I’ve had a prolonged absence from Headlife and have started catching myself up. I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read these posts from my little buddies Paddy and Max:
“I would like to remark that some of the comments that have been made by our american cousins reasure me that, yes americans are as dumb as they are made out to be” and”sorry i forgot to ask stuart and his fellow americans to please get out of their bubble they live in and step into the real world.”
I don’t know how Paddy and Max spend most of their spare time, but they seem to work very hard at Missing The Point. In response to a couple of lengthy posts which lay out, in various measures, hard statistics, incontrovertible facts (i.e. the EU economy is, according to its own ministers, seriously lagging), and thought-out viewpoints of the American heartland, all Paddy and Max and the rest of their kennel can manage is a lame suggestion that we “get out of our bubble” and “step into the real world.” Any analysis? Nah. Maybe a basic argument? No need. An answer? Any thought other than a knee-jerk ‘stupid American’ comment? Any shred of evidence that these people are capable of presenting a cogent position? No, no, and no.
Here we have a wonderful symptom of European insularity. Paddy dearest and Max darling–I have no idea who you are. But I am certain that my real experience in the “real world” exceeds your own if you wish to quantify in terms of cultures lived in and worked in. I even lived on (loved and still love) your little island for more than three years. Is it possible that the bubble is your own? It’s not only possible, I know for a fact that it is. I lived in Europe for six years of my life and have watched with mixed amusement and amazement as Europeans have constructed and embraced their own cartoon caricature of the United States. I continue to find it astonishing how uncritically, unthinkingly so many Europeans embrace the Leni Riefenstahl-quality antics of the Noam Chomskies and Michael Moores of the world while refusing to do the difficult work of real issue-analysis. It’s much easier for your species of European to feed your narrow, stupid stereotypes than it is to ask probing questions and form balanced opinions.
Funny, in fact, how similar you actually are to the caricature of the unthinking American you’ve made for yourself.
Are there stupid, head-in-the-sand Americans? Yes, plenty. Are there stupid, head-in-the-sand Europeans? Well, I know lots of them, and I might have discovered two more, since you provided nothing beyond a grunting ad hominem response to a series of thoughtful posts.
I love Europe, I miss it when I’m not there, many of my closest friends are from London, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, and Bologna. But it’s just time for Europeans like yourselves to step outside your own bubbles and recognize that the world is not yours to define. And if you want to get into what we Americans know as “talking smack” I suggest you follow the wise counsel of our man Jim Rome: “Have a take, and don’t suck.” In other words, have an opinion that you can defend, and frame it in a way that suggests a capacity for sentient thought. You had no take, and you definitely sucked.