America really is the land of extremes!

Apart from all the tech stuff going on at Mix07 last week I met a guy there who really brought it home to me that America really is the land of extremes.

It started innocently enough. I was sharing a breakfast table with a bunch of guys. I introduced myself and one of the guys said “You are on the Euro – you must be loving it over here then; everything is so cheap”

Stupidly I responded with “Yup, we have a lot to thank George Bush for”

Well, that set him off on a bizarre, sick, rant I will never forget.

First off, it wasn’t George Bush who was to blame for the state of the economy, it is Alan Greenspan, I was told. George Bush has done nothing but good for the US.

In any case, the United State economy has never been stronger, I was informed.

I didn’t ask “then why is the dollar so weak”. I did bring up the US’s massive foreign debt though. This was dismissed as inconsequential given that as a percentage of GDP, it has been higher in the past.

Next rant, the Euro is a failed experiment I was informed. It hasn’t been tested. As soon as there is any problem in the Eurozone, it will completely fall apart bringing down the European economies with it!

Then we started to get more bizarre. The war on Iraq is really a war on Islam. Islam is the most hate-filled religion in existence. It is the only religion which preaches killing non-believers. There are three occasions in the Koran where it specifically says that if you can’t convert an infidel, you must kill him.
I tried arguing that in the bible it says “an eye for an eye” which can be taken as a validation of retribution. I was quoting out of context, it seems. This guy’s answer was, seriously, nuke them all!

This led us on nicely to the death penalty. He just could not understand how “you Europeans don’t have the death penalty”. At this point I could have brought up the fact that the US is the only Western country executing criminals and it still has the highest rate of violent crime. No, I stopped arguing with him at this point as I was losing my appetite.

Finally, the majority of crime in the US is because of Mexicans. Mexicans have a violent culture. Mexico city is the most violent city in the world. They come to America and because of their innate violence, they end up in prison. According to this guy, Mexicans outnumber all other nationalities in US prisons.

I left the table.

On the other hand you meet great people like Chris Messina, Mike Arrington, Marc Canter, and Brad Abrams in the US.

Incredible.

12 thoughts on “America really is the land of extremes!”

  1. I apologize for my country of birth, now sinking into a morass of religious and sectarian ignorance. The new dark age begins. I get the same from my own brothers, and could blame it on the lack of any real honest news from the mass media, except both assume that they even believe the ‘liberal’ press (which it’s not). Even the church’s preach this nonsense that you heard. Let the Inquisition begin.

  2. That’s one of the reasons America is so great. He couldn’t say that in other countries and pretty soon here if you deny the holocaust happened (which it very much did) then you’ll get jail time too. Stupid EU law. Freedom of speech protects assholes and also protects everyone else.

  3. I don’t begrudge these opinions, I just hold, considerably different opinions. Aren’t you glad you didn’t bring up evolution, Tom!

  4. Aren’t you glad you didn’t bring up evolution, Tom!

    Evolution, abortion, divorce, contraception, universal suffrage, the list of topics I could have brought up is endless.

    However, I’d heard enough.

    I went out to the conference to listen to people who had interesting things to say.

  5. I wonder if Americans just have a culture where it is more permissible to speak your mind – I think we have similarly blinkered folk here, but we tend to keep our mouths shut on contentious issues unless we know how it will be received.

    Also of course we are not a big enough country to be guilty of crimes on the level of America, but I have no doubt that we’d be any better if we had the clout.

    Still sickening of course.

  6. Yeah, I would chalk it up to isolationism, lack of external perspective and as a result, plain ignorance.

    It’s really a shame. The fact that [some] Americans have it so good and yet seem to resent it all the same is absurd and disappointing. It doesn’t help that the president carries his ignorant swagger around the world, pisses off everyone he meets.

    But I do agree that the freedom of expression and of speech is tantamount… and the only way to work to improve the situation is vigilance, education and through somehow trying to broader the types of influences and experiences Americans have.

  7. That man was sent to show you something Tom. There was something you hadn’t realised about the universe, and now he’s plugged that gap. You are a wiser man after that meeting. Certainly good for the anti-complacency complexion, eh?

    As for living on the edge of an abyss… aren’t we always there?

  8. Frankp “I wonder if Americans just have a culture where it is more permissible to speak your mind – I think we have similarly blinkered folk here”

    … have to agree … did anyone see Prime Time last night for evidence?

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