Wednesday, September 14, 2005

roots of anti-Americanism

Masha Gessen writes for the NY Times Magazine:

One reason people do not like Americans is that they wear their seatbelts. One European guide to understanding the American psyche claims they think that “death is optional.” A lot of people abroad are aware of this American quality because it is what so often makes wealthy, well-intentioned and well-educated Americans staggeringly ineffectual humanitarian workers. They simply cannot understand how it can be that all Serbs smoke and that no Russians ever wear seatbelts. Americans may not really think that death is optional, but they do believe that it is just: it comes first for those who smoke, drive drunk or fail to use condoms.

Canadians, even those who think of themselves of being so different from their American cousins, think essentially the same way.


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