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Old 14th August 2004, 10:06 PM   #1
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Default Europe and North America

Back from Italy and wondering what North Americans think is so superior about North America. To tarry a moment on this point, I’ve heard the sentiment “best country in the world” expressed so many times by and particularly about the country of our neighbours to the south, and not an insignificant number of times by and about the country of my birth, that I long began to wonder whether the adolescence driving the saying of such betrays uncertainty about who is not convinced of the matter, the speaker or the intended listener? In this vein, I find the following comment of Theodore Couloumbis, director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, apt. Mr. Coloumbis here speaks of what the Olympics will do for Greece:

"These Olympics will be decisive in terms of finalizing our transition to self-esteem," he said. "No more insecurities, which in turn create this kind of bravado that says, we are the best, we are the chosen, we are surrounded by enemies and everything that is wrong is the result of a conspiracy in Washington or New York. Finally, we can create the impression we are a normal European country."

Interesting to hear this understanding of Greek bravado. Perhaps the understanding applies to bravado generally.

Just had to get that out of my system.
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Old 14th August 2004, 10:36 PM   #2
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Hi TC,

Glad to see you enjoyed your stay in Italy.

Quote:
"These Olympics will be decisive in terms of finalizing our transition to self-esteem," he said. "No more insecurities, which in turn create this kind of bravado that says, we are the best, we are the chosen, we are surrounded by enemies and everything that is wrong is the result of a conspiracy in Washington or New York. Finally, we can create the impression we are a normal European country."
I'm at a loss at what exactly it is Mr. Couloumbis is refering to.
Certainly the Olympics will boost Greece's image and economy which in turn will hopefully help it futher to integrate itself within the EU.
However, I'm convinced that would have happened anyway although perhaps at a slower pace.

The sentence about being surrounded by enemies and conspiracy strikes me more as being a chapter out of the history of the Roman Empire.

Can you shed some light on this or is this just a statement by a local Canadian politician?

TIA,
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Old 15th August 2004, 02:37 PM   #3
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Actually, I don't think Mr Coloumbis is a Canadian politician. The Society he directs is located in Athens, so I would think he is Greek.
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Old 15th August 2004, 04:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Europe and North America

Quote:
Originally posted by serengetiplains
Back from Italy and wondering what North Americans think is so superior about North America.
Most people assume that the fierce patriotism of Americans as we see it today (where the masses believe that each and every of their basic institutions are superior to those elsewhere) and how it is promoted in the media is a chicken and egg situation where the media is reflecting popular belief and consequently propagates it as well. But some sources actually ascribe it to a post-Korean war reponse to hardening the troops against fighting a such a war. Many of the difficulties faced by the US in Vietnam regarding public support were foreshadowed by the Korean War, except that it was only at the troop level.
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Old 15th August 2004, 04:19 PM   #5
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There are things about the US which are unique and wonderful. Native pride is not unique to the US; ask a Parisian about the superiority of French culture, food, whatever.

My favorite chauvinism is from the Belgians. (Frank, you'll have to forgive me for this) They love to claim that they have the greatest cuisine in the world. The catch phrase is, "French quality, German quantity." They're half-right.
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Old 15th August 2004, 07:37 PM   #6
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Most people are patriots deep down. The greyscale view mostly comes from the more travelled part of the population. As I see it, pretty much any place in the world have something unique to be proud of, the trick is to find out what it is, and enjoy it. I've been living abroad for a few years, and have come to the conclusion that home is fine, but there is so much more on offer if you open your eyes a bit and let go of the"inner patriot", pretty much anywhere in the world.

All it really takes is to integrate with the locals....shortly you'll find yourself enjoying the same things they enjoy.

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Old 15th August 2004, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
They love to claim that they have the greatest cuisine in the world. The catch phrase is, "French quality, German quantity." They're half-right.
The greatest cuisine is the Thai kitchen for me, just like their woman.
But compared to the French, we do better.

/Hugo
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Old 15th August 2004, 09:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
But compared to the French, we do better.
On numbers, yes. France will always be a Third World country as long as the number "97" is said as "four twenty ten seven." IIRC, Belgians have the word "nonante"?

I dither about my favorite cuisine, but Thai is always #2. My wife speaks Thai pretty well and that's done wonders for us in some local restaurants.

It's hilarious to hear a Belgian defending their food. Or rationalizing putting mayonnaise on frites.
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Old 15th August 2004, 10:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
Or rationalizing putting mayonnaise on frites.
Frank, where are you? Need some help here

/Hugo - septante, nonante but does prefer "quatre vingt dix sept"
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Old 15th August 2004, 10:23 PM   #10
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Hi,

If you allow me I'll forgive you for insulting our absolutely non-chauvinistic cuisine:

97 in french would be 80-17 : quatrevingt (in itself already meaning 4*20 > eighty) dixsept (seventeen).
But you knew that already....

The Walloon part of Belgium, probably remebering the Roman invasions amongst a dozen others, quite likely got fed up with these overly complicated numbers and went back to the source...Latin.
So here the Walloon say, septante en lieu of soixante-dix, nonante en lieu of quatre-vingt-dix, quatre-vingt-onze...douze, treize, 'till you have your tongue in a knot....

For the anecdote and not that it will come to anyone's surprise: the word "chauvin" is etymologically a typical french word

Etymology: French chauvinisme, from Nicolas Chauvin, character noted for his excessive patriotism and devotion to Napoleon in Théodore and Hippolyte Cogniard's play La Cocarde tricolore (1831)

Source is Meriam Webster.

Quote:
It's hilarious to hear a Belgian defending their food. Or rationalizing putting mayonnaise on frites.
Just as hilarious as it would be defending Mac Donalds as being FOOD in se.
We and the rest of Europe put mayonnaise on our fries (a Belgian invention claimed by the French but who cares), you guys seem to insist on putting ketchup (a dutch invention BTW) on just about anything...Now THAT is absolutely tasteless to me.

Hmmm...Do I feel another foodfight coming or what??

Cheers....Errr... bon appetit,
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