Hi America: Welcome to the rest of the world!

I was reading through the Fat-O-Sphere this morning and I found this article on the F-Word, which brought up one of my favourite long time rants πŸ™‚

Why do Americans assume that, a) we know who they are, and b) that they are in the majority, c) that we care??

In the article I linked to above, the blogger identifies a vintage ad as dating from 1942, which she describes as “shortly after the start of World War II in the U.S.” Β (Italics mine). A commentator makes the calm comment (and rightly so!) that WW II *started* back in 1939: 1942 only marks America’s involvement in the conflict but she’s jumped on by the blogger who says the commenter should know that the blogger is American (as if that makes such ambiguous statements OK) and therefore only interested in American history. FWIW I read the original comment as meant; that 1942 marked America’s entry into the war. I have no doubt that the commenter did too. But the language used by the blogger was clumsy and deserved a quick heads-up, rather than a slap for not recognising the *obvious American* in our midst.

It’s bad enough that movies, etc, take and manipulate history to emphasise (or *create*) American involvement in the affairs of others; but it really annoys me when they assume the Internet is American. Countless times I have been told I can’t spell; need to change my language, etc, because it causes offence to Americans (and when I argue the same back – that *I* and other Kiwis are offended by something they say, I am told to ‘suck it up’); I am told that manners and cultural mores are pretty much universal throughout the Western World (boy, do we have news for you!..); and the one that really gets me, is when I am told that the rest of world “looks up to/is jealous of/wants to be like (America)”.

Some things can’t be changed. There are more of you than us, so I have become resigned to making sure I add notes such as ‘NZ sizing’ or ‘NZD’ and pointing out that we drive on the left, even though none of you can be bothered to do the same for the rest of us (perhaps you could try, in the interests of ‘equality’?) But if you want to roll your eyes at me when I ask what/who “Macy’s and Gimbels” are, then expect me to direct you curtly to Google when you ask me what ‘manky’ means. If you want me to stop using terms you find offensive I may oblige, *if* you take my request to not use the term ‘fanny pack’ seriously (‘fanny’ being slang for female genitalia in my part of the world.) And if you use language that seems to suggest a historical falsehood – especially one that diminishes the actions of ‘the rest of us’ – then you can expect someone to point it out. A non-American, of course.

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5 Responses

  1. I tend to be Americentric. When I read about Kyle Sandilands comment on that fat comedian needing to go to a concentration camp, I immediately thought of the Holocaust (which is firmly attached to the American identity now) and was later corrected that Australia used concentration camps as well.

    I definitely am tolerant of the rest of the world’s right to not be American, but if I do tend to read things as if the author is American with an American background. Its just my default position.

    And why do we think everything is about America? ‘Cause we’re the BEST, man. Haven’t you been paying attention the last eight years? We do everything right.

    By the way, you misspelled “offense.”

    πŸ™‚

    Peace,
    Shannon

    • Hey, I never said I *could* spell! πŸ™‚

      I understand the default position and I don’t blame you all for it; hell, pretty much everywhere you go in cyberspace Americans are in the majority, so it’s not as though you’re used to much else. I guess I just want the recognition from time to time that the rest of us are here to.

      Have broadband – will blog πŸ™‚

  2. P.S – Kyle Sandilands is a dweeb. Hell, I’m a Kiwi not an Aussie and even *I* know that!

  3. Hear, Hear!

    I admit I am an American, and my default position is americentric, but I do try to check that, simply because I find my countrymen’s hubris vastly annoying and disgusting.

    And, may I just say, Welcome to the fatosphere!

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