Friday, 19 May 2017

America and Europe are very different - vive la difference!

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Alexandra, a Romanian who until recently lived in New York, told me last night, "The Americans feel superior to everyone except the British". This made more sense than Ramona, a Romanian-American, who told me in 1998 that the Americans feel superior to everyone. I asked her: what do they have to feel superior about? As an East European to her the answer was obvious. To an Englishman it was a mystery.


I quoted to Alexandra Evelyn Waugh's remark, "We are all born American. We die French" but she didn't understand it.

I want to visit America and might go this year. Perhaps when younger I should have gone there to find a wife, as I am told American girls are crazy for Englishmen. 


But I shouldn't want to be American. I shouldn't want to belong to a country without roots - without a sense that your people have lived among these hills and rivers for a thousand years- or a place settled by people who went there to make money.

America does clearly have an American, which is to say mostly Anglo-Saxon, culture, but this may change utterly.


Paul Gottfried said that, unlike England, with its essentially mediaeval social structure, America was made by Protestant sectarians who neither had nor desired a mediaeval past and whose descendants have turned into celebrants of progress, commerce and human rights. I don't want England or Europe to resemble America at the cost of losing touch with their mediaeval past. I think it is of immeasurable importance that this should not happen.

7 comments:

  1. "It shouldn't want to belong to a country without roots - without a sense that your people have lived among these hills and rivers for a thousand years-" Sez the guy who doesn't even reside there! What a hoot!

    "or a place settled by people who went there to make money." What is YOUR ethnicity? Norman? Saxon? Angle? Jute? Why did THEY all go to England? Sure wasn't money, guy? Power, land, crowns? Another hoot!

    left to make money, is it? Nah, it was to get away from you douchebags.

    Keep your money. Don't bother to visit. We don't need you, your money or your English-ness. We left your sorry ass 200+ years back and we're the better for it.

    What a hoot. You are such a snob.


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    Replies
    1. I am sorry that you are offended but don't think you have
      a good reason. Paul Gottfried said that, unlike England, with its essentially medieval social structure, America was made by Protestant sectarians who neither had nor desired a medieval past and whose descendants have turned into celebrants of progress, commerce and human rights. I don't want Europe to lose touch with its medieval past.

      You have inspired me to add this to the post.

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    2. He's a snub indeed, however this time I go all the way with him: every inch of USA, its culture, way of life, politics, everything is a (former) colony and Uslers are nothing but colonists. You might not be able to perceive this, but we Europeans, do.

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  2. Until about 30 years ago, before American life started hollowing out for the middle class, and until about 20 years ago, before the Internet and globalization, Americans had a higher standard of living and more consumer choices than most of the world. Not medieval runes, but Americans were proud, and people all over the world sought to imitate them. In New York the quality of life and culture is still very high, and people flock from everywhere to enjoy what the city has to offer. Come visit.

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  3. color me amused not offended.

    You didnt address any of my comments but merely explained.
    Can't imagine anything more useless.

    Address my original comment and then we'll see.

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  4. I never thought about it but I think Alexandra might be right. Well not so long ago Great Britain ruled half the world and also its culture was hugely influential as America's is today. The Italians did all that too, of course, but, you know, that's ancient history.
    Barb

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  5. Hard to really understand Americans as 'change' is the certainty of this place. Change is everywhere, but in America, the speed of change is palpable. The place today is nothing it was 30 years ago.
    I think people used to come here not to get rich, but to build something different, a different life, from what they left behind. That was in the past. Now the immigrants do come here to get rich quickly, and once rich they want to re-create what they left behind. This changes the face of the nation. I cannot say for how long these newcomers will stick around. Many of the ones that get rich go back and forth. The poor ones stick around for the 'benefits'.
    One cannot really grasp the course of change in the US either; NY is like no other place in the US, each mega-city has it's own style and direction of change, while the rest of America is moving in yet totally different directions and frequencies. I imagine being in a boiling pot must be close to what's going on here. Hence the 'melting pot' cliche.

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