U.S. vs. rest-of-the-world grudge match September 10, 2003 1:03 PM   Subscribe

The ongoing U.S. vs. rest-of-the-world grudge match is unnecessary and annoying, especially when it's off topic.
posted by PrinceValium to Etiquette/Policy at 1:03 PM (54 comments total)



Is this because Rummy (???) was mentioned.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:18 PM on September 10, 2003


No, it's because Americans have an arrogant swagger and all of Europe is totally condescending.

Or maybe because turbo-nationalism is turbo-in-style.
posted by rocketman at 1:24 PM on September 10, 2003


No, it's because Americans have an arrogant swagger and all of Europe is totally condescending.

I thought all of MeFi was totally condescending regardless of race, creed or boxers/briefs?
(Including me, although I usually go commando.)
posted by Shane at 1:26 PM on September 10, 2003


(Including me, although I usually go commando.)

And thus the swagger...
posted by ursus_comiter at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2003




rummy finds it funny.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:32 PM on September 10, 2003


An american makes a joke about the assassination of a swedish politician and you think the complaint about it is unnecessary, annoying and off topic?
posted by timeistight at 1:33 PM on September 10, 2003 [1 favorite]


And thus the swagger...
Well, it makes these things redundant, and cuts down on laundry as well.
(NSFW & annoying browser-resize if you click the link).
(And it might not be a swagger, just a rash.)
posted by Shane at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2003


So, anyone got any good 9/11 jokes?
posted by fuzz at 1:48 PM on September 10, 2003


She's not dead, yet.

Poor taste all the same.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:56 PM on September 10, 2003


It's not a U.S. vs. Them grudge match per se. Outlawyer is being a total prick in that thread.
posted by orange swan at 2:01 PM on September 10, 2003 [1 favorite]


And anyway, if we're going to joke about other nationalities it should at least be the French.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:09 PM on September 10, 2003


So, anyone got any good 9/11 jokes?

I'm sure Outlawr has got a couple more of those rib ticklers to share with us.
posted by lasm at 2:09 PM on September 10, 2003


rummy finds it funny..
O' that rummy.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:11 PM on September 10, 2003


He does indeed:

Oh, and by the way, I'd say Ms. Lindh is more analagous to the Governor of Indiana, which state has a population of 6,159,068, not too much less than Sweden's slightly less than 9,000,000. I don't see anyone boo hooing about his recent stroke.
posted by orange swan at 2:12 PM on September 10, 2003


I agree with orange swan. If there is anyone in that thread worth discussing, and reprimanding, it's Outlawyer. This comment is simply idiotic.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:13 PM on September 10, 2003


Rummy gets stabbed = funny (to some)
Lindh gets stabbed = funny (to others)

Yes? No?

Whatever happens, let's try not to inundate the front page with myriad of maudlin memorial posts about this 365 days from now.
posted by Witty at 2:21 PM on September 10, 2003


Dark Humor about Sweden: totally insensitive and irreprehensible.

Dark Humor about the US, including oft-mentioned assassination fantasies: totally awesome!

(on preview: Witty beat me to it)
posted by dhoyt at 2:25 PM on September 10, 2003


folks, slam Outlawyr all you like, it seems totally justified, but stop adding an E to the username.
posted by soyjoy at 2:27 PM on September 10, 2003


timeistight - the direction the whole thread has taken is annoying. I didn't mean to pick on one comment in particular.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:30 PM on September 10, 2003


Which direction would you like the thread to go PrinceValium? It's a post about a political figure of debatable worldly influence getting stabbed NEARLY to death. That's it. It is certainly an unfortunate event... but uhh. Yea.
posted by Witty at 2:37 PM on September 10, 2003


Sorry 'bout misspelling Outlawyr's username. I usually do try to get people's user names exact, even to respecting their choice of lower case (as that may have been a very conscious choice, as opposed to just laziness as it was in my case).
posted by orange swan at 2:37 PM on September 10, 2003


Rummy gets stabbed = funny (to some)
Lindh gets stabbed = funny (to others)


Neither is funny. But in Rumsfeld's case, any reaction would be based on who he is personally. Since I doubt most Americans have even heard of Lindh, what is the reaction based on, other than just general xenophobia?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:38 PM on September 10, 2003


The ongoing _____________ grudge match is unnecessary and annoying, especially when it's off topic.

I totally agree.
posted by weston at 2:39 PM on September 10, 2003


If any of you spoilsports bring your 'you shouldn't laugh at bad things' attitude into the bear + trampoline thread I'm gonna go play with the otehr kids. Detachment helps us grieve, after all.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2003


Good point weston.
posted by timeistight at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2003


What Armitage Shanks said: People are making wise with this because they don't understand why this foreigner might be important. 'She's not an American so why should we care?' It's kind of sad that many people have no empathy anymore. And it's very nice of "witty" to excuse insensitivity by belittling Lindh's medical condition and international status.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2003 [1 favorite]


I'm not excusing anything. I'm just not freaking out over a few harmless jokes about Sweden (read: not Lindh), because the FPP itself is pretty weak. What is it that you would like to discuss "elwoodwiles"? Do you think we should all send her an e-card?

...might be important.

Exactly.
posted by Witty at 3:19 PM on September 10, 2003


Oh geez, I don't know what you are bothering to say. This story doesn't matter? She wasn't important? If you don't care about Lindh than why are you being so sarcastic at her expense? For fun? Oh, I see, you think it was a weak FPP, ah. People were making 'Sweden jokes' using this stabbing as a set-up to a series of lame punchlines. Very sensitive. You evidently are either trying to make some misguided point that it's okay to make jokes about suffering or you're just trolling.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:38 PM on September 10, 2003


politics are for assholes.
posted by angry modem at 4:29 PM on September 10, 2003


Dark Humor about Sweden: totally insensitive and irreprehensible.
Dark Humor about the US, including oft-mentioned assassination fantasies: totally awesome!


Congratulations. You seem to have concisely summed up my outlook.
Bork!
With such a calm, peaceful blue flag, how can you pick on them?
Where's the beer store, eh?
Like Canada. With a maple leaf for a flag, how bad can they be?
posted by Shane at 5:17 PM on September 10, 2003


That's a maple leaf with two bars, Shane. It's a symbol for the perfect weekend.
posted by orange swan at 7:51 PM on September 10, 2003


I used to go to the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans... does that mean I can be an honorary Canuck? It would make all my conversations with Europeans so much simpler...
posted by taz at 9:56 PM on September 10, 2003


You'll have to pass the test, eh?
posted by timeistight at 11:02 PM on September 10, 2003


She's dead now.
posted by jack_mo at 12:40 AM on September 11, 2003


I used to go to the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans...

I was there in '76--just about the coolest place I've ever seen.
I was so impressed by the place I bought their tshirt. I still have it.
posted by y2karl at 1:24 AM on September 11, 2003


a really sad effing thread that was. grim.
posted by dabitch at 2:31 AM on September 11, 2003


the sad truth is that even the much-maligned politics threads and war threads here (ie US politics threads, or US war threads) may suck but at least the participants have some basic info about the facts discussed.

MeFi can do Canada threads alright, you just need to have watched a few South Park episodes and a NHL game to feel informed enough and crack a few "aboot" jokes.

Discussing Sweden, on the other hand, requires knowledge that sadly escapes most members here -- not that there's anything wrong about that of course, the American media not being very interested in European matters, and if I lived in Iowa I wouldn't probably give a damn about Europe too (the very rare euro currency threads here having been extremely disappointing, since there's very few Euro-zone users here. by the way, how many US dollars for a euro today? * )

the consequence is that people who don't know much about Sweden, even basic info like who's the PM (let alone having actually visited the place) feel free to be flippant about a tragedy like ms Lindh's murder.

(and let's try to forget the attitude of those users whose basic argument seems to be that since Sweden is unable to blow up the whole galaxy with nukes automatically makes her a lame, uninteresting country whose politicians lives -- or deaths -- are therefore irrelevant. I'd like to remain under the impression that the collective IQ here is one of the reasons the site deserves to be checked out everey day, so I'd better forget about that argument)

it's not even about disliking Sweden because of her pride for her Welfare State and commitment to at least try to do something about poverty, or disliking Sweden because of her open society where, say, John Ashcroft would be considered a dangerous right wing nut, and Sweden's proud opposition to the Iraq Attaq.
the Anna Lindh thread is even less dignified than that -- let's just be flippant about her savage murder because you know, plainly, as a heavily-American community we seem to care only about American deaths. not to mention European political affairs are boring per se, unlike the US', right?

Sergio Vieria de Mello, a great democratic hero, was recently murdered, too. I must admit that his death seems to have impressed this community much less than Warren Zevon's -- and that really says something about us


* it's 1.12 US dollars for 1 euro, for the one or two users here who didn't know
posted by matteo at 2:44 AM on September 11, 2003


If you don't care/don't know about the topic of one thread shouldn't you leve the thread alone?
Thats what people usually suggest for "uninteresting threads". I was up half the night watching the emergency news broadcast, and was really disappointed that those pissing on the thread didn't piss off - so us who cared could actually discuss the event and it's repercussions.

but thats right, this is not a discussion board.....
posted by dabitch at 2:58 AM on September 11, 2003


Discussing Sweden, on the other hand, requires knowledge that sadly escapes most members here ...

Knowledge we might have gotten if half-assed jokesters hadn't decided that assassination attempts of world leaders were comedy gold.
posted by rcade at 3:00 AM on September 11, 2003


Unfortunately there is no accounting for taste (or the lack of it).
posted by johnnyboy at 3:18 AM on September 11, 2003


Knowledge we might have gotten...

There were some Swedes in the thread trying to make themselves heard, here's some random knowledge; Anna Lindh was not only the yes-queen in regards to the Euro, she was also very active in trying to get the Swedish prisoner in camp x-ray home and didn't spare words when pressing the USA (unlike the danes in regards to their citizen). She was also against the UN helping clean up Iraq unless certain conditions were met:

"You cannot have a situation where the US remains in control over what happens in Iraq and at the same time others have to move in and take care of security and reconstruction."

Dagny posted a talk-worthy thread, it's more than a shame it turned in to a US vs Europe pissing match.
posted by dabitch at 3:41 AM on September 11, 2003


Agreed, that was pretty miserable reading. Going back and looking at it again, I don't get a vibe that people were actually making fun of the assassination attempt itself - just that they felt compelled to say something, and in some cases that came out as cracking wise about funny ol' Sweden, cosy ol' Europe, or whatever else was the first thing that came to mind.

What's wrong with taking the approach of, if you don't know much about the (obviously very grave) situation being presented to you, resisting the urge to post the darkly comic zingers and waiting until you know a bit more? Or going out to look for it yourself, and contributing something positive? Or just asking a question of the large audience here, some of whom might know better?

I don't know much about Lindh, but even the slightest research shows that she was a key player in the closely-balanced Swedish referendum on the euro, which in turn is being closely watched by the non-euro EU countries, one of which is of course the UK. That adds a whole extra layer of significance to her already disturbing attack and now death. This is a death that could have ripple effects for the whole of Europe.
posted by rory at 3:50 AM on September 11, 2003


There's a cold, dense side to metafilter commenting, which showed up in stark relief here. I don't understand it, but I don't think most of these people are really this harsh and/or stupid. At least, I hope not.

I have no explanation for the phenomenon, though. If matteo is right, and it's simply that "as a heavily-American community we seem to care only about American deaths" (or, in this case, attacks, as the original post aired), then I'm redoubling my plea for Canadian sponsorship. But "caring only about American deaths" doesn't explain the brutality of the comments. I suspect it's some kind of pose... but of what, and why, I can't fathom.
posted by taz at 5:29 AM on September 11, 2003 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with taking the approach of, if you don't know much about the (obviously very grave) situation being presented to you, resisting the urge to post the darkly comic zingers and waiting until you know a bit more?

If the requirement to actually know something about the subject matter was in effec it would also filter out the people who are offended because the oppourtunity came up. In which case I'm all for it.

Anyone who actually knew this person's name before yeste3rday please continue on. My guess is that it would be a quiet discussion.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:13 AM on September 11, 2003


the people who are offended because the opportunity came up?

den milaou coyote-speak poli kala.
posted by taz at 6:27 AM on September 11, 2003


Dark Humor about Sweden: totally insensitive and irreprehensible.

Dark Humor about the US, including oft-mentioned assassination fantasies: totally awesome!


I suppose it's a bit like bitching about your mom. You can do it all you want, but if someone else utters a peep, it's "Whatchoo say about my mother?" Countries are similar I guess.

the people who are offended because the opportunity came up?

Oh, some people live to be offended. It gets them all revved up.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 AM on September 11, 2003


If the requirement to actually know something about the subject matter was in effec it would also filter out the people who are offended because the oppourtunity came up.

"Waiting until you know a bit more," I suggested. Not a lot more; a bit. A quick Google's worth, say, or one or two comments from people who do know a bit more. That's not asking much.

Oh, some people live to be offended. It gets them all revved up.

Yeah, they're the ones who let us know how offended they are all the time. And not just "because the opportunity came up".

It's not about feeling "offended", it's about wishing that people would resist derailing what could be valuable discussions. You know - the kind we all say we'd like more of on MeFi. It doesn't have to be seen as a US vs Europe thing; the situation would be identical if it was Europeans (or Australians, or anyone) blundering into threads about US state politics and saying "Hey, where the hell is Iowa, anyway?"

There are hundreds of people reading this site every day. Not all of them have to chip in their two cents on every single thread. At least wait until you've got five cents.

Or don't. Whatever floats your boat.
posted by rory at 7:54 AM on September 11, 2003


Metafilter: just felt compelled to say something.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:55 AM on September 11, 2003


it takes two to derail a thread, one to do the trolling and one to answer and get worked up.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:40 AM on September 11, 2003


Dagny posted a talk-worthy thread, it's more than a shame it turned in to a US vs Europe pissing match

But the thread itself, as actually posted, wasn't particularly talk-worthy, in the sense that there wasn't much meat for discussion. Someone was stabbed! It's the ultimate newsfilter post -- what are people supposed to discuss, the pros and cons of stabbing politicians?

It's certainly possible to springboard off of the murder into something discussable -- to discuss the pros and cons of Scandinavian open-society-style politicians, or to discuss how they got that way, or why some societies seem to produce more politician-killing wackos than others, or similar.

But the post didn't ask us to do that, or provide any more general links to the just-folks aspects of Scandinavian political figures or any other context for discussion -- all it did was say that someone got stabbed in a place not known for stabbings. Instead of asking people to google around and find stuff out before posting, it would make more sense for the poster to provide the relevant links him- or herself.

Given that, I'm not surprised that it devolved into a pissing match of one sort or another.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 AM on September 11, 2003


Nationalistic tongues...
posted by Shane at 8:58 AM on September 11, 2003


Someone was stabbed! It's the ultimate newsfilter post -- what are people supposed to discuss, the pros and cons of stabbing politicians?

Who was stabbed, the circumstances of the attack, why anybody should care, the belief that politicians don't need security details in that part of Europe, new developments, the consequences of the attack ... there's a long list of possible subjects for anyone inclined to take the news seriously, whether or not they were spelled out in the link.

This isn't the McLaughlin Group. Anyone who needs to be spoon-fed a list of possible topics of discussion wasn't going to contribute anything of interest anyway.
posted by rcade at 10:11 AM on September 11, 2003


Oh, some people live to be offended. It gets them all revved up.

Amen. The thread in question was ruined by tasteless and dumb comments, but I have also seen a number of threads ruined by people that feel this sort of responsibility to be offended. What does it say about you? That you are more sensitive than others? Smarter? Or just whinier?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:24 AM on September 11, 2003


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