General discussion


Quintessential qualities of an American...

By onbliss ·
Well that was a question posed to me by an non-American friend. Definitely, he was alluding to the fact that USA is a land of European Immigrants, mainly, hence takes qualities/properties/characterisitcs pertaining to Europeans. There is an element of truth. But, I think Americans did develop some special attributes in 300-400 years.

Without getting into the merrit of my friend's question, I invite your to say what you think is that uniquely portrays an American. If you are a not an American, say what you perceive that is unique about America.

Canadians and Australians are welcome to say about their country and countrymen..Oops countryperson too :-))))

No wars here please, this post is not to slight anybody. So try to bring out the points positively. :-)))

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by jkaras In reply to Max: some points

I am not fond of the toss salad analogy due to the double meaning from jail slang. If you heard it, it's not flatering but I get the true meaning :)

America is the trendy mecca of style. We speak English but talk slang. Other countries use dialects for their regions but still mainly speak true to form. Most foreigners get way confused on our double meaning. A lot of teen foreigners emulate our culture due to its diversity from the norm to accentuate individuality. Our teens emulate certain aspects of other countries to appear wordly or intelligent when they dont know a thing about that country and missinterpret it.

America loves to consume and aquire to show status to measure success and equal footing. WE are well trained cattle following what's in and what's out that changes rapidly (fads). We are always in a hurry, we like to get the last word. We dont openly trust due to bad experiences and remain guarded. When we trust I doubt that others can rival our generosity. We are grouped in socialization such as country folk, city folk, baby boomers, elderly, gothic,ect.. Its all about the label that you project for others to understand or fear you. We love our country but hate our system that fails us due to greed not the altruistic beliefs that our fore fathers started. We want someone to fix the issue, not get involved because it's someone else's job. We feel obligated to remain true to our hertitages that give us history but most couldnt tell you anything about their country of origin while prodly claiming that they are Italian-American, Irish-American etc...
We take every other country's recipes and merge it with our tastes and call it our own. We desire change and evolution vs. content for the same, we like new. We may be more violent than our other countries but we rarely kill over a sporting event. Fries dont belong in mayo. We know how to make better music and movies, just not cars or electronics. Deep down we really care for others and try to help other countries compared to other countries views that its not our problem let them deal with it. I guess if we meet the others halfway we all might just get it right who knows?

I do wish there is more established culture like in Europe. Everytime I go to a different state or city it looks very simular and not unique that points to history so I will give that point to our neighbors.

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I prefer Potpourri (sp?)

by Oz_Media In reply to Okay guys maybe some clar ...

I think metling pot is derogatory although I hear it too. I prefer potpourri as it is more floral and smells better than slag.

I agree, Canada and the US are entirely built from immigrants of other countries.

I think we both hold a massive multi-cultural population, yet I see more of a MIXED society in Canada than the US where the differences seem more segregated. We don't have ghettos, black and white neighbourhoods etc. BUT we have mainly chinese neighbourhoods, East Indian neighbourhoods etc. I have noticed that the immigrants in the US, are more 'American' than Canadian immigrants become Canadian (a pet peeve). I think that if you move to another country, you should be willing to adopt thier language, lifestyle etc. without losing your beliefs of course.

In Canada, many Asian immigrants, are well...I better keep it to myself but in short, they don't WANT to adopt the English language or Canadian customs and segragate THEMSELVES from mainstream society. I watched a gentleman teachng his son to barter for bottled water at a MAJOR grocery store. These are places with fixed pricing, he stood and argued with the cashier for 5 minutes before people got pissed and urged him to let it go and shop somewhere else. This is an Asian custom where you MUST barter to get a fair price, in Canada with a 12 year old (approx.) son, you DON'T get to barter at a major food store with 17 checkouts filled with paying customers, we'd be there all day!

In the SAME store, different day, an Asian lady was arguing that her flower pot she had bought was broken (it was in about 10 pieces, SMASHED!). The store manager explained that there is absolutely NO way it was sold that way as they are under srtrict regulations to not sell any damaged goods at all. A hairline crack may have been unnoticed but not a smashed vase. She started to just scream, nothing specific, just a wailing. The manager just smiled and walked away leaving her to wail.

What's my point? OK, when I was in teh US in the fall, I was with a friend who is Asian and he wanted to visit his brother in Spokane, when we met, he was more North American than I was. he had a broad US accent and wore a ball cap, smoked Camels and drank Bud. My friend was joking with him that the Chinese community in Canada is still a Chinese community and not even interested in becoming Canadian or English speaking because they have such a massive Chinese community here, they don't need to become 'Canadianized'.

So while we are both multicultural countries, I think Canada allows it's immigrants to remain immigrants and not become North Americanized the way that citizens in the US must in order to make it. I've seen people get Canadian citizenship that need a translator or an Asian version of the citizenship test, we provide the Candadian citizenship test in many languages, WHY? Shouldn't being English speaking be a qualification for becoming a recognized citizen of an English speaking country?

Could be wrong but that's what I have seen and experienced.

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In the long run it that going to be a problem?

by onbliss In reply to I prefer Potpourri (sp?)

Don't you think if the immigrants don't fuse into the new society fully, the nation would have a problem in their hands.

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I dunno

by Oz_Media In reply to In the long run it that g ...

nor do I really care at this point. I am not native Canadian so who am I to talk right?

In fact if the natives had thier way, WE would live on money starved reserves and be gambling in thier casinos, drinking in thier bars etc.

I don't think ANYONE here has a right to say who stays and who doesn't, we took the land from the indians and are ALL immigrants ourselves. How can we now start placing rules on who must do what? Most Canadians resent the down and out native population that as just given up and decided to become victims of society. Then there are the 'four nations' of indians who most have the highest respect for as well as the land which they have so carefully preserved and fought for all this time.

Just like Americans, however you probably feel it is YOUR country now, we are all just immigrants and have no rightful say towards other immigrants.

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by voldar In reply to I prefer Potpourri (sp?)

at least french Oz :)).....

Don't shoot me!

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LOL good one Vlad

by Oz_Media In reply to Or...

That's pretty good Vlad. I must admit, I often forget you are in Montreal.

'ow is it you say? Ahhhhhhh, dere is some diference you know?

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by TheChas In reply to Okay guys maybe some clar ...

The ONLY characteristic that fits ALL Americans is that we are a diverse culture.

Pick ANY other attribute, and you can find a person, city, even a state that does not exemplify that characteristic.

What are relatively common characteristics of Americans:

Arrogant: We are the best, and know what is best for the rest of the word.

Proud: We are number one. Even when we loose.

Isolationist: We don't need to know what is going on in other countries.

Victorian: At least in public, Americans have "Victorian" morals.

Fat: We have some of the most overweight people in the world.

Rules are for the other guy: At least when we are driving our cars, we can violate whatever laws we want. However, that guy driving the car next to us better not!

Sports Nuts: Football and Nascar racing are near religious events.
What are these sissy sports of Soccer, Formula 1, Bicycle Racing, Cricket?

Beer: No explanation needed.

Un-informed: Few Americans actually seek out or contemplate hard news.

Opinionated: I'm right and there is no option for discussion.

Crude: Our humor caters to the lowest common denominator.

Do the above sound bleak?

Yes, we do have many good characteristics.
However, we save those for family and friends. Plus the occasional national disaster.


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by Oz_Media In reply to Diversity

Well Chas (and everyone else) I will see your points in a different light. All in good fun OKAY?

Delusional: We are the best, and know what is best for the rest of the word.

In denial: We are number one. Even when we loose

Father knows best: We don't need to know what is going on in other countries, "because we will show them how to do it our way or invade them until they do."

Prudish: At least in public, Americans have "Victorian" morals

Fat: We have some of the most overweight people in the world (I'll give you that one, even though Super size at MacDonalds is now considered large, as if that helps)

Rules are for the other guy: At least when we are driving our cars, we can violate whatever laws we want. However, that guy driving the car next to us better not! (OK, we are all the same there)

Uncultured: Football and Nascar racing are near religious events.
What are these sissy sports of Soccer, Formula 1, Bicycle Racing, Cricket?

****: No explanation needed.

UNI-FORME Few Americans actually seek out or contemplate hard news, "am I supposed to hate that guy? Who am I supposed to shoot, is he the bad guy?"

Mislead: I'm right and there is no option for discussion

PRUDE: Our humor caters to the lowest common denominator. "Maybe pathetically stupid humor but definitely nto crude or cutting edge"

Anyhow, like I said, just a laff Chas.

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TheChas what you are describing here is

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Diversity

"Peer Pressure" and not the real way people act!

Most people no matter where they are from think that they have to conform to a set of rules and that if they don't they will be ostracized.

While there are some Americans that do behave like this when at home or overseas most act differently and show just how good the people of that country can be however unfortunately it is always the "Bad Apple" who is remembered and not the god guy/gal who stooped and helped you out when whatever happened.

This is a flaw in "Human Nature" to only remember the bad things that they experienced when confronted by foreigner just like it was always better in "The Good Old Days" than it is today most people forget the bad things that they had to accept and only remember the good things that gave them enjoyment/pleasure and not the fact that they had to walk 5 miles bare footed to school each day and then home again afterwords.

While there are some people who truly act the way you described they are not the majority and only the minority who are very noticeable by their actions, however things have detracted within the last 20 years or so as things like common courtesy are not practices as much as they previously where but I think this is more a sign of the times that we live in as now most parents work and can not spend as much time with their children as our parents did and teach them the values that they had.

After all when was the last time you saw a male offer a seat on public transport to a woman if that was to happen now-days it is more than likely he would be slapped with a Discrimination Suit for implying that the woman was somehow inferior and unable to stand. but this is not restricted to the USA but most of the Western World so it really can't be held against the American's.

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Good insight....

by onbliss In reply to TheChas what you are desc ...

...can be gathered from what you said.

It is so sad that our society has degnerated to such an extent that a Man needs to think million times before offering a seat to lady. But you are right, this feature remains maily in the Western world. And, only hope it does not spread.

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