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2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Old Apr 20th 2013, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
It seems to me that this lack of detached, critical thinking is a major issue in this country.
Poor education, soundbite media etc.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:03 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Actually, this is a serious, but off-topic observation, and one that I am struggling with at work.

There seems to be something in the American pschye that stops people from questioning authority or perceived truisms. I'm finding that my biggest workplace challenge - especially as my team is tasked with thinking the unthinkable, questioning our past and future actions. It's called Long Term Strategy, and it appears to be missing in spades.

It was NEVER so much of a drag to extract any number of "I'll tell you what's broken 'ere mate" out of people in the UK or Europe in general. Here, if you even so much dare to say "well, maybe that's just incorrect" or "is there a better way to do ...." I find people clam up, fail to grasp the moment, get all worried about saying the wrong thing, etc. Stunning insecurity.

I thought Americans were legion for criticising, demanding, questioning, etc. Instead, just as with this topic, they seem very quick to tell me how well THEY are doing, and that all the ills are caused by those without their immediate group....

It seems to me that this lack of detached, critical thinking is a major issue in this country.

I have a lot of trouble at work with rational and probing analysis of a process, proposed course of action, decision, strategy, idea etc., being taken as personal criticism on an emotional level. I end up spending more time worrying about hurting people's feelings (which negatively affects one's progress in the company) than about making the best decision. It's mad.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:41 am
  #408  
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
It seems to me that this lack of detached, critical thinking is a major issue in this country.
I'm generalising here, but it has long seemed to me that Americans are much more tribal in their thinking and reactions than Europeans. It's as though they're still new in the nation-building business, and correspondingly insecure. Hence all the flag-waving and hand-on-heart stuff that Europeans (and other "old" nations) have out-grown.

Most on this thread will agree with me, I expect. Those who don't, may be insecure themselves with their new loyalty - trying to prove their patriotism with the passion of the newly converted.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:49 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
I have a lot of trouble at work with rational and probing analysis of a process, proposed course of action, decision, strategy, idea etc., being taken as personal criticism on an emotional level. I end up spending more time worrying about hurting people's feelings (which negatively affects one's progress in the company) than about making the best decision. It's mad.
Yes, yes to what you're all saying!!

Both at my company and companies we do business with. We spent two days once with a contractor trying to nail down what their process was to get from A to Z. They just couldn't grasp what we were getting at, we just kept having to say "and what do you do next". Two bloody days. Just so we could map out the process in front of them and point out (the bleeding obvious to us) that they could actually get from A to Z in 5 steps instead if they just thought about it.

It was like we were talking Swahili or something.

I think it comes from the same place in the psyche that just shrugs whenever someone points out how dreadfully inefficient the DMV is (or VA or any other organisation of your choice). If it was the DVLA in the UK we'd be moaning to MPs, writing letters to the papers and generally kicking up a fuss until they sorted it out. A kind of fatalism almost - the problem's too big, so why bother trying to do something, however small, to try and fix it. See also gun violence....
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:51 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
I'm generalising here, but it has long seemed to me that Americans are much more tribal in their thinking and reactions than Europeans. It's as though they're still new in the nation-building business, and correspondingly insecure. Hence all the flag-waving and hand-on-heart stuff that Europeans (and other "old" nations) have out-grown.

Most on this thread will agree with me, I expect. Those who don't, may be insecure themselves with their new loyalty - trying to prove their patriotism with the passion of the newly converted.
Americans do seem to live much more in the moment than Europeans. The past means far, far less to them than it does to Europeans, perhaps because they have so much less of it as a nation. This can have positive aspects - the belief in the ability to reinvent oneself and build the future. The downside is that they have no foundation on which to rest that tells them who they are, hence the insecurity both as individuals and as a nation.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:55 am
  #411  
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Yes, I saw that. It was not a sporting event and that flag-waving and chanting seemed very out of place to me. There are dead and injured people - cheering and doing the "we're number 1" thing doesn't seem to fit.
I felt very uncomfortable about that too, I rationalised it as a cultural difference I would never understand and put to one side.

I was discussing with my parents earlier and I pointed out that we Brits in general tend to be a lot less effusive. We aren't "rah rah rah, give ourself a round of applause", we're "hmm, job well done guys, someone put the kettle on". If it's a really good job, its "lets go down the pub".
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 1:58 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by yellowroom View Post
I felt very uncomfortable about that too, I rationalised it as a cultural difference I would never understand and put to one side.

I was discussing with my parents earlier and I pointed out that we Brits in general tend to be a lot less effusive. We aren't "rah rah rah, give ourself a round of applause", we're "hmm, job well done guys, someone put the kettle on". If it's a really good job, its "lets go down the pub".
We are indeed two countries divided by a single language. The culture is very different and we all have to remember that.

I have just about convinced my colleagues that when I say "not bad" I am actually bestowing my highest form of praise.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:08 am
  #413  
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
It's the national level of fear I don't understand. I lived in London when the IRA bombings were happening, and then there were the July bombings a few years ago. There was no suggestion of a "lockdown" in London, shutting down all public transport or closing the airspace.
on 10th July 2005 there were commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2 (halfway between VE and VJ day). Big do up in London, parades on the Mall, Royal Family on balcony of Buckingham Palace, RAF flypast, poppies dropping out of a Lancaster, the lot. I was there. Huge crowds, loads of families, and a general defiant feeling of "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough". There was a lovely interview on the news of an elderly gentleman with a chest full of medals, and when asked if was worried about being in London 3 days after the horrific events of 7/7, he puffed up his chest and said "I've been bombed by a better class of bastards - 'itler couldn't get me, they aren't going to either".

Mind you, I do understand that terrorist action on mainland USA is still a relative rarity compared to the bad old IRA days, and collectively society here hasn't had time to develop the coping mechanisms. I suppose in the UK the older generation fell back on the Blitz spirit, the younger ones picked it up and we developed a psyche of "they win if you stop doing things or are too scared to carry on, so get on with it." Fortress America has never had to deal with it in the same way.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:15 am
  #414  
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
I have just about convinced my colleagues that when I say "not bad" I am actually bestowing my highest form of praise.
For a while I had something pinned to my cube wall translating from Brit to American. Things like "that's interesting" means "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard". Or "that's a good start" means "it needs completely re-writing".

It's a good job there aren't more Brits in my office, I have a habit of slipping "Yes, Minister"-isms into my office speak. "That's brave" is one of my favourites.

Edit to add - rather than take the thread even more off topic, I've started a new one here: http://britishexpats.com/forum/showt...php?p=10670137

Last edited by yellowroom; Apr 21st 2013 at 2:38 am.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:18 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by yellowroom View Post

It's a good job there aren't more Brits in my office, I have a habit of slipping "Yes, Minister"-isms into my office speak. "That's brave" is one of my favourites.
I tend to go Dad's Army. "Are you sure that's wise?"
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:21 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
I tend to go Dad's Army. "Are you sure that's wise?"
I must try that one!!
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:35 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
Nor was there the equivalent of the "ra ra USA" reaction we're seeing in some quarters. I can understand the relief and gratitude towards the police etc., but wrapping yourself in the flag seems odd and quite disturbing in some ways.
Everytime I hear people doing that damn "USA" chant, I hate it. It horrifies me. I don't even know what words to use to describe how it makes me feel. It's like this childish "we're better than you are" mentality or something. All I can say is, not every native-born USC feels the need to chant "USA" like it's some kind of Walmart cheer (subliminal brainwashing?). It's just so..so...so immature and embarrassing.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:40 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Bluegrass Lass View Post
Everytime I hear people doing that damn "USA" chant, I hate it. It horrifies me. I don't even know what words to use to describe how it makes me feel. It's like this childish "we're better than you are" mentality or something. All I can say is, not every native-born USC feels the need to chant "USA" like it's some kind of Walmart cheer (subliminal brainwashing?). It's just so..so...so immature and embarrassing.
There is sonething about that "USA USA" chat that is particularly repulsive. I just switch off when I hear it, I distance myself from those chanting it. Its sounds so aggressive, I don't know if it is the low tones that the 'U' creates, or the lack of joy in how it resonates.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:47 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by Bluegrass Lass View Post
Everytime I hear people doing that damn "USA" chant, I hate it. It horrifies me. I don't even know what words to use to describe how it makes me feel. It's like this childish "we're better than you are" mentality or something. All I can say is, not every native-born USC feels the need to chant "USA" like it's some kind of Walmart cheer (subliminal brainwashing?). It's just so..so...so immature and embarrassing.
Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
There is sonething about that "USA USA" chat that is particularly repulsive. I just switch off when I hear it, I distance myself from those chanting it. Its sounds so aggressive, I don't know if it is the low tones that the 'U' creates, or the lack of joy in how it resonates.
All of the above. At a sporting event I can just about deal with it, though it still sounds uglier than "Engerland" for some reason, but outside of that it's a huge turn off.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 2:48 am
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Default Re: 2 large explosions at Boston Marathon

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
There is sonething about that "USA USA" chat that is particularly repulsive. I just switch off when I hear it, I distance myself from those chanting it. Its sounds so aggressive, I don't know if it is the low tones that the 'U' creates, or the lack of joy in how it resonates.
The sound made when the letters are chanted - "U ! S ! A !" are very harsh, gutteral and aggressive. I don't think I'd have the same reaction if people sang the National Anthem, or God Bless America or another patriotic song. I do understand people wanting to express relief and gratitude, and expressing it in a patriotic way if it involves the military or police etc, or a reaction to a percieved attack on the nation.
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