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I AM prone to overoptimism ;-)

And maybe I talk out of the top of my hat. I've never lived in the US, but been on extended movie production visits quite a few times up to about '86. And I have quite a few ex-pat US friends in Scandinavia.

Perhaps Europe is more of a 'forgive and forget' area, with far more cultural turmoi, and that has lead to the sort of robustness that comes from intellectual diversity. We Europeans have done, and are still doing, terrible things to each other at the SE edges (and elsewhere).

It is looked upon now more as hooliganism - we don't like it, we don't understand it, but since these people come out of the same 'system' as us, then we have some responsibility also. Does this make sense? I am not trying to put any bi-polarity into it - it is a nuance of difference between US and EU. It could also be about pride.

By and large, imo, Europeans are not very proud of Europe as an entitiy. "It's OK, but it could be so much better" There is an acceptance that it is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is however, better than what has gone before. We can all agree that we have just had too much fighting.

I have the sense that this feeling is not prevalent in the US - the feeling that the current US is better than what went before. The cosmetic pride that you see everywhere in the US presents a classic Bateson double-bind when contrasted with a perceived failure of progress.

Everyone on this planet is motivated to greater effort by the feeling that things are getting better. This is the sub-text of all Bush speeches. But they also have to actually GET better, otherwise the effort fades.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody in America believe Bush any longer, except his Fundamentalist core.  The poll numbers show that something like three-quarters of the public believes the country is going in the wrong direction.

But it's true that the idea of living peacefully as a value has not even been spoken about in recent years.  

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 01:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can all agree that we have just had too much fighting.

This is the big difference. People here know people personally who lived through war - meaning those who lost everything while their home cities were pounded into rubble and had to try make a new life with just a suitcase and whatever survival urge they could muster.

In the US, war is a Hollywood invention. The bad guy falls off a burning balcony yelling 'Arrrgh!' Cut to end credits. It's entertainment and mythologised machismo. No one is made homeless and people don't really die, because - look - they're back in a different movie six months later. And have probably been through a very public marriage/divorce/rehab in the meantime.

There are always a few traumatised muttering vets saying war is bad. But for all the flag waving and drum beating, no one has much time for them, because they're a gruesome reminder that the fantasy isn't real. So - ignored.

The US won't change its collective mind about war until most of the population has first hand experience of it - and that really won't be a fun thing to live through.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 07:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would give you 10 "4s" if I could.  Excellent.

I like to say that in USA, war is treated like a football game.  The same terminology is used down to where an all-out pass rush is called a "blitz."

Not surprisingly, Bush the Dim was once a cheerleader.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 12:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sports is the medium in which is cultured 90% of what's wrong with western society...

that good ole 'team spirit', kill, kill, kill...

you're right about the words they use to describe sports in the usa.

the cubs strangled the bears...

the lakers destroyed the whatever....

when the tv turns to sports i feel the air around it start to go 'duuh'!!!

well, sometimes athletic performance has aesthetic value, and good teamwork is a joy to behold, but these are just the icing on a very ugly cake, that of what happens to critical thinking, and of how large crowds wipe it away, in favour of the bellowing herd instinct.

it's an excuse to go barking mad, in public, with strong incentive to remove all forebrain activity and go completely limbic*...

aaah, regression, nothing like it! feels so good and 'normal' to be 'just like everybody else'....

and the morons annihilated the braindead...

*(...or 'postal' as the yankees put it.)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 05:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US won't change its collective mind about war until most of the population has first hand experience of it - and that really won't be a fun thing to live through.

Being as it is that I don't believe anyone is in the mood or has the firepower to invade the US, it's going to have to be another civil war. And I think that's a very long-term prospect.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 06:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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