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  1. #221
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post

    Things that I'm mulling over about the differences:
    America: entering into the incestuous relationship between politics and religion
    Depends on where you go
    Canada: leaving behind people who are too cautious about casually speaking their stronger beliefs because we're so "live and let live" that they're afraid of giving off the impression that they don't respect your beliefs (I'm over-exaggerating, it's fine to have at'er and all, especially when people intend to talk politics or religion, but it feels like sometimes it's not appropriate to ever bring up politics and religion in ways that it'd be appropriate in The States for just a sentence or two in the middle of a different conversation topic)
    It's fine in moderation but don't go in depths unless you're armed.

    America: I can order stuff online without ginormous international border crossing fees
    Yay!
    America: weirded out by the patriotism (in Canada, "being Canadian" is secondary to "being yourself"; you're allowed to live and let live more, but OTOH, it makes people less united
    I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. From what I've seen Canadians are moreso about national identity because they want to differentiate themselves from the US.

    Canada: I like my toonies and loonies (wtf is with paper money for such small amounts, Americans?)
    There were several attempts to introduce dollar coins but none of them ever really caught on. It seems you can only have one or the other, and while Canadians chose coins Americans chose bills.

    If you miss toonies too much, though, there's always this:



    Good luck finding them, though.

    Also: I don't think the reasoning, "America is unusually diverse" is a good excuse, because while it's certainly true that America is incredibly diverse, it's not uniquely diverse. A lot of this is just in-group v. out-group stuff; you can see the nuances a lot better in places where you spend a lot of your time. There are old European nations who have many languages and cultures to the point that they cannot understand each other speaking. Sure, the USA has a lot of geography differences, but so does Canada and a number of other countries.
    The problem is that you can't find much that's completely widespread in the US that's not political AND not shared with Canada. We're looking for American culture, right? Not American/Canadian culture. That's why this is so difficult.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  2. #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Yeah, I'm always a fan of the mid-century stuff as well, though I'd include some of the '50s and early - mid '60s (pre-hippie). We were still sort of on our emerging superpower buzz, and got a lot accomplished with the Great Society.

    Funny about the Billy Joel thing - when I was about 8 or 9 years old, that song came out and I decided it would be my "life's goal" to memorize the lyrics. My brother even got a lyrics sheet from somewhere at work and I pinned it up on my wall. I'm one of the lucky ones... accomplished my life's goal by the age of 10.
    Hey! I know the words to that song too!

  3. #223
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Maybe the two signals are not so conflicting. Touching is personal, very Mediterranean.
    Grinning is impersonal. It is a sign of high spirits. Left hemisphere, low cortex activity.
    You know, that's interesting. I've never been keen on grinning (I've never been able to do it without looking really fake and weird), but I don't mind touch unless it's sexual. I'm one of the few people who still likes to greet or conclude business by shaking hands. A lot of people don't seem to do that anymore, and I don't know why. I often get the impression that people think I'm old-fashioned because of it.

    Even stranger, I've noticed that if I offer a handshake to a girl, she'll often hug me instead. Not sure if that's because they just like hugs, or they're not accustomed to handshakes and don't know what they're supposed to do. Odd to me, but I don't mind if that's their style. I figure it might just be a Southern girl thing, like bowing is the Japanese thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Smiling is obligatory with eye contact in America. If you meet someone's eyes, you start to smile. You see them, and you know they see you. In America, you greet people a thousand times a day with "Oh, I am here, and so are you. It's so nice to see a friendly face in this Godforsaken place." If they don't smile back, a feeling of dread washes over you. There's something wrong, you think. Did I say something wrong? Did something happen? Did someone die? Am I so dreadful to set eyes upon that they won't greet me properly? It seems arrogant to always expect a smile when even making eye contact with a stranger -- but if the ones that didn't were always harbingers of bad news, wouldn't you expect a smile, too?

    Perhaps it's mostly an issue to the South and East, then. Our Southern neighbors often take smiling as permission to get closer. To the East, smiling is not obligatory, but touching is no problem.
    I think that's one of the reasons I try to avoid initiating eye contact with people... because I find it very difficult to smile. I'm usually not in a cheerful mood. It becomes easier if the other person smiles at me first or makes eye contact first, but I end up botching it badly if I initiate eye contact or try to smile first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    If all goes according to plan, I'll be leaving the Canadian prairies next summer and moving to a yet-to-be-determined American city for several years for schooling (I can't get my degree in Canada). I am looking forward to it, but at this point there's too many unknowns to get all hooked on it.

    Things that I'm mulling over about the differences:
    • America: entering into the incestuous relationship between politics and religion
    • Canada: leaving behind people who are too cautious about casually speaking their stronger beliefs because we're so "live and let live" that they're afraid of giving off the impression that they don't respect your beliefs (I'm over-exaggerating, it's fine to have at'er and all, especially when people intend to talk politics or religion, but it feels like sometimes it's not appropriate to ever bring up politics and religion in ways that it'd be appropriate in The States for just a sentence or two in the middle of a different conversation topic)
    • America: I can order stuff online without ginormous international border crossing fees
    • America: weirded out by the patriotism (in Canada, "being Canadian" is secondary to "being yourself"; you're allowed to live and let live more, but OTOH, it makes people less united
    • Canada: I like my toonies and loonies (wtf is with paper money for such small amounts, Americans?)


    Also: I don't think the reasoning, "America is unusually diverse" is a good excuse, because while it's certainly true that America is incredibly diverse, it's not uniquely diverse. A lot of this is just in-group v. out-group stuff; you can see the nuances a lot better in places where you spend a lot of your time. There are old European nations who have many languages and cultures to the point that they cannot understand each other speaking. Sure, the USA has a lot of geography differences, but so does Canada and a number of other countries.
    I've never understood the patriotism either. There are probably a lot of other Americans who don't get it, so don't worry... you won't be alone on that count. And yeah, I guess America isn't uniquely diverse. I suppose what we should really be proud of is our technology.

  4. #224
    Member Pristinegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I'm curious about what people would define as uniquely "American" culture, independently of any particular region.

    So, what else would you say applies to American culture as a whole, that isn't related to a specific region, and isn't shared with Western/European/English civilization as a whole? I find myself having trouble thinking of such qualities, except perhaps for the strong Protestant influence.

    It's possible that I'm too close to the problem. Maybe people from outside the U.S. could help us note a few?
    Aww wow the most amazing culture in the whole world

    Here are some of my observations:

    WALMART. Peanut flavour on everything. Starbucks. Arena Rock. Faith. Hospitality.
    American football (NFL). Aesthetic expressiveness. EVERYTHING (litterally) is supersized.

  5. #225
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I'm curious about what people would define as uniquely "American" culture
    Whether you are male or female, black or white, Anglo or Hispanic, from the North or South, Country or city, rich or poor, middle class or working class, we can always tell you are an American.

    Yes, your friends can always see you coming, as can your enemies.

    Of course you are as blind to yourselves as you are deaf to your own accents, but we're not.

    Like a faithful mirror we can see and hear you.

  6. #226
    Member Pristinegirl's Avatar
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    I think that what makes someone American is their state of mind ^^

  7. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pristinegirl View Post
    I think that what makes someone American is their state of mind ^^
    How true, as America is an ideology. How you think really matters. And how you think is fought over.

    But most of all America is growing exponentially. And as you know we can all see linear growth, but exponential growth is invisible to all but the mathematically literate.

    So the most salient point about America is that its citizens are blind to themselves.

    Of course they are not willingly blind, they are blind in the tragic sense, in the Ancient Greek sense of tragedy where the great man is brought down by his own flaws.

    So it is our job to keep this flawed giant on his feet.

  8. #228
    Member Pristinegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    How true, as America is an ideology. How you think really matters. And how you think is fought over.

    But most of all America is growing exponentially. And as you know we can all see linear growth, but exponential growth is invisible to all but the mathematically literate.

    So the most salient point about America is that its citizens are blind to themselves.

    Of course they are not willingly blind, they are blind in the tragic sense, in the Ancient Greek sense of tragedy where the great man is brought down by his own flaws.

    So it is our job to keep this flawed giant on his feet.
    That may be right. But the mind set is not only negative, it also holds a mentality of courage, love, liberty, dreams and opportunities.

  9. #229
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    How true, as America is an ideology. How you think really matters. And how you think is fought over.
    What is the ideology? Is it rebellion and individuality?

  10. #230
    Member Pristinegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    What is the ideology? Is it rebellion and individuality?
    They coexist!!!
    With individuality comes rebellion if it is taken away from you!

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