DCML Digest, Vol 18, Issue 5

Sverre Amundsen sverre at pdq.net
Wed Aug 4 18:13:01 CEST 2004

> On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 15:42:49 +0200, <dcml-request at stp.ling.uu.se> wrote:
>>> From: "Olaf Solstrand" <olaf.solstrand at andebyonline.com>
> Hm ... OK. I hope that you understand that it is very hard for a
> Scandinavian (at least for this particular one) to understand that. To me,
> what you're saying almost sounds like Americans don't have free human
> minds, but are just a bunch of zombies who walk around without purpose,
> watch some TV and eat the food they see advertised there, vote for whoever
> spends most money on their election campaign and read whatever comic they
> know for sure wouldn't be appropriate for their children. And ... whenever
> I talk to an American (on this list or anywhere else), I get a stronger
> feeling that Americans are NOT like that, but free individuals, able to
> think individually like everybody else in the world. Anyhow ...
> If this is a matter of how the American mind works, you would know that
> better than me. It just seemed strange to me. I thought we were talking
> about what lays in the word "suited for a younger audience", but if you
> were talking about how Americans interpret those words, I quit arguing
> because I know you have a much better knowledge of that than I do.


This is really off topic, but I can't help commenting anyways.

As a Norwegian living in the US for the last 8 years I've seen both sides
of the coin, and I MOSTLY agree with what Don says. Of course there are
lots of exceptions, but on a daily basis I see things that constantly
amazes me.

I can list several examples.

I go to the movies, often R rated movies with plenty of violence,
absolutely NOT for children. Even so, there are always lots of small
children in the audience, children who have NO BUSINESS being there. I'll
never forget the time I saw Alien Resurrection, and heard children and
babies crying in the audience.

I took my 18 year old step-daughter to see Farenheit 9/11. She showed
plenty of outrage during the movie, but after the movie she told me she
preferred not to know.

My manager at work and her family totally lives on junk food and take out
meals. Her lunch, every single day, is a frozen, microwaveable "lean
cuisine" pizza. Every day. She thinks it's healthy (it does say lean
cuisine, after all).

My wife and I take our 4 year old son to the doctor, and find he has an
ear infection. Of course the doctor wants to give him antibiotics. So does
my wife (born and bred american). I point out to the doctor that in Norway
they usually do not recommend antibiotics for ear infections. Dr says he
knows that, but in the US, they do it anyways. Even though it (should be)
common knowledge that overuse of antibiotics is a huge problem.

Some time ago I told a couple of co-workers that my son was ill and had a
minor fever. When they heard that I did not give him Tylenol (common fever
reducer), they were almost ready to accuse me of child abuse. I informed
them, calmly, that if the fever is minor, the child is alert and happy and
not showing signs of any pain, there is no reason to medicate him. That
was such a foreign concept to them. To them any fever means medication.

Most americans still think Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

Most americans, even though they have the worlds cheapest gasoline,
complain loudly when the price increase a few cents. Pointing out to them
that what they pay the same for one gallon of fuel that a Norwegian pays
for one liter has no influence on them (most wouldn't know what a liter
is). They still insist on driving their huge, gas guzzling SUVs, and take
any suggestion that they might consider a more economical car as an attack
on their personal "freedom". Not to mention their right to pollute.

I ride a bicycle to work every day. Most people around her think I'm nuts.

My wife drives the car to the neighborhood swimming pool. It is 3 minutes
away. If you WALK.

I could go on and on and on, but I won't. And just for the record, I do
know a few americans who don't fit the stereotype. It's just that there
are so few of them...

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