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Defining the term "anti-Americanism"

 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Ravish, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person preferring their own country over the US. There is nothing wrong with someone preferring the US over another country.
....


Hi Thomas
I think Pakka Desi has said whatever I would have said with my bad vocabulary.
Whatever you have said is right...
When one goes to one country, one likes lot of things there, and at the same time one does not like lot of things.... its all at personal level.
Does it make that person anti-ThatCountry ??
 
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
Does it make that person anti-ThatCountry ??

Of course not. But if you go to one country and then complain about how much better your own country is then you are a rude guest. Imagine if I moved to India and constantly complained about what an awful country it was and how much better the US is. How would you feel?
 
Thomas Paul
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Map, if Stalin really believed that he was next then you have to explain why he was so unprepared for war in 1941. Why did he arrest those who showed proof that the germans were preparing to invade? Why did he refuse to allow his army commanders to prepare defensive positions? Why did he refuse to believe the attack came even after it started? Stalin never expected an attack. If he did he wouldn't have had so many of his best troops in Siberia facing the Japanese. That is where he thought the threat was.
If you want to continue this maybe we should start a new thread.
[ January 18, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Of course not. But if you go to one country and then complain about how much better your own country is then you are a rude guest. Imagine if I moved to India and constantly complained about what an awful country it was and how much better the US is. How would you feel?


101 % agree with you.
Thats what I am saying, let us not compare thing which cant be compared.
But yes, you can always say, that in India electricity is not 24 hrs and its really a big problem.
You can say in US, electricty is 24 hrs and its very good.
But WE should not say that what the hell is in India, there is not electricity for 24 hrs, look US which has electricity 24 hrs.
I will give you thousand reason why US should also have electricty cut
 
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Since I teach a lot of people who have come from all parts of the world to work for Sun - India, Poland, Korea, Russia, China, Australia, UK, etc. -- I prod a few people to say such things so I can ask them:
"What do you miss about home?"
People, far more often than they are willing to admit, speak what sounds like nationalism when they just long for the environment they grew up in. It doesn't matter whether there's a Starbucks on every corner or power to their house only when someone is willing to pedal all day to get it: many of us have feelings for where we and our families come from.
No ones needs to shed their pride for home when they come here. But you really do want to polish your English before acting on the idea that people want to hear why the place you are staying and earning money is no match for where you come from. We don't want to hear about America's obligations to Israel when we're trying to unwind, or the humility and graciousness of the poor folk of the Indian countryside, or how we Americans with our gas-hog SUVs and crack-infested ghettos think we're so much better than everybody.
In fact, I haven't met the person who really wants to hear someone tell them what's wrong their home.
And that's really what's going on here: America is a place anyone can come, really -- or at least that's the principle. But the reason Thomas can joke about US stuff and I can laugh is because Tom's home is here -- by default or by choice I don't care. As much as we disagree with each other on other points, he's a fellow American.
Do I sometimes react against other people because of their accents, faulty English or unfamiliar perspectives and assume they're "outsiders," not invested in living here but still feeling free to crap on the place I call home? Sure! (well, not cheerfully, so: Yeah, sure.) Sometimes I respond emotionally, and judge in haste. When I hear something I don't like from an unfamiliar voice, the odds of that happening go up. They just do. That's right, unlike everyone else here, I sometimes rush to judgment.
Here's a condensed version of what I just said: I know better than to use the word "nigger" or "fag" or other words where the potential for misunderstanding FAR outweighs the meaning I want to convey. "Nigger" for me has absolutely no redemming social value except in a rather clinical context. "Fag" I admittedly use among my friends who know I am not homophobic; as a child growing up it meant "someone who is not acting like a man," with all manner of Cold War implications in there too, and that's all it means. But when I don't know who I'm around or worry about hurting a gay friend's feelings, I wouldn't even think to use it.
For me, context matters. Who the speaker is matters, but who the listeners are also matters.
[ January 18, 2003: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
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There was a post of Jason that was read as he makes no distinction between India and Pakistan, and some disguised insults notwithstanding, I would humbly ask Jason to clarify his position. Did you mean "nuclear weapon" problem or the USA attitude toward India and Pakistan in general?


Which post do you mean, Map? The dip one?

Americanism... Ersin made a good point that to define "anti-Americanism" we first need to figure out what "Americanism" is. So it would be nice if somebody clarified...


I addressed this in the "irrational bias" post. Basically I feel that anti-America-ism is a more precise term for what we are takling about. As such, defining Americanism, which I would think of as relating to the cultural and social values of Americans, might not be relevant.

But there is another meta-point I would like to point to. To accuse the USA in death of many Iraqis as a result of "American" sanctions became a common tactics. Jason made a good post on it, so did it make you change your mind? Yes, no? If you still disagree, you should probably say so, because I can understand how Americans can get infuriated when they explain their motives/provide facts, and there is nothing but silence as a response.


Extremely good point. I usually interpret the silence as a grudging acknowledgement that I was correct and that the other side cannot make a valid counter-argument.
[ January 18, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
I usually interpret the silence as a grudging acknowledgement that I was correct and that the other side cannot make a valid counter-argument.
[/QB]


OR one does not want to break his head on wall
 
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Tom: If you want to continue this maybe we should start a new thread.
Ok. Sorry for hijacking my own thread, couldn't resist.
Jason: Which post do you mean, Map? The dip one?
Oops. I just realized that my "some disguised insults notwithstanding" is ambiguous and can be applied by either party to either themselves or to the opponent depending on current state of mood. This is what Jim Yingst calls "a Rorschach insult".
But I wont clarify what I meant, just to confuse everybody
"The dip one? - the one with references to the "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" movie which you made responding to "India and Pakistan are based on diametrically opposite principals" post. I understood, that your post was read as you do not see any difference between the two countries and, if to consider to whom you compared them to, they both are pretty bad.
Whether this was what you implied or not.
-----------------
"Can't we learn from past mistakes? If not, why not?"
C.J.Date. What Does Substitutability Really Mean?
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:


No ones needs to shed their pride for home when they come here.
Any reason for this ?? May I know what made you state this?
Why one should not feel pride when he is out of his home?
you really do want to polish your English before acting on the idea that people want to hear why the place you are staying and earning money is no match for where you come from.
Assume yourself in China for your earning. You will learn chinese language. But can you ever be as good as the native people ??
OR you will never go to China because you dont know their language ??
We don't want to hear about America's obligations to Israel when we're trying to unwind, or the humility and graciousness of the poor folk of the Indian countryside, or how we Americans with our gas-hog SUVs and crack-infested ghettos think we're so much better than everybody.

We dont want to listen this too.
In fact, I haven't met the person who really wants to hear someone tell them what's wrong their home.
It depends how one is putting his point. If one wants to show his superirity by stating the problem. Then sure, no one would like to listen.
...he's a fellow American
Here I cant help you.
Do I sometimes react against other people because of their accents, faulty English or unfamiliar perspectives and assume they're "outsiders," not invested in living here but still feeling free to crap on the place I call home?
I know Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Bihari, Marathi, Kanada (very little bit), English. Gujrati and Sindhi I can understand.
Obviously, I am not a master of any of these languages... but yes if other wants to communicate I can communiacte. Language is not a bar.
For me, context matters. Who the speaker is matters, but who the listeners are also matters.
Because there might be some wrong thoughts in your mind which makes you look around and think with whom you are talking.
If one has a joke. His intention is to tell and enjoy. His intention is not to hurt others feeling or make fun of someone. He will not care who is around OR whom he is telling OR who is he?
If his intention is to make fun of some community. Then he will go to his own community make fun of other community and enjoy. He will never tell this joke to other community becasue he knows that he will get oppposition.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
"The dip one? - the one with references to the "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" movie which you made responding to "India and Pakistan are based on diametrically opposite principals" post. I understood, that your post was read as you do not see any difference between the two countries and, if to consider to whom you compared them to, they both are pretty bad.


This would be another one of those Rorschach comments. It could I suppose mean several things. Here are a few possibiilties:
1) While the two parties believe their differences are great, they are actually relatively minor.
2) While in their way of thinking it is obvious that their differences are great, this is not necessarily apparent to outsiders.
3) Their differences may indeed be great, however simularities in certain areas may cause outsiders to view them as similar under certain conditions.
4) Clam dip is better than avocado dip.
5) Tortilla chips are preferable to men as a complement to dip.
6) Whenever the poster hears about two parties being diametric opposites, he thinks of that quote.
I'm sure there are others. The choice is yours.
[ January 19, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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I agree with Jason about the cannibal joke. It reminded me of imperialism and Religious terrorism.
One kills for democracy, other kills in the name of religion.Both are not really different for an observer from a Third World country.
 
Michael Ernest
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RK: Why one should not feel pride when he is out of his home?
ME: That's the opposite inference from what I said.
RK: Assume yourself in China for your earning. You will learn chinese language. But can you ever be as good as the native people ??
OR you will never go to China because you dont know their language ??
ME: I dunno. I might go to China if my work takes me there. It wouldn't occur to me to go and find out what's wrong with China. I've never been homesick for my homeland, so I can't directly speak to what that feels like to be gone for too long, or how I might express that longing.
RK: We don't want to hear about America's obligations to Israel when we're trying to unwind, or the humility and graciousness of the poor folk of the Indian countryside, or how we Americans with our gas-hog SUVs and crack-infested ghettos think we're so much better than everybody.

We dont want to listen this too.
ME: My "we" is mostly a set of people I know and talk to about such thingd. Just out of curiosity, who is your "we"?
RK: ...he's a fellow American
Here I cant help you.
ME: Oh come now. I can't believe for a second that you do not hold your important associations in some regard that is different -- not to say better -- from the way you regard people you feel you know less about.

RK: Obviously, I am not a master of any of these languages... but yes if other wants to communicate I can communiacte. Language is not a bar.
ME: Not that I am doubting your word or your sincerity, but I do not think you are looking as deeply as could here.
RK: Because there might be some wrong thoughts in your mind which makes you look around and think with whom you are talking.
ME: "Wrong" thoughts. No. If I felt my thoughts were wrong I sure wouldn't shared them in any google-able manner. I mean there is a time and place for every word, speaker and audience. Words are not the "problem," that's my point. What matters is intent.
RK:If one has a joke. His intention is to tell and enjoy. His intention is not to hurt others feeling or make fun of someone. He will not care who is around OR whom he is telling OR who is he?
ME: My guess is you're being purposely naive or obtuse, or you're irked enough by some of my generalities that I'm forcing some kind of contrarian dialog here. But if you believe no joke is ever told with the intention of hurting someone, you are lucky; you live in a very sweet place.
RK: If his intention is to make fun of some community. Then he will go to his own community make fun of other community and enjoy. He will never tell this joke to other community becasue he knows that he will get oppposition.
ME: I'll leave that one as conclusions drawn from personal experience.
 
Mapraputa Is
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ME: I dunno. I might go to China if my work takes me there. It wouldn't occur to me to go and find out what's wrong with China. I've never been homesick for my homeland, so I can't directly speak to what that feels like to be gone for too long, or how I might express that longing.
Funny that you mentioned China...
When I took English as a Second Language classes, our instructor told us about her experience in China -- she and her husband spent a year there teaching English. Se said it's a typical thing to fall in love with another country/culture for about a half of year, and then pendulum swings on the opposite direction. When they only arrived, they were invited to a party (Americans only and they were surprised that everybody complained about the country. "We thought, why do they complain? Such an interesting culture, so many good things... Several months later there was another party, and this time we were "veterans" and this time *we* complained and other looked at us in perplexity."
I smiled, because I had exactly the same experience. When I went to these classes, I only was here for a couple of month. There were a few "Russians" in my class, actually they were from Ukraina and Belorussia. Their conversations were composed out of complains and jokes about life here and I was at lost, if they dislike it so much, why they do not go back? And what, was it better in the USSR? Are they blind or their memory is so short?
I think, it was about a half of year later, when I caught myself that my own conversations with my new friends (one from Colombia and another from Chile) are made out of complains about America and it is a rather compulsory inclination. I would guess, that we need to vent out. All these "complains" do not mean we do not like the US, right the opposite. The very people from the previous paragraph said they wont visit their countries until they get US citizenships, because they were afraid they wont be let to return to the US. What can prove better that immigrants like the US, than the fact they preferred it to their home country?
So if you overhear some immigrants bashing the US, do not take it too seriously. Then, sometimes I present my complains to Americans whom I consider my close friends, and with whom I believe I can share my feelings without causing too much misunderstanding and offence. Otherwise, such a "sincerity" is nothing but bad manners.
[ January 19, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Hmm..
I must live a sheltered life. I have been in the US for 14 years, all of my adult life. Never heard any of my friends bashing the US.
I appreciate what this country taught me and what it had offered me. Being a woman, it matters to me even more. It turned a naive Indian girl into an independent person, a marathon runner, skiier, backpacker, world traveller just to name a few. I often hear from the fellow US citizens how much more independent I am than most women that were born American. I did not have to let go of things that came to me due to my background in India, things that I am very proud of. I am still a hindu, non-smoker, non-drinker and I never go to the bars. After 12 years of living here, if I have to pick where to live now, I would still choose US, no questions asked.
God bless America, God bless India!!
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
ME: That's the opposite inference from what I said.
Sorry
ME: It wouldn't occur to me to go and find out what's wrong with China.
No one goes to new place to find out whats wrong but it is just that he does not find for what he is habitutal. And when one complains it does not mean that he hates that place/people.
ME: My "we" is mostly a set of people I know and talk to about such thingd. Just out of curiosity, who is your "we"?
Here, when I am saying WE means we ranchers. I think, no one likes to talk about such things. It could be a good deabte but most of the time in my personal life also and here also I have seen that such topics end with ...
ME: Oh come now. I can't believe for a second that you do not hold your important associations in some regard that is different -- not to say better -- from the way you regard people you feel you know less about.
Very true, but not here. Here for me you, Map, Sona gold, Chumma etc. all are same. I know all of you by your name only. By thoughts .... cant say .. becasue sometimes I find same people is saying what I am not expecting him to say but some times he reacts exactly the same way which i expect.

ME: Not that I am doubting your word or your sincerity, but I do not think you are looking as deeply as could here.
I am afraid but I am not getting you. Do you want to say that if I would have been there then my thinking would have been different ?
ME: I mean there is a time and place for every word, speaker and audience.
A little bit agree.
What matters is [b]intent.[/b]
100% agree. But how can we know the intention ?
RK:If one has a joke. His intention is to tell and enjoy. His intention is not to hurt others feeling or make fun of someone. He will not care who is around OR whom he is telling OR who is he?
ME: But if you believe no joke is ever told with the intention of hurting someone,
I dont consider them jokes.
you are lucky; you live in a very sweet place.
I dont know what do you mean.
But yes, I can tell a Sardar joke to Sardar. Because we all know its just a joke and it is just for fun. Why *can* ... we do. .
Its not that I have not heard jokes which are not joke. But I have not repeated them.
ME: I'll leave that one as conclusions drawn from personal experience.
Once I was in a different community wedding, so I met some new people. one of them started a joke on Hindu's God. But in the mean time my friend stoped him. That person did not know that I am not from among them.(It is never written on you forehead ).
And its not that we dont listen that creep in our society.
I am 100% sure (CMIW), during cold war there would be 100s dirty jokes on USSR. Which you would not share among any russian.
But if it is a joke you can always share .. just by replacing nouns.
I dont like these dirty jokes personally. And I always prefer to listen from the person on whom it is joke or better not to listen at all. But you cant keep your ear closed

 
R K Singh
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Hmm..
I must live a sheltered life. I have been in the US for 14 years, all of my adult life. Never heard any of my friends bashing the US.

Hi Aruna
No one is bashing US
I often hear from the fellow US citizens how much more independent I am than most women that were born American.
Isnt it YOU only who should be credited for whatever you are. You must be proud of yourself. (Ahm NOT Ahankar)
I am still a hindu, non-smoker, non-drinker and I never go to the bars.
I have never been in US till now. And I do all these things and much more. I am non-vegetarian also. I eat beef also. And I am Hindu.
Why to blame US for such things? Its me who has chosen this way of life.
God bless All!!
May there be peace in world.
Amen !
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
I am 100% sure (CMIW), during cold war there would be 100s dirty jokes on USSR.


I don't think I have ever heard any Russian/Soviet jokes. Besides, in my experience since it's usually children and teens who told these kinds of ethnic jokes, we (my friends and I) probably weren't politically aware enough to have understood such a joke anyway.
[ January 20, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Thomas Paul
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There is only one cold war joke that I can recall and it wasn't dirty.
Nixon and Brezhnev are at a meeting in Moscow. The two of them have been discussing the relative merits of each others systems of government for hours. Finally, Nixon says to Brezhnev, "The reason the US is a greater superpower than the USSR is that in America anyone can insult the president of the US and he won't be punished." Brezhnev replies, "The same is true in the USSR. Anyone can insult the president of the US without being punished!"
Well, I didn't say it was funny.
I grew up during the cold war but I don't recall any anti-USSR jokes. Perhaps we were too worried about the USSR to joke about them.
 
Jason Menard
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Slightly OT, but I'm sure this guy (for those who remember him) had to seriously re-think his act after the fall of the Soviet Union.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Perhaps we were too worried about the USSR to joke about them.


Or it was too far away, too abstract. Can't remember anti-Ussr jokes in western germany either.
Actually there have been lots of jokes about USSR in the German Democratic Republic (DDR, the communistic east).
GDR joke collection
you may search for UdSSR, Russen, Russe, Rußland, Russland.
(be warned, its in proprietary german languages. )
Will traduce best 3 when I find time.
O.k. random GDR joke about USSR:
An american, a rusian and an guy from eastern germany are talking in a bar:
Says american: Our forests are so big. You have to walk 2 weeks until you'll reach the next village.
Says russian: That's nothing. In our forests you have to walk 4 weeks until you get to the next house.
Says eastern german: That's nothing. In 1945 the russian came in our forests. And until now they have not found way out. (from 1986)
As we all know these are not jokes about russians but about communist occupation.
There are comments about jokes on the ex-GDR site and russians seems to be a controversial issue. Some say that russians are nice people and they had russian friends, others are complaining that they were hunting girls, destroying front gardens with their tanks and drinking too much vodka.
Can't remember any jokes about american GIs in western germany. 1945 - 90ties both parts of Germany were occupied. In the west nearly nobody cared.
One time long ago my cousin an me did some camping-night in a forest near Frankfurt. 2 american military policemen came in search for some american soldiers. We haven't seen nobody, but we sent military police hill upwards to help soldiers. Hope that Jason wasn't one of these police guys. Or maybe we've helped him to get extraregular night off.
[ January 20, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
Some say that russians are nice people and they had russian friends, others are complaining that they were hunting girls, destroying front gardens with their tanks and drinking too much vodka.


My father served in Army in Germany in 1953-56. He was "radio operator"? - not sure what the exact word is, those weird guys who communicate via Morse code. It was communication service that served Commander of German Army Group in Berlin. He learnt a few German words, most needful to communicate with local people, and even the whole phrase (but only one). Here it is:
Small glass is not good, big glass is good!
- I guess this is how they tried to explain to German bartenders that their choice of containers to serve vodka was Wrong.
Then he told they were once caught by an officer while eating apples they stole in nearby gardens. It was too early for apples to ripen and they were sour. The officer tried one, and said in disappointment "why to steal apples when they are green?" and then went on to share nostalgic recollections how great were apples they stole in xxx-stan (forgot which republic) when he was a soldier.
Regarding hunting girls Dad did not tell me anything, though. Must be your German slander to Soviet Army.
[ January 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I grew up during the cold war but I don't recall any anti-USSR jokes. Perhaps we were too worried about the USSR to joke about them.


Did you really believe the USSR would attack you? I remember, nobody believed the USA will drop atomic bomb at us, but there was fear it can happen because of some technical mistakes from either side. I also remember thinking at that time if this happened, how the other side would respond? Imagine that your large city is wiped out, the Soviets are saying "sorry, our mistake" and perhaps can even prove that it was really some failure in equipment. Would you restrict yourselves from any action or would you retaliate to "restore balance"? I wasn't sure what our leaders would do, neither what American would do.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Did you really believe the USSR would attack you?

I think that we all assumed that sooner or later the Warsaw Pact would attack NATO. I'm a little to young to remember the Cuban missle crisis but I grew up in the post-crisis era. That is why Nixon meeting with Brezhnev was such a big deal.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I remember, nobody believed the USA will drop atomic bomb at us, but there was fear it can happen because of some technical mistakes from either side. I also remember thinking at that time if this happened, how the other side would respond? Imagine that your large city is wiped out, the Soviets are saying "sorry, our mistake" and perhaps can even prove that it was really some failure in equipment. Would you restrict yourselves from any action or would you retaliate to "restore balance"? I wasn't sure what our leaders would do, neither what American would do.


Did you ever see the movie "Fail Safe"?
 
Michael Ernest
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The movie is based on a novel by Eugene Burdick who also wrote The Ugly American.
As with any polarizing political movement, the Cold War inspired more than a little inward criticism and self-loathing in the US.
[Michael, I fixed your markup ]
[ January 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Here's plenty of Russian (and Soviet) jokes:
http://russia-in-us.com/Humor/
 
Shura Balaganov
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I will try to make a few observations, again, not to barge into already established discussion and not to offend anyne...
1. I agree with Map on an observation, that after an initial half-a-year or so facsination with the country, nostalgia kicks in. Doesn't matter if you are form India or Russia or US. That is if you lived at least a part of your adult life in one country. I felt it too.
2. There's a whole russian community in New York, almost 1 million people, who are trying to create little Russia here...they just refuse to accept the fact and move on. Guilty here as well, that website in my signature is a proof :roll: So part of negativity comes from inability to create a simbiose of two worlds in one place, for instance, live socially just like in old country and economically like in US. Something's gotta give. Economics usually wins...
3. Does atni-America-ism have a serious ground, or may it be as well based on simple oservations and human nature. "I hate that guy in Ford Extortion in front of me, 'cause he's got his big arse country boy truck in my face and I can't see a thing..."
I admire americans for being proud of their coutry and heritage. What often happens is that this notion of proudness is in everybody's face. American toursits in Europe, for instance, are clearly distinguishable croud. And they are loud, noisy, and dress badly (in european standars). Sorry, this is my european self kicks in.... :roll: That statement is often taken for being in your face, which is known to offend people greatly.
My mom often complaints that we owned 2 apartments and 3 cars in Russia, and here we rent, and even if you "buy", you still don't own it, untill you pay off mortgage. But would I say I am better off here then in Russia (Belarus to be exact)? Would I say she is better off? Definitely Yes.
Shura
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:

2. There's a whole russian community in New York, almost 1 million people, who are trying to create little Russia here...they just refuse to accept the fact and move on...so part of negativity comes from inability to create a simbiose of two worlds in one place, for instance, live socially just like in old country and economically like in US.


Refuse to accept what fact? There is no American culture, at least from this Calfornian's culture. People bring here what they bring; love of their native home, customs, religious practices, etc.
Assimilating is not a requirement for being American, IMHO. Of course, some people think they are "the majority" and might also believe in the status quo as "American," but that's just another opinion. Well, ok, sometimes that's just another opinion backed up by lots of money, privilege, powerful connections.
I was very much struck by my one visit to Toronto, where apparently the city has quite distinct ethnic quarters, almost as if the city were planned that way. I think it could make sense that people would like to go to sleep where the langauge and customs just outside your door are familiar. Then again, seems a bloody shame not to try something new whenever you can.
 
Shura Balaganov
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

There is no American culture, at least from this Calfornian's culture.
Assimilating is not a requirement for being American, IMHO.
I was very much struck by my one visit to Toronto, where apparently the city has quite distinct ethnic quarters, almost as if the city were planned that way.


There is a distinct American culture. Even if you emphasise "American" here rather than "culture", there's a distinct social phenomenon, completely different from european cultures.
Assimilation is not a requirement, but it sure helps understand opponents a whole lot easier. I think :roll: most of the times I actually understand the thought behind my American opponent's arguments.
Love Toronto. There's something very european, very "city" about that city. The only other "city" city in North America, as far as I am concerned, is "Big Apple" New York. Boston, Montreal and SF come somewhat close, but they are just too small...not to highjack this thread...
Shura
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Assimilating is not a requirement for being American, IMHO.


I agree with you. But would you say that a "requirement" for being American would be the adoption of some set of shared values or ideals? Maybe "requirement" isn't the right word, but perhaps some shared idea of America that is present in both people who were born here, as well as naturalized citizens and people who are seeking citizenship.
 
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Tom: Nixon and Brezhnev are at a meeting in Moscow...
I remember this joke, perhaps with other names, adjusted accordingly to the time shift . It was funny for me. There were always a lot of jokes when I was a kid, probably because this was the only way to balance official propaganda. I do not remember any anti-American or anti-capitalistic joke, if we had a lot of pro-American propaganda, then we would have them, I guess. Those that I know actually make fun at our expense.
Soviet radio answers questions. A question from the USA: "how much money does a soviet engineer make?" After a long pause, Soviet radio answers: "and you lynch blacks".
A call from the Center Committee of Communistic Party to a building site in Siberia. An American journalist is going there, so find a place for him to stay where workers have nice conditions of life. Management of building site cannot find such a place and finally gives up: "the hell with him, let him libel"
At the entering Iowa American tourist company put a sign in Russian: "Welcome to the state of Iowa - the granary of the Soviet Union!"
My father told me (with some dose of pride) about a sign on a container with spirit on American submarine: "fatal dose xxx gram. Except for Russians" (I forgot precise measurement). Must be an anecdote, and why would be there any Russians on American submarines? Maybe the sign was meant for Russian spies...
I grew up during the cold war but I don't recall any anti-USSR jokes. Perhaps we were too worried about the USSR to joke about them.
It was noticed that there were political jokes about almost any our leader from Lenin to Putin, but there were none about Stalin. Even after his death and even in 1970s when this kind of jokes was safe. Then, there were jokes about some heroes of Civil War, but not about WWII. I read two jokes about WWII only in 1990-s, I do not know when they were made.
1. "Yesterday gas chamber, today gas chamber... Uncle Fascist, I have a headache already!"
- this kind of humor sounds Jewish to me
2. First partisans attacked fascists. Then fascists attacked partisans. Then partisans attacked fascists. Then came a forest-guard and kicked them all out of forest.
Did you ever see the movie "Fail Safe"?
Tom, you already took over my reading list, but no, it's not enough :roll: now you will conrol my movie-watching activity also! And these people talk about "expansionism" of the Soviet Union! Ha!
(kidding)
----------------
"I hope my memory serves me right. If not, it serves me right."
D.Hofstadter. Le Ton beau de Marot
[ January 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
R K Singh
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Second myth is being broken ...
First time when I asked, do in US muslims wear Burka(veil). I was told, yes.
For me it was shocking. I do not know how regularly do they wear it.
I saw movie "American Desi", in that there is a muslim girl, who wears Burka, only when she is in Mosque. Else she was like any other normal girl.
If this is what you mean by wearing Burka, then my myth is not myth.
AW my second myth (which was instant), that there has be joke for one whom you dont like. But here .. but .. ..
but I am happy for breaking of this second myth
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
There is no American culture..., at least from this Calfornian's culture. People bring here what they bring; love of their native home, customs, religious practices, etc.


I really like this thing abt US. Because the moment we bound ourself with customs, religious practices, etc, we lose our freedom and mind thinks only in that frame. It cant think beyond that.
But unknowingly this plus point of US has given birth to something call US culture .
We have ameracan style party here(means everyone has to pay for himself.)
And some old people are worrying abt Indian culture because western american culture is coming in India.
AW this thread helped me a lot to understand americans. Lot of thing told and untold.
Thanks Map, for having courage to start this thread.
I read somewhere, if you have any problem, then the only solution is to deal it. Dont run away from problem.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:

Thanks Map, for having courage to start this thread.


Thank you for participating, Ravish!
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"What I ought to do, is go to sleep!"
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

I agree with you. But would you say that a "requirement" for being American would be the adoption of some set of shared values or ideals? Maybe "requirement" isn't the right word, but perhaps some shared idea of America that is present in both people who were born here, as well as naturalized citizens and people who are seeking citizenship.


For there to be a healthy level of national coherence and unity there needs to some sharing of fundamental values and a common language. The US borrows from western europe for its core values but empahsizes more individuality, freedom, and self-determinism rather than the collectivist tendencies. Some of this could be holdover from the frontier mentality, which historically was not that long ago, but there is also a philosophical basis (John Locke, etc) for it to be embedded in the governmental structure.
The greatest threat to national unity would be the non-assimilation of non-european immigrants who do not hold some of the same basic values on which the country was founded. Some cultures are quite intolerant of dissent and not open to discussion, power sharing, or compromise. Unfortunately, assimilation is actually looked down upon by most it seems now. Diversity and celebration of differences rather commonality is the trend. Of course this trend can only go so far before its effects are seen. But by that time, it would not doubt be irreversible.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Speaking about "to assimilate or not to assimilate"... For me it's not a transition from state A (non-American) to state B (American), at least, not only this. The most interesting are meta-effects, as usual. (hope ME wont see this post so I can avoid his epistemological bludgeon. This one time.)
In "Le Ton beau de Marot" by D. Hofstadter Thomas made me to read , the author talks about an observation, he made when he was 15. He was visiting somebody and there were 3 balls on the floor, I think he was talking about 2 orange and one purple, two were small and one was big. Here is a picture (imagine these are balls )
<pre>
ooooo
** oo ooooo
** oo ooooo
</pre>
He noticed something strange about one of the balls... Two of them are different from any other, but this is exactly what makes them alike. On the other hand, the ball that is similar to each of two other, differs from both of them in this. So this is the middle ball that is really different.
What I am trying to say... Assimilation for me doesn't mean to become an American, and this is not possible anyway, it means to become something else, neither Russian, nor American. Some emigrants (especially those calling themselves intelligentsia) feel on certain mission. Usually this is seen as a position of a mediator or a translator in broad sense. Or even in narrow sense - some programmers are happy to help out with translating articles into their native language, for example.
Taken to extreme, this mission is not to simply help people understand each other, but to see what perhaps isn't seen from inside of any single culture. Mikhail Epstein employed "binocular vision" metaphor to explain his immigrant experience. Being "Russian" you saw the world with one eye only and this gives rather a flat picture. When you adapt to another culture, you like getting a second eye and now see everything in perspective. I sometimes feel this way too, except that there should be a better metaphor for it...
And this brings us to another reason why immigrants sometimes "return" to their culture rather then "assimilate". You only start to appreciate many things after you can compare them. I only was able to enjoy some things about my language after I learnt English -- I did not notice them before.
People need Other, cultures need Other Cultures, Americans need anti-Americans, and I think, this is a very American idea.
 
Anonymous
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someone pls close this thread
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by <closer>:
someone pls close this thread


Why do you want to close this thread ??
 
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Dead horse kind of thing.
 
Michael Ernest
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(hope ME wont see this post so I can avoid his epistemological bludgeon. This one time.)
Russian optimism. Whoa.
 
Been there. Done that. Went back for more. But this time, I took this tiny ad with me:
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