(By Ray D.)
Erik S. of ¡No Pasarán!, an outstanding French blog, left us a brilliant comment explaining why media critical bloggers have sprung up in droves throughout Europe over the past two years and why more and more bloggers are emerging to join their ranks with each passing day. He puts his finger on the fundamental prejudice and imbalance in European society and media which has been passively accepted by so many for so long now.
Just to place it in context, Erik's comment was posted as a response to another outstanding comment we posted a few days ago by Tyranno which can be viewed here. Here is what Erik had to say:
Having lived in Paris for over 10 years, I would say that, if anything, the 90-95% figure is too small. I mention this, because if you changed the word "German/Germany" to "French/France", Tyranno's words would ring just as true. Any discussion on world events will inevitably — and I do mean inevitably — lead to the statement of the "fact" that Americans are treacherous, and Europeans are ever so lucides. (That is what caused me to found this organization.) As for why people like myself have opened blogs about this, it is because of something called injustice. I do not like injustice. I do not like the injustice of a man who claims he is against war only going out to protest when the U.S. military is involved. I do not like the injustice of a woman who claims she is against the death penalty but willfully ignores China's putting to death as many as 25 times the number of people put to death in America each year. I do not like the injustice of an intellectual/reporter claiming to be indpendent and interested in all cases of government perfidy, and deliberately and consistently ignoring, and white-washing, those of anybody but Uncle Sam, and primarily those of his own government. I do not like the injustice of someone weeping about the fate of prisoners in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib and ignoring that of the men and women who had hands and tongues cut off, were forced to eat the flesh of their spouses' arms, and whose bodies litter the fields of Iraq; ignoring, in effect, the opinion of the majority of people in Iraq. If someone said that all blacks were simple-minded and incapable of thinking clearly, there would be an uproar, and rightly so. If someone said all Slavs were treacherous and war-mongers, there would be an uproar, and rightly so. Such opinions would not only be called unjust and ignorant, they would be called despicable. And rightly so.
But say the same about Americans, in public or among friends, and nobody thinks of protesting. Well, actually, yes, there are a few of us, and people like us are called "biased" by the likes of Jo who snicker and ask if we don't have more important things to worry about.
Now, here's the fun fact. When you mention this in Europe, some Europeans will guffaw and say, "Oh, but in the case of the Americans, it happens to be the truth!" (Of course, they forget that their own ancestors said the exact same thing about the blacks/Slavs/etc: it just happened to "be the truth", too.) Whatever the case may be, I have found what David and Tyranno have also uncovered: that a bit of investigation turns up the fact that Americans are perhaps not as simple-minded as the Europeans would like to think, and that the Europeans are perhaps not as avant-garde-thinking as they would like to believe. But because this "opinion" is inherently self-serving, unless some people say this (and it will be resisted as being ridiculously out-of-hand), no voices will be raised in Europe at all.
PS: I have translated part of Tyranno's post into French.
Rest assured, more and more people are "raising their voices" and saying what needs to be said. It is the same whether you are in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, London or anywhere else on the European continent. Transatlantic relations will never again flourish unless we confront the bias and resentments propogated on a mass scale by a small media elite. We cannot allow the ugly, self-serving prejudice that Erik so eloquently describes to continue unchecked around us. That is why we blog.
Here is another superb, must-see comment from a reader who calls himself "lost one":