Conservative America, Progressive Europe

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On the train to New York last week, I had the displeasure of sitting in front of a rather loud, abrasive woman who, apropos of nothing, lectured/harangued her unfortunate seatmate—a pleasant and soft-spoken Nigerian businessman—about her country's hideous history of bigotry and genocide. America was full of misinformed rubes entranced by American Idol, we are congenitally, irredeemably racist, blah, blah. It was rather obvious, she argued, that Americans wouldn't ever pull the lever for Barack Obama, and for this she profusely apologized. (She actually apologized.) The Nigerian smiled politely. (Actually, in the latest Pew Global Attitudes poll shows that, just behind the Japanese, the Nigerians were most positive towards America.) Then came the rather predictable speech on America's damaged reputation and her deep embarrassment in disclosing her nationality when travelling in Europe, a continent, she sighed, that was light years ahead of us on issues like race, immigration, and various social issues like gay rights and the death penalty.

Well, no. Sure, places like Sweden, Holland, and Norway are to the left of America on many social issues, and many are far more supportive of gay marriage and civil unions than Americans. But there are vast differences in European attitudes on such questions, as evidenced by the much more socially conservative views held by Poles, Italians, Greeks, and Portuguese. Progressive Europe, of course, is only progressive in those progressive enclaves, mostly in Northern and Western Europe. In December 2006, for instance, a Eurobarometer poll reported that "only 32% of Europeans feel that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children throughout Europe" and "44% of EU citizens agree that such marriages should be allowed throughout Europe." In Greece, that number was only 15 percent, in Italy 31 percent.

So the day after the train lecture on why "Europe" will be disappointed by our inevitable anti-Obama racism, I saw this tale of superior European progressivism in The Guardian:

Sixty-eight per cent of Italians, fuelled by often inflammatory attacks by the new rightwing government, want to see all of the country's 150,000 Gypsies, many of them Italian citizens, expelled, according to an opinion poll.

The survey, published as mobs in Naples burned down Gypsy camps this week, revealed that the majority also wanted all Gypsy camps in Italy to be demolished.

Full story.

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  1. Cue joe in 3, 2, 1…

  2. the majority also wanted all Gypsy camps in Italy to be demolished

    Cue Borat jokes.

  3. Europe is as racist if not more so than the States. The difference is that our racists are frequently backwoods yokels missing teeth and their racists have accents and higher culinary standards.

  4. Nigerians love us because we’re so helpful in assisting them to obtain their rightful inheritances from the late President Mebeki.

  5. I love how “Progressives” assume they actually are.

  6. Hell, yeah, they hate them some Roma in Europe.

    I had a very clever professor in grad school. She used English prejudice against the Roma to teach about how racism worked. It allowed her to teach the subject matter without the students’ defense-mechanism kicking in and shutting their brains off.

  7. Ohai, Bags.

    ‘Sup?

  8. You know, for all the virtues of Europe (they really do seem to care more about taking care of the environment) I’ve never gotten the impression that Europeans were much more or less bigoted than Americans. Although my experience is limited, they seem much like most of the inhabitants of the industrialized world. They have stereotypes and prejudices but the vast majority of people will treat you decently.

  9. much more socially conservative views held by Poles, Italians, Greeks, and Portuguese

    I.e. the same countries that are still super Catholic/Orthodox. I am shocked.

  10. Europe is as racist if not more so than the States.

    Yeah, think of the number of times during a major sporting event in America the audience throws bananas on the field if there’s a person of African descent on the opposing team. Yet that’s routine in Europe.

    Europeans over here should be ashamed and pretend to be Americans.

  11. PS. I’m referring mainly to the attitudes toward gays reflected in the quoted poll. I’m aware that the Roma are pretty universally despised across Europe – racism and bigotry seem to be less affected by region or religion.

  12. You know, for all the virtues of Europe (they really do seem to care more about taking care of the environment)

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

    What are their current emissions standards? I distinctly recall absolutely godawful air quality in several major Euro cities when I visited there, although that was quite awhile ago.

    I also recall having to flee the beach in Nice because of raw sewage drifting along the shore.

    And let’s not forget the environmental holocaust that the Soviets and their Eastern European puppets perpetrated. They’re Europeans, too, and I doubt Putin and his buttboys in Russia give any more of a crap about the environment than Brezhnev did.

    A society can afford to make sacrifices to protect the environment in direct proportion to how wealthy it is. As the Euros have gotten richer, I have no doubt they have done more for the environment.

  13. Rhywun,

    Poland is pretty Catholic, but the Italians and Portugese are only Catholic in the historical sense, most don’t attend church or subscribe to church doctrines.

  14. I also recall having to flee the beach in Nice because of raw sewage drifting along the shore.

    I hate the Frenchs as much as anyone else, but calling them raw sewage is going too far.

  15. Yet that’s routine in Europe.

    Ah, football hooligans. The shame of “progressive” Europe. That and Neo-Nazi skinheads.

  16. Moynihan, shouldn’t you be lecturing the woman on the train rather than whining to us?

  17. Anyone with a blanket opinion of another group (e.g. Europeans, Americans, etc) is pretty much guaranteed to have never have visited that area. Travel has a tendency to put to rest any ideas of “superiority” either way (I’m referring to travel in First World countries. I have no experience of any other).

    Except the French. They’re assholes. (JK)

  18. maybe they’ll build a wall out of spicy meat-a-balls?

  19. Europe, a continent, she sighed, that was light years ahead of us on issues like race, immigration…

    Ha! I see more black and brown people (many from other countries) in one evening of walking my dog in my (just barely) mostly white, working to middle-class neighborhood in Durham, NC than I did in an entire week of walking around Paris.

  20. I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

    Well, I should say Germans and most W. Europeans. The sanitation in most Italian cities is appalling to the Americans I know that visited.
    That’s the trouble I get in with generalizations.

  21. Conservative America has more in common with Arabs than they do with Scandinavia.

    Ask each if they possess core religious values or secular science-based rationality – you will see conservatives are conservatives no matter the continent…. their Holy Book might have a different title but it the same authoritarian message at the core.

    Bible = Koran – the same shit but different title.

    Politics is the struggle for individuality in the face of overwhelming social opposition. The US soldier who last week defaced and shot the Koran would be executed in Iraq but applauded by the same mentality here in the US.

    Its all about the struggle for primacy.

  22. Abdul,

    Not going to defend the bananas, but I’ve witnessed a fair amount of heckling at American ballparks which highlighted the ethnic, etc. backgrounds of athletes.

  23. I dated a Romanian woman several years ago, and I learned first hand that Romanians HATE gypsies.

  24. “Anyone with a blanket opinion of another group (e.g. Europeans, Americans, etc) is pretty much guaranteed to have never have visited that area.”

    What if the group is black urban thug gang memberss? Are you saying that the people who hold negative opinions of that group “(are) pretty much guaranteed to have never have visited that area.”?

  25. Colin,

    Maybe I don’t go to as many games as you, but I’ve rarely heard outspoken race or ethnic based heckling. There is some mean stuff said about other cities (everyone hates New York and Dallas), but the only prominent example of racial harassment came when someone threw chicken bones at Tiger Woods when he was on a golf course in North Carolina about 10 years ago.

  26. I hate the French as well.

    that is all

  27. Moynihan,

    You should elaborate more on the story. Was she trying to sell something at the end? Perhaps in broken dialect, she mentioned a family member in Pittsburgh who worked at a bank? Did he need a bank account number to deposit some cash for a short period of time?

  28. Moynihan, shouldn’t you be lecturing the woman on the train rather than whining to us?

    Something on a par with the Marine who threw the wrong bitch off the train?

  29. Abdul,

    Well, it happens enough for me to have taken a mental note of it.

  30. I learned first hand that Romanians HATE gypsies.

    That one seems almost universal. IIRC, there was a spat between the Czech Republic and England because the English restricted Visas to the Czechs. Czech Roma were seeking asylum in England, because of how they were being treated in the CR.

  31. I do not think that I have a racist bone in my body but I do have a very negative view of Gypsy (Roma) culture. They view us gadje as subhuman and prey on us. Having been victimized by gypsies I have to admit that I have very little sympathy for them.

  32. Except the French. They’re assholes. (JK)

    I’ve been to Ireland, England, Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia, China (mainland), Singapore, and Australia.

    The French, far and away, have the highest percentage of prick per capita. Not Kidding.

  33. “”Conservative America has more in common with Arabs than they do with Scandinavia.

    Ask each if they possess core religious values or secular science-based rationality – you will see conservatives are conservatives no matter the continent…. their Holy Book might have a different title but it the same authoritarian message at the core””

    I am a conservative. I believe in evolution. I also believe that you are an ignorant fool.

    My bible say that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for another. Yup, an authoritarian message at the core.

    Did I mention you’re an ignorant fool?

  34. Thinner!

  35. “Commenting on the attacks in Naples, Umberto Bossi, the head of the Northern League party said: “People are going to do what the political class cannot.””

    This reminds me of the “Rant” article in the most recent print issue of reason. I am referring to the tolerant attitude of government officials on the attacks on Native Americans (AKA Indians) during the 18th and 19th Century in the United States.

  36. PL,

    I don’t know about gypsies but I did date a Vietnamese woman last year. I learned that there is a group of people who hate Asian people the most. The answer: other Asian people.

  37. Although, I will always let the French guy pick the wine at dinner.

  38. Pro Libertate | May 19, 2008, 2:12pm | #

    I dated a Romanian woman several years ago, and I learned first hand that Romanians HATE gypsies.

    They don’t like it too much when you mix up “Roma” and “Romanian,” either.

    What if the group is black urban thug gang memberss? By putting “thug” into that sentence, you are defining your conclusion. Yet, Sybil, thugs are thugs. Well done.

    Now, if the question was “What about black urban gang members,” the answer would be, “They’re not all thugs, a lot of them are just normal people who identify with a peer group, which you’d know if you’d met any.” Which sort of proves Marcvs’s point.

  39. Ive heard racists comments at American sporting events, but its much more subtle than the crap said at European soccer matches.

    Also, its a lot easier to be an environmentalist once you have eliminated every wild species larger than a squirrel.

  40. The French, far and away, have the highest percentage of prick per capita. Not Kidding.

    I’ve heard a lot of people say this, but I’ve also heard people say that this is limited to Paris, and if you go elsewhere in the country, French people are polite and friendly.

  41. “Which sort of proves Marcvs’s point.”

    I live in the ghetto, which proves mine in spades.

  42. Never get behind a black man, regardless of nation of orgin, when going through customs or immigration in Europe or Asia.

  43. joe,

    Yeah, that’s part of it. She was rather shrill about Romania not being the home of the gypsies.

    How about women? I’d say women have it far, far better in the U.S. than just about anywhere else.

    As for Paris, non-Parisians view Paris the way non-New Yorkers view NYC.

  44. What if the group is black urban thug gang memberss? Are you saying that the people who hold negative opinions of that group “(are) pretty much guaranteed to have never have visited that area.”?

    What area is “black urban thug gang memberss” (sic)? If you mean “urban inner city”, then yes, I’m pretty sure most peoples’ view of it is distorted by the press. Or do you just think that every black person in the inner city is a “thug gang memberss”?

  45. Also, its a lot easier to be an environmentalist once you have eliminated every wild species larger than a squirrel.

    Lol, i’ll have to remember that one.

  46. When going thru customs in Chicago, it speeds up the process if your last name matches that of a famous hockey player.

    Sure its anecdotal evidence, but its all I got.

  47. I hate the French as well.

    I had a great time in Nice, and the Parisians(!) treated my mother very well when she was there a few weeks ago, so much as I would like to hate them, I just can’t work up the energy.

  48. Wrong gender, gypsy crone.

  49. Agreed with the Asian racism. We went to a delightful little Korean Barbeque place a couple of week ago (for the first time) and asked for the house special but asked that there be no shrimp (I’m allergic) and the lovely Korean lady laughed and explained that Koreans, unlike the Chinese or Japanese, eat healthy.

    She then explained to us the subtle differences between Korean and the culture of pretty much everywhere else and how Korean culture was superior.

    The miso soup was to die for.

  50. I’ve heard a lot of people say this, but I’ve also heard people say that this is limited to Paris, and if you go elsewhere in the country, French people are polite and friendly.

    Been to Paris and Toulouse.

    Have worked with a wide variety of engineering and management types from many places in France. The native French tend to be complete assholes. Non-native French (immigrants) tend to be very easy to get along with.

  51. I just can’t work up the energy.

    Trust me, it takes minimum effort…

  52. Hey Michael,
    What color was this woman’s hair? It sounds like my ex.

    And you could have shut her up if you had your bottle of gypsy tears on hand…

  53. Pro Libertate,

    Probably depends on the criteria. Some folks might consider say Sweden better.

  54. Sure you do, Sybil.

    And even if we pretended you did, living in a bad neighborhood still doesn’t get you around the problem of defining your conclusion by using individual characteristics to modify the group being considered.

  55. “As for Paris, non-Parisians view Paris the way non-New Yorkers view NYC.”

    New York City is one of the reasons people in other countries hate Americans. The same may be true of Paris vis-a-vis French people. If we MUST have the United Nations in the United States please, lets move it to a city where less than 50% of the population are assholes. Maybe then their diplomats will have a better view of Americans.

  56. The US soldier who last week defaced and shot the Koran would be executed in Iraq but applauded by the same mentality here in the US.

    Yeah, well every soldier I talked to with a social conscience (most, but not all of us) thought that soldier was an idiot.

  57. Italians and Portugese are only Catholic in the historical sense, most don’t attend church or subscribe to church doctrines

    Yet they continue to believe in God in much larger, Poland- and Greece-like numbers:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Europe_belief_in_god.png

  58. At least it wasn’t a rant on Progressive Canada vs Conservative America…

    Eurpoe is so far away for most Americans that you can get away with pretending that you know what you are talking about…

  59. My bible say that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for another

    Ahh, but you picked out a quotation from a liberal Jew – disregarding the 98% of the Bible that condemns others – and in fact assigns liberal Jews to eternal damnation.

    You’re a fucking Arab and you don’t know it. Religion is cruel shit. Any binary reward system based on an irrational “belief” is torture for innocents.

    The Scandinavians know this. The Muslims are captives to a hostile ideology.

  60. America was full of misinformed rubes entranced by American Idol

    Didn’t we steal this show from the British?

    And isn’t a copy of this show aired in just about every country nowadays?

    And doesn’t Simon Cowell ginormously wealthly because he has a piece of the action from each of these shows?

    And isn’t the whole point of Cowell’s personna is that he’s a smug arrogant asshole who thinks everyone else is an misinformed rube?

    So is this Bender or Morrisette ironic?

  61. Although, I will always let the French guy pick the wine at dinner.

    Last time that happened at a dinner I was at the guy picked a bottle from California.

    I’ve heard a lot of people say this, but I’ve also heard people say that this is limited to Paris,…

    People who make an effort to speak the language and try to not be rude or abrasive rarely encounter problems, even in Paris.

    That said, there are assholes everywhere, and the French do seem to have developed a particularly obnoxious type of assholery. But from what I’ve seen they will almost as readily unleash it upon their fellow countrymen as they will upon a tourist.

  62. shrike, I’m an atheist, and no matter how many times I read your comment, all I see is nonsensical jibberish.

  63. I’ve been to Ireland, England, Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia, China (mainland), Singapore, and Australia.
    The French, far and away, have the highest percentage of prick per capita. Not Kidding.

    I’ve been to Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Canada, and China – and I totally agree.

  64. And you could have shut her up if you had your bottle of gypsy tears on hand…

    Yes!!!!I was waiting for somebody to do it.

    On a slightly more serious note, I missed the memo on the reasons for the widespread hatred of Roma. Of all the bigotry I’ve heard in my life, I swear the most astounding vitriol I’ve heard seems to have been reserved for Jews, Blacks and Gypsies.
    But still, I could laugh at Borat.

  65. “[I}n the latest Pew Global Attitudes poll shows that, just behind the Japanese, the Nigerians were most positive towards America.)”

    Not surprising considering all the money they earn from 419 scams.

  66. “Sure you do, Sybil.”

    Belive what you want about me, but my point was that the original post — Anyone with a blanket opinion of another group (e.g. Europeans, Americans, etc) is pretty much guaranteed to have never have visited that area. Travel has a tendency to put to rest any ideas of “superiority” either way (I’m referring to travel in First World countries. I have no experience of any other).) — is silly.

  67. I swear the most astounding vitriol I’ve heard seems to have been reserved for Jews, Blacks and Gypsies.

    It’s because they are the weakest. not in any phical, emotional, or mental sense, but in the sense that they are easiest to scapegoat as they are generally minorities in the west, which is where you run into the hatred.

  68. The French, far and away, have the highest percentage of prick per capita. Not Kidding.

    Fuck you and your slug-shunning eating habits.

  69. “Ahh, but you picked out a quotation from a liberal Jew – disregarding the 98% of the Bible that condemns others – and in fact assigns liberal Jews to eternal damnation.”

    Have fun stormin’ the castle!!!

  70. People who make an effort to speak the language and try to not be rude or abrasive rarely encounter problems, even in Paris.

    I was in Marsellies, at the tourist information booth in the train station, trying to get information on how to visit various sites mentioned in my guidebook. The booth attendant answered each question with “Why would you want to go there?”

    So I booked a train to Switzerland, which turned out to be the best tourist destination in France.

  71. Jennifer,

    Was that you?

  72. People who make an effort to speak the language and try to not be rude or abrasive rarely encounter problems, even in Paris.

    I have a smattering of German and Russian. The Russian I did use, because it is very rare to find someone on the streets that speaks English. The Germans would rather we do business in English. The Dutch only speak Dutch at home. Everyone speaks English in public.

    The French are the only people that I have run into that basically refuse to help non-French speaker get alone. Toulouse is the third or fourth largest city in France. I frequently stay down-town where there are lot hotels, resturants and shops. It is also the only place I’ve travelled where I couldn’t get an English language menu in half the resturants and where the wait staff had no interest in helping me figure out the menu.

    That said, there are assholes everywhere, and the French do seem to have developed a particularly obnoxious type of assholery. But from what I’ve seen they will almost as readily unleash it upon their fellow countrymen as they will upon a tourist.

    I’ve seen French business managers tell an Australian customer they would not provide a feature the customer expected as part of the signed contract. Flat out no. The Australian dude did not take it well.

  73. To hell with Europe anyway, what makes them so special? Everyone always behaving like Eurpoe is something we should live up to, I’ve always found Japan and Argentina to be much more enjoyable.

  74. Never been to France but have met over two dozen from France. Light on conversation, buy expensive items, generous tippers. Got no problem with France. Italians I’ve met seem to more or less be the same. English, however, what pricks!

  75. Belive what you want about me, but my point was that the original post is silly.

    I still haven’t heard your response to my actual point. All you said (basically) was that black urban gang members are bad. That doesn’t have anything to do with what I said. Are you saying that ALL people in the inner city are “black urban thug gang members”? If so, you’re just a racist idiot.

  76. about her country’s hideous history of bigotry and genocide. America was full of misinformed rubes entranced by American Idol, we are congenitally, irredeemably racist, blah, blah. It was rather obvious, she argued, that Americans wouldn’t ever pull the lever for Barack Obama, and for this she profusely apologized. (She actually apologized.) The Nigerian smiled politely.

    I think at that moment, I’d have been tempted to say to the Nigerian man, “I’m sorry, our country is chock full of people like her.”

    Bingo.

    The difference is that our racists are frequently backwoods yokels missing teeth and their racists have accents and higher culinary standards.

    Bingo! (How apropos your name is)

    Y’know, my mother is European, speaks with a foreign accent and has higher culinary standards, and while I won’t call her a racist, there isn’t an interaction with another human being that she doesn’t define by ethnic background.

  77. If so, you’re just a racist idiot.

    No, what he was saying was that you do not have to be a stranger to a place to have a prejudice about it’s people, and that some prejudices have a basis in fact, though distorted and flawed. You can’t see that?

  78. Of all the bigotry I’ve heard in my life, I swear the most astounding vitriol I’ve heard seems to have been reserved for Jews, Blacks and Gypsies.

    Where I grew up, in southeastern Massachusetts, we didn’t have minorities. We were compelled to make fun of the Portugeuse.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to make furn of the Portugeuse? For starters, the worst slur in the English language for “Portugeuse” is the Portugeuse word for “Portugeuse.”

    “Hey, Manny! I hear your dad works real hard!”

    Uh, yeah.

    “I…I…uh…I bet your house is very clean, and well maintained!”

    Uh…yeah.

    “Come on, everyone, let’s go eat our bologna-and-Kraft-singles sandwiches at the other table. Manny can eat his much more appealing lunch by himself!”

    Uh…bye!

  79. Ever had any dealings with gypsies? They aren’t despised for no reason.

    As for racism at sporting events, the US has almost none. Here’s a popular chant at football matches when the Tottenham Hotspurs are playing: ‘Spurs are on their way to Belsen, Hitler’s gonna gas ’em again…
    Then the crowd make hissing noises, like gas chambers. Lovely people, the English.

  80. Y’know, my mother is European, speaks with a foreign accent and has higher culinary standards, and while I won’t call her a racist, there isn’t an interaction with another human being that she doesn’t define by ethnic background.

    lol, sounds like my grandmother:

    “I just got off the line with Marcus, he’s black you know, and he told me…”

  81. It is almost guarranteed that she does not speak a European language (other than English) and has not conversed thoroughly with people in the European countries she holds in such high regard.

  82. Also, Moynihan, you lost me at

    On the train to New York last week…

    Commie!!!

    j/k

  83. no! no! I closed my italics tag! I swear I did!

  84. We all know what your point was, Sybil.

    And your point doesn’t hold water, for the reason I’ve explained twice now.

    Let’s try an example:

    White people are smelly

    vs.

    White people who work in sewage treatement plants and have bad hygeine habits are smelly.

    By talking about “thugs” and “gang members,” you aren’t talking about a group, but about people who have made individual choices. Nobody has a problem with judging people by their individual choices.

  85. While it isnt racist or anything, the “Munich” chants at ManU are pretty damn tasteless.

  86. I’ve been to Ireland, England, Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia, China (mainland), Singapore, and Australia.
    The French, far and away, have the highest percentage of prick per capita. Not Kidding.

    I’ve been to Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Canada, and China – and I totally agree.

    I’ve been to France, England, Austria, Canada, and Switzerland – – – I’d say that Parisians and British children tie for the absolute worst.

  87. “No, what he was saying was that you do not have to be a stranger to a place to have a prejudice about it’s people, and that some prejudices have a basis in fact, though distorted and flawed. You can’t see that?”

    Thank you for saying what I meant. As I continue to work towards earning my GED, I will strive for your clarity.

  88. Oh, and the Austrians were far-and-away the nicest people I encountered.

  89. “The difference is that our racists are frequently backwoods yokels missing teeth and their racists have accents and higher culinary standards.”
    Unless you’re talking about Louisiana, where the backwards yokels have accents and high culinary standards.

  90. We were compelled to make fun of the Portugeuse.

    Heh heh, I’ve known about one Portugeuse person in my life. It is kind of interesting that I’m drawing a blank on any stereotypes for Portugeuse people.

  91. I’d say that Parisians and British children tie for the absolute worst.

    That’s what happens when you let them have their pudding when they haven’t eaten their meat.

  92. Go back where you came from, you purveyors of high-quality stone- and brick-work!

  93. It is kind of interesting that I’m drawing a blank on any stereotypes for Portugeuse people.

    They eat a lot of fish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  94. Well-prepared fish.

    The bastards.

  95. Europeans are, by and large, so similar to us that our differences are minuscule and sometimes get overblown. Europeans do tend to be more casually racist than Americans, but only among family and friends and never in public, and usually not in a hateful way, but rather condescending.

    The main difference is perception. Many Europeans perceive themselves to be completely non-racist and Americans to be slack-jawed bigots, and some Americans buy into that perception, like Moynihan’s traveling companion.

    I also must note that my experiences with the Frogs has ranged from total assholes to really great people. I have never been to Paris other than transferring flights in de Gaulle Airport so I can’t speak for the widely maligned Parisians.

  96. Oh, and the Austrians were far-and-away the nicest people I encountered.

    Yeah, they’re up there. Austria was such a pleasant trip – a beautiful country and nice people – and I was just a hop, skip and a jump from you-know-who with all the kids in the basement…

  97. Oh, and the Austrians were far-and-away the nicest people I encountered.

    Well, they have a lot of making up to do, considering…you know who*…was Austrian.

    * does that count as a Godwin?

  98. Thank you for saying what I meant. As I continue to work towards earning my GED, I will strive for your clarity.

    Good for you! My gardner just got his GED, i’m sure it will take you to new heights. Good luck on the new test they adopted though, the algebra can be difficult.

  99. Epi –
    I stayed with a family in Tours, and that place is just brimming with nice folk. When my parents came to visit they were warmly received despite their poor French. The most common reaction they got was something to the effect of “What brings you to our town? Most Americans just stay in Paris.” So they were delighted that people cared about them and were interested in their little bit of history.

  100. Apologies, i meant gardener, how silly of me.

  101. Oh, but yeah… you don’t see large swaths of disenfranchised muslims rioting and burning cars in American suburbs, do you?

  102. Surprised no one’s brought this one out yet.

  103. Oh, but yeah… you don’t see large swaths of disenfranchised muslims rioting and burning cars in American suburbs, do you?

    We also don’t kill each other over newspaper cartoons.

  104. “Unless you’re talking about Louisiana, where the backwards yokels have accents and high culinary standards.”

    Actually, with the exception of Ohio and certain parts of Appalachia I think that American Yokels do have high culinary standards. It is not “Euro-Food” but a higher percentage of them know the difference between butter and margarine and know how to make damn good pies and cook a steak better than most city-folk. Again, I exempt Ohio and Appalachia from these remarks.

  105. Actually, with the exception of Ohio and certain parts of Appalachia I think that American Yokels do have high culinary standards. It is not “Euro-Food” but a higher percentage of them know the difference between butter and margarine and know how to make damn good pies and cook a steak better than most city-folk. Again, I exempt Ohio and Appalachia from these remarks.

    So not cool.

  106. Europeans are, by and large, so similar to us that our differences are minuscule and sometimes get overblown. Europeans do tend to be more casually racist than Americans, but only among family and friends and never in public, and usually not in a hateful way, but rather condescending.

    Well put. Like the Polish and German people who were very cordial to me, but eventually confide (shortly before the extremely cool Iraqi refugee stops by) that they can’t stand the Turks. I wasn’t even offended. All I could do was shrug.

  107. “Oh, but yeah… you don’t see large swaths of disenfranchised muslims rioting and burning cars in American suburbs, do you?”

    One difference between France and the United States is that in the United States it is the wealthy people who live in the Suburbs and in France it is the poor people who live in the Suburbs. I don’t know why but it is true. Another is that our illegal immigrants tend to be Roman Catholics rather than Muslims.

  108. Appalachia food story:

    My wife found a menu in Eastern Kentucky that offered…

    Mexican “Nachos”
    (foreign but good)

    …without a trace of irony.

  109. Steve, are you from Ohio or Appalachia? I have lived in both places at one time or another.

  110. Another is that our illegal immigrants tend to be Roman Catholics rather than Muslims.

    The french “immigrants” that burn cars in the suburbs are “legal”, second or third generation “french” people that do not have full rights (by law or by practice) as the “indigenous” french people.

    Use a different hammer to beat on mexicans.

  111. I hate the [f]renchs as much as anyone else, but calling them raw sewage is going too far.

    At least he did not call them human.

    Oh, Bingo: The difference is that our racists are frequently backwoods yokels missing teeth and their racists have accents and higher culinary standards.

    You are under the impression that British soccer fans have great teeth, nice accents and ANY culinary standards? I suggest new glasses and a hearing aid.

  112. “Use a different hammer to beat on mexicans.”

    It was not my intent to “beat up on Mexicans” I support the right of peaceful people to cross invisible lines. Do a search for my handle and you will find I am consistent on this issue. I was pointing out a clear cultural difference between France and the United States.

  113. as a side note, irish people are so nice it’s actually paranoia-inducing. they have these tourist greeter types in shannon airport that i mistook for some kind of scam artist, so i kept refusing the free stuff (maps, etc) that she was trying to give me. it must have been very frustrating.

    (in my defense i was severely jet-lagged)

  114. It was not my intent to “beat up on Mexicans” I support the right of peaceful people to cross invisible lines.

    My apologies.

    However, it is wrong to imply that the civil unrest in France is due to illegal immigrants. They are permanent, legal residents of France who may have citizenship, but are clearly a suppressed minority.

  115. Steve, are you from Ohio or Appalachia?

    Ohio from birth, Appalachia through lineage. You’re right by the way, but still, too easy…

  116. Probably the most annoying person I’ve ever met was an American girl on the South-East Asia backpacker trail. She took everything anyone, European, American, or local, said or did as a function of their nationality or group identity or whatever. Obviously, anything Americans did was stupid and ignorant and anything anyone else did was a manifestation of their great culture. She also had sown a Canadian flag on her backpack to show everyone she wasn’t racist.

  117. “as a side note, irish people are so nice it’s actually paranoia-inducing. they have these tourist greeter types in shannon airport that i mistook for some kind of scam artist, so i kept refusing the free stuff (maps, etc) that she was trying to give me. it must have been very frustrating.”

    I do recommend you turn down an offer for a free personality test.

  118. “One difference between France and the United States is that in the United States it is the wealthy people who live in the Suburbs and in France it is the poor people who live in the Suburbs”

    Actually, the USA is trending towards having it’s poor live in first-tier subarbs as the weathy move back to the cities.

  119. All people who travel to Europe are assholes who don’t care about the environment. Caring people stay home and smoke locally produced meth.

  120. scientologists are friendly in a creepy, dead fish eye kinda way, though.

    this is more like being friendly was her job and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

  121. That poor Nigerian may have been stuck next to my mother.

    I have all these cringe-worthy memories from childhood of my mother engaging every black person she met in a conversation about how much she loved MLK. You could see them thinking “Someone shut this lady up” through their terse smiles.

    reasons for the widespread hatred of Roma.
    I don’t hate them, but I will say that I once found myself running from them in fear of my life as a 13 year-old living in Germany. Those guys are frickin’ mean.

  122. “However, it is wrong to imply that the civil unrest in France is due to illegal immigrants. They are permanent, legal residents of France who may have citizenship, but are clearly a suppressed minority.”

    I am not saying the riots were not justified. In some ways, they reminded me of riots in the United States during the 1960’s. But as I understood it, there was a mixture of French citizens, legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

  123. “It was rather obvious, she argued, that Americans wouldn’t ever pull the lever for Barack Obama, and for this she profusely apologized.”
    So, she’s programing herself for failure even before Obama is officially nominated. I think “progressives” actually like losing elections, so they can sit on the sidelines and tell themselves they are too intelligent for the rubes in flyover-country; never mind the fact that most leftists I talk to are pig-ignorant in history or political philosophy.
    ‘re

  124. “Then came the rather predictable speech on America’s damaged reputation and her deep embarrassment in disclosing her nationality when travelling in Europe, a continent, she sighed, that was light years ahead of us on issues like race, immigration, and various social issues like gay rights and the death penalty.”

    Anyone who thinks that Europe is ahead of the US on immigration and race issues is just unfathomably ignorant. Not that the US is perfect but if you ever visit or live in Europe and pull your head out of your ass and pay attention, you realize pretty quickly all of the issues. Didn’t this women notice how all the Muslims tend to live the same neighborhood and that neighborhood is never anywhere near the nice areas of town tourists go to? Unbelievable. My heart goes out to this poor Nigerian stuck next to her.

  125. “flyover-country”

    Someday those of us in flyover-country will make those borders official. Mark my words.

  126. It is kind of interesting that I’m drawing a blank on any stereotypes for Portugeuse people.

    They eat a lot of fish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Not just fish, but lampreys. I’m convinced that each nationality has to eat something disgusting just to set them apart. French have slugs, Italians have squid, Americans have White Castle, etc.

  127. But as I understood it, there was a mixture of French citizens, legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

    The last big set of riots was just prior to my last trip to Toulouse. The cars were still smoking when I got there.

    The analysis I read in Europe was that the bulk of the problem was with second and third generation minorities that had not assimilatd because the French basically prevent them from assimilating. This results in wide spread unemployment and poverty. The basic ingredients for violence.

  128. Italians have squid

    Hey! Leave-a-lona my calamari!

  129. Americans have White Castle

    Okay, the crack about ohio and appalachia from the other guy i could stomach, but you aint gonna get away with disparaging my Sliders!

    They got Ranch flavored Chicken Rings man! just circles of chicken meat! And the double cheese bacon sliders with jalepeno cheese!

    And the come in sacks and cardboard suitcases filled with 12-50 of em!

  130. “Italians have squid,”

    I am not Italian or even of Italian descent but I LOVE squid. If you have never had calamari go to a good seafood or Italian restaurant and try it (with an open mind.)

  131. Same with Krystals Steve!

  132. Leave-a-lona my calamari!

    Happily…I don’t know if Italian squid preparation is more advanced, but the squid I had in China still had sand in it. But true to my Scottish heritage, I ate the whole thing to get my money’s worth.

  133. From what I have seen in my trips to Europe, the Muslims are totally segregated. This seems to come from both sides, both with cognitive dissonance. For example:

    European: “I don’t know why the Muslims are so disaffected…hey WTF is a Muslim doing in our grocery?”

    Muslim: “The damn Europeans won’t accept us…hey WTF is a white girl doing here, and without a head covering no less?”

    Not a good situation.

  134. I like a good White Castle once in a while. They are good frozen and I sometimes nuke them for breakfast.

  135. At least at our NASCAR races the fans don’t toss race-based fruit insults onto the track.

  136. Same with Krystals Steve!

    As far as i’m concerned American Fast-food is the pinnicale of human achievement.

    Give it to me fast, cheap and dripping in deliciousness at 2am with a soda bigger than my head!

  137. BTW, the closest White Castle to Washington, DC is someplace in New Jersey.

    Closest Krystal is in Salem, VA.

  138. Lampreys?

    Man, I could have used “lampreys” back in the day!

  139. I don’t know if Italian squid preparation is more advanced, but the squid I had in China still had sand in it.

    It is far more advanced. I’m sure you’d love the Spanish dish arroz negro, which is rice flavored and colored (black) with squid ink. Usually includes some pieces of squid as well. Not an amazing dish, rather straightforward, but good.

  140. Steve, my favorite around here is Five Guys. Heard they now have one in Knoxville too. But they don’t have Krystal’s or Buddy’s (a Knox BBQ chain) here, so 5-Guys will have to wait until I return from the long weekend.

  141. Squid – teh yummy.

    Deep fried (but not too long!), served with some red sauce and hot peppers…mmmmmmmmm.

    Then again, we eat some pretty freaky seafood in Massachusetts. I brought some steamers back to make for my Memphis-born roommate one year, he thought I was trying to start a fight.

  142. Epi,

    That is not a bad description of the situation. The Europeans brought in the Muslims to do the dirty work after World War II but never had any intention of letting be anything but second class citizens. The Muslims reacted to this by well becoming second class citizens living in enclaves becoming more and more insular and disaffected with each generation. It is a real mess. Take the most insular Spanish speaking immigrant enclave in this country and multiply it by 100 and that is what you have over there in some places. What is even worse is the Muslims who do assimilate are still treated like shit. I knew several Turks in Germany who were just as German as any of my German friends. They were everything you would think the Germans would want Muslims to be. But, they still were not quite accepted, although that seemed to be less so among younger people, so maybe there is hope for the future.

  143. Am I already on record as being a squid hating Italian? If not, I am now.

  144. “At least at our NASCAR races the fans don’t toss race-based fruit insults onto the track.”

    When I was in the Air Force and stationed at Dover I was ordered to “volunteer” at a NASCAR event. I had never been to one before. But three things I learned there are 1. NASCAR fans are more polite than any other sports fans I have ever encountered (though this may have been because I was in uniform) 2. I can’t stand watching cars drive in ovals for hours at a time. 3. Fords suck (at least at NASCAR events).

  145. My last post for this thread, I just wanted to say that joe explained my point better than I did. (egads!)

  146. Navy? Check.

    Doesn’t like pasta? Check.

    All set, Guy.

  147. Joe,

    It is all about Woodmans. No one can do a squid or a clam like Woodmans.

  148. 3. Fords suck (at least at NASCAR events).

    That is everywhere.

    MOPAR all the way baby!

  149. I’m sure you’d love the Spanish dish arroz negro

    Racist!

  150. Happily…I don’t know if Italian squid preparation is more advanced, but the squid I had in China still had sand in it. But true to my Scottish heritage, I ate the whole thing to get my money’s worth.

    To a Scot, sandy squid should have seemed a delicacy.

  151. To a Scot, sandy squid should have seemed a delicacy.

    Yea, just like those gritty mussles.

  152. I don’t know Woodman’s, John.

    Local joint?

  153. No one can do a squid or a clam like Woodmans.

    I love raw clams, but they are hard to find sometimes.

  154. Joe,

    Woodman’s is North of Boston in Essex. My wife is from the north shore. It is this huge shack almost. They serve fried clams and squid and lobster rolls and stuff like that. It is awesome. I would highly reccomend it. Ask around the Boston area and someone will know what it is. If you like that kind of stuff, take a trip to Essex and go. You won’t be disapointed.

  155. Okay, trying again.

    White Castles >>>>>>>>> Krystals.

    Mustard???

  156. We don’t have 5-guys in Ohio. But we are the home of Wendy’s, White Castle, and Arbys.

    Everyone always complaining about the mid-west and our fat asses, suburbs, fast-food, and suvs is just jealous. We’re kings og the world i tell ya, kings of the world! IAnd i for one enjoy driving my too fat ass in my too big car to get too much food whenever the hell i fell like it. 🙂

  157. Then again, we eat some pretty freaky seafood in Massachusetts.

    Check out “gooey ducks”. There’s nothing on the east coast anywhere so nasty.

  158. I ate at a 5 guys in Atlanta earlier this year. Very good but overpriced.

  159. and no i don’t care about the typos, i’m an american 20-something, i can spell how i like and i’ll still have it made!

  160. I love places like that, John. I used to work in one. Come home at 1 AM, smelling like low tide. Worst job ever, except for the benefits (ie, free food).

    Ever put a little Tobasco on a nice scallop roll?

  161. When I was stationed in San Antonio I discovered Whattaburger. Damn good. Unfortunately I have never seen them anywhere outside of Texas.

  162. Sorry, only one T in that name
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataburger

  163. Comparing White Castle to Krystal is like comparing being hit in the head with a bat to being slugged with a tire iron.

    Plant Immigration RIghts Supporter,

    Whattaburger is in Florida. It’s been in north Florida for decades, but it recently moved south. There’s one near my house in Tampa.

  164. Then again, we eat some pretty freaky seafood in Massachusetts.

    Try walking through the seafood section of the market in La Rambla in Barcelona. I saw more seafood variety there than I’ve ever seen before. There were more species on the tables than in the main tank at the New England Aquarium.

  165. Steve:

    Don’t forget, Ohio also spawned Max and Erma’s…

    Giant big burgers dripping with grease… at a sit down place to boot.

    Nephilium

  166. “Ever put a little Tobasco on a nice scallop roll?”

    No, but that is not a bad idea. Go to Woodmans, just be prepared for the crowds, but they are quick so the lines moves quickly.

  167. “Whattaburger is in Florida. It’s been in north Florida for decades, but it recently moved south. There’s one near my house in Tampa.”

    THanks, I’ll have to go next time I go to class at USF.

  168. PLant Immigrtation RIghts Supporter,

    There’s one on W. Hillsborough and one in Plant City.

  169. But, they still were not quite accepted, although that seemed to be less so among younger people, so maybe there is hope for the future.

    When I lived in Germany 20 years ago I didn’t notice any signs of racism against Turks from the young people. Things got more tense when the East was re-absorbed but today I don’t hear much about tensions in Germany; not nearly as much as France and Britain.

  170. robc,

    Krystals have mustard, pickle chips and onions. Have to add ketchup yourself if you like. All of the stores are supposed to have Tobasco in stock too.

    As usual, joe is fabricating a pasta position for me. And as wrong as humanly possible, I might add.

  171. Guy,

    Certainly, Krystal has my regional loyalty over White Castle, as a child of Tennessee (esp., in this case, Chattanooga), but I’m not compelled to eat at either “restaurant”.

  172. Am I already on record as being a squid hating Italian?

    I think we might have a punctuation issue here.

    What’s supposed to be after “squid?” Question mark? Dash? Comma? Slash?

  173. Certainly, Krystal has my regional loyalty over White Castle, as a child of Tennessee (esp., in this case, Chattanooga), but I’m not compelled to eat at either “restaurant”.

    Were you traveling with that chick on the train? 😉

  174. Nothing joe, you have a reading problem.

  175. It appears to me to be a joke, GM – as though you were calling yourself a squid… who hated Italian food.

  176. One difference between France and the United States is that in the United States it is the wealthy people who live in the Suburbs and in France it is the poor people who live in the Suburbs.

    It’s like that in some American cities as well. Welcome to Seattle. If you want crime, gunshots, drive-by’s, graffiti, 20″ dubs, meth dealers and pregnant teenagers, you head to the suburbs.

  177. R,

    Ah, like his silly Navy ref. earlier?

  178. Wow, Guy, didn’t you used to have a sense of humor?

  179. BAM!

    G’night, folks.

  180. Paul,

    As someone mentioned above, that is a lot of US cities. When I was working at Dolphin Stadium by Miami last year, those suburbs had more of that 1960s inner city “feeel” than downtown did.

    Parts of the DC beltway seem to be that way too, with the older “bad” DC neighborhoods improving economically.

  181. Now he is doing Emeril, ugh. Stick yo your old political stuff joe, like accusing others of being partisan, etc.

  182. Heh. I thought joe’s joke was funny.

  183. “Parts of the DC beltway seem to be that way too, with the older “bad” DC neighborhoods improving economically.”

    That is very true. Ten years ago Chinatown and Downtown were pretty seedy. Now they are totally gentrified. Meanwhile, areas of Arlington and Alexandria and Mannassas have become very seedy where they used to be clean suburbs.

  184. Years ago I visited Sweden, where I was lectured on how much more tolerant they were than Americans on the topic of race.

    Days later, an entire apartment complex was firebombed in Stockholm. It was popular with Turkish immigrants.

  185. Years ago I visited Sweden, where I was lectured on how much more tolerant they were than Americans on the topic of race.

    Days later, an entire apartment complex was firebombed in Stockholm. It was popular with Turkish immigrants.

    Perhaps they define tolerance differently? You know, the way the Leftist here keep changing “fairness”?

  186. Also Guy,

    The problem with the improving of the older neighborhoods is that in DC “improvement” means redeveloping the area for rich yuppies and moving all of the people who live in the area out. That is great when you are moving the criminals out, but they also move everyone who is not rich and has a normal job. I honestly don’t know how anyone lives in Washington without a six figure job.

  187. redeveloping the area for rich yuppies and moving all of the people who live in the area out

    You make it sound like the government is doing the moving instead of the market. Yeah, there are some cases of the government tearing down projects but they’re a drop in the bucket compared to what market speculation is doing to normal people (and in every case I’ve read about, the existing residents are guaranteed a slot in whatever replaces the old project).

  188. I have been to France a few times, so I will attest to the high prick per capita.

    The coolest French person I met while in France was the girl at the renta car place. She was hilarious and friendly. But part of her very funny bit was telling me what awful people Italians are, and that if I drove the rented car to Italy she would expect the radio to be stolen.

    I should mention, that pretty much all the French people I have met outside of France were very cool (except those in NYC). I made very good friends with some French people in Saudi Arabia, and in Egypt.

    I also second the friendlyness of the Austrians.

    And the hardest place to understand anyone is actually England. Make of that what you will.

  189. And the hardest place to understand anyone is actually England.

    My mother is English, and she can’t understand the English. Her Czech is flawless, however. Make of that what you will.

  190. Jennifer, Was that you?

    Was who me? I’ve not posted here in a few days.

  191. Jennifer,

    I think he was referring to a freak Jean Bart sighting upthread.

  192. “Years ago I visited Sweden, where I was lectured on how much more tolerant they were than Americans on the topic of race.

    Days later, an entire apartment complex was firebombed in Stockholm. It was popular with Turkish immigrants.”

    I was watching a Buffy the Vampire Slayer (maybe it was the spinoff) where an Italian woman lectured the Americans on how they always try to solve their problems through violence. A few days later a goalkeeper in the Italian league got hit with a lit road flare during a game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMRD8fGToFY

    The world is full of jackasses.

  193. Well, they have a lot of making up to do, considering…you know who*…was Austrian.

    * does that count as a Godwin?

    Why would bringing up Freud Godwin the thread?

  194. Austrians and Germans tend to be self conscious about WW2 and sometimes self-flagellate over it too. It seems sometimes people within a given culture (at least in the West) are harder on themselves about unpleasantness in their past than outsiders are. Look at the self-flagellation Americans do about Native Americans. Also look at “Sorry Day” in Australia and in New Zealand Maori is an official language etc.

  195. “Progressive”…Ha!

    Progressive = progress toward socialism.

  196. I thought Progressive was an insurance company???

  197. kwais:

    I have been to France a few times, so I will attest to the high prick per capita.

    That’s kinda funny. I’ve never been there but I have a friend who’s a rich punk rocker-the proverbial “silver spoon and a paper plate” type. She’s a gal of pretty even disposition-even mellow, but she’s told me of two public altercations she’s had there, to the point of screaming, that she attributes to over the top rudeness on the part of a few of the natives.

  198. Clueless:

    I thought Progressive was an insurance company???

  199. LOL…But they should be so harmless.

  200. I thought Progressive was an insurance company???

    Isn’t the CEO a Soros-like Leftie?

  201. Missed the obvious, but not used lately joke 🙁

    Certainly, Krystal has my regional loyalty over White Castle, as a child of Tennessee (esp., in this case, Chattanooga), but I’m not compelled to eat at either “restaurant”.

    Everybody does not share your San Francisco values.

  202. Bitchin off topic- But sometimes wonderful music can provide some relief from the ongoing tragedy of governments attacking liberty and prosperity. I just happened upon this and I don’t wanna wait till a Friday Fun link to share it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyM11mytGZs

    My posted comments on the tune:

    “Wow! Thanks for posting this rare and crucial gem! This is the song that so impressed the Fun Boy Three and that gave serious impetus to Bananarama’s career. It’s an African tune. They were quite the rage for a while in the punk/New Wave scene. The gorgeous singing that the girls do on this tune first made clear they were a way out of the ordinary talent. I don’t wanna stop listening to it. “

  203. Please, don’t pretend the EU is more than a trade union gone bad.
    When you say that “X% of europeans say”, do you mean citizens of EU countries or European countries?
    As a Norwegian I’m ashamed to be counted in the same context as one of the most racist, semi-facist countries in the world, Italy.

    Some parts of Europe, mostly the northwestern, are some of the best places to live no matter what sexual preferences of ethnicity you represent.

  204. America was full of misinformed rubes entranced by American Idol, we are congenitally, irredeemably racist, blah, blah. It was rather obvious, she argued, that Americans wouldn’t ever pull the lever for Barack Obama, and for this she profusely apologized. (She actually apologized.) The Nigerian smiled politely.

    What, a race obsessed left-winger. Impossible!

  205. gunnels – I call bullshit on your ball game heckling stories. Or i call “ignorance” on you w.r.t soccer heckling.

    Lars – sure – however, that’s the “europe” rhetoric. “Norway voted not to be a part of Europe”. stuff like that. it sucks.

    How can you know that Jesus wasn’t from norway?

    It’s impossible to find three wisemen coming in from the east…

    (jeg driller bar’)

  206. Most of the racist incidents at soccer matches in Europe come from the former Bloc countries and the South. In the former Bloc, it’s probably caused by their quick integration into the common market which has given rise to a slew of expatriate Africans looking for work. To the mostly ethnically homogeneous (Poland, Czech Republic) and/or already ethnically divided parts of Europe (Balkans), it stirs up some pretty ugly resentment.

    It translates to the pitch when they see their formerly lily-white, nationalist-themed teams importing cheap, foreign, black players from all sorts of African and even South American and Caribbean nations. They even heckle players on their own teams.

    Southern Europe, I think, is more of a combination of long-held “traditions” and the free flow of labor. Their teams are also importing black players, but because their leagues are more prestigious and higher-quality, those players tend to already be or become massive stars and make tons of money.

    When you add the traditional support bases of certain clubs into the mix (Lazio is the semi-fascist suburban club of Rome, preferred by Il Duce and Co. vs. Roma’s relatively more working-class/populist city-dwelling fans), you get amplified manifestations of racism. Same sort of thing applies in Milan, with AC Milan’s wealthy “establishment” fan base vs. Inter’s semi-bohemian, almost socialist fan base.

    A couple of years ago, Samuel Eto’o (FC Barcelona) from Cameroon was mercilessly abused by Real Zaragoza fans (one of the teams dubbed “Real” by Franco, IIRC) even though Zaragoza had at least one black player (Ewerthon). Barcelona is THE major face of Catalan independence in Spain and is thus very anti-government. The “Reals” of Spain are massively “establishment”, especially Franco’s favorite, Real Madrid.

    Elsewhere in Europe, particularly in England, fan behavior is now so controlled and so many cameras are watching and there are so many very public campaigns against racism that it is not very visible publicly. It helps (in England) that they have had a long tradition of having blacks in their labor force and in society and have been quite less homogeneous than their southern and eastern counterparts for much longer. On the other hand, there are still outbursts from time to time, so you can bet that racist attitudes haven’t been stamped out by a long shot, even there.

    As for Tottenham Hotspur, I don’t know which came first (the “gas” stuff or the Jewish identity), but they’ve long taken pride in their “Jewishness” as a fan base, even though most of their fans aren’t the least bit Jewish. It’s to the point that they loudly proclaim themselves the “Yid Army”. It might be that that’s a reaction to the taunts, however.

    On another note, whoever said the “Munich” chants are disgusting are absolutely right. And I despise ManUre with every bone in my body.

  207. The responses so far seem to come from Americans who have visited Europe. I’m an American who has lived in Europe (and travelled extensively throughout the continent) for the last 13 years and I’m here to tell that, taken as a whole, Europe is far more racist (both overtly and covertly) than the US. That is, from rural Ireland to urbane Rome to German university towns and Greek resorts, European thinking, behavior and politics are structured by a kind of casual, unexamined bigotry that simply doesn’t exist on the American scene.

    This is not to say racism is no longer a problem in America, but America has the virtue of an overarching ideology that eventually admits the foreigner to the national family; we also know and acknowledge that racism is part of our enduring history. This simply is not true of Europeans for whom a) immigrants will always be just that (here in Ireland they’re called ‘non-nationals’) b) imperialism happened somewhere far, far away and c) the Holocaust is something in history books, not an atrocity perpetrated by the most advanced civilizations within living memory (the Austrians, by the way, are absolutely the worst about this, seeing themselves somehow as victims of the Nazis).

    Apart from Germany, no European country has gone through the difficult process of confronting widespread racism in the same the US has had to about slavery and its legacy. And, now that Israel is the pariah state par excellence among Europeans, even Germany has been excused from class on that one and anti-Semitism is once again an acceptable prejudice in European public discourse.

    This sort of backsliding is enabled by the smugness of people like Lars, above, who must have been out of town two years ago when the progressive Norwegian press was running cartoons of Ehud Olmert as Kommandant Amon Goeth and exhortations by the esteemed (!) Jostein Gaarder for another Jewish exodus – from Israel. Can anyone here imagine, say, the New York Times running a cartoon of Barack Obama as head of a lynch mob or as a slave overseer? How about an op-ed by Tom Friedman arguing that it’s time for blacks to leave America because, while we liked their noble suffering pre-1964, their behavior since then doesn’t comport with our notions of how a model minority should act? Of course you can’t, because American isn’t nearly as jaw-droppingly racist as even the most ‘advanced’ European countries.

    Apologies for the Godwin and argument from authority.

  208. “Parts of the DC beltway seem to be that way too, with the older “bad” DC neighborhoods improving economically.”

    Both are consequences of the urban renaissance this country is experiencing. Arbitrary political borders aside, thoss suburbs – like Cheverley, for example – function like outlying neighborhoods of the city. As the urban core is revitalized (and if you notice, it’s the neighborhoods near the cities’ centers, the oldest areas, that are the hottest for gentrifiers), lower-income people who live there or who might have moved there end up in the outlying neighborhoods, including those just across the political boundary.

    At least DC and other older cities have outlying neighborhoods/suburbs with housing stock that can accommodate lower-income people.

  209. I live in New York City. And I’m rich. That means I regularly eat at Masa, Blue Ribbon sushi (both locations), 15 East, Sushi Yasuda, etc.etc. The Japanese are thousands of years ahead of other cultures when it comes to fish.

    I recently took a trip to California, only to discover that they hold the crown for fast-food. In-‘n’-out, Carl’s Junior, don’t get me started…

  210. “The Japanese are thousands of years ahead of other cultures when it comes to fish”

    I assume you mean “preparing fish”, because when it comes to sustainably maintaining ocean fish stocks, the Japanese are neck-and-neck with the Europeans for the biggest monstosities on earth. I love how lots of European “development aid” they like to brag about comes attached with little things like “oh, and we get to trawl your coastal waters down to the bedrock for the next 50 years” attached to the deal. Strangely enough, this is one environmental area where the US blows both Japan and Europe away, though this party is due to the fact that we were the first to obliterate our own stocks and largely learned our lesson.

    And I won’t even get into how bad first-world agriculture subsidies hurt the world’s poor far more than development aid helps them…and Japan’s are, as far as I know, the strongest in the world. Europe’s are nearly as bad.

  211. Problem is that your average rube doesn’t take the time to figure out how it works in France, and so ends up thinking the frogs are rude. Paris, like any other French city or town or encampment, runs on politeness, and if you don’t know how to do it you run the risk of getting dissed or at least treated like a an infant or unnecessary hillbilly.

    That said, there’s also a herd mentality at work here, people seeing or thinking they see rudeness in France because almost every other goober knows that is what there is to see. This extends to the old saw about well, they’re nasty in Paris but they’re OK elsewhere. Same people folks. Same rules of etiquette. There are fewer American goobers out in the French sticks, true, but the frog can live with the American goober. It’s the ignorant and therefore rude American goober who gets dissed, and is forced to conclude that there’s something wrong with them people over there.

  212. Sean:

    I was very much in town when they published the drawings, and I want to remind you that this was a direct response to the drawings of Muhammed.

    And I still think that Norway is one of the best places to live for a non-western immigrant, even though all places has their flaws.
    But I really prefer it if you would not drag a satirical drawing, that was published to demonstrate that all sides of the debate has full freedom of speach, into a debate about bigotry and racism.

  213. So what you’re saying, Lars, is that depicting a Jew as a mass murderer of Jews is roughly equivalent in terms of its racist content to depicting Muhammed as…Muhammed. I’m having a hard time deciding who should be more offended by that equation, Jews or Muslims. I’m gonna go with Jews, since the Norwegian reflex to pissing off Muslims seems to be prove that you actually hate Jews way more. How reassuring.

    Look, draw all the stupid pictures you want, just don’t tell me they reveal nothing important about Norwegian attitudes towards others.

  214. Sean:

    My point was that those pictures reveal _some_ norwegians attitudes towards others, and Norways attitude towards free speach.

    Allowing some assholes to publish their racism does not equal a racist country.

    You won’t see numbers like these (from the article) in Norway:
    “Sixty-eight per cent of Italians, fuelled by often inflammatory attacks by the new rightwing government, want to see all of the country’s 150,000 Gypsies, many of them Italian citizens, expelled, according to an opinion poll.”

    Saying that Norway is in any way aligned with Italy when it comes to racism, because we won’t censor the (racist/unpopular) expressions of the few, is very close to an insult.

  215. And my point was that a country where even _some_ of the people retain and openly express such attitudes is miles behind the US in terms of confronting/overcoming racism. Whether the expression is allowed or not is beside the point (and not once have I advocated censorship). Anyway, if you’re not as bad as those awful Italians, perhaps you could explain why the chief rabbi of (progressive) Norway told members of his congregation not to wear Jewish symbols in public. Again, that would be simply unimaginable in the US.

  216. Sean:

    So, the US is a place where nobody would ever openly express racism?
    Then I’d like you to take a look at the statements given by Kentucky people on why they won’t vote for Obama. Statements given by private citizens and published by – some – private media.

    When it comes to the Norwegian rabbi who “told members of his congregation not to wear Jewish symbols in public.”, I’d like to see a link to the article where you read that. It would be an interresting, though sad, read.

  217. No, Lars, the US is a place where broadsheet newspapers don’t casually publish racist editorial cartoons and then expect everyone to pat them on the back for it. Remember, your original explanation for the despicable representation of Olmert as a Nazi kommandant, was that Norwegian cartoonists were “responding” to the Muslim cartoons in Denmark by what, exactly? I guess proving that they were allowed to show how much they hate Jews or just that they don’t hate Muslims exclusively? And how do you account for Jostein ‘the Jews should all go die already’ Gaarder? Can you think of a respected US intellectual who has expressed similar sentiments with the imprimatur of a mainstream publication?

    I have no problem admitting that there is racism in the US, especially in Kentucky, if you’d like. My entire point was that racism is worse – and, crucially, typically unrecognised – in Europe. Keep in mind that the comments from Kentucky have been highlighted precisely for the purposes of condemnation. Nothing about the Olmert cartoon says ‘some people have a bad opinion of Jews – isn’t that terrible?’ On the contrary, the cartoon was saying ‘Jews are terrible, bloodthirsty monsters – especially those Jews in Israel, who are the true inheritors of the Nazi legacy, not we lovely Norwegians, who on the other hand can now expiate our own Nazi guilt by retroactively blaming today’s Jews for the Nazi persecution – with our assistance – of their ancestors, because they themselves are so awful and Nazi-like. Ha ha.’

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