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Author Topic: America the Arrogant
Mormegil
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Warning: this is a totally wandering thingy and I don't guarantee it makes sense, is accurate, or even really reflects what I think.

My fiancé likes the Harry Potter books, but thinks J.K. Rowling is a bit of a jerk. In some interviews we've seen she just seems kinda mean, and seems pretty anti-American. She insisted that only British actors be cast in the Harry Potter movies (which I have *no* problem with) but then seemed resentful that the US had *anything* to do with her movies.

Of course the special effects for the movies are done at ILM in California, because they're the best.

But it seemed like she was annoyed that ILM was the best, and resented having to use them.

Whereas, if Britain did something way better than us, we'd be fine to admit it, and not the least bit resentful.

Because we are *so* arrogant, that we can compliment another country, cheerfully, and admit their superiority to us in that area, because we are so totally convinced of our superiority in EVERY OTHER AREA!

We're over here far from both Europe and Asia, just doing our thing. We hardly remember other countries even exist, and when we do, we just assume they wish they were us.

And the worst part is, when people in other countries hate America for being smug, for being rich, for being powerful... we don't care. All the energy they put into resenting us, and we don't even care! It doesn't bother us! We're so sure we're on top, we barely notice.

It's just funny to me. JK Rowling doesn't like America, and it doesn't bother me a bit! She's got bajillions of dollars (a lot of which came from America), while I have to work and work and work, and I'm not at all jealous of her. I see her with a sour expression, disliking America, and I feel *sorry* for her. For a multi-multi-millionaire! That's how arrogant I am!

It's just fascinating. Because I don't *feel* arrogant. I feel like I'm just over here doing my thing, and when another country does something neat, I can praise them. I like a lot of British TV shows and some of my favourite authors are from there. I don't think we do everything the best here, far from it.

But people in other countries have to endure American television, films, technology, and news all the time.

Apart from watching my favourite British TV shows etc, I don't give the countries in Europe a single thought on most days.

They don't *really* matter to me.

It's like when you're a teenager and you like a girl, and she doesn't know you exist. You'd rather she hated you, than just treat you with indifference. You think about her constantly, but you eventually realize that unless you're right there talking to her, that she didn't think about you *once* the whole week. That is enough to crush one's spirit.

Of course other countries aren't in love with us, but when someone you consider your equal treats you with such indifference, I figure it must rankle in a similiar way.

And there's no solution. As a culture, we're self-obsessed. A lot of it is geography. Millions and millions of us have never been outside our own country. In Europe, where more countries are closer together, they learn that other countries do exist.

Here we only know it intellectually, but emotionally, we don't really believe it. Other countries are quaint lands on tv, real life is America.

No wonder people don't like us when we don't treat them seriously.

I'm not talking about the loudmouthed jerks that think other countries SUXOR that make the rest of us ashamed. People that act derisive of other countries don't make people love us, but I think it's the underlying "Sorry, what? Oh, we weren't paying attention to you, what did you say?" attitude of the vast majority that *really* gets on everyone's nerves.

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Eric
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You make some good points, and I think the analogy of the love-sick teenager is fairly apt.

But a lot of the ill-feeling Europeans have towards America are stoked by an America-hating media. As an example...

On one of my trips to Germany last year, I was watching BBC World, and on the little crawl line thingy on the bottom of the screen was a blurb saying "Oil rises to record $$$ per barrel due to unprecedented US demand". I actually yelled at the TV "WTF??? What about India and China??". After looking at some DOE statistics, I found that Europe had also had "unprecedented" demand in recent years. But there it was...if it's bad, it's America's fault.

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msquared
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Does she know that Radcliffe is American?

msquared

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Pelegius
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I do not believe Rowling is anti-U.S., but rather anti-Hollywood. And who can blame her for that after what Hollywood has done to so many books.
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RoseAuthor
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I was looking for the interview I heard when the first HP book was on the shelf but couldn't find anything close to it.

Her views on the God and how she wanted to help free children from their parent's brainwashing which is hindering society to achieve a higher level??.. it was more extreme than what I'm conveying but it basically said she was using her writing to reprogram the next generation.

I remember being shocked while I was watching this interview considering my 3rd grader was reading this book-My daughter waited all day to hear this interview, and she put the book down after hearing how Rawlings hated God.

If anyone remembers this or has a link to the interview, I would appreciate it. But she did link America to this religiousity that is stumping the development of what she believes to be true enlightenment and freedom or power?

Again, my memory is vague but if I'm even close, it might give a more valid reason for her dislike of the US.

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Mormegil
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Since when is Radcliffe American?
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Omega M.
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Hey, nobody's forcing people in other countries to watch our TV shows and build McDonald's branches on their land. People who complain about the U.S.'s culture having penetrated their own country's have only themselves (or, more likely, the rabble of their country) to blame.
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msquared
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Mormegil

It looks like you are right. I checked IMDB and found he is English.

I could have sworn I read somewhere when the first movie came out that there was this huge furor over the fact that Chris Columbus had picked an American to play HP.

Maybe it was when they picked Rene Z. to play Bridget Jones.

msquared

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Pete at Home
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That's interesting. Her books are dripping with Christian references, make the same distinctions between "good" magic and "evil" invoking magic that runs through most Christian fantasy such as CS Lewis.

My understanding is that both CS Lewis and Tolkien had some of the same dissapointment when their books became bigger in the US than in the UK. Rowling like Tolkien went so far out of her way to pattern the wizard school on conventions that anyone who's been to a brit school waould recognize (the four house teams, and cumulative scoring for example) but amusingly these elements make it strange and fascinating to Americans. I'm sorry that Mrs. Rowling is less able to contain her chauvenism than Dr. Tolkien. On the other hand it's probably politically safer in Europe's artist community to bash America.

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Fel2.0
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Hmmm...I wonder if her anti-Americanism extends to refusing royalties from American sales? Or does she hate America but love our money?
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Pelegius
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Neither, she hates a certain aspect of our culture, as manifested by the superficiality of many Hollywood films. Many Americans agree with her, as evidenced by how well directors from Britain and New Zealand are doing in the classic Hollywood action/adventure drama. No one I know belived Sahara to be better than Lord of the Rings, and I am surronded by Americans like myself.
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Pete at Home
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Her books are fun, but they aren't that deep!
Now I do concede that Lord of the Rings and Lion, Witch, & Wardobe were better than anything Hollywood has put out in that genre. But the HP movies aren't particularly deeper than similar Hollywood fare.

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Pete at Home
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America as a whole is mildly pro-British. England has a lot of folks that are passionately pro-US, others that are passionately anti-US (mostly the ones that suck up to the Continent), and others indifferent or go back and forth. Oddly they don't argue with each other much about the matter.
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Koner
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Mormegil,

I think you made a lot of good points. I've had the great opportunity to travel all over the world. I've been all over both Asia and Europe pretty extensively. I don't think that the average citizen of other countries hate Americans, or even hate America. I honestly believe that most of them are as indifferent to both America and Americans as Americans are towards them.

You mentioned that most Americans have never been to other countries, and that our views of these other nations are based on what we see on television and the movies. I would agree. But what do citizens of other countries know of America and Americans? Most of them only know what they see at the movie theaters and on television. And even I will agree that the "America" that is presented on tv and the movie screen is not really America.

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flydye45
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"And even I will agree that the "America" that is presented on tv and the movie screen is not really America. "

Yeah, where's my $500,000 apartment, my model quality wife and my witty repartee which never gets me fired? [Smile]

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Whereas, if Britain did something way better than us, we'd be fine to admit it, and not the least bit resentful.
Actually, there is an assumption by some Americans that, because something is done a certain way in America, that is therefore the best way to do it. I don't know how common that assumption is, but it certainly exists.

In one example, in a course on Government we had, we once had an American guest lecturer. The import of his lecture was that Australia was over governed because we had twelve senators per state rather than two senators as in America. The fact that we have only six states for a territory approximately equal to that of the continental US never occured to him, and hence have 76 senators as compared to 100(?) in the US (Each of two territories also has two senators). The assumption was simply that, if America had only two, then two was the proper number and any more represented overgovernment.

quote:
Hey, nobody's forcing people in other countries to watch our TV shows and build McDonald's branches on their land. People who complain about the U.S.'s culture having penetrated their own country's have only themselves (or, more likely, the rabble of their country) to blame.
Actually they are, sort of. First the WTO has strict provisions limiting the extent to which US shows and franchises can be restricted from a country. Then the fact that US shows make their profit in the US and are essentially dumped overseas means that they are far more economical for TV stations than making their own. The consequence is that commercial stations have something close to wall to wall US shows. IF you want to watch TV at all, you have little choice but to watch US. (Not that I am complaining in the case of CSI and Lost.)
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Tom Curtis -

Are the senators elected via general election, or by district?

--Firedrake

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
Are the senators elected via general election, or by district?
Say what? Senators are elected as part of a general election. Unless their is a double dissolution, only half of state senators (six in each state) and all of the territory senators are up for election. Each state or territory is treated as a single electorate, with preferential voting for proportional representation.

quote:
The House of Representatives and the Senate have different electoral means for registering electors’ preferences. Both systems of voting are preferential, in that electors indicate an order of preference among the available candidates. The chief value of a preferential system is that it sorts the electors’ choices on the basis of the most preferred candidate. It avoids the defect of the ‘first past the post’ system still in use in many major countries, whereby the candidate with more votes than any other candidate is elected, but may have only a minority of the total number of votes.

There are, however, important differences between the two preferential systems used for electing the House of Representatives and the Senate.


Preferential voting for the House of Representatives is designed to secure the election of one candidate with a majority of votes. If no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of first preference votes, the next preferences of the voters for the least successful candidates are distributed until one candidate emerges with a majority of votes.

Proportional representation voting, as used in the Senate, is designed to secure the election of several candidates in each state (twelve in the case of a double dissolution, six in the case of a regular half-Senate election) each of whom has obtained a number of votes equal to or exceeding a required quota (or proportion of votes) necessary for election. The quota is obtained by dividing the total number of formal votes by one more than the number of candidates to be elected, and adding one to the result. Thus, if the total of formal votes in a state at an election for six Senators is 700,000, the quota is 100,001. That is, a candidate will need to win at least 100,001 votes to be elected.
Candidates receiving votes in excess of the quota, which is a proportion rather than a majority of the total vote, have their surplus votes distributed according to their electors’ ranking of preferences. If all the positions have not then been filled by candidates obtaining quotas by this means, then the next preferences of the voters for the least successful candidates are distributed, until all vacancies are filled by candidates obtaining quotas. The end result is a constituency with several candidates elected, each representing a proportion or quota of the total vote.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/pubs/briefs/briefone.htm
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flydye45
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France and Saudi show the other side of the coin, with strict controls on foreign media.

India is bursting with new media and it slowly infiltrates into America. Does that mean I am complaining about their inroads? People buy what they buy. If the stations don't want to pay for their own programing, oh well.

Canada has a huge number of shows (some of them good, others...) in the U.S.

*****

America has a system which works. It's worked for 200 years. So while the man may be a jack@ss, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel every single time. Maybe the engine of Australian democracy needs 12 cylinders. It's still an engine. [Smile]

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Richard Dey
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I thoroughly agree with Pelegius; and if anybody saw the recent remake of The Man in the Iron Mask they'll know why! Americans are not worldly enough to make 'foreign' movies. They do costume soap opera. Americans should stick to do what they do best:

Westerns like Bonny and Clyde, the last American film I actually watched to the end

New York soaps and musicals, which I never watch

Sitcoms

And since when has America had a theatre system for 200 years -- or were you referring to 'politics'? For 150 we did almost nothing but European works. It's England that has the 400-year-old theatre tradition that works.

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