August 28, 2004

Ten reasons why you suck

Since there's been a lot of speculation on this site about the exact nature of and reasons behind Europe's anti-Americanism, I thought I'd help out. Please do not think that what follows only applies to some of you, or even a majority of you; no, this applies your entire country. Here goes. You are not entirely popular . . .

1) . . . because you are unpleasant to look at
You're all fat. Look around you. I did when I was over recently. You are a nation of grazing, wading hippos. If, dear Merkin reader, you personally aren't, your uncles and aunts certainly are. It's hilarious. I'm not talking about laughing at people who are genuinely sick or at their distraught relatives (hey aren't cancer patients hilariously thin?) but at the everyday people you see in tourist parties with arms and legs like massive pink cocktail sausages, wearing distressingly tight T-shirts, with equally podgy kids trailing behind. I can't say I understand why this is,

2) . . . because your food is inedible
It's extremely tasteless and bland. You've genetically engineered it like that. Breeding tomatoes not for taste but for the thickness of skin so you can harvest them with machines is just the start. Recently I had a space-steak for astronauts I bought from Wal-Mart for a barbecue. On the packet it said "with 10% solution added." Solution of what?! It didn't say. I still have no idea. It tasted of steak flavoured crisps and had the texture of an ideal steak as designed by a focus group. Uniform. No veins, no sinew. From an animal? Really? Scary. And you all eat so much at every restaurant sitting. It is a paradox, and perhaps it is . . .

3) . . . because you are uneducated
Obesity is linked to poor education, apparently. I've been able to experience elementary and university education in the USA and Europe and let me tell you, I was unprepared for the extent I was taught Things to Think in the USA and How to Think in the UK and Europe. As a result, I think as a whole . . .

4) . . . you lack capacity for critical thought
You are literalists. You are spoon fed at school, college and graduate level whereas we are taught to think critically. You interpret the bible literally; you think that God creating the world in 6 days 6,000 years ago and having a rest before offering some naked people some dodgy fruit is a better explanation for the natural world than the theory of evolution. You interpret the constitution literally to the extent you believe the Founding Fathers wanted you all to keep assault weapons next to the milk for your kids to take to school. These things are taken as an article of faith . . .

5) . . . because you are intellectually incurious
You are ignorant about the outside world and dislike people amongst your number who aren't, to the extent that John Kerry is distrusted because he speaks French. We know more about America than you do about us. This is partly because . . .

6) . . . your collective mind is nothing but a bundle of received pieties
It makes you unable to apply lessons from history, to think empirically. If you did, you'd recognise that what you're going through in Iraq is what we went through in our own imperial adventures. Similarly, your religiosity is unnerving to us. Unlike you, we went through something called The Enlightenment while you spent the time working out how to justify owning slaves and killing indigenous people who didn't understand why they had to move to Oklahoma. Your acceptance of literal "truths" blinds you to the possibility of seeing the world through others' eyes. There is a clinical definition for this affliction, and it leads many of us to the conclusion that . . .

7) . . . you may be a bunch of psychopaths
You are an extremely violent nation. You've attacked pretty much every one of your neighbours, with the possible exception of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. You might have bought the majority of what constitutes your country from others, but didn't ask any of the people who actually were living there, and then went in and killed them anyway. You use largely specious pretexts — "remember the Maine" ? You've been involved in wars with tons of countries outside your immediate vicinity, some of which we've been happy with, but whatever the reasons, you must admit there's a serious pattern of behaviour going on. However, looking at the historical record . . .

8) . . . you're not actually very good at fighting
Unless you've had outside help, you've pretty much cocked it up. Your first war to liberate yourselves because of high taxes on tea leaves was pretty much won for you by the French — for which I must say you seem profoundly ungrateful, and your next foray against the British in Canada in1812 resulted in your capital being sacked and burned. OK, you did well against Grenada and Panama, but any more resistance than that and you tend to fold, most recently in Vietnam, Falluja and Najaf. The only war I can think of against anyone serious that you did well in was your own Civil War, which I hardly need to point out, you also lost. Perhaps because you've had so much practise . . .

9) . . . you behave like whingeing victims
9/11 this, 9/11 that. You believe that because of the — totally understandable — trauma of losing 3,000 people in a horrible attack you are allowed to do whatever the hell you want. Maybe we would too, but I don't think so. There's not a lot of stoicism there, not a lot of stiff upper lip going on. You've obviously been watching a lot of Oprah. We were all horrified at the time; we love New York, perhaps because it's so unlike the rest of your country, with great shopping. In the heat of our anger against real evil-doers and our support for you, we your allies invoked the NATO charter and offered whatever help you wanted in Afghanistan, which you refused. Fair enough. But we don't quite understand the shift of emphasis from actually catching those responsible (and letting family members of the main perpetrator leave the country before letting the FBI interview them) to declaring an unwinnable "war" on "terror" — an emotion, like envy — and invading a country with very little to do with the actual attack, and getting upset with us because most of us didn't think it wasn't a good idea. And haven't we been proven wrong. In your reaction to that what has struck us most is that . . .

10) . . . you are hypocrites
It's an unrepresentative example perhaps, but I'm still amazed that the man who enshrined the words "all men are created equal" in your constitution still thought it was OK to own slaves, and oblige them to let him shag their brains out in posh Paris hotel rooms. He wouldn't even set all his own half caste children free, but gave them $20 to take their chances on the Underground Railroad. Like the villages in Vietnam you had to destroy in order to save, you seem to believe in Iraq you can kill people into being democrats, all without accepting the truth, which is that you're an old-style imperial power like we used to be. You had a quite reasonable relativistic view on terrorism until you got a dose: maudlin drunken Americans in Irish bars funding violent loonies from Belfast to blow up shoppers in Harrods was pretty much OK according to you, and the British didn't invade you (although the precedents for success were good). They had to talk to the terrorists, engage them positively, which eventually they did, and it worked out well in the end. Try it, perhaps. Hypocrisy is in fact no bad thing: I'm a great believer in consistency being a hobgoblin of small minds and all that, but there's an point at which you have to stop moralising at us.

So that's that. Hopefully it all helps. I look forward to your gratitude for lifting the veils of your obvious confusion.

Posted by Eurof at 12:32 AM GMT

All so true, alas, about us Americans. Let's not forget, though, the other stuff; generosity of spirit, resoluteness of purpose, clarity of vision, embrace of altruism. That's what makes us, in the final analysis, so much better than the rest of the world. Really! Oh, and I forgot one of our best qualities -- we're so remarkably untainted (despite our origins) with any of that relativist, confused, cowardly "European-ish-ness".

Posted by: jerry on August 28, 2004 12:59 AM

Regarding #8 and the War of 1812, I would remind you of the Battle of New Orleans, in which a British force of approximately 12,000 was defeated by an American force of about 3,000, suffering more than 2,000 casualties on the British side. There were 71 deaths on the American side.

I happen to be descended from General John Coffee of Georgia, who was the first cousin of General John Coffee of Tennessee. (They were both grandsons of a Scots-Irish manumitted indentured servant named Peter Coffee, and both served in the War of 1812 and the Indian wars of the period.) John Coffee of Tennessee commanded the American left flank at New Orleans, and received a delegation of British officers under flag of truce the day before the battle. They came to complain that Kentucky riflemen under Coffee's command were sniping at British officers, and that this violated the rules of war. Coffee said something like this: "Seems to me, a man invades another man's country, he oughtta 'speck to get shot at." And then he spit on the shoes of the senior officer of the British delegation. The British, aghast, went back to their lines.

Fucking pussies.

You Europeans have been trying to construct your little utopia for the last fifty years under a security umbrella guaranteed by the United States. If we weren't there for you, at worst you'd be standing on line (in queue) RIGHT NOW for toilet paper provided by your Russki Soviet masters, and at best you'd still be squatting in post-war poverty, worried about your pathetic little nationalist squabbles concerning little slivers of France, Austria, Poland, whatever.

You have the nerve to question US treatment of our neighbors? We haven't taken any territory from Mexico in over 150 years, or invaded Canada since the Napoleonic Wars - the last major war on the North American continent ended in 1865, and it was just Americans who fought in it. Whereas you shitbags required US intervention to end your last two spats, and damned near wiped out two whole generations of your best men. We're all glad to see you Europeans are now trying hard to emulate the American example of neighborly behavior.

However, Europe has the audacity to rely on us to pay for its defense, and then to quibble over what we do for our own defense. Stick it up your ass, because we don't give two shits what you think or what you say about this. You lack the means to stop us, and your society is so enervated that your efforts against us are actually amusing. In Bush's shoes I would have parked a carrier group off Bretagne and overflown Paris without permission with 75 F-14s. What are you going to do about it?

And as for how stupid and uneducated we are, how then is it we're responsible for more pharmaceutical, electronic, agricultural and medical advances today than the rest of the world put together? How is it even in a recession we have 3 or 4 times the economic growth of France, 1/3 the unemployment? Yeah, you people are fucking geniuses. You couldn't find your own assholes without a US-made roadmap.

Tell you what, Eurof - I think you're just suffering from envy. So if you apply, I'll sponsor you for a US residency visa. No, no, it's the least I can do.

Posted by: Sterling on August 28, 2004 02:29 AM

Bravo, Eurof. What you lack in frequency you make up in quality. Love you.

Posted by: Felix on August 28, 2004 04:49 AM

"How is it even in a recession we have 3 or 4 times the economic growth of France, 1/3 the unemployment?"

That would be because the US defines "economic growth" and "unemployment" differently from how anywhere else defines them, along with its definitions of "crime", "sexual assault", "violent crime", and anything else that ever gets made into statistics that are used to compare between countries. Where by 'differently' I of course mean "in a way that makes them unfairly look as good as other places".

Another reason people hate America is because so many of the people are passive-aggressive wankers who, when insulted, say things like "that really made my day" or "your efforts against us are actually amusing".

Posted by: RavenBlack on August 28, 2004 06:12 AM

"Seems to me, a man invades another man's country, he oughtta 'speck to get shot at." is a very apposite quotation. I guess your ancestor would be in the Mahdi Army then. I refer you to points 4 and 7 in my diatribe.

A good friend of mine once made the comment that it was unfair to expect Europeans to join in your Iraqi adventure on the strength of your support in WW2 and WW1. Were the French to actually copy your behaviour there, they'd wait between 2 and 4 years before getting involved, ideally until your enemies had actually conquered you or were at the gates of your capital, and make you give up Alaska for the privilege. So you can expect their involvement somewhere between April 2005 and 2007. Until then shut up.

I knew some dolt would bring up economic growth. Please feel free to move to China, Botswana, Russia or Venezuela, who are all growing GDP much faster than you. Have the courage of your convictions.

Also, we and the Japs do in fact pay for your defence by funding your outrageous budget defecits, in buying your silly government bonds. I imagine you'd care a bit if we stopped.

Finally, I've had US residency status for 15 years, thanks. Don't gnash your gums too hard.

Posted by: eurof on August 28, 2004 07:28 AM

Felix, for this to happpen I had to lure Eurof to Stockholm, set him down at my computer, ply him wine and cigarettes, and prop him up whenever he began to keel over, but it certainly was worth it.

Posted by: Stefan Geens on August 28, 2004 10:33 AM

You have US residency? In that case I'm sending this post to Tom Ridge.

I fully expect the Iraqis to hate us for a good long while. Nobody expected them not to shoot back. If they'd been better at it, though, maybe we wouldn't have invaded in the first place.

So your suggesting that French economic growth is equal or greater than the US? And unemployment is lower? And hey - have they started wearing deodorant yet?

As for purchasing our bonds - since it's done in the spirit of brotherhood, you wouldn't mind if we end interest payments, would you?

The France/WW2 comparison is of course spurious, since there has never been a war so subject to discussion and compromise as this one was beforehand. The discussion leading up to the war took a year, and then the war itself took about six weeks. Thus the war didn't even start, comparatively speaking, until about February 1945.

Additionally, the French actively worked against us, which is something we never did to them in WW2 or WW1. We even let that colossal asshole Charles DeGaulle and the 8 or 12 men in his Free French forces "take" Paris after the Germans abandoned it.

Posted by: Sterling on August 28, 2004 02:39 PM

Funny you should mention ending interest payments on Treasury bonds, Sterling. I remember during one of the periodic government shutdowns caused by various legislative impasses, there was a very real chance that certain coupon payments would not be made -- something I cannot conceive in any other AAA-rated borrower. Of course, a genuine US government default would make, to borrow a line from the great drug dealer Danny, the present $5 trillion deficit look like a birthday present, at least in terms of the effect of fiscal policy on the economy as a whole.

Posted by: Felix on August 28, 2004 04:15 PM

There is a 0% chance of a U.S. gov't default, now or ever. It's precisely because of American economic growth that U.S. bonds pay rates juicy enough to attract foreign investment; indeed, the primary caterwauling about the decline of long-term U.S. bond issuance over the last decade has come from our foreign "partners".

Posted by: Jerry on August 28, 2004 06:28 PM

Jerry -- see here or here for examples of Congress's failure to raise the debt ceiling making default a distinct possibility. And remember the balanced-budget constitutional amendment? Basically, whether or not the US defaults is something which is in the hands of elected politicians, rather than Treasury tecnhocrats. And that means that anything can happen.

Posted by: Felix on August 28, 2004 07:09 PM

Felix - sure, but those debt ceiling votes are political posturing and nothing more; even in the unlikely event of a Congressional impasse, any coupon and principal payments would be made up once they came to to their senses.

Posted by: Jerry on August 28, 2004 07:17 PM

Yeah, Catfish, I'm with Jerry on this one. The default scare was just political theatre.

Posted by: Sterling on August 28, 2004 07:45 PM

Felix, if the central banks of China and Japan believe the US government will default on its debts, they will demand a premium to keep buying them, or they will stop buying. So far that hasn't happened, partly because Asia buys the dollar for its own mercantilist policies.

Eurof, few nations adopt American ways with such zeal as Britain, where the waistbands are also beginning to expand. This is true across the world. If we're just a bunch of fucking septics, then what the hell does that make you?

Too much Oprah, not intellectually rigorous? Revisit the bloated orgy of psychobabble following Princess Diana's death in Britain and say that again with a straight face.

If our food is so bad, why does it sell so well abroad? If our business models are so poor, why do other countries' companies adopt them? If our culture is so vacuous, why have American artists, writers and filmmakers been so successful? If we're so hateful, why have so many foreigners done so well in the US?

Posted by: Jame on August 30, 2004 02:14 AM

And if you think twisting our name to mean a pubic wig is a really very clever thing to do, Yeroff, you've plumbed a new low, not to mention left out the vowel 'i', which is important to that twangy "Merican" sound you were aiming for. I suppose you assume none of us have any grasp of vocabulary (since your missive applies to all of us, full stop), or we're just too plain stupid to catch on to your cultured and refined (?) barbs. This from a Welshman. Go hump a leek. And if you continue in this vein, I'll vote for Dubya.

Posted by: Jame on August 30, 2004 09:47 AM

Apologies if this is misses the boat a bit, but while i have generally have better things to do, your collective weebling is delicious, and i have just time for another few taunts.

Sterling, you'll be pleased to know i'm giving my green card up; unlike you I know both sides of the Atlantic, and know which is better. How many holidays do you get a year? Plus I pay less tax. In the meantime, no, I'm not suggesting France has greater employment (although it has fewer McJobs), simply that if you think GDP growth is a measure of a country's worth, then you should move to Botswana or the outskirts of Shanghai. If we did in fact stop buying your bonds it would make your (collective) eyes water, as they say; please read an economic textbook.

As for France "actively work[ing] against us" in the leadup to the war, perhaps they remember the Suez crisis and think allies actively working against each others' foreign policy is fair. Obviously you don't, so I look forward to your apology to France on behalf of your country for that. Other than that, I do agree that the WW2-Iraq French support comparison is spurious, so please leave them alone, and I refer you to points 3-7 of the above diatribe.

Jame, your knickers seem twisted; perhaps I touch a nerve. I don't know what Brits are if you are a bunch of fucking septics: a bunch of wits, twits, or gits, perhaps. It's a rhyming slang thing. I too hated the Diana tack orgy, though note cultural life in the USA is like that every day, so you can forgive the English for letting go just once.

Finally, your food doesn't sell at all well over here; we don't buy it. It's horrible, but even if it wasn't, we're not allowed to. Were we to be able to, we wouldn't. You don't buy much of Europe's food and drink, although you want to, because your government puts high tariffs on it. We do use a lot of the same recipes, but that's because they originally come from Europe; you'll please note the origin of the words "Frankfurter" and "Hamburger". Also, "Merkin" is a British pronunciation of "American"; there is no "i".

Posted by: eurof on August 31, 2004 05:10 PM

Hi Eurof-
Imagine that!! More Euro-trash shooting it's mouth off about how much better Europe is than America.
Let's work backwards so you and your ass-backwards kind will understand. Yes I wouldn't expect US foods to do well there the snail and pig intestine content is too low. besides you could afford it, France is spending all of its import budget on sanctioned Iraqi oil
Yes, US culture does sometimes resort to the seedier side of celebrity watching (I bristle at the word "celebrity", I have yet to celebrate those people)However it's still better than frances pasttime of shitting on everyone surrendering to whoever and delivering jews to the holocaust or hasballah or anyone else that looks at them funny.
Suez canal fuck you and the Suez canal what about the murderous thugs France supports openly in Palestine.
As far as economic growth, other than Germany and Ireland what the fuck have the goddamn european continent been doing for the last 100 yrs. other than starting world wars and getting their asses kicked??
by the way fuck off

Posted by: Jim on August 31, 2004 05:52 PM

You're actually dredging up Suez for this? Lame argument - it's very easy to argue that Britain and France were in fact jeopardizing the entire post-war bi-polar system. The attack on Egypt was contrary to the interests of ALL their allies, including the US.

Also, I'm happy to acknowledge that Eisenhower was largely in the wrong to join with the Soviets in demanding and end to hostilities. But it was a strategic error, not an error in his treatment of NATO states. And besides, any hypothetical wrong we committed against France in 1956 was more than made up for the expulsion of US nuclear forces in 1959, and French free-riding under the US nuclear umbrella (far behind the US armored divisions on the West/East German frontier) for the remainder of the Cold War.

As for GDP growth being a measure of a country's merit - yes, I think it is. But I would prefer to live in a country that has a high GDP to begin with, as well as strong GDP growth. (This increasingly excludes most of the continent of Europe, on both counts.)

Posted by: Sterling on August 31, 2004 06:39 PM

Jerry, even a technical default lasting for, say, one week could have a devastating effect on US and world markets.

Posted by: Felix on August 31, 2004 11:53 PM

"You have US residency? In that case I'm sending this post to Tom Ridge"

Spoken like a True Lover of Freedom [TM].

Posted by: JET on September 1, 2004 01:03 AM

Actually it was spoken like a Sarcastic Asshole. I switch hats between that and True Lover of Freedom at least twice each day.

I'm a "wanker," says Jame. (Whatever that means.)

Posted by: Sterling on September 1, 2004 02:15 AM

Which is not to be confused with Jame saying "I'm a wanker." It's also true, but he'd never admit it.

Posted by: Sterling on September 1, 2004 02:37 AM

Great post Eurof. If only for puerile drivel it provoked from Sterling. I love the way you imagine the way your illustrious ancestors spoke in vernacular Sterling. It kind of exemplifies your cartoon-mindedness. Three images spring to mind when reading your posts: a pram, a rattle and a nasty smell. Keep them coming though, very entertaining.

Posted by: Jez on September 1, 2004 02:38 PM

Actually, Jez, I couldn't find the book where it's quoted, so I did my best to recreate John Coffee's words. And as I made clear, the John Coffee in question is not an ancestor - just a cousin.

I do agree with you that the best part of Eurof's post is my response, though. Thanks for the compliment.

Posted by: Sterling on September 1, 2004 08:35 PM

Sorry, late again.
I merely bring up Suez to counter your whingeing that the French were actively "working against" you in the leadup to Iraq, which you never did to them, oh no. You may speculate as to the reasons why it was a good idea or not for Ike to work against the French, but it would be idle and irrelevant for the argument at hand here, which is how and to what extent you suck.

My own view on GDP growth and stock and which countries I'd like to live in is that the connection is largely irrelevant. A big GDP stock is good certainly, but my own opportunity, and the ability to protect my utility gains, are much more important. The test I use is Hayek's, namely if I were born again into the world into any family at random, but could pick the location, where would I choose to be born and brought up? It's not Merka for me, I'm afraid. As much as you hate Sweden, I think you'd have to accept it'd be quite a nice place to live.

On a previous point you make, "how then is it we're responsible for more pharmaceutical, electronic, agricultural and medical advances today than the rest of the world put together?" I tried to think of the most important advances in the last 200 years and considered which were Merkin and were not. I used the technology chart from Civilisation II as a guide. I give Merka 1: Flight, though arguably it's harsh on Otto Lilienthal and the Montgolfiers, and you didn't actually fly anywhere further than 10 minutes away until after Louis Bleriot and the French showed you it was safe. The telephone, maybe, although that was just an offshoot of the telegraph, Britain again. Cars, computers, television, mass transit, genetics, antibiotics, rocketry, radio, atomic fission, highways all came from Europe. You mentioned agricultural advances: perhaps you meant tasteless bullet-proof tomatoes, or highly inflated farm subsidies which you pioneered in the 30s, in which case I'll gladly give them to you.

What do you think of that?

Posted by: eurof on September 2, 2004 08:44 AM

Sweden? Winter is depressing enough without living in the dark for a month. I've never been there, but I seem to recall an article indicating that Sweden has the largest average bra size relative to waist measurement of any country, so I suppose I could tolerate it.

As for the US' technological contributions, it's cute that you're using a board game to inform your perception of the world, but the fact is that on a day-to-day basis, the US cranks out the most patents, most useful new varieties of grain and vegetable seed, most groundbreaking semiconductor designs and most new medications. So if we're uneducated, you people are knuckle-dragging morons.

Posted by: Sterling on September 2, 2004 03:17 PM

Yes yes yes, but that's because there are so many of you; you're the largest developed economy in the world, so your output of most things good and bad will be higher than Luxembourg's. Well done. But again, as in your food, you confuse quantity and quality. "The fact is", as you put it, that this is just another of the bundle of received pieties that form what I am pleased to call your mind, Sterling, and you are spectacularly, embarrassingly, wrong.

Look here: "".

You'll find out astonishing things, I promise. Of the top 60 countries surveyed, yours is consistently at the dimmer end of the scale. On per capita patents, you are 40th out of 60. A nation of 300 million Mongolians, for example, would be a lot smarter than you, and much less unpleasant to look at. EVERY country in the EU with the exceptions of Portugal and Italy has more patents per capita than the USA. If you adjust patents per cap for GDP you'll find that you do even worse in the rankings, 50th out of 60.

You have to face it, the "knuckle-dragging morons" cap fits you so much better. If I can fit a personal note in here, Sterling, I don't think anyone has been more serially confounded and proven wrong on MF since Matthew was a contributor. This is a great achievement.

Once again, I refer you to points 3,4,5 and 6 on the above diatribe.

Posted by: eurof on September 2, 2004 03:58 PM

Oh, my goodness. How many hours did you waste finding that chart? And it's NOT EVEN RELEVANT. Iceland, as an example, scores quite well, with 0.01 patents per million people per $10 million in GDP. Since Iceland has a population of much less than a million people, that works out to about 300 patents in 1998. Additionally, it's not clear to me whether these 300 patents were filed exclusively by Icelanders or by foreigners looking for patent protection in Iceland.

As much as I enjoy getting under someone's skin, I always feel just a bit of pity for them when it becomes apparent that they can't take it.

You have in no effective way challenged my assertion that researchers and technologists in the United States are responsible for a wildly disproportionate share of the advancement of practical human knowledge. Keep trying if you like, or flinging insults if that's your preference. But you're losing, either way.

Posted by: Sterling on September 2, 2004 06:23 PM

You're all fat. Look around you. I did when I was over recently. You are a nation of grazing, wading hippos. If, dear Merkin reader, you personally aren't, your uncles and aunts certainly are.

I think I'll try to emulate Eurof for a moment, to write as if I were wearing his shoes:

Oh, my, wrong again. I weigh a trim 163 pounds at 6'. And I do not have a single aunt or uncle who is overweight. Not one. (Though my father is a lard-ass, you did not specify fathers.)

By the power vested in me by my own sense of self-importance, I declare that you are therefore wrong about everything else you have ever written, and automatically lose any argument you participate in.

Posted by: Sterling on September 2, 2004 06:29 PM

erm, you all know that you can now use <a> tags again to make your links linkable, right? Our brilliant anti-spam technology is working so well we can afford this luxury.

Posted by: Stefan Geens on September 2, 2004 08:31 PM

The chart was 2 minutes away from reading your last comment, a single google, top of the page. In fact I already knew of its existence when I taunted you on the Civilization technology tree -- which as every MF-er knows is a seminal computer game, and not played on a board.

On Iceland, I find it hard to believe your assertion that global inventors' paramount concern is to prevent the loss of the Icelandic market to counterfeiters, and so the high proportion of patents in Iceland is polluted by foreigners. Much more likely is that you file a US patent if you're an Icelandic inventor, implying that it would be the US patent count which is over-populated by clever foreigners, making your country even dumber than statistics would imply.

I don't have the impression you're getting under my skin yet; quite the reverse, I am enjoying our little chat. I was watching a nature programme on TV last night, the one where a killer whale bats a small and puny seal around with its tail before eating it. Hey, that's Sterling, I said, as I watched the seal fly through the air for the nth time. Great fun for the whales.

I have to admit you are right, that from my research it is clear that "researchers and technologists in the United States are responsible for a wildly disproportionate share of the advancement of practical human knowledge".

But not in a good way.

Perhaps you could mention a list of actual technologies or discoveries to rival the one I already offered. Alternatively you could stick to bluster and the assertion of your amusing little pieties.

Posted by: eurof on September 3, 2004 07:16 AM

In fact I already knew of its existence when I taunted you on the Civilization technology tree -- which as every MF-er knows is a seminal computer game, and not played on a board.
Is that what they know? "Civilisation" was a board game first published in Britain in 1980, and in the US in 1981. The PC games were based on it.

By "Civilisation II" I assumed you meant one of the supplementary Avalon Hill games that were released, rather than a seven-year-old PC game. Civilization III was released in 2002, I think. (Board games have far longer life-spans that computer games.) My apologies for assuming a higher level of cultural awareness than you actually possess. I won't make the mistake again. There's a copy of the game available on eBay here.

You also write this:

I have to admit you are right, that from my research it is clear that "researchers and technologists in the United States are responsible for a wildly disproportionate share of the advancement of practical human knowledge".

But not in a good wayI don't know what this is supposed to mean, except that you're desperately grasping at some kind of irony-gilt cleverness. And missing. I don't have any particular interest in itemizing the thousands of seed varieties that have been developed in US labs and have greatly increased yield and reduced the use of pesticides. Ditto on medications, ditto on patents. The Intel chip, or AMD chip, or Motorola chip that's acting as the central processor in your computer was designed in the United States, as were most of the other semiconductor elements and magnetic storage devices. So if you're truly upset about the US' lead in these matters, perhaps you should go Luddite and get rid of the thing?

Posted by: Sterling on September 3, 2004 05:17 PM

No, Civ and Civ2 and Civ3 are all extremely influential computer games, soome of which were designed by Sid Meier. I find it hilarious that you are an avid Avalon Hill aficionado. Clearly, and undeniably, you were also a big Dungeons and Dragons fan. You may be one still. EEErrr hello, I am Sterling, a Cleric of the first order with 10,000 hit points and I have killed the Drorgon. I bet you also played the live action version, you sad sack. Complex board games with 50 page instruction manuals "having longer life spans than computer games" is true within certain social circles, but not in social circles any of us wish to join.

I guess you are the only one (of the rapidly diminishing number of people) who actually read our exchange who didn„t realise that I was saying that the US is responsible for a wildly disproportionally LOW "share of the advancement of practical human knowledge". You really aren„t too bright, are you? I can see I`ll have to spell things out for you.

You have mentioned semiconductors and seed varieties as the major contributions of the US to the practical achievements of modern mankind, in a feeble effort to disprove what I have already proven, that when it comes to patents and inventions the US is a nation of dim-witted free-riders. I„m not at all upset about the US„ lead in these matters, we need people to produce these things. On the other hand, I offer up in the past 200 years, as I said, the automobile, computers themselves (as I said, we still need people to make the things), television, mass transit, genetics, antibiotics, rocketry, radio, atomic fission, motorways, etc etc.

So that„s 2 vs. 10. Now who„s smarter Sterling. Who„s your papa?

Posted by: eurof on September 3, 2004 10:47 PM

I love the inept way you try to turn being caught flat-footed into an intellectual victory. I indicated that I believed you were discussing the board game, you suggested that anyone with half a brain knew that it was not a board game, but rather a computer game. This clearly reveals that you had no idea about the origin of the game. Now you presume to explain it to me, when anyone with a brain can see I know far more about it than you. Not that I care, because it's just a game, but apparently you care so much for scoring points that you're willing to turn this argument into a nerd fest of unparalleled vomitousness.

And I believe it was JAME who introduced me both to Civilization AND to Diplomacy in 1988 or 1989. It might have been Vince, though, who you don't know. Not much for D&D, but I appreciate your ham-handed effort to psychoanalyze me.

You also try to apply all sorts of social pressure against me. That's your dimmest overall strategic choice yet, because if I was the least bit concerned about dissenting from what "everyone" here thought, I wouldn't have ever engaged a bunch of leftist mush brained IR grads in the first place. No offense.

All you have shown is that the patent offices of very small countries tend to be very busy on a per capita basis. But just a few dozen patents from people outside those countries could, and likely does, explain that variation. Any way you look at it, it's a statistical sample size glitch because it usually involves a very small national population (Mongolia, Iceland, etc). Which renders it useless. Further, you are not able to show how many of these patents tend to be for insignificant things like insulated yurts, versus imporant things like semiconductor production modalities.

You list "genetics" as a non-American discovery, and so I assume you mean the discovery of DNA by Crick & Watson (even though "genetics" as a field contains a great many independent discoveries). But the work of Crick & Watson was almost completely predicated on work done independently in the late 40s by Pauling and Chargraff - both Americans.

According to Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health, American pharma labs are responsible for more than half of all new drugs that come to market globally. Now, you can quibble with this all you like, but if Americans are such retards, how is it possible for us to be producing so much new, groundbreaking research on pharmaceuticals? Where are the Germans, French & British, if y'all are such geniuses?

Posted by: Sterling on September 4, 2004 03:08 AM

Sterling, Sterling, your rhetorical flights of fancy may play in the schoolyard -- caught flat-footed indeed -- but not here. Where do I deny there was no Avalon Hill board game called "Civilisation"? Nowhere. In fact I KNOW there was, and played it as a child, but without gusto as it was a boring, slow-moving little game. When I became more mature and discerning, I played the computer game instead, and it was much better. I wonder which sold more copies; the board game you and your D&D friends played [hello, I am Cleric Sterling of Orrin] or Sid Meier's Civ1? Hmmm.

Your train of thought (if I can call it that) in linking to things to support your case seems to go "if I use a link they'll think I have some sort of proof, tee hee." You link to a site that doesn't say Sid Meier "based" Civ1 on the board game, but rather that it "contain[ed] many of its elements" before going on to say Sid Meier never acknowledged any connection.

Similarly, your only basis for the assertion that the US produces more than 50% of all drugs globally comes from a fruitcake drug-company-paid Merkin lobbyist, who doesn't offer any proof to the assertion at all, and who writes on a fruitcake web-site that turns out to be edited by that TOTAL fruitcake Jimmy Glassman, who I remember at the top of the market in early 2000 predicted we were on a straight line path to Dow 36,000 (currently err, 10,000). Why are you wasting our time? Hopefully you also turn to him for financial advice and stock tips.

I made no comment on the genius or otherwise of Europeans; it seems like it's the Mongolians you should aspire to. Also I note in your discussion of "semiconductor production modalities" -- like you know what that even means; I only analyse semi stocks for a living -- you suggest that Mongolian patents could concern new forms of yurt and thus of little practical interest for mankind. Unlike US-patented Butt-Busters of course.

I'm bored with you now Sterling. I feel this conversation has run its course, and like the whale batting the baby seal, have now put you out of your misery and eaten you. I won't even bother to declare victory, but will instead digest you and shit you out in the morning. I suggest you don't bother replying. Pip pip!

Posted by: eurof on September 6, 2004 01:33 PM

Re: "Modalities" - "Techniques" seemed declasse.

And you're taking issue with MY rhetorical flights of fancy? Ha! You're the one who launched an absurdist broadside against my fellow Americans in the first place.

Also, you're indicting Gilbert Ross because he deigned to write an op-ed for an online journal published by Glassman? I've had some fun at Glassman's expense in the past, myself, but you have not offered a counter-argument to Ross' assertion. Coupled with your weak-kneed attempt to escape from the argument, it looks like surrender to me. I gladly accept.

Posted by: Sterling on September 6, 2004 02:55 PM

Is this a private argument, or can anyone join in?

Sterling --I agree with you that the domestic patents registered measure may well be weak, not only because it includes registrations of yurt insulation, but also because rules on what is patentable surely vary between countries --Amazon's 'one click technology', for example, was only a new technology in a somewhat strange definition of the term.

I'm slightly more comfortable with the incoming royalty and license payments per capita measure (there's some sort of market test of usefulness there), and even the sci/tech articles published per capita measure. Not that sci/tech journals don't publish a load of drek --the category includes economics journals, after all-- but at least there is some peer review, etc etc.

And having all three measures suggest Sweeden is doing better than the US is at least something in need of exlpanation. I can imagine loads of possible ones that don't involve the welfare state as such --different incentives in universities or corporate cultures, higher overall cost of labor and/or capital, viking spirit of exploration...

Posted by: Charles on September 7, 2004 01:39 PM

Well,as a american I wouldn't touch gov. bonds/sec. with a 10 ft. pole,and can't see why a foreign invester dollar devalued 30% in last 14 mo.s while 10 yr. note pays under 5%?what are the dumbass foreiners thinking?even ww11 war bonds were crap investment.

Posted by: doug on September 9, 2004 03:48 AM

Oh man! I'm not going to bother calling the author names (much), or ripping his argument apart point by point (maybe a couple here and there, if I think it's warranted). I'm also not going to bound onto the Sterling bandwagon. The whole thing makes me shake my head at the nearly intollerable stupidity of the thing.

Honestly! Don't either of you self-professed "big thinkers" have anything better to do than pull up arcane and rather spurious pieces of information to try and one up each other? Come on, brainiacs! You're both so damned smart! Go out and cure cancer, or something!

It's almost like watching turd joust for position to see which one gets flushed last.

The fact is (which you two lunkheads in particular) have forgotten, is that we all come from the same primordial soup recipe. While culture and environment has granted each particular strain (or is it stain in your cases?) something different, in both terms of flaws and strengths, I'm sad to say that it is genetics that governs, and ultimately determines what "sucks." Not the GNP of a particular country. Not the tenuous moral authority of someone who didn't like a Happy Meal (and conveniently forgets that while he derides Thomas Jefferson for owning slaves, forgets that it was the Dutch, Spanish, and British who were traficking in them). No, evolution has determined that you both suck. Live with it. Deal with it. And leave the rest of us out of it.

Loves America, loves the constitution, hates the GOP


PS -- A couple points on wars... Don't forget the Brits put off entering WW2 until they were immediately threatened by Germany. You have small moral authority to claim in that regard! And let's not forget the Falkland Islands... or was that not imperialist?

My grandfathers served in WW2, one at Normandy, one in the South Pacific infantry. Both saw combat. One lost part of his foot. My uncle fought in Vietnam (and was poisoned by his own government with Agent Orange). I was also honored to meet a French Resistance fighter from WW1 (who was moved to tears when he met me because I was American). Say all you will about the justification for war in Iraq (I might just agree with you), but the troops are part of a army and have no choice on where they are deployed or what they are supposed to do. You change the course of events by attacking the decisions of the leaders who control the army. You lose ground by attacking the soldiers. And if you think that sounds too gung-ho, don't forget Tony Blair has the same authority to use the British army, and that they must also serve. So leave the soldiers out of it. They're brave and are forced to do a terrible job. You should feel lucky you don't have to do it.

Posted by: Eric on September 22, 2004 08:46 PM

I have never in my life claimed to be a "big thinker".

Posted by: Sterling on September 22, 2004 09:10 PM

arguing on the internet is like the special olympics...

even if you win, youre still retarded

Posted by: you on September 26, 2004 05:04 AM

Gee, that's clever. I think I first saw that line on Usenet around 1992.

Posted by: Sterling on September 26, 2004 05:07 AM

Well, OK - maybe not 1992. It looks like the first use of this on Usenet was by Keith Martin on 28 September 2001. It's since been used THOUSANDS OF TIMES, however.

Posted by: Sterling on September 26, 2004 02:16 PM

hello all who hate "Americans", i'm 14 American, and frankly I do not fall into many of your seems that you would be describing the average American, but DEFINITELY not all Americans. I'm now sitting here wondering where exactly in the US you could've been, and how long you were here.(that might just happen to effect things) I find your point of view and hate for these types of Americans very similar to that of other Americans nothing like them. I don't disagree with your post though or the fact that this website even exists. Its very well that you hate people such as the ones that you described, although do not hate those unlike them. Also, take a little more time for research before you make such strong and demeaning statements and although i do not agree with most aspects of the countries government or people i can still have a love for the country and the lifestyle it provides.......reply to "Reasons Why You Suck"

Posted by: on September 27, 2004 11:39 PM

I think #43 just lost his/her web innocence to Eurof.

Posted by: Stefan Geens on September 28, 2004 12:27 AM


arguing over which country sucks more is probably close to the stupidest thing ive heard. we all come from the same ancestors, no? and does it really matter which country you like better? i mean of course you like the one you live in better. its called patriotism. the government feeds it to you by the spoonful.

Posted by: you on September 28, 2004 02:50 AM

Dear 43 and YOU,
Yours are in fact the sanest comments on this string, including the post.

43, I lived in the US 15 years, on and off, in Massacheusetts and DC, and I don't actually believe a lot of the stuff I wrote in the post. I did it to wind up and annoy people who (like Sterling) seem to believe that there are such things as "bad" countries and groups (ie Europeans, Muslims etc), or that certain groups and countries are "better" (the Americans). Really there is absolutely no difference between Americans and everyone else. Except in average weight, perhaps, but that's no bad thing. The bit about the food is true, too. Don't listen to Stefan, he is a bit of a retard, truth be told.

YOU, yes, you are so right. I was hoping someone would point that out. If Sterling had been born in Ouagadougou, he'd be explaining to us why the Central African Republic should rule the world. He lacks context and the ability to imagine himself as someone else; he is atavistic, and suffers from weak ankles.

Posted by: eurof on September 28, 2004 08:03 AM

I know its a bit off topic, but to get an idea as at the current state of affairs I have a question.
How many companies are flocking from the EU to India, China and Korea.

Posted by: Bill on October 1, 2004 10:45 PM

I'd just like to say this is the most amazing thing i have ever read and it is so true. Technicaly i'm not an american but i unfortunatly have the inconvinence of living here and i get to enjoy the wonderful american high school education system, where i am still asked questions like, "do they speak ENGLISH in ENGLAND?". Being around these people, who think that the are atomatically suppirior because they come from "the land of the great" for which they are despised (and you know that makes them kool right), is hard because you can't help but assimilate. It is comforting to see someone who also had the unfortune to get stuck here but did not lose their brain, thank you, you are my hero!

Posted by: Aoife on October 24, 2004 01:44 AM

This is one of the saddest posts I have ever seen. You are obviously very jelous of life in America or you wouldn't have bothered to write all this nonesense. You obviously have no life, job, or friends. Everything you wrote is racist propaganda. YOu cannot back up anything you say with facts because it is all lies. You say american food is inedible? haha. Obviously you've never been to this country. We have chefs from all around the world bud, and theres great american chefs like bob flay. I guess you don't get the food network channel in your straw hut in the middle of the afghani dessert, thats too bad.haha. Bottom line, America is the most powerful and richest nation and that is why little shits like you hate it. You blame your crappy life on the US don't you? Uneducated?? Do you know how many people come to America to get a higher education? where is Harvard located????? HELLO MC FLY!!!anyways, before you make a complete ass out of yourself like this again, DO SOME RESEARCH, so you know what it is you are talking about.

Posted by: GetALife on January 25, 2005 11:30 PM

Good tips and advice, Getalife.

Posted by: Bill Oomkens van Ommeland on January 26, 2005 10:03 PM


wonderful observations...glad to see you're not average-ly thick. you really are something else though... "America is the most powerful and richest nation " so therefore you're right? that's like saying the billboard 100 is a mark of musical quality and that the current number 1 is the best music ever made (until next weeks #1). power, riches, easily they go together...

i'm glad i'm not in america, or american, because really, i think by now i woulda been up in that tower with my gun collection, being a bit selective about the possiblity of certain members of your race pro-creating...

enjoy your gm-food, your rigged elections, your gullibility, your overpowering fixation with religion, and let's not forget your overpowering and over inflated egos....

in the meantime, we'll appreciate what you cant.

thanks for the reminders.

Posted by: mensa on February 7, 2005 01:44 PM

i'm glad i'm not in america, or american...

Me, too.

Posted by: Sterling on February 8, 2005 06:17 AM

I'm afraid GETALIFE's off his meds again.

Posted by: michelle on February 8, 2005 04:40 PM

I have read most of what your guys wrote and I have only one thing to say:
Why don't you guys agree that none of your mother country is perfect US is not neither is Europe.
Maybe one more thing neither europeans or americans will admit: We are complementing each other pretty well.

Posted by: JG on February 9, 2005 03:11 PM

First, Im interested in why Eurof stayed so long in the incredibly oppressive United States and why he bothered to gain citizenship? Secondly, its amusing to see how pompous we are(yet we were attacked first...see Eurof August 2004) and to see how unbelievably envious the Europeans seem. Im sure you will say you arent but it is painfully obvious. Im researching for a paper for an American College in which the course is Critical Thinking in Business (see Eurof's statement and I quote "You are spoon fed at school, college and graduate level whereas we are taught to think critically.") and stumbled upon this. Very amusing but I truly wonder why Eurof hates the US so much he had to spend this much of his life telling us about it...sad really.

Posted by: Randolph Elderkin on February 28, 2006 04:08 AM

All I have to say is.... we have many other problems to work out. We don't need any more discussions about who broke my GI Joe and I'm still pissed.
I came across this page while looking for a residence visa in an EU country. I am a father and I would like my children to experience more than what the US has to offer.
It seems to me that Eurof may have intended just that and just didn't like it. I'm won't hold it against him. America isn't perfect. I'm not even insulted. If it wasn't for critical thinkers nothing would ever change.
Bottom line... The world is a mess and all of us can learn something from others

Posted by: jay on March 14, 2006 05:16 AM

Ok, so basically I read through this whole entire topic, and I must ask. Why is it that all you can say about America is the same thing that EVERYONE says about it? Its current president is dumber than a stick, yes. Obesity is high there, yes. But its not like your political leaders are any better. That and Britain is actually close to beating us on the obesity rate, thank you very much. Nine eleven was a tragedy, which I believe people should have all their right to mourn. You all spouted off about Princess Diana, who was one person. Now, 3000 people died in the September 11 attacks. Some of which were family, and some of which were friends. Some who were perfect strangers too. It's not like ALL of America is mourning, plenty of people think its stupid. But you see, you'd have to be cleaning up the dust, and seeing lost IDs everywhere like I was to TRULY understand the pain.

Back to the point though, Eurof's generalizations are basically all breakable. Sterling didn't help the argument much either. If you hate other countries so much, PLEASE keep it to yourself, and don't pretend like you know everything about the whole country. You certainly don't. Americans don't even know everything about the country.

That and, it's not like we're going to change our ways or your country is going to revolt against us or something just because you wrote this.

Anyway, I'm off, my fingers hurt.

Posted by: Suzanne on September 18, 2006 10:13 PM

Suzannne asks "Why is it that all you can say about America is the same thing that EVERYONE says about it?"

This is because Eurof has a First Class degree in archeological philosophy from Cambridge, England, Suzanne. You must understand that the purpose of any Cambridge arts degree is to equip the graduate with the means neatly to package our society's predominant clichés in a meretricious, yet somehow appealing form, and innoculate him against the dangerous bacilla of independent thought. It is all a hangover from the time when England's Eurofs were sent off to govern tracts of Bongoland and, to cow the local natives, needed to make their policies sound modern and progressive and , somehow, unanswerable. The Cambridge homosexual commie traitors of the 1930s were famous products of this system (but obviously in those days they had a different set of progressive platitudes). Another effective way they use to pull the rug (this is called "Mozzer's Rug" in Canbridge) from under anyone who protests that they are writing rubbish is to complain that you don't have a sense of humour. For tragically, many of these well-scrubbed Cambridge pinko traitors mistake rigid toeing of the stereotypical line for humour.

Posted by: claude de bigny, BA (Oxon) on September 19, 2006 07:31 AM