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Dear American liberals, why do you so rarely actually ask questions?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by metatron, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. metatron

    metatron deplorable ally

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    By asking questions i mean asking foreigners, say on this board, about their perspective.

    You will be tempted to claim that you - liberal Americans - are attentive of the outside world and curious about the things people in foreign countires do, particularly their politics.
    And my point is going to be: Yes, and no.

    Yes, in that you spend time on hearing and reading about affairs in foreign countries.
    No, in that you are not actually asking people from those countries the relevant questions.

    So you, for example, read newspaper articles about elections in country xyz.
    And you watch those late night shows with frequent talk about foreign countries.
    But you don't truly let these strange people actally speak.
    The newspaper articles you read are written by Americans most of the time, or by a British person reluctantly visiting the country in question, often someone who doesn't speak the local language.
    Sometimes its a partisan from that country contributing infrequently or even just this one piece and they are little more than a tool of editorial direction.
    Effectively it's either about the weird/bad things the people in that foreign land have, or about the good thing they have and you don't, supposedly because Republicans.

    I'll demonstrate the difference. We'll do it with late night, because, hey, you may as well be entertained.

    Beware John Oliver is cursing:
    Spoiler :

    I hope you can see (with the possible exception of Le Pen) none of the dozens of French persons cited got to actually speak in any meaningful way.
    Considering the educational overtone of the piece and the length of 18 minutes that's odd, isn't it?

    For contrast:
    Spoiler :

    He mocks him with the fake French accent and he obviously disagrees and with him but none the less Noah let's the actual ambassador of France not just speak, but potentially break through your frame.​

    You see what i'm saying here:
    It's one thing to have Americans (and some imported Brits and Canadians) talk about the things that are relevant to the funny foreigners.
    It's a wholly different thing to have the weird foreigners talk about things that are relevant to you or things that are relevant to everybody and listen.


    Let's look at the consequence of engaging the outside world in this fashion:
    You have just spent over 3000 posts debating this confirmation process with the two-and-a-half conservatives on this board. Last thing i witnessed your attempt to paint some Portuguese socialist on the internet as a Trumpist. Surely a valuable use of your time.
    At one point, i suppose somewhere in the first thousand posts, i tried to bait you into letting me tell you about how the surpeme court of my stupid country is literally a sorkinesque phantasy in the real world. You didn't bite and that's fair.
    But let's go closer to home...


    Spoiler :


    This is Beverley McLachlin.
    It's her retirement party.
    Maybe you've heard her name before.
    It probably wasn't here. Her name was used twice on this board in this decade: Once just now, and once in 2013. Also by me.
    That's arguably ironic because she has been the Chief Justice of Canada while Trump was elected. She was also Chief Justice of Canada when the old WTC was still up.
    Canadians also happen to have undertaken a series of reforms of their Supreme Court and have arguably one of the best ones on the planet.

    You could ask them about it.

    Or you can go another thousand posts relitigating brewski appointments on that dude's calendar.
    No problem. You just say: "Oh none of that applies to us anyway, because we have Republicans and they break the rules..." etc. I deem it possible that you were allready halfway through saying something to that effect this very moment.

    Which one will be more useful to you?
    Which one will be more fun?
     
  2. Kaitzilla

    Kaitzilla Lord Croissant

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    No one will listen to me rant for more than 20 seconds in real life.
    These forums are priceless for emotional venting! :)

    Sure, Canada has ideal systems and excellent people, but that thread is going to be about as long as the one about how great heaven is.

    Like when Johnny Cash was told to stop singing about Jesus and start singing about the man in Reno who he shot just to watch him die.

    People like to watch and to talk about trainwrecks, so that means 1000 pages of Trump!

    The wonders of the universe, on the street opinions of people across the planet beamed by satellite over my wireless internet, and questions that have stumped humanity for centuries are more niche posts for a smaller audience.

    If a foreigner has an opinion on a subject, I have no idea how broadly their view is shared by their countrypeople.
    I'm not even sure how relevant my opinion is.
    That's why I always search for new ideas that I've never encountered before which are more valuable than mere opinions.

    Aaron Sorkin shows are great with super competent people in public office, but we screen political candidates for reality TV qualities these days.
    Whomever can lie the best with the most drama while looking the best wins elections.
    Actors mostly.
    Or sociopaths since they have to act to survive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  3. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Why do I care? Can your elections have any impact on me? Not really. If John Oliver wants to use country X as a foil for humor, I'm all in for a laugh. But until the rest of the world starts showing some signs they will be willing to suffer the pain involved in forming a coalition to rein in the obviously rogue state US they really aren't going to matter, and some citizen that wants to pontificate about their podunk country is going to matter even less.

    It may be of interest to you that I do pay a lot of attention to our Russian posters, and if we had any Chinese posters I'd certainly be interested in hearing from them. The impotent EU might have been of interest if it had not descended into the usual band of bickering Euro-child states, but as constituted why would anyone really care about them?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  4. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    I'm one of those people who doesn't put much stock in tradition for tradition's sake. just because something has been done one way is not (for me) enough justification to keep doing it the same way.

    As such, I do like to learn about different solutions from The American Way™.

    I'll try and ask more questions of our non-USA contributors and listen to their answers. But I am only one man...
     
    Cutlass likes this.
  5. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy I swear..

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    Hiya Peter!
     
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  6. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    I may not ask a lot of questions directly of the non-Americans on this site (i.e. ask them to speak as spokespeople for their country), but I regard the second best thing about this site as being the number of non-Americans who post on it.

    (Number one thing: broad diversity of topics)

    I went and looked for your post on the Supreme Court to try to think why I wasn't baited (you are occasionally able to bait me), but I couldn't find it with my first search term: "court." or "sorkin"

    Maybe it was this, from #1303:

    I'd listen to that rant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  7. Bootstoots

    Bootstoots Warlord Super Moderator

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    I share your frustration about how little other Americans seem to care about how things work in other countries. It irritates me to no end that all our news outlets are filled with articles about Trump and the Congressional stalemate du jour, while the entire rest of the world is relegated to the back pages.

    It's very slightly better among liberals than conservatives, but of course liberals are the ones that posture about knowing so much more about the rest of the world and being open-minded. So yeah, that is kind of irritating. However, I don't think John Oliver is the best example here: he's doing a comedy show, and interviewing people about their opinions isn't particularly funny unless they share a bunch of stupid or off-the-wall thoughts.

    One reason I care about other places is that other countries' systems are examples of ways things could work, so they provide possible clues on how to reform the American political system that we should consider, given that our system is caught in a worsening spiral of dysfunction. It's fun to go off into a land of make-believe and imagine what we might do if we collectively decided that the way we do things didn't have to be so stupid.

    I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out how much better I am than my fellow countrymen. :smug:

    From the first SCOTUS thread:

    I got the following answers, all of them among the most informative in the thread:

    And then an American said something about racism and people went back to making the same repetitive arguments they always make.
     
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  8. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    The problem with american liberals is that they live to parrot whatever their favorite media bubble feeds them. They have abandoned critical thought altogether! And be damned whomever dares question the holy cows they were indocrinated to revere.

    Take the "metoo movement". It is fundamentally about persecuting people through allegations. As one person put in in one of those "fringe" socialist sites:

    This point should at least be material for discussion. But no, it cannot even be mentioned, how dare someone question the motives of the virtue warriors? People must be reactionary nazis if they question these virtuous quests!

    This was written before the pathetic spectacle of the supposedly "left" party in the country, and the media in general, focusing in one such accusation to make a lot of noise about that judge, instead of focusing on the politics of the person. In only came to confirm that attitude.
     
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  9. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Then there's this guy. Seriously, can anyone look at him and wonder why no one gives a rip what the international posters have to say?
     
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  10. MaryKB

    MaryKB Warlord

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    Oh dear, how could someone post something so horribly ignorant? I'm so sorry, but this is extremely upsetting for me. MeToo is about protecting women by helping them speak up against abuse, and only an incredibly myopic male-centric attitude could see it like you describe. My feeling is far too many people view protecting men's reputations as more important than women's safety. Women should just put up with whatever men want to do to us because some poor helpless man might lose his job if his victims speak up about what he's done to oppress them. Poor men! I apologize, I need to stop before I get too upset, but I just must say this totally misses the point of what due process is and how it works, and how criminal trials are completely different from things like this. You do know your employer can fire you for things you won't go to jail for, right?

    So many people just seem to me like they feel a woman's rights should end where a man's comfort begins.
     
  11. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    Men's comfort should be replaced with men's right. My only problem with the movement in general is it seems to say men have no rights. I'm not defending the above post. The above post is incorrect, all those people who lost jobs were guilty and had a preponderant amount of evidence against them. The only one that got shafted was Al Franken. Everyone else was guilty and there was evidence against them. The only thing I worry is now this tactic is successful, unscrupulous women will use this in the future to bring men down they don't like. It's already happened in a high school when a group of girls falsely accused a boy of sexual assault. They later admitted to it. What about that boy's rights?

    edit: I was wrong about Franken, I had to double check my memory which seemed to have forgotten all those allegations. I thought it was just the picture that did him in. It was a lot more than that, and by people who most likely shared his political affiliation so had no motive to lie. He was guilty as the rest of them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  12. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    You have nothing to apologize for. Based on extended observation the answer to this question is either "habitually," "routinely," "frequently," or perhaps "constantly."
     
  13. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    There is a long line of foreign posters who have reacted to my questions by asking for moderator protection.
     
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  14. JPetroski

    JPetroski Chieftain

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    Tim has pretty much nailed it.
     
  15. MaryKB

    MaryKB Warlord

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    Men's "right" at risk is their right to treat women as nothing more than sexual objects. Why is it only men who matter? If women are wrong, men only risk reputations, but if women are right we lose our very status as human beings. Men only care about men, women just seem to not matter and have no value, and we should just put up with abuse and not speak up so men aren't inconvenienced. Like heaven forfend a man should lose his job because he's intimidated countless women! It's women's rights that are at risk, not men's, but like usual no one cares. Women only get considered as an after thought.
     
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  16. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Moderator

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    These are comedy shows. They aren't meant to be fair or even toroughly journalistic. Oliver himself strongly maintains that he's a comedian, not a journalist. It seems a bit rather strawman-ish of you to conclude from these programs that american liberals don't actually ask foreigners.
     
  17. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    It's a bit like climate
    Lots of denial going on here.
    Denial it happens (that much), denial it is that bad, denial that it is structural, denial that something can be done about it.
    metoo, a tip of the iceberg, highlighting some symptoms of that cultural disease. A disease suffocating so much, disempowering so many.

    The newsmedia flooded with the battle around that denial, sometimes how to cope with it in a support sense.
    I did not see much on initiatives how to tackle it.
    And I do not mean how to tackle the denial.... I mean how to tackle the disease.

    And on topic of OP
    Where do I see in this thread the different feelings and tackle approaches in the many country cultures of our CIV posters, and what we can learn from each other ?
    Where are the questions ? Or the stories how initiatives are shaping, emerging, started, in your countries ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  18. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    tl;dr: John Oliver wants to be able to deliver his interpretation of events to millions of people without submitting to the same standards that people in the same business are expected to.
     
  19. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Moderator

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    more like, unlike some other TV programs he at least is honest about what he doesn and doesn't claim to be 'fair and balanced' ;)
     
  20. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    Do you think he gives a fair big picture on a topic ?
    Meaning he summarises to all relevant factors
    or summarises to factors that can be made into humor (and fit the echoroom) ?
     

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