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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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Not so PC here anymore, it is natural courtesy

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

Hi Colin, when you say "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. "

I see your point but I don't see the reality here at all. In fact if you DIDN'T give up your seat someone would be giving you the evil eye. It is only common courtesy to open doors and offer you seat to women and of course elderly people. The whole being PC game has tired here and has become common courtesy instead of a learned or practiced behaviour.

Women have been given respect and treated equally for as long as I remember and therefore don't feel like they are being patronized by courtesy.

We can treat'em like ladies wine'em and dine'em but they'll still wear a double-can beer hat to a hockey game and rough it in the woods with the best of us.

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While I agree with you here

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Not so PC here anymore, i ...

Particularly about the "PC" there will always be a small minority that adversely affects the majority of people.

Over this side of the pond I constantly see things on TV where people are just unwilling to help their fellow man. Recently we had a guy's car break down on a main road just north of Brisbane and he jacked it up and was under it when it fell on him killing him apparently he lay there dead for the best part of a day without anyone even noticing even though there was a police speed trap 100 meters up the road.

He was only discovered dead when some guy who had seen him there that morning and was returning from work saw him still there and apparently still in the same place that someone stooped and had a look to see if they could offer any help I think that they worked out that he'd been dead for 12 hours by then.

When I'm on the road and stop to see if I can offer any help to someone who has broken down they at first seem afraid of just why I stopped and what do I want from them. I can remember when I was younger that you would never consider not stopping when you saw someone in trouble on the side of the road but now it is the exact opposite.

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Is it because of the innocence of the youth?

by onbliss In reply to While I agree with you he ...

Now that you tell this, I might be comfortable with a normal youth (not a freaked out one :-0 ) stopping to help than say anybody else.

Is it because a youth (child) ooze so much of innocence that age destroys?

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I think it is more of a change in society

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Is it because of the inno ...

back when I was younger even 20 years ago which would have put me close to 30 it was considered perfectly natural to stop and offer help to anyone who suffered a breakdown after all I do live in Australia where the distances between towns are great and you can wait days on some roads before you see another car/bike. But now it al is different and I now only see the "Old Codgers" like me still offering help to total strangers whit no intention of any gain other than that nice warm feeling that you know you have helped out someone in trouble as best you could.

Back when I was in my late teens it was perfectly natural for people to hitch hike to the Beach for the weekend so they could do their civic duty and work as Life Savers on the beach like one of my wifes brothers. I even worked in the "State Emergency Service" way back then as we all considered it our responsibility and while it was all volunteer work and sometimes you where required to attend horrific scenes to extract dead and near dead from the wreckage of whatever we all managed to get by without any form of counseling other than a few beers after the job.

Now we see far more graphic violence on the TV and are more shocked when we see some traffic accident with a bit of blood so the new group rush off for the counseling that they think they require. I can still remember attending a traffic collision where the bonnet of the car had come into the cockpit and removed the front passengers heads from about the shoulder up and these bits had rolled out onto the bonnet for all to see. We naturally covered them up and waited for the Police to come and take their photos and then we removed the bodies from the car after first extracting the kids from the rear seats and placing them in an ambulance and sending them to the nearest hospital. It was always ave those who could be saved and then think about the dead and we never experienced any real problems as we all spoke to each other about any ill feelings that we had after attending these scenes. But today it is the opposite as people tend to think they have to be the tough guy/gal and never show any emotion so they bottle all these feelings up and at some time in the future they break down and suffer for years after. I really think that the way we used to do things was far better as everyone that I ever worked with back then has always gone on to lead productive lives no matter what they do.

Anyway enough ranting for now I'll slap my wrists hard for going so far off topic.

Col

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In Canada

by Oz_Media In reply to While I agree with you he ...

When in auto school I used to drive up and down the East West connector in Vancouver just looking for people to help as a way to practice simple troubleshooting and diagnostic skills. I'd pull up and get my various testers out and go at it on the roadside. Made a tonne of tips (although not my focus as I would make $30/hr in the shop), and some very happy new friends.

I invited a former talent scout to stay with me in BC and tour the Island in my motorhome for a few days. He came up from Oregon and we were driving the Island Highway when I found my second tank guage had failed and I ran out of the jiuce.

It was 15 Km to the nearest town and we weren't sure if there was a gas station there so we just grabbed the gas can and started walking. He was sure nobody would pick us up and said it would be faster if we just walked instead of looking back all the time.

I don't think we made it 100' before a native indian couple picked us up. My friend was unsure about the ride but I was jumping in the back of thier truck so he reluctantly followed.
They drove us to the NEXT town, the first didn't have gas, and also drove us back to the motorhome. Round trip, 30-40 minutes (HOURS on foot though).

When we got back, I offered to make them a drink (fully stocked bar in my motorhome)and they said they didn't drink. I practically forced them to take $30 I had in my pocket, they were almost offended by the offer, they wouldn't even have lunch as I was stopped I figured may as well make lunch.

Before they drove away, I said how kind they had been and how grateful I was of thier unhesitated help and the woman just said, "Make sure you pass our kindness to someone else one day". I have.

The guy that was visiting from Oregon was stunned and couldn't stop talking about the helpful people from out of nowhere. All the rest of the trip he never forgot what they had done.

He moved to the Island about two months later and now works with me full time as I've closed my US scouting offices.

As much as I say Oregon is like BC, he adamantly disagrees and said the people woudl NEVER have helped him that way at his former home.

So prehaps it is rare, perhaps it is scary to some people, but in Canada, we ALL look out for each other this way. We are never too busy to stop what we are doing to help pick up someone else who has fallen, no matter wha thier race, religion or country of origin.

Stories like this will come from ALL corners and towns in Canada, and when I travel, I hear quite often how some happy Canadian has helped others when visiting Canada. Maybe that's another reason we have such a good reputation in other countries, we take an interest in the people here and take the time to help each other without question.

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Yep Col, I hear what you saying

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

I have to admit I was laughing pretty damn hard at TheChas's post...thanks I usually am not luaghing so early on a Tuesday.

I don't know about if all those things he joked about apply to americans in general but my god they immediately made me associate those qualities to certain people in my life.

Anyways..people definitely succumb to peer pressure and putting on an act. Sad but true, you'd think this stuff ends with our teenage years but nope..full grown adults still play these games.

Have I ever succumbed to peer pressure , honestly I can think of only two times I did my whole life -- other than that I've always been my own person (sometimes that hasn't been a good thing, I'll admit...but hey at least I'm true to myself right?).

I have a very dear friend who used to anger me all the time when I first met her..she plays the peer pressure "I must act this way around this person or I won't be liked" thing all the time. We had countless fights (arguments) over it time and again, but finally over the years she FINALLY knows to be herself with me at least all the time. But its still a shame I see her act differently to conform to a few other people.

Oh well..I guess some people can never change..at least not all the way.

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Well You'd love my training courses when used to have to teach

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Yep Col, I hear what you ...

Back in those days I used to drag a 20 foot "Stock Whip" in behind me and a pair of handcuffs and then proceed to tell all the trainees that if any of them "Fucked Up One Of My Machines" I'd handcuffs them to a hook in the wall and proceed to whip the living SHIT out of them and when I'd finished I'd whip them some more for the mess that they had made on the carpet and no it wasn't really concerned with computers other than the fact that some of the machines where "Microprocessor controlled."

As I knew all these people fairly well they all understood exactly what I meant which was if you have a problem ask and we'll all fix it rather than wreck the machine but on one occasion it did lead to some interesting actions. We had a problem with the AUstralian release of a product and since my state branch was the first to hose the release we naturally where a "Testing Ground" for the product release. Now when these problems started occurring the Sales Manage panicked and called his bosses in Sydney and as they didn't have an answer and certainly didn't like mine which was to change the fabric for one of the promotions as we where experiencing a 90% failure rate but the units all worked perfectly on different fabric and all passed their mechanical/electronic adjustments with out a problem. But it was inconceivable to the Sales Department that something as simple as a bit of fabric could be the problem so they sent up "The Guy" from the factory who spoke next to no english and had only arrived within the last 24 hours. He was far more of a hindrance than any help and made my life far harder than it needed to be but then "Them's the breaks."

What I did find really funny was that when I started the "Mechanical Training Side" of the introduction with all the Techies I just followed my normal practices and used the stock whip etc. Well this poor guy from Switzerland nearly fell off his chair in horror and at the lunch break then proceeded to attempt to get one of the dealers to make a complaint about my method of training and he could get rid of me and have me replaced with someone who treated them much better. After he approached each one they all came in and told me what was going on but what he found a bit hard to understand was that none of these people would ever consider making any form of complaint about me and he was even more horrified when after the break which I had to work through for a rush order I returned to the lesson room and then began with "It has come to my attention that if just one of my so called friends was willing to make a complaint about the way I treat you lot I could get some peace and quite and be away from this bloody place and not have any of you lot constantly on my back about all you're problems." Well the poor guy this time really did fall off his chair while the rest laughed.

Just before he left AU 5 years latter I ran into him and he commented that while I had an odd way of dealing with people at training courses that they where the most effective that he had ever seen but he didn't think that most people could pull it off and he was just beginning to understand how I ticked. But what he really couldn't understand was exactly all the dealers reacted the way that they did and all of them loved the way I treated them and how I ran these training courses.

There you go mate have a good laugh on that one.

Col

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Peer pressure or conformity?

by Oz_Media In reply to Yep Col, I hear what you ...

As I was reading your post, I was confused at how you saw Chas's post as peer pressure examples. In a SENSE I suppose there is SOME peer pressure to conform in order to be accepted. THis is a sales technique called mirroring. You take the persons body language and mimick it, in a subtle way of course, you then take ther tone and match it, perhapse a little lower in volume at first, etc. This is conforming to the persons own traits, that they may or may not even be aware of.

So what you see as Peer pressure (in my eyes that's "c'mon take a puff, you'll like it, ALL the kids are doing it")I see as conformity. You are adjusting YOUR personality to match that of the person you want to accept you. THis is something I see as a detrimental quality and a reason I bailed out of sales. You eventually lose your OWN personality as your every day life is merely acting a role.

So when I say Americans are conforming to the president's wishes, maybe this is also seen as peer pressure by some?

I'm not trying to get something started but this discussion is teaching me exactly WHY I see you guys one way and you perceive yourselves another way. I think it has a LOT to do with a language barrier, funny as we are both English speaking countries. Yet I see these terms being used in completely different contexts. Just an eye opener and thanks for your input, you've cast a light on things for me.

So when I say SHEEP or CONFORMISTS, perhaps it is a form of 'peer pressure' people feel to stay true to the President, makes a LOT more sense.

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Yes it is interesting how English means so many different things

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Peer pressure or conformi ...

For the same word. But at least it isn't quite as bad as French where you assign gender to quite a lot of things.

But in the above I was using the term "Peer Pressure" loosely and it could be interchanged with "Conformity" from my prospective at least.

Now because I know so many Kiwis "Sheep" means something completely different to me but then again that may only be a Social Thing like the Commodore Vic 20 was used in most of the world but had a name change for the German market because VIC meant something totally different there.

Isn't it interesting just how different English has become as it is almost a different language in different countries even though you could go to each country and at least understand the basics if not the subtle differences?

Col

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OH so true

by Oz_Media In reply to Yes it is interesting how ...

That is very apparent even on TR, as we often use expressions and words that make our Southern friends so offended.

Such terms are just not accepted and usually drag out into a long discussion trying to explain what you have explained, comments are generally not accepted as mere comments, the wording is so acutely monitored.

In the same sense, I see conformity as a resuly of peer pressure. There is a peer pressure to become aaccepted or 'conform' to a given standard, way of life, dress code, belief etc. Once we have buckled to this retarted peer pressure, we become conformists. You do what needs to be done in order to be accepted by those you admire.

So even here, between Canada and an Australia, we find the need to explain the meaning of our words in order to reach a mutual agreement. We are clearing up our intended meaning of two VERY common English words too, not outdated or old english. Peer pressure AND conformity.

Go figure?!?

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