Bill in Los Angeles   Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:53 pm GMT
<<Now, I think most Americans are keenly aware of the fact that the French helped immensely in the war....>>

I agree, Wintereis. We were taught that and I was probably the first generation to be taught that the "founding fathers" were hypocrites... slave owners writing documents are all men being created equal. So in that respect we probably get a more balanced view of history than some would giev us credit for.... all that being said, most people don't remember much from their history classes. I'm reading your analysis of the war of independence and then I read marend's and the thing that strike sme the most is not "how do these two have such different interpretations of history"... rather, "how do these guys *remember* this stuff.

With regard to history, you have to keep in mind that if three of us see the same event in real time, we'll report it differently the next day. Like the spinning dancer on the other thread... some of see her spinning clockwise, some of us see her spinning counterclockwise.

<<I don't know where you were in Europe, but the idea that the French are taught to stay under the radar, doesn't really ring true. Tell a French farmer their subsidies might be reduced and before you know it the city hall is covered in cow manure and the roads are blocked.>>

How right you are!! French farmers are some of my favorite people in the world. I find the rural French outlook much different from my friends in the city. In the city, I once went to a shop with some friends. You could order a ham sandwich or a cheese sandwich. I asked for a ham and cheese sandwich, but they wouldn't make that because it wasn't on the menu (understandable, since they hadn't priced for it) so I ordered one of each and then put it together to make myself a ham and cheese sandwich. My friends and the lady making the sandwhiches were appalled. You would have though I had pulled down my pants and pissed on the restaurant floor. The lunch lady asked me in a haughty voice, "why do you Americans always have to have it your own way?!" My friends were embarrassed and my date said, "cela ne se fait pas ici". A French farmer would have stepped behind the counter to make his own sandwich and in a rural area, the lunch lady would have chided him for not making me one too while he was at it.

<<The obsession with sexual depravity on one side, and an obsession with Fire and Brimstone on the other.>>

I can't really answer this one, having always been firmly in the sexual depravity camp myself.>>

<Extreme violence is acceptable while the sight of a woman's boob being exposed to the nation at a sporting event sends the whole country into a frenzy of moral indignation>>

Again, Damien, it's part of the insanity.

<<with apparent lunatics in the streets waving banners declaring that "God Hates Fags">>

Not just in the streets... these fuckers sometimes show up at the funerals for soldiers killed in Iraq to remind the families that God is allowing American soldiers to be killed because the US has not taken a strong stand against homosexuals. They believe that God caused the 9/11 attacks to punish the US for its laissez-faire attitude toward gays. But, please, anyone reading this you have to believe me... I've never in my life met anyone who espouses this bullshit and I've only seen it on the evening news. This leads me to believe that these whackbags are a distinct minority. When I say this is insanity I'm not speaking in hyperbole. I believe they're not far off from people who commit suicide so they can go up to the flying saucer behind the comet. That said, and Wintereis will be in a better position to address this than I, we do have a problem with accepting gays in this country. Like marend has said (I'm paraphrasing), some countries are worse (think Sharia law) but we're the ones who pretend so loudly to be free and open.

<<It's not a matter of "hate" but a matter of 'judgment'. God judges certain behaviours and attitudes--in fact, He already has but the sentence is in suspension in this dispensation (for the most part)>>

You have a lot of pre-suppositions in this explanation! You presuppose that there's a God, and you presuppose that this God has any opinion at all on the issue of homosexuality, and you make the argument that God's opinion is unfavorable, whether you use the word "hate" or "judge". The nutters showing up at funerals with the "god hates fags" posters believe that god hates homosexuals. What is hated can be eliminated without further discussion, which is a dangerous road. Your argument is that God will judge homosexuals. I appreciate that your position is that (or it seems like this is your position) God will judge and not you, but it's still presumptious to say that you know the mind of God.

Let me ask you this, if you're a Christian, I would assume Jesus would be the cornerstone of your faith and that his opinions, as far as they are published in the Bible, would guide you in your own feelings about what's right and wrong. To assume you know his opinions on issues he didn't discuss would seem illogical. So what happens when you ask yourself what Jesus said about homosexuality or any kind of sexuality and the answer is that he said nothing? If it's so important why was the founder of your faith and the Son of God (or as some Christians believe, God himself) silent on the issue of sex? I think it's because it was not important to him. Paul mentions homosexuality, but then Paul never met Jesus. Paul was just telling us his own opinion, and since Paul isn't God, I don't think his opinion should be elevated to the level of doctrine.

<<What is the obsession you have with pulling us down (crabs in a pot mentality)???>>

I have met some French, Germans, British and Middle Easterners who are resentful of the US because of our prominence on the world stage and the creature comforts we enjoy but mostly I think it's a case of hating the giant. Americans love to hate Microsoft and Starbucks and I think it's the same syndrome when people in other countries have a knee jerk antipathy to the US. I remember once being at a skating rink in Liege, Belgium and overhearing some guys talking about the US. One guy said, "of course Americans are disgusting...." and he went on with something that sounded like he had read it on a banner at an anti-US demonstration. So I asked him what specifically was disgusting about the Americans and in the discussion he admitted that he had never met one. I told him that I was an American and he has now met one. His reaction, along with everyone in his group of friends was to pepper me with questions about the US, Hollywood, which celebrities have I met, is it true that it's easy for European guys to score with American women (relatively easy I told them) and they wanted to practice their English. The anti-Americanism is more like a fashion accessory.

I think it was Damien who once wrote that when someday, there's another country with a higher profile than the US, that country will become the whipping boy.

But reading Damien's post I do't see him trying to pull us down. If you man up and stop being so defensive you'll see that he's actually telling us we have a lot to admire, but we also have some puzzling shortcomings. Is your sense of patriotism so fragile that you can't acknowledge our warts? You're making us all look bad. Here I am trying to argue with marend that we can be self critical while championing our strengths and you take off on Damien's post like a schoolgirl whose feelings were hurt. Could you be more defensive and dramatic and drive marend's point home some more??
Wintereis   Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:02 pm GMT
<<There's no doubt that America is a strange country in so many ways - at least in the yes of most Europeans. We see it as a country of extremes - extreme good on on one side, and extreme bad on the other.>>

Yes, America seems to be very polemic. But I think it is important for Europeans to realize that the U.S, for several decades now, has been in the midst of an internal Cold War of sorts, a war of ideologies that hinge upon culture--we call it a culture war. We talk about Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Religious Discrimination, etc. All of these things have been boiling in the United States. I think that this is what Europe is seeing when they look to the U.S. not only the conflict itself but the byproducts of that conflict. And I think it is very important that Europeans, and others around the world, look at the American culture wars for what they really are . . . not simply an American problem, but a microcosm of what is happening globally. Religious extremism isn't restricted to rural areas of the Bible Belt. It is epidemic in many parts of the world. Racism and xenophobia have existed in the U.S. since its founding, but before this it existed throughout the world. We see it in Darfur, we saw it in Rwanda, in the Balkans, and it persists in even the most developed nations. Poverty among African Americans makes them second class citizens, it compromises the American education system, it promotes criminality and violence yet Africa is subject to these same problems while Europe, Asia, and the U.S. plunder its diamonds and oil reserves. Why are there such differences between these continents? Why are there such differences between the white suburban middleclass of America and the urban poor African Americans? Conservatives, with their rugged individualism, will tell you that this is due to some innate problem within the African American community. Progressives will tell you that it is due to a systematic racism endemic in American institutions. Which is it; many African American leaders say that it is both. This is also true for the people of Africa. The wealthy nations that seek to exploit its wealth have a responsibility to ensure that Africans receive their fair share of the wealth that they help generate, yet we do not. And it is important that Africans find away to resolve the many political and prejudicial problems existing on the continent. So, my point is that Europe really should be paying close attention to the problems in the U.S. because it directly reflects the problems in the rest of the world. It is easy for Europe to crticise when it it is composed of largely homoginous populations.
Guest   Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:20 am GMT
I think it was Damien who once wrote that when someday, there's another country with a higher profile than the US, that country will become the whipping boy.>>

It's already happens on a local scale. Just look at how the ex-Soviet states and a lot of Eurpeans criticise Russia!

Even on a world scale, China always seems to be getting bad press.
Guest   Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:20 pm GMT
<< <<If you are as good as you say you are, you should get enough satisfaction from fooling people. Recently, this satisfaction must have been wearing thin for you to have had the need to tell us how good you are. >>

It has nothing to do with being good; and I'm not good, never claimed that. Faking Brit just isn't that difficult that's all. >>

I wrote "If you are as good ... "

I think your reply to me is good.
Guest   Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:50 pm GMT
Does it "faggot" also mean a bunch of twigs?
George   Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:44 pm GMT
Yes, it does.
Geoff_One   Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:04 am GMT
Once heard about a basketball game, where members from one side kept on calling each of the members of the other side a "bunch of twigs", much to their confusion.
Guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:12 am GMT
<< However, I think the OP was somewhat deceitful in his original message. >>

It might be just a case of personnel preferences, but the above sounds awkward to me. I would have written:

However, I think the OP was not frank in his original message.

And what does "OP" mean here??
Guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:28 pm GMT
<<And what does "OP" mean here?>>

Original poster.
Damian in Edinburgh   Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:12 pm GMT
***Does "faggot" also mean a bunch of twigs?***

As a respondent has already pointed out - yes....bundled together and tied with string and then slung on to the fire as fuel to the flames.

In North America (ie the USA and Canada) the term "faggot" was used to refer to a male homosexual (frequently shortened to "fag"), the inference being that a male homosexual deserved nothing less than to be hurled into the flames - burnt at the stake in effect, solely on account of his innate sexuality, much like the punishment the equally sweet Catholic Queen Mary I of England (aka Bloody Mary for obvious reasons) meted out to the heretical (in her sublime opinion) Protestants in 16th century England.

As a Catholic myself in 21st century Britain naturally enough I find this kind of vile retribution reprehensible and barbaric in the extreme, be it on account of sexuality or religious belief, both of which in my opinion are entirely private matters to the individuals concerned.

The term "faggot" is rarely used in the UK anyway, and when it is, it's most probably after someone here has watched an American film or TV program featuring homophobia. Here other words are used, some of which were once regarded as highly offensive, but which no longer are for the most part.

Much more pleasant is the very tasty meat dish here in the UK - called "faggots" - which I referred to in an earlier post in this thread. Always have them with mushy peas and loads of onion gravy. ;-)
Guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:38 pm GMT
<<innate sexuality>>

This opinion is not conclusive
it is only ONE theory
Wintereis   Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:43 pm GMT
<<In North America (ie the USA and Canada) the term "faggot" was used to refer to a male homosexual (frequently shortened to "fag"), the inference being that a male homosexual deserved nothing less than to be hurled into the flames - burnt at the stake in effect, solely on account of his innate sexuality, much like the punishment the equally sweet Catholic Queen Mary I of England (aka Bloody Mary for obvious reasons) meted out to the heretical (in her sublime opinion) Protestants in 16th century England.>>

This is only one interpretation of etymolgy. Here are several others.

Guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:51 pm GMT
What about "dyke"? This is the female equivalent to "faggot". Because of the word "dyke", the word "daiquiri" is commonly pronounced "dackery", rather than the foreign pronunciation "dikery".
Wintereis   Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:08 pm GMT
The origin of the term is obscure, and many theories have been proposed.[2][3] The first printed references come from 1920s novels connected with the Harlem Renaissance and suggest that the term was originally bulldyker, with dyke being a shortened form.[2] For example, in the 1928 novel, "Home to Harlem", Claude McKay wrote: "[Lesbians are] what we calls bulldyker in Harlem. ... I don't understan' ... a bulldyking woman." From the context of the novel, the word was considered crude and pejorative at the time. There are several theories of the origin of "bulldyker." One is that it arose as an abbreviation of "morphadike," a dialect variant of "hermaphrodite," a common term for homosexuals in the early twentieth century. This in turn may be related to the late nineteenth century use of "dyke" (meaning "ditch") as slang for the vulva. [1] "Bull" is also a common expression for "masculine" or "aggressive" (as in "bullish"), so bulldyke implied "masculine woman". According to another theory, bulldyker was a term used for bulls whose purpose it was to impregnate cows. Just as the word "stud" was first used for such a purpose and was later used for sexually promiscuous men or for others in reference to a man who was successful with women, the terms "bulldyker" and "bulldagger" were also taken from their original context and used for the same purpose. A man who was a great lover or successful with women was called a "bulldyker." "Bulldyking woman" and "bulldyker" became terms for women who looked like a "bulldyker," a male stud, and were assumed to perform the role, as well.[4]

In Another Mother Tongue, Judy Grahn proposed that the word bulldyke might have arisen from the name of the Celtic queen Boadicea, but this theory is implausible.[3][1]
guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:18 pm GMT
I had always heard that 'dyke' was a reference to 'dike' as in a dam, or a barrier (i.e. women who did not "let men in") thus basically calling lesbians "barriers" to men (from a man's point of view) because they didn't "put out"