Monday, August 29, 2005

Anti Anti-American Feelings

Americans often ask that question: “why do so many people hate us?”

Part of the answer to that question lies of course in how Americans perceive “anti-Americanism”, whether it originates from outside the country or is articulated by main-stream,
educated and open-minded Americans, who usually get branded as “un-American”. McCarthy would have a field day in post-9/11 America.

The US has a long history of looking at anything, anybody or any country with great suspicion, if that entity dares to formulate any kind of criticism on any part of its culture, Foreign policy, movie industry, its Religious Right, its Puritanism/pornography or its unashamed trampling on entire other peoples, to further the cause of “freedom” (“freedom, freedom, freedom… freedom!”) And branding others as “evil empires” is a bit of a national sport, at least with many of the successive administrations.

In the “land of the free” one is clearly not particularly free to have an opinion of one’s own. A broad generalisation? Of course… But I’m not here to be apologetic about my “anti-American” feelings,
I leave that to twits like this impersonator of the chimp in the White House.

For all I care the Americans can feel free to be upset about the fact not everyone in the world is particularly smitten by what is increasingly seen as a superpower that’s lost the plot completely. Whose drive for the “greater good” is causing more damage than any other nation has been able to inflict in far away places.

Americans’ taste for electing Presidents with severe learning difficulties (Dubya), or people that resort to Mystic Meg for advice (Ronnie and Nancy) only exacerbates how the US is seen by many.

And when you actually try and explain why so many hold the US is such disdain (I’m treading uncharacteristically carefully here), they simply won’t listen. At best, rather condescendingly, they’ll tell you something you already knew: that their country isn’t monolithic, as if the rest of the world is populated by a bunch of “anti-American” clones. At worst they’ll stick a star spangled banner in your nose. In most of the mainstream, critical thought, reflection or understanding has been replaced by knee-jerk reactions, Bush-style (“we’ll smoke ‘em out and we’ll hunt them down”).

Two invasions later and still no sign of Osama Bin Laden. “We’re sooooo close, we’ve never been that close before. We know where he is: he’s either in Afghanistan or he’s not in Afghanistan”. And that makes perfect sense to most…

The world’s a more dangerous place than ever before and the American economy is bending to a point of cracking with all these hugely expensive remote control wars.

Why do I dislike the US? Take a wild guess. But that doesn’t make me “anti-American”, because the term in itself is nonsensical. Think of me as you like, you Yanks… And put those flags away, you’re embarrassing yourselves.



At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks remarkably like "an indictment against an whole people".

Best regards,
Nigel Sedgwick

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Gert said...

Learn to read (and spell).

Also, do try and argue your case just a little.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've checked the spelling and find no mistake; please advise on where I have been careless.

Obviously I can read - perhaps we could apply your own comment ("do try and argue your case a little").

I thought the application was appropriate, of the quotation from Edmund Burke concerning the dispute between the UK Government and the peoples of the American colonies (shortly before the American war of independence).

Best regards,
Nigel Sedgwick

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Gert said...


You wrote:

I thought the application was appropriate, of the quotation from Edmund Burke concerning the dispute between the UK Government and the peoples of the American colonies (shortly before the American war of independence).

My reply:

Nice try. The use of words like “America” or “Americans” does not constitute an “indictment of a whole people”, Burke or not.

If for example I was to criticise “Americans” for not condemning Pat Robertson’s comments about assassinating Chavez clearly enough, that doesn’t mean I believe all Americans are Robertson loving Fundies (although there do seem be enough of those as well).

In short: you know damn well what I meant by my post, and you also know it’s not an indictment of the American people, partly or wholly. For all I care they can believe in what they want and so can I…



At 8:20 PM, Blogger fintan said...

When you all say America which part America you talking about? North, Central or South America?

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Very funny.

The USA, of course, but you already knew that.


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