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<nettime> Europe envys America
Miguel Afonso Caetano on Fri, 14 Mar 2003 16:15:44 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Europe envys America


Dear Nettimers:

I don't know if this is going to be published in the list, but I think it
is suitable and very adequate, taking in account the issues that have been
discussed here in the last few weeks, even if - I reckon - it's not the
most usual type of material that appears in Nettime. Below is an excerpt
of a message that I've sent to my brother congratulating him for receiving
his green card.

We are portuguese. He has been living in America for the last eight years,
firstt studying for a PhD, then working for a big pharmaceutical company.  
Since he left Portugal, he has changed from a middle left-wing socialist
to a republican neo-liberalist. I've wrote this text because I wanted to
prove to him that you don't have to agree with the Bush Administration and
the neo-liberalist/capitalistic world view to be in favor of America and,
simultaneously, that the assumption that all Europeans are anti-American
is a false one.

In fact, it is my opinion that the majority of the Europeans born after
the 60s have been deeply influenced by America. whether they admit it or
not. The reason may lie, as usual, in the media. We, Europeans, are all
immersed in the American culture and society. From the big commercial
media outlets to the counter-cultural movements. We just don't reckon that
we have a strange fascination with America. The anti-Americanism of the
Europeans that is so spoken and written about is just too much envy.
Agressive capitalism, lack of social justice and social concerns,
overvalorization of profits, militarism, unilateralism and imperialism are
often excuses. That doesn't mean that the accusations are false, but you
don't have to go back to the Second World War to see the same syntoms
across Europe. Besides, as we all should know by now, capitalism never had
a country.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

>America is a great nation and it needs and treats very well bright,
>energetic young people!!! It's the country of Freedom, of Openness, of >Free 
>Speech, of Brightness, of Geniality, of Multiculturalism, of Walt Whitman, 
>Edgar Allan Poe, Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, Jack Kerouac, Lou 
>Reed, Andy Warhol, John Kennedy, Jimi Hendrix, Marshall McLuhan, Steve Jobs 
>and Steve Wozniak, Brian Wilson, Marvin Gaye, David Lynch, Robert de Niro, 
>Bob Dylan, Richard Stallman, Vannevar Bush, Douglas Engelbart, J.R. 
>Licklider, Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and many more.
>
>For me, America means "new", "fresh", "vast", "democracy", "participation",
>"serendipity", "the next big idea", "innovation", "big", "practice", "gold",
>"roads", "networks", "creativity", in just a few words. For all the George
>Bushes, Dick Cheneys, corrupt and greedy CEOs, Bill Gates, Pat Robertsons,
>Billy Grahams, Andy Sullivans, Fukuyamas, Virginia Postrels that
>proliferate, there will always be another Walt Whitman, another open mind,
>another young doctoral candidate who has just arrived from Europe, India,
>China, Latin America or Africa. This lies in the schizofrenic nature of 
>America.
>
>Unfortunately, Portugal and the rest of Europe are more interested in the
>great "achievements" of the past than with the present and the future. It was
>this type of forward-thinking that has put America where it is today. 



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