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September 12, 2002

Europe vs. America


Somewhat to my surprise, there is an excellent piece in the September issue of Harper's, entitled "Le Divorce: Do Europe and America have irreconcilable differences" by Nicholas Fraser.

It is full of wonderful bits, including a Frenchwoman explaining why America no longer inspires confidence (it has newscasts with aggressive special effects, and President Bush uses primitive theological concepts like "evil" and other low-class rhetorical effects in his speeches), the homogeneity of British television coverage of America (the only topics include the underclass, innocent people on death row, the history of lynching, the fences separating Texas and California from Mexico, and American obesity), the frustrations resulting from the inability of Europe to create sufficient political unity to serve as a balance to American power, and the sense of overall political impotence giving rise to European xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.

One brief quote:

Otherwise the European future consists of wishes--that nation-states should somehow cease to exist, that the nations of Eastern Europe might by ingested by the Union without excessive inconvenience, that less money might somehow be squandered on cows or olive trees, and that against expectations the world will somehow prove itself capable of being a less dangerous place, more in keeping with the carefully policed, air-conditioned, and wholy unexceptional space colonized by the E.U.



posted by Friedrich at September 12, 2002


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