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I don't often fisk articles but this useless blather left me breathless. Justin Webb of the BCC uses his brilliant insight to explain the differences between Europe and America.

First we have the usual attempt to make Americans look stupid:
Amid the stunning snow-capped mountains, a far more open vista than in the Alps, we talked of Camilla and Charles, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

I am ashamed to say that I used the old line about the castle being built too close to Heathrow Airport and they all nodded sagely and agreed it had been a mistake.
Oh how witty! See the Americans have no idea that an airport couldn't have been built before a couple of old landmarks! I wonder if Mr Webb considered that they noticed his slip of the tongue, assumed it was an innocent mistake, and out of politeness, ignored it. Regardless, Americans are stupid!

Not losing a beat, Mr Webb then makes the standard statement that Americans don't live in the real world:
America is strait-laced and earnest, and is getting more so with every passing day.

A recent example which caught my eye, I thought at first it was a joke, that several television stations refused to allow the screening of Steven Spielberg's film Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, is not pornographic, nor is it grotesquely violent. It is a war film with some shooting and some swearing.

Although it would be shown on any television station anywhere in Europe, with no comment and no censorship, the swearing is too much for America.

At least they say it is the swearing, but I wonder if there is a more profound difficulty here.

My memory of the film is that it is occasionally grittily realistic. In the battle scenes, soldiers are scared and their deaths are not always terribly glorious.

It is in other words true to life, and that is another area where Europe and America increasingly diverge.

America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.
See America can't deal with war. Of course the fact that some stations didn't want to air the show had nothing to do with the fines companies feared because of the little Janet Jackson episode at last years Superbowl. Of course not. And Mr Webb failed to mention that no one said the show couldn't be aired. Some people made the valid point that the show wasn't appropriate for primetime. Oh the horrors!

As Mr Webb believes that only Europeans understand the horror of real suffering. I wonder what the Iraqi's who died under Saddam's regime would think of that assertion? Maybe someone should ask the black Africans of Sudan's Darfur region? I wonder what the 6 million Jews you killed would think given that so many of you think Israel is the world's greatest threat to world peace. Yep. Europe has a wonderful grasp of reality.

We then proceed to the implication that Americans aren't practical and are overly religious:
Americans want to believe in miracles, their heads are in the clouds.

While Europeans fret about what they regard as real life, about poverty and social justice and about combating AIDS, Americans find it easier to rally round a vision, however otherworldly it might be.

Millions of Americans, 17% according to a recent survey, seriously believe that the end of the world is coming in their lifetimes and that they will be sucked up through the clouds to heaven.

Of course, we all know how much more religious Americans are, but the crucial point, it seems to me, is that the kind of religious beliefs on the march in America tend to be those stressed in the book of revelation rather than the sermon on the mount.
Notice how Europeans have such politically correct concerns. Europeans care about poverty? Then why are Europe's immigrants so much worse of than those in America? If Europe cares about ending poverty then why does it have the highest agricultural tariffs in the developed world?

And Europe cares about social justice? I see... so when government officials in Germany tell Jews not to look 'too Jewish' in order protect their safety the officials are really concerned about social justice? Combatting AIDs eh? And what has Europe done to combat AIDs? Commit $15 billion to combat it? Last I heard Europeans have done nothing to combat AIDs other than host some swanky conferences to talk about it.

I was afraid for a minute that Mr Webb had forgotten the most important part of an anti-American piece. But wouldn't you know, he comes through in a pinch:
At the end of my skiing holiday, I drove my family home in a hired car larger than most tanks and as fuel efficient as the Queen Mary.

On the journey to Denver airport, dozens of similar vehicles passed us.

At the very moment that the Kyoto treaty was coming into force, to the sound of great European fanfares, America, to paraphrase its greatest poet, opted to take the road less travelled and did not regret it.
Kyoto! Damn Americans are killing mother earth! The first point I'ld like to make here is if he wasn't fond of driving a vehicle 'larger than most tanks' then why the hell on earth didn't he ask for a compact? I know the point here is to make Americans look stupid but has this twit never rented a car before? Now perhaps I'm the idiot here but I've rented cars 20-30 times and not once did they not ask me what size of car I wanted. Never.

So either Mr Webb is a hypocrite for making the conscience choice to drive a large vehicle or he is the stupid one. Either way he loses.

My next point is that I've spent enough time in the United States to realize that Canadians, on average, have just as much of a taste for large vehicles. Take a cruise around Toronto or Ottawa and it will become pretty obvious. Does that allow Canada to qualify for the 'evil countries that deserve to be scorned' competition?

And I'ld like to finish by insulting anyone excited about the Kyoto treaty (least of all Mr Webb) but I'ld rather stab myself to death with a dull spoon. Is Mr Webb aware of what a colossal waste of effort and resources the Kyoto treaty is? Does he care to know that Canada has little to no intention of meeting it's obligations? Kyoto is the greatest scam in human history. Begone!


I know Mr Webb is writing off of a template but for sake of journalistic integrity could he at least mix it up a bit. Change the order of things. Something!

If the BBC is interested I'ld be happy to write a computer program that will write Mr Webb's material at half of his yearly salary. I could have it put together within a week.

The sad thing is that I'm not kidding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even the liberal New York Times has managed to move on a little bit. The Times asked a number of European commentators what GWB should do to "reinvigorate trans-Atlantic relations." One interesting e answer:
“I grew up under communism in the former Czechoslovakia. We were taught that Ronald Reagan was a servant of the military-industrial complex, a man who wanted war and scorned ordinary people. Paradoxically, most Europeans shared this view, not just those of us who lived behind the Iron Curtain. Had leaders in Moscow, Prague, Paris and Madrid been asked at the time what Mr. Reagan could do to reinvigorate relations between the United States and Europe, they probably would all have had the same answer: he should abandon his dream of American hegemony and start to consider Europe, including the Soviet Union, as an equal partner.
But Mr. Reagan didn’t seek their advice, and communism eventually collapsed. Mr. Reagan reinvigorated relations between the United States and Europe by staying true to his convictions."

Maybe because the Times isn’t taxpayer supported it throws the odd bone to conservatives just to keep us buying. But the BBC just confiscates its revenue from the taxpayer so there is no motive to change. Ditto the CBC.