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>>Numerous German "Amerika-Korrespondent" types also seem to have little or no clue about the USA outside the beltway or beyond Manhattan.<<

You may be right, but nobody who lives in the "heartland" is aware that there are countries beyond the US coastlines, except maybe Iraq.

@republikaner: What's your point?

I don't agree with what you said about people from the "heartland" (and I doubt you've actually polled anyone to come to your conclusion). I'm confident that you won't find anyone in the "heartland" who hasn't heard of Canada, Mexico, Cuba, China, India, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, England, Iran, Israel, Syria, and Egypt, to name just a few.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say you're correct. Who cares? People in the "heartland" are not correspondents for major international news organizations.

@ republikaner

Scott H bascially nailed you. Here's what I have to add:

I happen to be from the US heartland myself, and I think I know a little something about the world. Additionally, I think the average American knows as much about Germany as the average German knows about Japan.

But here is the bottom line: Your statement has nothing to do with this post. It is a highly transparent attempt to divert our attention away from problems in the German media.

@All

I am also from 'flyover country'. I lived in Michigan (live in Germany now).
I knew (and know) quite a bit about Canada, having lived near the border.. watched Canadian TV, listened to Canadian radio, drank Canadian beer ;).
Some German said to me recently.. 'some American thought we fought the second world war because of access to the sea. They didn't know that we have access to the North and Baltic sea. Typisch Ami, so Weltfremd!!' I wanted to say (but didn't because of my midwest politeness).
'Michigan is about as big as Germany strictly from a land point of view. How many Germans could name me all the five Great Lakes (Michigan is the 'great lakes state'). How many Germans could tell me which of the lakes border on Michigan? How many Germans could tell me which lake lies wholly within the US? The answer: NOT VERY MANY..
SO.. we are expected to know all about Germany, but the Germans are NOT expected to know all about the USA.
That is called a DOPPELMORAL!!!!!

You may be right, but nobody who lives in the "heartland" is aware that there are countries beyond the US coastlines, except maybe Iraq.

Blödsinn. Plenty of Americans from the heartland are buried across France and Belgium, but I doubt if german kids know how they got there.

Republikaner,

Ah yes, more typical bigotry from Germany. Unlike what is now occurring in the US, miserable Germans seem to blame everyone but their own officials for Germany's current malaise. It's pretty pathetic that the dismal response of American authorities to Hurricane Katrina became an SPD issue in the recent German election in a effort to distract from Germany's real problems. What's even more pathetic is that millions of gullible, jaemmerlich Germans fell for this ploy hook, line, and sinker.

I live in the "heartland" of the US, and considering that I have a degree in geography, I'm ready and eager to list nations that I have not only heard of, but that I know something about. Perhaps we could start with Burkina Faso, Bhutan, East Timor, Malawi, Qatar, Kiribati, Vanuatu or some other nation of your chosing. This list is only the beginning. This "ignorant" American is ready to add more nations to it.

As someone who makes her living lobbying in Washington and therefore trying to get the message du jour out to the press, I can attest that the Arab media are no different from any other media, including the U.S. Solipsism is rampant. My guess is the people here representing the 'Arab' media know as much about their version of 'flyover' country in their homelands as Maureen Dowd knows about Ohio. (For non-American readers, Maureen Dowd is a columnist for the New York Times who had the misfortune to win a Pulitzer during the Clinton administration and thereby began to take herself a tad too seriously. She is, without affection, commonly referred to as 'MoDo'.)

Having said that: Gentlemen, would you please excuse me and stand aside for a moment?

@republikaner
>> nobody who lives in the "heartland" is aware that there are countries beyond the US coastlines, except maybe Iraq.

Fuck you. For generations Americans have fought and died on foreign soil for the freedom you now have to piss on them. Make no mistake. We do not need a map to find Germany. Or France.

Thank you, sirs, for your kind indulgence.

Pamela,

Thanks for you comment. It was spot on.

I say thanks because I am very busy today but did not want another euro expert on America to get a free pass without some one challenging him.

Have a wonderful day.

BTW - I was in WDC the last weekend in October - dinner at the Prime Rib and a couple of lunches at Old Ebbitt's. First time I was able to visit the WWII memorial and the one for FDR. Your comment about Americans knowing where france and Germany are could be expanded to include Japan.

Once again, republikaner shows what a doofus he/she is.

Or maybe it's just ignorance.

This heartlander not only has a passport, but has used it.

More than once.......................

And visited Germany.................

Twice...........................

And my dad spent 2 years in your fine country compliments of the US Army.


Bitte, republikaner.

--We do not need a map to find Germany. Or France.--

Just GPS.

Republikaner:

I live in the heartland (aka flyover country) and the chances are pretty good that I know more countries and have lived in more countries than you have or ever will.

You remind me of many of the Eurosnobs I met when I lived in Europe (including Germany) who thought by virtue of their birthplace they were superior to all others. Your statement just proves how minimal your awareness is.

Except for the control by authoritarian regimes, I would say the article could have been written without change about the German press. My wife and I watch plenty of German news every day through GermanTV, ProSiebenSat.1Welt and a local station that carries a large amount of Deutsche Welle programming. I can't recall even once the American correspondent ever interviewing an American, other than an occasional man-in-the-street soundbite. About the best they will do is to interview a German "expert" who is based in Germany. It appears that the German press has a very flexible definition of expert, based on what I've heard some of these folks say.

And if Americans from the heartland don't know where any foreign countries are, then why do some people in Germany complain about obnoxious American tourists? Are the locals making that up or is the claim that the American tourists don't know where they are?

Germany has a similiar cultural antagonism between rural and urban areas as the US. It's healthy to have both points of view, and these who empathize too much about a particular side can go to the Bundesliga. I doubt that any Germany correspondant in Berlin would understand the specific regional background e.g. of the Catholic group from a Bavarian "red region" which protested against the employment of Eastern European sex slaves at the World Cup. That's not the job of a capital correspondant. He will understand it when the "blue side" of Germany understands it. His job is to cover the issues that sell to his audience, and if commercial sex is among them he will frame it in their terms.

The creationism debate of Kansas is interesting to an European audience because it is contributing to a discourse over the relationship between an European religion and an European scientist. And the fact that this issue still is a part of the European-American discourse makes it interesting to Muslims who are looking for ideological breaking points, and who are appealed by the kulturpessimismus underlying that debate. Targeted interest in the regional specifics of Kansas is not an attention trigger for any of these audiences, so they will only make it into the coverage when "blue" America understands them first.

(I must add I just don't understand the cause of that hype. There is no contradiction. An obvious example for intelligent design is the existence of homosexuality. It can neither be fully explained from biological evolution nor from cultural ambition, so there must be some other origin, but though many theological arguments are thriving of fear for no reason. Interestingly the fear of Darwin seems to be quite similiar. There also is a correlation between how much difficulties a church has to understand that the author of the theory of evolution was not an antipope, and how far away that church is from the doctrine of the hieratical celibate.)

Each nation has to work through its own red-blue dichotomy, but the author of that IHT article does not mention which are "the few existing credible Arab media outlets" which could be supported. It might be easier to educate one's own "blue side" than finding the media equivalent to the mythical moderate Muslim. I wouldn't want foreign correspondants to think of themselves as 'more German than the Germans', and similiarly an Arab correspondant to America who staged himself as 'more American than the Americans' probably would be worse than one who sees America with Arab eyes through the "blue" glasses of its political capital.

RanzisM
>>The creationism debate of Kansas is interesting to an European audience because it is contributing to a discourse over the relationship between an European religion and an European scientist. And the fact that this issue still is a part of the European-American discourse

What European-American discourse are you referring to?

>>There also is a correlation between how much difficulties a church has to understand that the author of the theory of evolution was not an antipope, and how far away that church is from the doctrine of the hieratical celibate

What is the correlation?

>> I wouldn't want foreign correspondants to think of themselves as 'more German than the Germans', and similiarly an Arab correspondant to America who staged himself as 'more American than the Americans' probably would be worse than one who sees America with Arab eyes through the "blue" glasses of its political capital.

Ain't that the truth!

I have an example of really poor reporting in the U.S. media that may interest you. A 3-judge panel from the ninth circuit appeals court heard a case brought by parents in California. Their children had been given a survey by the school district that asked them questions such as "Do you often think about touching the private parts of other people?"

At the time of the survey, the children were in second grade (7 years old). The parents had been notified that a survey was forthcoming, but were not told the details of the questionnaire.

The parents sued all the way up to just before the U.S. Supreme court and lost. The court held that there is no constitutional right given to parents to control what the schools do.

And how is this playing in the media? THE COURT TAKES AWAY PARENTAL RIGHTS - SCHOOLS TEACH SEX HOW THEY CHOOSE.

What utter garbage. There IS no constitutional right. The state of California grants parents the rights to oversee their children's education and no way is the federal gov't going to cross that line. There were no federal rights to take away.

I don't often agree with the ninth circuit, but this time they are absolutely correct.

And the talking heads on TV? Well, the courts are trying to turn all of America's children into libertines while parents look on helplessly. I could just hurl.

Thank heavens all I have to raise is a beagle.

FranzisM, I enjoy your posts enormously. But I somehow just can't get excited by the Darwin vs Intelligent Design debate. I fail to understand how Darwinian theory threatens or challenges the notion of the Creator, so I end up thinking I'm just dealing with alot of insecure people - and I go make pie dough or something.

republikaner-
It constantly amazes me that Europeans forget that we are a nation built through immigration. Most of us got here in the late 1890's to the 1920's. And we haven't forgotten where we came from; I'm third generation American from Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine. I know about those countries.

I live in Chicago. My neighbors are from SouthAsia, Poland and Ireland. My friends from Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa and Italy (all first generation or their kids). I know about those countries.

Here in the Heartland, as anywhere in the US, I'll bet most American's knowledge of other countries and their cultures is far more informed than that of most Germans.

Michael, I'm in the SW suburbs.

I didn't follow parts of FranzisM's argument, but thought parts of it made sense. If Germans believe that those in the heartland don't know geography, that is partly because our own newspapers and coastal citizens believe the same thing. As inaccurate as it may be, I can't entirely fault republikaner for believing the same stereotype as 90% of Massachusetts residents (note to Germans: MA is one of the most consistently liberal states).

RayD hits on the key point. Because Germans are obsessed with the US, as much of the world is, they are very aware of knowing more about Americans (though much of that is inaccurate) than we know about Germans. But when German and American knowledge of other places in the world, such as Japan, are compared, I suspect "even" in the heartland the amount of knowledge is similar.

Germans likely know more about San Marino and Malta than Americans do. My suspicion is we know more about the Dominican Republic and Guatemala in compensation. Because of our knowledge of the lands of our forebears and our more frequent travel, Americans likely know more.

Granted, we have our complete jerks who can't find the other side of town, but I imagine every country has those. We also have geeks like storm72 and me, who obsess over maps and can spout out long lists of Romanian rivers.

Sandy P.
North Side here. Grew up in Lombard; moved to the city for college, then never looked back ;)

@Assistant Village Idiot
love the name :-))) My hubby calls himself that as well. He also says: "Abyssinia” instead of goodbye.

Sadly, IMHO, Republikaner's view is not uncommon in Germany. Which can be fun >;-) Everytime a German tells me how ignorant Americans are of the world, I ask them there they are from. They fall for it every time. They then ask me. "Washington State, near Seattle"....and it never fails...."Do you see the President often?" I just smile and ask them in which country the Panama Canal is located. So far, not one of the “lecturing” German has known the correct answer. The Germans who know the difference between Washington State and Washington DC don't lecture me about ignorant Americans :) (They don’t all know in which county the Panama Canal is located, but they don’t lecture.)
Point, I agree with you. I just am glad not all Germans know so little about Americans!

@ Pamela
“The court held that there is no constitutional right given to parents to control what the schools do.”
I agree, there is no constitutional right, however, as a parent of 3 sons, I will continue to fight for local and state laws that hold the schools accountable. This is just one example of "odd" things happening in school. Over the last 20 years, I've seen many "odd" things. To be blunt, the SCHOOL does not have a vested interest in my sons. My husband and I do! If they do not get an education that will enable them to get a job and function in society we, the parents, will have them living with us forever! They will not be living at the High School! I love them and I’m proud of them and I want them to fly out of the nest and only return for short visits!

@Pamela - I was referring to the IHT article which takes the intelligent design issue as an example for its analysis. And the correlation I see is that most of the proponents of intelligent design come from denominations whose priests have sex, which might explain the need to distinguish man from the animal kingdom.

I just read a few articles on the California school decision. I remember how I felt as a schoolkid back in the 1980s when they made that survey about television habits though my family didn't use that technology. Yet my parents could answer all the ensuing questions. I think when a kid makes a similiar experience with sexuality then it would probably prefer to discuss it with an independent counsellor rather than with a bearer of authority.

@jw
>>I agree, there is no constitutional right, however, as a parent of 3 sons, I will continue to fight for local and state laws that hold the schools accountable.

And the operative terms are 'local' and 'state'. You are abolutely right to do so. Here, for both American and non-American readers is a dissertation on the Constitution that is illuminationg.

http://www.sobran.com/articles/tyranny.shtml

quote
-------
The logic of the Constitution was so elegantly simple that a foreign observer could explain it to his countrymen in two sentences. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that “the attributes of the federal government were carefully defined [in the Constitution], and all that was not included among them was declared to remain to the governments of the individual states. Thus the government of the states remained the rule, and that of the federal government the exception.”
--------

This is an excellent piece.

I understand the historical context in which Germany devised a proportional gov't. But I don't think it has served well. Never thought I'd agree with Zyme on anything, but on this, I believe, he/she is correct.

@FranzisM
>>And the correlation I see is that most of the proponents of intelligent design come from denominations whose priests have sex, which might explain the need to distinguish man from the animal kingdom.

The only denomination I know of in which the priests are celibate is Catholicism. If you want to read some of the finest rigor in religion and the public life, I would refer you to First Things.

http://www.firstthings.com/

This is a Catholic publication and I am always challenged and humbled.

I dispute your assertion that the impetus for intelligent design arises from a need to distinguish man from the animal kingdom, especially as it pertains to sex. After all, animals engage in sexual reproduction. Obviously.

I maintain that the impetus for intelligent design comes from a requirement to grant the creative force to 'G-d'.

I never thought Darwinian theory of evolution exluded that avenue so I just don't get what the big deal is.

A pox on all their houses.

@Pamela - "I dispute your assertion that the impetus for intelligent design arises from a need to distinguish man from the animal kingdom, especially as it pertains to sex. After all, animals engage in sexual reproduction. Obviously."

Please don't get me started with Andrew Sullivan and the penguins. The distinction of man from the animal kingdom is promised in the Genesis but there are different ways to achieve it. One is when all men believe that this distinction had always existed, the other is when a minority of men abstains from any regression into the allocortex. Hence my conclusion that the celibate and creationism are two different answers to the same challenge.

Of course you can also describe this challenge as the requirement to grant the creative force to God.

@Pamela and FranzisM: Maybe I missed something along the way, but I thought that the point was that both concepts -- the theory of evolution, and holding the story of creation from Genesis to be literally true -- originally came from Europe. And that got me thinking about something. How many people here know that Charles Darwin is buried in Westminister Abbey? I was a bit surprised myself when I first saw that, on a visit to London several years ago. And at the time I remember thinking, "Wow, those Europeans must have resolved the dichotomy some years ago, if the Church of England honors the father of evolution in this manner." And I got to looking around for how they did that. And looking... and looking...

And I slowly came to realize, they never really did. What they seem to have done is: They simply decided to engage in doublethink, and hold both of these contradictory ideas (remember, we're talking about taking Genesis *literally*) to be true simultaneously. And shortly after, regarding the Bible and science, Europe decided that it didn't know about one and didn't care about the other (as for which was which, take your pick; it doesn't really matter).

They left the resulting philosophical mess for the Americans to clean up. And it's a very hard problem, and we are still struggling with it. Lots of things have been tried. For a while, in the 1950s, we ignored the problem, but that didn't satisfy anyone. Then, in the 1960s we tried throwing God out of the equation, and pretending that the universe happened entirely by accident. But the odds against that just seemed insurmountable. In the '80s, we had "creation science", which turned out to be pretty unscientific. So out that went too. Now, intelligent design might be converging on an answer of sorts, which the creationist side addresses the philosophical aspects, and the evolution side addresses the physical means by which it happened.

Sorry for that diversion, but I'm using it to make a point: Looking back on the stuff that preceded intelligent design, most of it looks awfully silly now. And maybe this is the most basic difference between America and Europe: Americans aren't afraid of looking silly. Is this the fundemental difference between us? Consider Iraq. Almost every such war ever fought looked bad for the good guys in the early going (case in point: WWII). And yeah, for a while there, in the period after Bahgdad fell, and the bad guys were a step ahead of us in their long-range planning, we looked silly. Is the fear of looking uncool more important to Europe than its own survival? Are Europeans really willing to go down with the ship, as long as they are dressed appropriately? Or are they going to get buckets, get their nice clothes all wet and smelly, and start bailing?

FranzisM
>> the other is when a minority of men abstains from any regression into the allocortex. Hence my conclusion that the celibate and creationism are two different answers to the same challenge.

Of course you can also describe this challenge as the requirement to grant the creative force to God.

---------

FranzisM, you're talking to the clueless. "regression into the allocortex" (which I learned as the 'heterotypical cortex' when I was in school) simply has no meaning to me. You may as well piss up a rope. Apologies.

@Cousin Dave

That post is the most subtle, nuanced slam I can recall reading in quite a while.

Congrats. See you on LGF.

grayp

@Cousin Dave - That's quite well observed, but did you also look in mainland Europe behind the former iron curtain? Conflicts being resolved on the graveyard first with doublethink remaining in the living culture are a typical phenomenon for the 20th century, and very few of them were just local to one single nation.

In that case, the Nazis replaced Darwins ideal of competition with an ideal of man as a predator. As a result Europe was partitioned into two sides, geographically as well as mentally, each of which engaged in its own sequel of the culture. The graveyard is all but the worst place to begin a reconciliation of antithetical forces when balance cannot be achieved by simply picking one side and dropping the other (or vice versa). The heirs of Darwin have come up with a standard workaround for the unresolved problem of creation vs. evolution, which has become widely known as the anthropic principle. If you want to receive the "philosophical mess" of your root culture without that nicely sealed ontological garbage can it has mass-produced for it, then please don't complain.

There have been indigenous European efforts to work on that problem, most notable these centered around the Kraków school. Stanislaw Lems synthesis of evolutionary game theory and information theory (Summa Technologiae) argued in the 1960s that biological evolution deserves that intelligent designers learn from it, even though it lacks their anticipation. Kraków also spawned a pope who cleansed Catholicism of the notion that the evolution/creation dichotomy would remain unresolved forever.

I cannot exclude however that these efforts might have stayed below the radar of outsiders, in a similiar way as the tiny minority which argued that the liberation of Iraq might be a decisive move to break up the cultural entanglement of Europe by Islam. If your own culture came with a certain degree of original fragmentation, then you would have to chose either to mentally retreat into a cohesive fragment of it, or risk looking silly. And, unlike in a cohesive culture, few and far between. But - to pick up your metaphor - that is still enough to prevent the sleepy old ship from running into the iceberg in the first place.

@Pamela - PUAR? Go discuss your favorite Ween records on LGF, the minions might give you a clue. It's not exactly the type of music I would play for sex though. But see ya!

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