В обсуждении было много всего интересного, но мне особенно понравились два письма американца Майка Бернза (Michael Burns), представляющие собой (я тут несколько упрощаю) тирады "за" Америку и "против" Европы, рассказанные с точки зрения "простого" американца (представителя рабочего или "низше-среднего" класса). Публикую их здесь с разрешения автора. Хочу отдельно подчеркнуть, что вовсе не во всём с ними согласен, и то, что они мне понравились, не означает, что я так же считаю; скорее меня привлекла именно чистота выражения определённой точки зрения. Конечно, любые комментарии/критика приветствуются, как обычно, просто не стоит предполагать заранее, что я согласен с процитированным текстом.
Из первого письма:
I really think that the Financial Times has completely missed the mark on this one.
Although I agree that Kerry's "Europeaness" will hurt him, accents have very little to do with it. Americans have no problem accepting them.
As I have mentioned before, there are eight foreign-born members of the U.S. Congress, including, IIRC, two from Cuba who both happen to be cousins of Fidel Castro (only one of whom was elected from Florida); and Rep. Tom Lantos who speaks with a very heavy Hungarian accent.
Heavy foreign accents also never hurt the careers of Henry Kissinger, Zbignew Brezinski, or former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces John M. Shalikashvili, who was born in Warsaw of Russian parents and came to the US when he was 17. (When I was in uniform I was amused by the possibillity of being sent to war against the Warsaw Pact forces by a voice with a heavy Russo-Polish accent -while most of my fellow soldiers appeared not even to notice that irony could be seen in that situation).
Lastly, just a few months ago, some Europeans on this list seemed to express doubts as to whether Americans would elect someone with a very heavy foreign accent as Governor of California. No American would have made that mistake. Brother Ahh-nold is as American as apple pie, and might be President of the country someday if he does a good job in California and the constitution can be changed.
There is a "hit" on Kerry and his wife, however, and that is that they seem to "think" European, to "look up to" Europe, and that fact really does worry some Americans, many of whom are not confident of the long-term wisdom of European values and policies.
When they think of Europe, Americans remember, however vaguely, that it was the sophisticated and urbane culture of Europe that gave birth to both The Terror and The Holocaust, and which more recently required American troops to stop a massacre of the innocent and mass rape. We know you've got great museums, and we really like the food, and all -but show us a hundred years or so without a holocaust, ethnic-cleansing, or a world conflagration, and we'll take the idea of trying to imitate your political ideas and foreign policy a little more seriously.
Maybe this EU thing will work out?
We hope so, because Omaha Beach was a bitch.
Из второго письма (в ответ на письмо другого участника, высказавшего следующее мнение: Керри повредит не то, что он вообще может говорить на другом языке, кроме английского, а то, что он говорит на "неправильном" с точки зрения простых американцев языке — французском; в то время, как Бушу, например, нисколько не помешало, а наоборот, помогло то, что он может связать несколько фраз на ломаном испанском в его латиноамериканском варианте):
Scott, my buddy, you're seeing this from a wrong angle.
So Kissinger (Germany), Shalikashvilli (Polish of Russian parents) , and Schwarzenegger (Austrian) are South American? And so is Rep. Tom Lantos (Hungary)?
Middle-America is mulling over the idea of Schwarzenegger as President some day, and his accent makes Kerry's wife sound like a schoolmarm from Peoria. Thinking about Ahh-nold for President may be stupid, considering he hasn't shown what he can do with California yet, but it sure wipes out the idea of an anti-European predjudice among the American people. In fact is it's the Eastern elite who sneer at him.
Hunhh-unh. The potential problem for Kerry is that he seems to _prefer_ Europe. All the others, no matter where they were from, made that choice in favor of the U.S.
Americans from "the elite" who spend their formative years learning that Europe is better, focusing, I suppose, on art, architecture, fancy philosophy, or the fact that "our" culture supposedly began in Europe, really do look up to Europe, and _they_ are the ones who feel inferior to Europe. But they love Kerry.
The majority of Americans have an idea of Europe formed by two World Wars, the first of which was fought for the absolute _STUPIDEST_ of reasons; "My ally can beat up your ally. Nyaah, Nyaah, Nyaah, Nyaah Nyaah!" .. and the second of which happened because one of these countries the elite think are cool let a bloodthirsty delusional madman become dictator -In fact, THEY ELECTED HIM! And then everybody important in Europe except Winston Churchill tried to get along with him.
There's only one other thing that people from the lower-middle and working classes in the US really know about Europe. Like me until I left the U.S., most of them don't really even know _anybody_ who has ever _gone_ to Europe, but they know bunches and bunches who went through hell and high water to get out. We work next to them in the warehouses and factories and we see they're thrilled that a working man can have a nice house and a nice-looking car, and send their kids to college even if they don't go to some fancy prep-school. And they really like the idea that some authority who put a label on them when they were in high-school hasn't chosen the course of their life for them.
Maybe rich people have more time to kill, so the museum thing occupies more of their attention -I don't know. Maybe they think it's important that people in Europe can usually speak the languages common hundreds of miles from their own birthplaces -that's cool, so can we.
My father for a while worked for a man from Europe who he described as the best-educated man he'd ever met. He'd come to the U.S. and started working selling cars, he ended up midwestern manager for a big auto manufacturer. My father once asked him why he'd left his home country, and he told my father, "I could never have done there what I have here, I have the wrong accent." The guy was from England! (And we had a hell of a time figuring out what he meant!)
That's what we think about the idea of Europe being superior. What for the life of me I can't figure out is why the Eastern and Academic elite think it is.
(And if the Eastern and Academic elite's have some other concrete reason for looking up to Europe, let me know, cause where I grew up I never heard anything important good about Europe, and never knew anybody who'd gone there, though I knew plenty who'd left it behind).
P.S. I'm not mad at Europeans, I don't want them to suffer from low self esteem or anything. They _should_ believe they're great. But why do the US Eastern Intellectuals? --Now _that_ is an inferiority complex! After all, even among the European philosophers, the only ones who ever made sense were Scots (and Locke, who I'll throw in with'em), and most people in Europe think Scotland's a backwater. Other than that! Jeez! Confusion and mythology worshipped as truth. Nietsche thinking that people need to believe in a religion even if it's false, because otherwise people who aren't brilliant intellectuals like him will riot in the streets, and Hegel "If two trains collide, the result will be a third train going in a direction halfway between their intellectual trajectories" Tell it to the Albigensians. Their train hit a crusade. Or Marx- Yeah, that'll work.