratching etc. That shit happens in the US too, but the underlying themes are far wider-reaching than perhaps anywhere else, and so more likely to rouse people, maybe?

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Kim Kardashian

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If your sense of reality is based on the few exceptional cases rather than the norm, then I don't think I'm the one living in a distorted bubble lol.

It's not based on just that, but having a varied view of the world. That's not like filtering away the bad stuff.

I think it's important to get at least some bad news. But I think it's even more important to try to get a big picture overview. A lot of times, behind the headlines, there are examples of theory and structure that gets lost, and understanding those structures can help mediate future problems. I mean a lot of times, news stories are mere symptoms of systemic issues, and not vice versa

Exactly.

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That makes sense, sorry I misunderstood what you were saying.

 

I definitely don't turn a blind eye to the negative news. I read about it, I think about it. But I don't fully engross myself in it and check for updates on the same bad story daily like some people.

 

I think we're on the same page.

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You are just creating a bubble around that does not reflect the reality in which you live and living in such a distorted bubble will then affect the way you make your choices. It can't be good in the long run. Face the world as it is, warts and all.

 

I know what you mean. But here's the thing, I'll join the crowd if someone decides to do something about something, but I don't want to have to torture myself with things I can't do anything about or don't have any kind of control over (suicide bombers, school shootings etc.). I remember when I was a kid, I would sit in the living room with my parents and watch footage of people running around in the street with blood running down their faces with dead bodies lying all of over the place because someone somewhere decided it was a good idea to blow himself up in a big crowd of people. Luckily, it didn't bother me and I'm kinda glad I saw that stuff as a kid, because it helped me get a fairly good understanding of what goes on in the world. But what on Earth does it help to watch shit like that day in and day out every single evening at 6 o'clock? I could always join a debate team and agree or disagree with everyone that the world is a bad place, but that's not gonna please or help anyone. Actually, I hate nothing more than people who won't stop arguing about for instance politics. Why bother discussing something like politics when you know that no one who takes part in the discussion is gonna leave the room a happier person? Anyway, that's a whole different thing that people usually get all up in arms about.

Anyway, why bombard yourself with bad news instead of finding something else to read about. I know bad things are happening, but I can't really do that much about it. I'm not hiding from the real world, but there's more to life than bad news. I don't want to spend my time on Earth being sad about the general state of things. Life is too fucking short for that.

 

But don't get me wrong. I DO follow the news, but over the last couple of years I've started paying less and less attention to it.

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it's ingrained in the Scandinavian mindset as well.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante ;)

 

 

images.jpg

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alfredo-jaar.jpg

Expected that pedantry on page 1, tbh.

 

Thank you for reposting it.

*removes spoiler tag*

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I don't really understand that sequence of pictures or its meaning. Can you explain? (I'm dumb I know)

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some amazing creativity has come from america, and some atrocious hypocrisy, there are beautiful landscapes and amazing people, and swathes of mediocrity and rampant exploitation


I don't really understand that sequence of pictures or its meaning. Can you explain? (I'm dumb I know)

 

it means that usa is north america, not all of america

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I don't really understand that sequence of pictures or its meaning. Can you explain? (I'm dumb I know)

It's an installation by a latin american artist. Here are more details: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/aug/01/times-square-august-art-this-is-not-america-alfredo-jaar & http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/press-room/news/6004-alfredo-jaars-a-logo-for-america-shown-in-times-square-this-august

Edited by qnio

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some amazing creativity has come from america, and some atrocious hypocrisy, there are beautiful landscapes and amazing people, and swathes of mediocrity and rampant exploitation

 

Can't the same be said for almost every country? I think more countries are more alike (people-wise) than they think. It is a shame our respective media outlets and governments have so much power to shape how different people perceive each other, because despite the Internet and how "connected" we are, there is still much distortion, stereotype and prejudice.

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some amazing creativity has come from america, and some atrocious hypocrisy, there are beautiful landscapes and amazing people, and swathes of mediocrity and rampant exploitation

I don't really understand that sequence of pictures or its meaning. Can you explain? (I'm dumb I know)

 

it means that usa is north america, not all of america

 

derp lol I caught that when looking at it the first time but didn't figure that was the whole message.

 

 

 

I don't really understand that sequence of pictures or its meaning. Can you explain? (I'm dumb I know)

It's an installation by a latin american artist. Here are more details: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/aug/01/times-square-august-art-this-is-not-america-alfredo-jaar & http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/press-room/news/6004-alfredo-jaars-a-logo-for-america-shown-in-times-square-this-august

 

very nice, thank you for the link

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