Europe - What's your view on it?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Imported, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. Imported

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    Javierdude22: We seem to all be quite versatile, culturally attained, political....so i thought i'd post a question i have been wondering about quite some time now.

    There's been some rumbling going on between Europe and the US and all, about the War in Iraq, opinions about Bush being living proof we have evolved from chimps or not, trade-relations etc etc.

    So i'm kinda wondering: i know how many Europeans view the US, both politically and culturally, but i was wondering:

    Whats you guys's view on Europe and Europeans? Do you make any distinctions between countries? Do you even know where some of us are? Whats your view on our behaviour/culture...and even things as our wardrobe or foodhabits.

    I'm looking for some real opinions here, maybe you can tell us if yoú've visited Europe and what part.

    Thanx, laterz
     
  2. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    My Roots:
    I'm bi-racial, and the "white" part of me hails from Greece. I have some surviving family overseas, but rather unfortunately, we all don't keep in touch very well. I learned a little bit of Greek in my childhood, but not much. Though, well, my mom's pretty Americanized, she's not lost the talent with her Greek cooking and I admit to enjoying some homemade stuff whenever I get back every now and again.

    Geography and Cultural Awareness:
    I know the countries; I could point them out on maps. I admit, though, that I don't have the greatest knowledge of any in particular -- perhaps a few more bits of info about Greece. Eh, I recognize that I have my specialties in knowledge. I could talk endlessly about philosophy, morality, social problems... but... not so knowledgeable on the European Union.

    It almost feels like I have a trivia-esque level of knowledge. I could tell you why you should never season your food in a Greek restaurant, or why you should throw a small pebble over your left shoulder when you leave.

    Attitude toward Europeans:
    Definitely not xenophobic here. I haven't had too much "real life experience" with Europeans, other than the ones in my own family. But, I'll tell you this... I love hearing people talk about their experiences. I work with a woman who's from Bulgaria, and she seems pleased when we both talk about our families and our similar upbringings.

    Do I care if the French, for example, might not give a damn about Americans? Well, no, not really. I know I didn't do anything personal to insult the French, and that this is the accumulating dissatisfaction with foreign policy enacted by... yes, our "President." In fact, I could see why foreign nations wouldn't think too highly of America; it's not like we do much to bolster positive relations. Seems like we get along with other countries who share our capitalistic interests... forget being human and having some shred of understanding and decency for foreign cultures.

    Hell, we're too hung up on this patriotic bullshit anyway...
     
  3. Imported

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    bradleeM: I have been in European countries, France, England, Italy, and Turkey (part of Asia also).......................

    The French..............Do not like their politicians for the most part..............their Leaders would love to believe that the rest of the world listens to them but their biggest problem is that they do not have the big stick to back up their loud voices........they usually cry foul only when it hurts their pocketbook.........which is what they were really crying about where Iraq was concerned. Their Leaders would sell out their own mothers to make a dollar. Socialists usually behave that way.

    Germany.........currently controlled by socialists also........were crying foul because of the money issue in Iraq........their concerns were not for the people of Iraq.

    I am not fond of Germans or French as countries.....I do like individual germans and french people, regardless of their politics.

    I particularly like Spain, Sweden, England, Italy, and Greece, not only the countries but also the men there, and a few of the women, :) ! Socialism abounds in these countries but their practice of it is more realistic than Russia, Germany, and France.

    Europe, overall..............as long as they hold onto unrealistic socialist ideals they will have problems in moving ahead of the United States via the economy.....if the USA was not around and they were the only power, the world would be in a terrible situation. What was sad about the split over Iraq is the fact that if Europe and Russia had been fully supportive of the US and England, there would not have been a war, Saddam would have caved in. Those countries were trying to hide the secret deals they were hiding from the rest of the world. But the world found out anyway!! There politicians were idiots. If anyone wants to be a major power.........history shows that the world only understands military power to back-up whatever an entity wants to achieve.........Europe does not have the back bone for that approach........none is needed as long as the USA is around to do it for everyone........that will soon change!

    Americans know now that regardless of what we do other countries Leaders will not be there to help protect Americans. France and Germany will and are paying a price from everyday Americans who use to travel to their countries and also bought their products. Americans will spend their money elsewhere. Americans give more to other peoples of the world than any other country or ethnic group in the history of this planet. Regardless of what the rest of the world thinks about our Leaders, they are freely elected, and whether they are a Dem or a Republican, they are ours.

    Weapons of today do not belong in the hands of small countries that can throw the world into world war....it is senseless to allow that...........Europe must understand that or the world will continue to have the Iraqs and N.Koreas to contend with as time goes by.

    BTW the Spanish are my favorite............I am white, Indian, german, Irish, Scot, a total mixed breed.
     
  4. Ralexx

    Ralexx Member

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    I'll stay out of it !!  :D (after all, I'm in Europe)

    Last year, I graduated European Studies, and my graduation paper was a 120 pages book on European identity, evolution, creation, culture, society and foreign affairs, about EU's relations with USA, A.S.E.A.N. states, China and Japan.

    All that I can say is that Europe and US have different historical values. A question like "Do we, in Europe, have to already mention a certain Old European Age, ended in 1945, compared to the nowadays North-Atlantic post-modernity ?" is, I believe, the main indicator of the way Europe moves now. Europe is moving in another type of history: post-modern. Which means a new begining.

    [Even though tempted to post his entire graduation paperwork, Raal Lexx stopped... fortunately !]
     
  5. B_DoubleMeatWhopper

    B_DoubleMeatWhopper New Member

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    I love parts of Europe, and there are some Euroean countries I could do without. Spain, of course, figures greatly in my cultural heritage. Cuban by birth, my family is descended from Spanish hidalgos and my parents were educated in Spain. I pronounce Spanish with a Castilian accent, and can get better prices on things than a lot of Latin American tourists. It's easy to impress Spaniards with little things like accent.

    I love Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Austria and France. I take exception to the notion that the French don't give a damn about Americans. Parisians are Parisians, and they don't even give a damn about their next door neighbours; but I found the people in Southern France, especially Provence and Gascony, to be particularly warm and friendly. I visit to the Midi definitely made up for the frosty attitude of the Parisians.

    Scandinavia had some beautiful scenery, but it was winter when I was there, so it was too freaking cold! I found the food a bit scary too: do they have to salt cure everything? Smörgåsbord does have its charms, though.

    Germany and the Benelux countries: well, I wasn't there too long, but I did like the food. Can you say hearty?

    The British Isles? I have nothing against the English, Welsh, Scots or Irish, but I had a pretty dismal time there. The weather, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it.

    I've not explored Eastern Europe. I'm hoping to get the chance.

    BTW ... I've noticed that most Europeans respond much more positively to tourists who at least make an attempt to say some words of greeting in the language of the country. It shows that the tourist put fort some effort. Prices of souvenirs drop drastically for tourists arm with a few basic phrases and a smile!
     
  6. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Yes indeed, it's all about foreign policy...thats whats bolstering some needless cultural reactions as well.

    In a lotta ways though Americans do not stand alone in their general, not personal, hesitation towards the French. I can only speak for the Dutch and Spanish, cause ive had a bi-cultural upbringing as well. But theres a stereotypical dislike here towards the French as well, that theyre arrogant, stubborn (cause they cán but dont want to speak English), and chauvinistic. But in all fairness, the newspapers in Holland headed today with "Dutch are the most rude people in Europe', according to a scientific investigation.

    i wasnt all that surprised.... :-/

    The Dutch have a general myth also, that the Belgians are kinda stupid. Our Belgians are what the Americans have Canadians for. We use them in jokes.

    Germans are totally disliked as a people, sadly still from the second world war, its unbelievable how fresh that is still.

    The Spanish and Italians are the European casanova's, and i cant disagree that they fill that role supremely. They also have the stamp to not know any language but their own, but its changing.

    English are considered as very cool, people always up for a party...culturally i think the Dutch are closest to them and Scandinavians, who are also considered very cool, and party animals.

    Me personally, i tend to lean more towards my Spanish side, i like the warmth (emotionally) of Spain, against the all-too-sober look at life of the Dutch. The climate, culture, food, and music complete the picture.

    I like the Germans persoanlly very much, but i honestly have to say its hard to escape from that WW2 judgement, its being poured in. The French....well....i have to say that in general, i don't like them, ive been there very often, but had very bad experiences. On the other hand, i made good French friends in the US :-/
     
  7. MisterMark

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    Here's my serious, intellectual opinion on Europeans:

    They smoke too much. ;D

    Other than that, I like everything about them. :)

    Mark
     
  8. Imported

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    tott666: [quote author=DoubleMeatWhopper link=board=99;num=1056475318;start=0#4 date=06/25/03 at 01:06:57] Scandinavia had some beautiful scenery, but it was winter when I was there, so it was too freaking cold! I found the food a bit scary too: do they have to salt cure everything? Smörgåsbord does have its charms, though.[/quote]

    Doctor, please do your homework... The modern Swedish/Scandinavian cuisine is great!

    You might've heard of Aquavit in New York, or their chef Marcus Samuelsson? That's modern Swedish cuisine! Fresh, traditional, creative and ancient all at once.

    Traditional Smörgåsbord is eaten maybe once a year, at Christmas time. We don't eat that every day.

    And you really should visit Stockholm during the summer, it's beautiful and the people crawl out of their hibernationery homes... During the winter, it's snowy and deserted.

    I miss my home!
     
  9. Imported

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    tott666: OK, just to share my impression of the French...

    I went to Paris a few years ago, I don't know a lot of French: I smiled and pointed my way through Paris without being treated rudely. I think you just have to remember to call people Monsigneur/Madame and everything is fine... The French are sticklers for formality!
     
  10. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    [quote author=tott666 link=board=99;num=1056475318;start=0#7 date=06/25/03 at 14:55:11]And you really should visit Stockholm during the summer, it's beautiful and the people crawl out of their hibernationery homes... During the winter, it's snowy and deserted.[/quote]

    It looks more like the snowy streets in the wintertime only seem deserted if everybody's crawling!

    Pecker
     
  11. Imported

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    7x6andchg: I've only been to France...

    I have to agree that even with rudimentary (at the time) French skills, a simple s'il vous plait and m'sieurdame and merci will get you quite far...

    Of course, I was mistaken for French twice while I was there because of my stature (or lack thereof) and dark complexion. Most people thought I was from Nice visiting Paris (hence the camera)...

    I like Europe and I think that learning their history can teach us a lot of experience as Americans.
    But Mark is right - they do smoke too much. ;)

    7x6&C
     
  12. B_DoubleMeatWhopper

    B_DoubleMeatWhopper New Member

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    [quote author=tott666 link=board=99;num=1056475318;start=0#7 date=06/25/03 at 14:55:11]
    Doctor, please do your homework... The modern Swedish/Scandinavian cuisine is great![/quote]

    Okay, I overgeneralised ... sorry! I actually only passed three days in Sweden. I found the food in Norway and Denmark to be too salty. Of course, that may be partly due to the fact that my family violated one of the cardinal rules of dining in other countries: "Don't eat at the hotel; go to a real restaurant."

    Trust me, you can find smörgåsbord (or more correctly in this case, smørrebrød) in Oslo every day without looking very hard!

    If you count Iceland as part of Scandinavia (and I would, on linguistic grounds if nothing else), Nordic landscapes are among the most breathtaking scenery I have ever witnessed. Go give Scandinavia a bonus point there!
     
  13. Imported

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    enanotitan: Well, I am not American. But you can get the opinion from a Mexican guy :). My experience with Europeans is quite good. I spent a couple of months studying in Spain back in 1998. Then I lived for a year in Orlando, Fl. working in WDW with just foreigners (I had 2 roomates from UK, a German, a Norweigan and 2 French) and I had a French gf and then a German one.
    To be honest, I think there was a natural link between Norweigans and Mexicans. We got along very very well. What I really like about Europeans in general is their cultural level, they have a greater appreciation of arts and most of them speak several languages (due to geographic situation maybe, but still they do). I really was impressed by my German ex g/f. She was the opposite of my stereotype of Germans, she was very delicate, easy to impress, to be touched, kind, she loved salsa and merengue but she was hard as a rock when I tried to teach her how to dance salsa.
    Maybe the biggest difference between Europe and Latin America is that we are still very conservative people (generally speaking).
    I think that people from big capital cities (such as Madrid, Paris or London) are more rude, and that happens everywhere. I found people from south Spain really easy to get along with, very latin, dancing all the time, and very beautiful women. As far as Italians it is not a myth that they prefer a good dinner than anything else (except for sex, maybe).
    Well, the reply is getting too long. I just want to say that I have genuine friends from Europe (France, Germany, Norway and UK) and I guess we have matched up very well.
     
  14. Ralexx

    Ralexx Member

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    ;D [God, hit me now... I still can stand out of it !]
     
  15. Imported

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    balls: I have traveled all over Europe and have never, ever, had a bad experience. I have been to Paris about eight times and have never had anyone be rude to me. And I am the typical American; there is not much about me that can be considered refined.
    Once in Paris we got into an automobile accident in a non-tourist area and the people came out of their homes, shops, whatever to help us, they were great. The French are great people, they just elect horrible leaders, but who doesn’t, right?
    The Italians are great.
    Spaniards are great.
    Swiss are stuffy but friendly.
    Germans are nice if you speak German.
    Austrians are better than the Germans.
    Hungarians are sexy as hell.
    Slavs are friendly, yet rough around the edges.
    Scandinavians are friendly, and have some of the most beautiful women in the world.
    English are fantastically fun party people. They are brilliant.
    The Scots are better than the English.
    The Welch are ugly but friendly.
    God blesses the Danes.
    God hates the Belgians, but they make great chocolate.

    The only problem I have with Europeans as a whole, and it is more of a confusion than problem, is, for the life of me I can't figure out why they have this tendency to run like lemmings toward large-scale government. They have suffered under fascism, communism and theocracy in the past and now they run like Lemmings towards EU domination, which will control nearly every aspect of life, especially in business. I don't understand why other countries would be willing to give up sovereignty to be Frances and Germanys Bitch. Considering Europe’s past this has the makings of another European mega-government disaster. I also don’t understand why Europeans openly embrace American “Intellectuals” who are in the fringe of debate within America, such as Susan Sontag and Michael Moore. They may come up with good points but are not truly relevant within the US of A, yet Europeans eat that shit up.
    Can anyone explain any of this?
     
  16. Imported

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    Javierdude22: 8) íts a tough job .... but somebody's gotta do it


    oi :-/

    anyway, anyone feel free to correct me or add..

    I'll try to deduct and answer some of your questions.
    1.Why the European Union?
    2. Why do we follow those streams of thought/ideologies
    3. Why do we eat up Michael Moore and other left winged bozo's

    1.....we don't know....

    That would sum up the popular European vote. The political vote though would scream that its good for business, traveling, and other subjects like crime prevention, environment, immigration troubles, etc.

    I'll hand them that its easier to travel, we don't need passports now to tarvel within the EU, we can work in any country, live in it, without any ordeal. Environment, immigration, crime....sure! Cooperation is always good, especially when you've opened up your borders, it helps solving some problems.

    Basically i don't think people have a problem with general EU policy on those fronts. But then: finance, business, and foreign policy.

    Nobody here asked for the Euro....nobody wants it, we liked our currencies....i loved my guilder with our gorgious queen on it...our guilder was the strongest currency after the Swiss Mark. Now.... :-/

    Listen people....prices after the Euro rose LIKE HELL!!! salaries?...rising?....how do you spell that? Everyone on the streets in Holland (and the rest of Europe for that matter) screamed they couldnt cope with thier ususla income. The government said that was all psychological and that the inflation was not higher than 5%...my mom could swear she was paying a quarter more for the same groceries....but no...don't lie Miss Javiers mom....5%....not 25....

    Good thing we have independent press...a kinda prestigious magazine saved receipt of 1999, 2000 (1 year be4 Euro) and 2002 (1 year after Euro). Seemed on average, the inflation rate they calculated was 40% ( :eek: )...the Minister then said that was a lie, and that the highest investigation he had heard of was 25 % (...hm...so who erased that 2)

    Anyway, i digress. They introduced the Euro just for business, they could care less if the consumer can survive still.

    To continue, i am indeed very scared to have France, Germany, and the UK make up my internal policy...and i dont need that shit...our country is the EU's goody two shoes already...we're like Mr. Switserland....and so if anyone opens their mouth, we automatically agree...of course the responsible minister will note he fought bravely, but had to cave...

    im so proud...

    2. Again...we dont know....(Europeans act smart, but in fact we have the IQ level of deepfried chicken)

    I have to say though, that we havent really been following one ideology anymore, if not capitalism. And Holland for that matternever chooses anyways, so what the hell am i talking about anyway...

    We just like to ruffle some featrhers every now and then, and we're not very scared of our governments or the police...

    3. Hm...to be honest....because he is kicking against certain things happening in the US he finds strange...things we agree on. Why doesnt the US do anything about the environemnt, what about the current state of racism, what about corportae power (we need that debate here too), etc etc...

    Look, politically we're allies through thick and thin (i beleive that wholheartedly, and im gald we are, cause we are actually the ame culture), but theres just soem stereotypes on both sides that we like to read about. Americans think we're sissies, we think youre a buncha cowboys (im exagerating the view of course) and we like to wrestle a little. No harm in that i think...cause wehn it comes down to it, we stick up for eachother...

    ....i need a tissue...
     
  17. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Note to self:



    TAKE TYPINGLESSONS!!



    sorry guys, i was typing kinda fast cause i'm tired like hell and heading for bed, laterz
     
  18. Ralexx

    Ralexx Member

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    Javier, oooh dit is ongelooflijke !! I do have the feeling there is a LOT of miscomprehension in what concerns the EU ! "Europeans act smart, but in fact we have the IQ  level of deepfried chicken" ? Dit is een leugen! (or should I be that impolite to say Spreek voor zich !)(- correct my Dutch lines if they're wrong)

    Ah, here's a tissue. You'll need it. For I shall come back !  ;D

    PS - there is no such thing as Swiss Mark  :eek: , my EuroPal ! There is just Swiss Frank and Deutche Mark !
     
  19. Imported

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    Javierdude22: [quote author=Raal Lexx link=board=99;num=1056475318;start=0#17 date=06/26/03 at 23:21:30]PS - there is no such thing as Swiss Mark  :eek: , my EuroPal ! There is just Swiss Frank and Deutche Mark ![/quote]

    Holy crap...well...uhm...so....yeah...
    Guess i DID prove my point then...i acted smart...but in effect have the iq level of Deepfried chicken!...

    Oi...stayin cool...stayin cool.. 8)

    Anyways....thanx Raal Lex....youre totally right...Franks!!!...and your Dutch is actually surprisingly good...but...we digress...back to topic...

    Europe....whats your take on it?
     
  20. Imported

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    Longhornjok: Well, this is a fairly broad topic, but I'll give it a shot. I spent 4 months in Europe a few years ago and it was one of the defining experiences of my life. Firstly, because, although a friend flew over now and then to join me for a week or so, no one else I knew could take that much time off from school/work, so I basically was on my own. I had a Let's Go guidebook (which I soon realized was useful primarily for basic info like location of U.S. consulates, banks, etc.) and a Eurail pass. I started in Rome and flew home from London. In between, I traveled to Bologna, Siena, Venice, Prague, Vienna, Milan, Nice, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Sagres (Portugal), Interlochen (Switz.), Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Glasgow. Greece was geographically inconvenient but I would love to have gone there. I also skipped Scandinavia because by the time I got up in that part of the continent money was tight, and I heard it's one of the most expensive areas. I would re-visit almost every place I went, and would love to hit Russia and more of the former Eastern bloc countries, along with Greece and Scandinavia.

    I went there with the attitude that I was an American traveling in a foreign land. I wanted to learn about the people and the various cultures firsthand. I took a comprehensive phrasebook with me, and just before I entered a new country I tried to learn as many basic phrases in the native language as possible... please, thank you, pardon me, where is, i would like, etc. I think that probably went a long way in making my experience such a positive one. Overall, I found the people to be incredibly polite and helpful. No one was rude to me because I was an American. On the other hand, I actually did see some of the stereotypical boorish behavior on the part of some of my fellow countrymen/women... i.e., one middle-aged man screaming at a clerk in a train station in Venice, "Doesn't anyone around here speak English?!!!" I am sure the cold stare he received in response registered to him as being treated rudely and that's his version of the story when he got home. Meanwhile, I shuddered at the thought that he represented the U.S. The only "drawback" I found to being an American on my trip, which was actually amusing at first but then got tiresome after awhile, was that some people, particularly the older generation, would challenge me to explain or defend this or that U.S. policy decision... sometimes from 50 years ago! However, I never took this as a lack of hospitality on their part or anti-American sentiment, as they always listened very carefully to what I had to say in response. I think they were genuinely curious. I did experience some interesting aspects of European culture, such as when I went to Prague an elderly Austrian couple sitting in the same compartment on the train warned me that many of those who had benefitted from the Communist Party's previous control of that city still held a grudge. They said I should be careful not to come into the country as an American talking about politics and questioning the not-so-distant Czech past. I assured them I wasn't there to do a budget version of Crossfire and would never behave that way, but thanked them. I then get to Prague to find that every single person I meet wants to talk to me about politics. haha I also remember that the Italians who asked me where else I was going always razzed Spain, and the Spanish who asked me where I was going always razzed the Italians. For any "Euros" reading this, what is THAT about? ;-)

    I remember people telling me before I left, sew a Canadian flag on your backpack so you can pass as Canadian. I thought that was ridiculous and certainly didn't do it. I was polite and respectful of the people I met, and they could tell I was genuinely interested in learning about their culture, and so I was treated with the same respect in return. I would guess that many Americans who come home to badmouth Europeans are those who (perhaps unknowingly) came across as being braggarts who wanted to lord the fact that they were from the U.S. over their hosts... "you know, in America, we do this much better...." or "you should come to America and see how we do this there..." Of course, the U.S. is not alone in having a rep for being culturally insular. I remember in Portugal a mini-van full of middle-aged Brits on holiday were thrilled to find a restaurant that served fish and chips!

    My basic feeling is that the U.S. would be a better place if more of our citizens were able/took the time to travel abroad so they could see the world from a different perspective. Geographically, we are at a disadvantage with Europeans who can travel to a different country as we travel to a different state. However, it's well worth the effort, both to learn more about the rest of the world and also ourselves.

    (Wow, sorry that turned into a travelogue!) :)
     
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