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Anti American Ism

I heard an interesting radio programme today on Radio 4 called ‘death to America’ It followed the normal tradition of Radio 4 docs in that it was based upon a flimsy premise, the reporter asked leading questions, and refused to learn anything from anyone he spoke to, but it was redeemed by the usual side-effect that there were extended statements made by quite interesting people throughout.

The flimsy premise: People have hated america before it even existed because anything from the ‘new world’ was percieved to be degenerate; physically and culturally. The French dislike what America stands for; freedom and democracy.

The people: He uncovered a repeated sentiment that people did not dislike Americans as such, but globalisation and Bush & Sons foreign policy. His big French anti-american actually reminisced about how much he enjoyed being in America for anti-globalisation protests. 

The presenter, Justin Webb, made repeated insinuations about the French, classic stereotypes that bordered on racism, throughout {he reported being on a good old Parisian protest “what a lovely way to spend a spring day”… as if all you need to do is up the price of a latte and the workers down tools}. He doesn’t seem to realise that a lot of people feel America has a fine history, and a patriotic heritage that is open to Left and Right to plan a better future, but at the moment they are the main players in writing a disaster. Maybe they’ll eventually cause as much harm as the Belgians or Dutch did; or even the English!

But here’s the main flaw in the whole discussion. How can this be discussed using national ‘types’. The ‘Americans’ are doing x. They should learn from the ‘English’ who did x before and do y instead. Am I the English? Next time I meet the Americans I’ll be sure to tell him.


One thought on “Anti American Ism

  • Ruth
    July, 19, 2007 at 8:34 am

    I too listened to Radio 4 recently and the interviewer asked the same question 4 times in different ways, trying to get the response he wanted. He didn’t get it I am glad to say. I think people like Justin Webb have an agenda and it was good to read that the people interviewed actually didn’t quite say what he wanted to back his theory.
    It is often the case that when we meet the real people of a Nation we find that we have a lot in common and we all find the behaviour of our governments less than perfect.

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