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2008: An American Resolution

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Almost 36 hours after the epic event, it's almost become cliched to talk about it. The spokespeople for our society have decided to perfunctorily laud it every 10 seconds. Shortly, it'll be another stat skipped in the unread history books that litter high schools across America.

But before the inevitable forgetfulness and arbitrariness seep in, let's take a moment to enjoy and reflect on Barack Obama's victory in Thursday night's caucus.

Does America have a collective New Year's resolution? Do we finally have the grit and gravitas to follow our instincts, and not listen to those who tell us they know what's best? I certainly hope so…

If you had a good U.S. history teacher in high school or college, and didn't pass out or spend the time mentally undressing the girls in your class, you heard horrific facts once the Civil Rights era was discussed. You heard about "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, when the city's police force beat helpless marchers with billy clubs and pipes. You heard about three civil rights workers who were murdered in Mississippi by the KKK and police. There were also the four black girls killed in a church-bombing in Birmingham. Sit-ins, marches, boycotts, busing, riots, assassinations, and martyrs defined the beautiful, vicious struggle.

The South has always been the region of the country associated with the struggles of the Civil Rights movement. It was clearly a battlefield for over three decades, unabashedly professing its intolerance for change and inclusion. But for now, there's a new keyword that comes to mind when thinking of leaps toward racial 'tolerance' in this country — Iowa.

Much has been said about the fact that it's taken almost 40 years for something as significant as Obama's win to happen. The fact that the event took place in Iowa draws even more eyebrow raising, since the state is mostly white.

The first fact shouldn't surprise people. It took almost 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War for the country to decide it was time to recognize all of its citizens' rights. So, sadly, 40 years shows some progress.

The Iowa aspect is a little more intriguing. It represents a potential sea change in American culture which can change everything. The thought that a person's skin color isn't being used as a detriment when assessing that person's character is what America is supposed to represent. Instead of resting on our laurels, metastasizing the importance of the event, we should use it as a springboard to continue our country's progression.

Whether you agree with Obama's politics, or believe in the Romneys, Clintons, and McCains, is another kettle of fish. The important thing is that Americans jumped on a new path. Iowans took the first step in casting aside old traditions and mindsets, bravely deciding to create new ones.

Hopefully, this will be a New Year's resolution which all Americans are willing to keep.

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About Zack Williams

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zack,

    Good observation. Even given Hillary’s win in NH, Obama is still a strong candidate. The horse race is on!

    Of course there are accusations here and elsewhere that race DID become an issue in NH. As there is no substantive proof of such, I feel that is something that won’t be resolved. We will have to see how the campaign rolls out over the next few weeks to perhaps get a better reading regarding the race issue.

    I certainly would not suggest that racism and issues regarding race in this country – not only regarding Afro-Americans, but also Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans among others – now live only in our past. Racism and racial inequality live on in our society at almost every level, and in all areas of the country to one degree or other. Racial hatred and prejudice on all sides remain.

    Nevertheless, had anyone suggested, say back in the 1960s, that we would in 2008 have a strong, viable Afro-American presidential candidate, would have been at least scoffed or, in some parts of the country, taken out and lynched.

    Even more, to suggest that the Afro-American candidate would at the same time be equally challenged by a female candidate would have sent one to the looney bin.

    I think what’s now taking place in the national political arena is truly great. It doesn’t mean that we have arrived as yet, even if Obama winds up in the Oval Office. But it certainly serves as a measure of just how far this nation has come over the last half century or so.

    Many will say, and rightly, that we haven’t come far enough. People wanting substantive change usually want it NOW. We are in impatient lot. But instituting significant change amongst a large population is difficult at best. The status-quo is a nearly irresistable force. It needs to be chipped away at over time until at some, perhaps unexpected moment, it will suddenly and spectacularly give way dissolving and disappearing in the mist. I doubt that I will see that eventuality. But the chipping continues, and the irresistable force seems to be wobbling a bit. Keep on chipping.

    Baritone

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zack,

    Very good article. Race will always be an issue in American politics, not because it should be so, but because of the facts of American history, which included the sale of millions of blacks as slaves by victorious tribes in Africa to traders who were willing to give them wonders they had never seen before. Obviously you weren’t asleep (or mentally undressing the girls) in your history class, so I needn’t explain further.

    There was a real attempt at change when I was a kid (fifty years ago), but bigotry and discrimination still remains a fact of life in your country. That is also a sad truth. Nevertheless, there is yet hope for your people – maybe….

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    By the way, I must admit that I did spend some time in history and other classes with a variety of prurient images floating about my brain. But I did manage to pick up a few of the highlights.

    An interesting book I read a few years ago by one James W. Loewen titled “Lies My Teacher Told Me.” Mr. Loewen painstakingly writes of how history is so badly and inaccurately taught in U.S. schools. He recounts how various special interest groups use their influence on publishers of history books for school use to alter, omit or otherwise misrepresent various events and periods in our history. Loewen also recounts just how badly most teachers of history actually teach it.

    It’s no wonder that kids come out of our schools with little knowledge or appreciation of history. It is almost always considered to be the most boring of all the classes kids take in high school.

    B-tone

  • STM

    My favourite US teaching inaccuracy.

    That the US won the war of 1812.

    Everywhere else in the world, even in places where there is no axe to grind, the opposite view has been formed.

    The Canadians see it a lot differently too, and with good reason. The invasion of Canada wasn’t a by-product of the early fighting, it was the real reason for the war and it was repulsed.

    My view on it.

    If you start a war, unsuccessfully invade another country, lose part of your own, have your capital city burned, get the worst of the fighting, have part of a populace opposed to it and on the verge of returning to the Crown, and have your entire eastern seaboard blockaded and in the end, your navy and merchant vessels unable even to move out of port, and YOU realise the writing is on the wall and suddenly make the peace overtures because the power you are fighting has just beaten Napoleon and now has the resources heading against you, then you’re the loser.

    The fact that the other party is kind enough to let you win the peace because it was never interested in starting the war anyway is irrelevent.

    You’ve still lost the war. And for all those who want to point to Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans.

    It happened AFTER the peace treaty. Besides which, that same defeated British force then upped anchor, sailed round to Mobile Bay and captured the US garrison there in the last action of the war of 1812 – a US defeat.

    I’ve never understood why Americans have found it so difficult to admit that they might on occasion get beaten.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dr Dreadful [stands on wall, cheers, waves rattle above head]

    Well said, Stan.

    I somehow fancy that if the worst (heaven forbid) came to the worst, Britain could give the US a bit of a kicking even today.

    You forgot to mention that the British Army got the better of the Americans despite being overstretched and incredibly grouchy due to the fact that the very last thing they needed was to get involved in yet another war having only just (as they thought) got rid of Bonaparte.

    The sea war was another matter. Used to maritime supremacy after Trafalgar, the series of naval defeats the Americans inflicted on us caused a huge dip in morale back home – until Captain Broke in the Shannon knocked seven bells out of the Chesapeake, which had been giving merry hell to British shipping.

    You may remember that this action was fictionalized by Patrick O’Brian (I can’t remember in which book exactly) who had Aubrey and Maturin as escaped prisoners of war persuading Broke to provoke the Chesapeake into coming out to fight.

  • STM

    Doc: “I somehow fancy that if the worst (heaven forbid) came to the worst, Britain could give the US a bit of a kicking even today”.

    Lol. Only if you had all your other mates with you, and even then …

    I wouldn’t like to be tangling with them at the moment. It’s an awesome projection of genuine power. Americans think their stocks are falling. Literally, that’s probably true on the NYSE, but elsewhere – don’t think so.

  • STM

    Doc: The US frigates in the 1812 war were actually very big and powerful boats, hugely outgunning the British, who had to redesign their frigates specially for that, and the Americans actually won most of the early frigate-to-frigate battles.

    The quality of American seamanship was very good too, bizarrely and paradoxically helped by the press ganging of Americans for RN boats to fight the French (which was no longer happening by the time the 1812 war started and Madison said if he’d known that, he wouldn’t have started the fighting).

    The Chesapeake/Shannon battle is famous for the American captain saying, “Don’t give up the ship”. And of course, they did because Shannon had blown it to bits. But that was unusual – the Americans did better in most of those encounters, which was the start of America’s elevation on to the world stage, and the war ultimately set the scene for a lasting peace between the two countries that survived the odd later hiccough without a drama.

    The wood from the Chesapeake, which was taken as a prize, became a flour mill I believe in Norfolk (?). There has been talk of getting the wood and having it returned to the US.

    In the end though, they couldn’t break the blockade and Madison knew he was going to get a kicking after Napoleon’s defeat.

    I believe that US/Canadian planning for the 200-year commemoration of the war has hit a huge hitch – because the Canadians, quite rightly, have been gobsmacked by the American view that the US won.

    It would be a bit like Germany saying it had defeated Poland if it had invaded and then been pushed back to the borders and had achieved none of its military objectives and in the meantime the poles had sent a strike force in to burn down Berlin :)

    Interesting conundrum. And my big question is, why do Americans have that viewpoint when everyone else can see it for what it was – America’s first war of aggression and one of its most unsuccessful? Does the inability to admit to failure revolve around some innate national genetic desire never to lose face or something, or is it purely the fault of educators and the American history syllabus??

    Winning the peace, though … that was what left the US as it was to go on to become a great power. Hand of God, or the universe, or whatever you believe in, at work there.

    Imagine the outcome had been different, and in the 1940s a world without FDR and Churchill and the huge American contribution to getting rid of two of the most barbaric and hateful ideologies the world has ever seen? I’d be speaking Japanese now, and you’d be speaking German, probably. We have the US to thank for the fact we’re not.

    History is an interesting thing. We are living it as we speak …

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    My favourite US teaching inaccuracy.

    That the US won the war of 1812.

    Stan,

    In the summer of 2005, just before I discovered Blogcritics, I wrote a piece on the Battle of New Orleans. There is more to history than a mere recital of facts, though one should never forget the facts. Your recitation of the facts of the War of 1812 are accurate. The effects of the Battle of New Orleans are what you miss here. Those effects overshadowed the shoddy American attempt at conquering Canada as well as the peace agreement reached at Ghent just before Christmas of 1814.

    I’ll send this article to you via e-mail. It’ll raise a shitstorm of controversy and I do not really have time for controversy: I’m trying to launch a business and write a book at the same time.

    It has been with some reluctance that I wrote the last two articles I submitted, and it will be with reluctance that I write the third.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    As regards the American psyche, there is certainly a strong current of belief that we are unassailable, that neither have we nor can we do wrong, that we are the “chosen” people.

    (It’s interesting to me how true believers decide that their particular nation or group have become god’s “chosen.” Christians who make such claims are most often those who attest to the inerrant nature of their bible, yet, if I’m not mistaken, Jews are the only people designated within those hallowed pages as god’s chosen. Does god change his mind? Is this revisionist biblical history?)

    The above discussion stirred in me a memory I had all but forgotten. In high school I was enrolled in ROTC. One of our teachers, Sgt. Steptoe (yep – Steptoe) incessantly harped on the fact that the US of A had NEVER started NOR lost a war. One of my school’s history teachers claimed that not to be true – heresy! She, in fact, brought up as her prime example counter to Sgt. Steptoe’s claim the War of 1812. It was pointed out to her according to the American History book we were then using for the class clearly stated, that we won that war, that England was the aggressor. The history teacher brought out many of the facts that some of you noted above to no avail. I don’t remember all of the details now, but I do know that she was roundly criticized for making such an audacious claim from all sides. She left the school the following year to where and to what I don’t know.

    I imagine that if you picked up any American History book being used in schools today, even at the college level, it would still claim a US victory in that war with little or no discussion regarding our incursions into Canada or other less than laudable facts surrounding that period in our history.

    Another side note. We were told in ROTC that the American military salute was (is) made with the palm down because we had never lost a war, while countries that had been beaten in battle saluted with the palm out. Americans continue to salute palm down. If what we were told in ROTC back then (the early 1960s) was true, I don’t know how they reconcile our ignominious departure from Vietnam, let alone the reality of our defeat in 1812.

    B-tone

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    My favourite US teaching inaccuracy.

    That the US won the war of 1812.

    Geez. I was taught in the U.S. public school system, where I learned that the War of 1812 ended in a stalemate. The Treaty of Ghent created a status quo antebellum, meaning neither side accomplished its aims, although England’s defeat of Napoleon had rendered moot the issue of U.S. trade with France, and U.S. defeat of the Creek Indian tribe rendered moot the issue of British support of the Creeks. That’s pretty much a draw.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    We were told in ROTC that the American military salute was (is) made with the palm down because we had never lost a war, while countries that had been beaten in battle saluted with the palm out.

    If that’s true, then the French must have to salute two-handed, with both palms out…

    Ba-DOOM-boom-TSSSHHH!!!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I believe the French are now required to salute by dropping trow and bending over buttocks toward the enemy.

    As for the War of 1812, the great thing about it is that while it was technically a draw, for morale purposes everybody won. From the British perspective they repelled our invasion of of Canada and got to elevate Isaac Brock (posthumously) as a great patriot hero. From the US point of view we won the dramatic but utterly meaningless Battle of New Orleans and got to laud Andrew Jackson as a national hero.

    Both sides got to feel like they won while actually gaining nothing but self-esteem. That made it possible for the US and England to resume trade with each other without losing face and ushered in the trade-based economic growth of the ‘Era of Good Feelings’.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Flippancy aside, it is true that the US has never lost a war in the sense that it has never signed articles of surrender. That said, war isn’t really conducted according to those rules any more. Countries don’t make formal declarations of war these days, they just send troops in on the back of one excuse or another. You could argue, using that line of thinking, that America hasn’t even been in a war since 1945 – only police actions and peacekeeping missions.

  • Clavos

    B-tone,

    By now I’m sure you realize that one should never believe what a ROTC Sgt. (or any Drill Sergeant, for that matter) tells you.

    My father in law was a lifer, and a Drill Instructor for most of his 23+ years in the Army. From him, I learned that much of what a DI does is carefully calculated (in psychological terms) to produce the desired effect in recruits.

    Not that I hadn’t already figured that out from my own experiences with some particularly obnoxious DIs.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com baritone

    Clav,

    Of course the whole psychology of running grunts through basic is meant to first scare the bejesus out of them, break them down and then build them up believing that whatever the army tells them is gospel. I suppose that’s the only way they can get people to go enmasse and willy nilly into battle.

    High School ROTC was not nearly so intense as basic, and the goal there was to intice the pubescent youth into the service after leaving high school. But, as you say, one would suppose that they are no less full of crap at that level than at any other.

    By the way, you asked me a couple of questions on the show yesterday that I didn’t answer. I wasn’t evading you, I just couldn’t hear you clearly owing to road noise. I don’t use Baritone on the show, but rather my real name. My anonymity is shot in the ass.

    I tried to listen to the show last nite but the recording would stop about 5 minutes in and I’d get an error message. I’ve actually only listened to 1 complete show – the first one.

    It was great to have you aboard, though. Hope you stay with us.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    Thanks, B-tone. I tried not to make too much of a fool of myself.

    I, too, had some trouble hearing. You were loud and clear, as was Dave, but Mark was difficult for me to hear well.

    I did listen last night; didn’t have any problems. Wonder why you did?

    It was a lot of fun.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com baritone

    Clav,

    Mark was loud enough but somehow distorted. I’m trying to discover which phone with or without an earpiece works best. I’d rather use an earpiece so I don’t have to hold the phone to my ear for an hour. My wife suggested using the speaker phone, but that usually allows too much ambient noise and gets distorted as well.

    Catch you later,

    B-tone

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    B-tone, your screen name bears a strange resemblance to an e-mail address but seems to be dwindling gradually, by one letter per post. Are we to take it that in about eight comments’ time you’ll be back to plain old Baritone again?

    😉

    I was also able to download the whole show and listen to it without any problems. Nice surprise to hear you on there, Clav. You don’t sound how I expected. I’d imagined you as having a kind of Sam Elliott-type drawl – don’t know why.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com baritone

    I’ll pare down my screen name till it gets down to just “B” or perhaps just “-“, then I’ll cycle back up a letter at a time kind of like the expanding and contracting universe. I’m sure I have a universal appeal.

    B-ton

  • Clavos

    B-ton,

    Oy.

    Doc,

    Maybe because I’m so good lookin’? :>)

    You should see my younger brother (the former Saudi oil minister).

  • STM

    B-tone and the rest of you pack of bloody nongs:

    That thing about saluting is fair-dinkum bollocks.

    The Royal Navy still salutes palm down (and yes, I guess they’ve hardly lost a fight let alone a battle). But I believe the saluting palm up was done to differentiate an army salute from a navy salute, and is fairly recent in historical terms.

    The Royal Air Force (no battles lost there) salutes palm up. Why? Because it was formed from the Royal Flying Corps, which was part of the British Army.

    I know at the time of the Napoleonic wars the British Army still saluted palm down.

    You can just imagine the victorious Wellington, now occupying France after Waterloo. “OK, we’ve just thrashed France and Napoleon (over and over again in a vicious war lasting nearly 20 years), and removed one of the greatest ever threats to the peace and safety of Europe, but since we’ve had the odd defeat in the past 800 years, I think we should start saluting palm up so that everyone knows we’re really chickens!”

    Geez, you Yanks DO come up with some bollocks sometimes. And honestly, it REALLY does get tedious and tiresome. I suppose if Americans had fought as many battles as their British kin over the years, they’d have had the odd defeat as well. Oh, wait …

    Doc, love the bit about the French. Poor buggers. They’re not cowards either, as they have shown time and time again. You can even see it in the way they play rugby – they are full of courage and passion and when they’re on a roll, they’re hard to stop. I have a French mate here. They are good people once you get through the genetic hatred of anglo-saxons that makes them duplicitous in all their dealings with us. Once you have a Frenchman as a friend, however, you have a friend for life (just don’t let the buggers near your wives).

    Arrogance can bring ’em undone, though. That, or a piece of meat not quite cooked to perfection (and with the wrong sauce – merde!).

  • STM

    And if you guys think you’ve been drilled by drill instructors … I’m here to tell you haven’t.

    Get drilled the pom way.

    That’ll open your eyes.

  • STM

    I still don’t agree with the premise presented here by Dave and the other bloke that the War of 1812 was a draw, BTW.

    My view: if you start a war, and don’t win it, and get the worst of the fighting, the higher casualties, achieve nothing, and you are the ones who come cap in hand through intermediaries seeking an end to the fighting because you know you are living on borrowed time, you lost. Simple.

    It’s bizarre to me that the whole history of that conflict has been rewritten in America. Wellington (no doubt possessed of great foresight), BTW, was the one who convinced the British government not to push for anything but a return to the status quo at the peace table.

    The British were in a positition to make plenty of demands, since they occupied most of the captured territory – but they didn’t. The main reason: they never wanted the war in the first place.

    Another reason, and this may come as a surprise to many Americans, was that they always had a belief that they were fighting their own people and found it distasteful. Americans are still not really regarded as “foreigners” by the British, as I’m sure Doc will attest.

    It’s also the reason why, during the burning of Washington, soldiers were told not harm any of the populace, nor to torch any private homes or businesses, but to focus the destruction only on government buildings.

    It’s also worth noting that given the vast battles and the scale of the fighting against Napoleon which happened at the same time, the war of 1812 was regarded by the British as a sideshow and barely gets a mention in the history books.

    The American War of Independence, however, is covered in great detail – so it’s not like they’re trying to cover their tracks because they felt it was a defeat.

    Unlike you Yankee blow-hards, they are at least honest about their own history :)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Americans are still not really regarded as “foreigners” by the British, as I’m sure Doc will attest.

    And neither are any of the English-speaking peoples, at least not in my book. Yanks, Canucks, Aussies, Kiwis, West Indians… we’re all family.

    Well, except maybe for those bliddy Seth Efricans!

  • STM

    A book I read recently had a piece about a well-known London club in the 1920s and ’30s.

    On the club’s books, there were four nationality categories:

    British, Colonial, American and “foreign”.

    (foreign meaning anyone not of the first three categories, which should give us all pause for thought as Paul is now likely to use this to make a case for his theory that the British are actually still running the US govt).

    I think that’s a fairly standard view – except that I’m not a colonial any more, you bastards!

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Doesn’t “Canuck” refer specifically to the French (you should pardon the expression) Canadians??

    A Canuck (in that sense) friend of mine is the source of that little gem.

    He also says it’s mildly derogatory.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Re my #26. I’ll answer myself:

    “Apparently, not any more. From Wikipedia:”

    “The Random House Dictionary notes that: “The term Canuck is first recorded about 1835 as an Americanism, originally referring specifically to a French Canadian. This was probably the original meaning, though in Canada and other countries, “Canuck” refers to any Canadian.”

    Carry on…

  • STM

    I have a test.

    It’s called the bacon-and-egg test.

    People from countries who eat bacon and eggs for breakfast aren’t foreigners.

    They are family.

  • Clavos

    So, those of us who eat breakfast tacos are just the gardeners and nannies?

  • STM

    No, they are people who have been corrputed by living in Mexico and Miami.

    Tacos for breakfast. Heavens!

    Perish the thought.

    What’s in ’em? Ham and eggs?

  • STM

    Besides which, Clav, wouldn’t my theory still apply. Since bacon/eggs or ham/eggs is a breakfast favourite in the US, wouldn’t that put it in my “family” category?

    Basically, in the US I can walk out of a hotel, go straight to the nearest diner (well, maybe not in Miami), and order bacon and eggs for breakfast without it being considered some kind of bizarre special request.

    It’s all goo provided I don’t ask for tom-AH-to.

  • STM

    Make that “it’s all good …

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What’s in ’em? Ham and eggs?

    Pretty much, yeah.

    Yum, yum…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Clav @ 26, 27:

    Maybe ‘Canuck’ is a non-PC term. Well, Dave didn’t know that ‘Paki’ was offensive. Let’s just say that’s both of our first strikes…

  • Clavos

    Sorry, drifted off there for a bit…

    “What’s in ’em? Ham and eggs?”

    Yeah, mate, as Doc says, “pretty much.” Some cooks (especially in Mexico and South Texas) will put a few chiles and a little cheese, some tomatoes in ’em, too.

    ¡Sabroso!

  • STM

    I must add, the Spanish and Portuguese do eat ham, eggs and cheese for brekkie, so you’d assume that’s been passed along elsewhere.

    Putting chillies in ’em sounds pretty good. What, is it like an omlette inside a taco??

  • Clavos

    “What, is it like an omlette inside a taco”

    A short lesson in Mexican culture:

    The taco is the whole thing; the wrapper is a tortilla (pron: tore tea ya). Tacos can contain almost anything under the sun, and often do. They also can be part (or all, sometimes) of any meal.

    And yes, “an omelet inside a tortilla” is a fair dinkum description of a breakfast taco.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So, those of us who eat breakfast tacos are just the gardeners and nannies?

    My breakfast tacos always have bacon and egg in them. Sometimes we throw in some chorizo or potatoes or cheese for those that like such things too. That’s the Texican way.

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com baritone

    STM

    Regarding your #21. I didn’t say that I believe the tale about salutes. I probably did back in high school because I didn’t have any other frame of reference. It’s not something that since that time I have dwelled upon.

    But giving such a claim any thought would bring to surface the improbabliity of such nonsense. As I indicated, it was simply a small tidbit of the generally erroneous crap that the American military feeds its neophytes. I’m sure similar hogwash can be found to have been force fed to young Brits, Franks, Ruskies and whoever. Such bullshit is just part and parcel of the generic “military mind.”

    |

  • STM

    B-tone. I called you all a pack of nongs. This is Australian for “less than idiots”.

    This should be your indicator to the seriousness of my post. I knew where you were coming from …

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com baritone

    Upon rereading my note regarding salutes, what the good ole sergeant told us was that it was palms down if a country hadn’t lost a “war,” not simply a battle. It’s still stupid, but at least I am quoting him more closely.

    The way I see things is that we Yanks are not so good and smart and on top of the heap as most flag wavers believe, but nor do I believe that we are any more “nongs” than the rest of the world. We all share in human frailty. We all say and do really stupid things. It’s just that the U.S., being the 500 pound gorilla gets poked and prodded and scrutinized more than the rest. It’s not like the Aussies get a very prominent place on the world stage. Of course, I think that’s a good thing.

    B-tone

  • Silver Surfer

    B-tone: “It’s not like the Aussies get a very prominent place on the world stage. Of course, I think that’s a good thing”.

    Lol. I’m with ya there b-tone. Imagine that: packs of lunatic Aussies roaming around the world and causing strife all over the shop and barely being understood. Oh, wait … :)

    Nongs isn’t a word that should taken seriously, however. It’s a bit of a playful way of describing a pack of, well, nongs … I wasn’t applying it just to you guys either. Doc was on the list too just for joining in.

    I hope my description of this word has further enlightened Dr Dread, who has wondered about its meaning for some time, and perhaps also you B-tone.

    I have heard the saluting thing before too, BTW. It was once the subject of a quite lively pub discussion.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Australia, of course, has its own unique salute. When I was Down Under I had ample opportunity to practice the Bush Salute, which involves waving one’s hand, palm down, back and forth across one’s face every few seconds.

    The salute may be given all over the country, but is de rigeur in the Outback and, for some reason, that little park just under the north end of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Between the Aussies and the Brits, you all have so many colorful metaphors it’s difficult to keep up, don’t you know?

    Most American metaphors are less interesting and unimaginative in that they usually pertain to some bodily function or are otherwise an obscenity. Americans generally don’t enjoy their language as the Brits and you Aussies do.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    With respect, I disagree, B-tone.

    Here are some uniquely American expressions and words which I think are both imaginative and not obscene:

    Sugar daddy
    Yuppie
    Rug rat
    Gumshoe
    Space cadet
    Ballpark figure
    Mosey
    Uncle Sam
    Joe Six Pack

    Just a few; there are, I’m sure, many many more…

  • Clavos

    A couple more, which originated with the computer generation:

    Snail Mail
    Nerd

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My personal favorite, which is rather vulgar:

    “Dropping the kids off at the pool.”

  • Silver Surfer

    Lol doc … the Great Australian Salute.

    Having just recently returned from Western Australia, I can tell you the bush flies are a lot worse over there.

    I spent the whole time doing the salute, and then when I was walking along St Georges Terrace on my way back to the hotel (this is a main avenue in the city centre of Perth, BTW), one of the buggers flew straight into my mouth. Even in the heart of the city, where you think they’d drop off a bit, they were the most persistent flies I’ve ever encountered.

    And they’re pretty damn persistent on the east coast, as you know, so that’s saying something.