[TUHS] OT: American Culture

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Wed Jan 3 02:43:59 AEST 2018

On Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 7:15 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:
> A lingering gripe that explains my latent anti-Americanism goes back to
> when I had to support Uniplus 2.2/2.4 (sorta SysIII-ish) on the WICAT boxes
> in here in Australia.  At installation time, we had to express the time
> offset as hours *west* of GMT; this left me with a lingering belief that
> Americans didn't want to be perceived as being backwards (yeah. it saved an
> entire keystroke out of the dozens that were otherwise required).

​Dave I'm not so sure it's about being perceived as forward or backwards -
its just shallow, provincial and often lazy because the program did not
really knowing any better.  The problem is too many American',
(particularly younger ones that experience our 'excellent' educational
system), have often never travelled that much and experiences other places,
cultures or social norms.

I admit this is extreme example, but about 8 years ago, my daughter had a
friend, who was approx 16 at the time, that we took to the big city
(Boston) to play in a orchestra concert at Symphony Hall when they both
were named 'All State' for the instruments.   I don't remember why said
friends family did not/could not come - but it made sense and we said we
would take her with us.  On the drive in-town, we were talking with her and
I discovered that she had never gone to Boston before ... ever -- she was
excited to see it (we live less than 1hr North mind you.  Note quite the
boon-docks).  She had not gone to a 'Bo Sox' game or anything.   Never went
to the Science Museum, etc.   She grew up in her town (mind you happy) and
using TV as her window to world.

Which brings me to >>my complaint<<.   We, as American's, project so much
about 'us' via TV.  The said truth is most Americans are not like what they
see on TV [e.g. Rice-A-Roni is made up!!, Benihana's is an American
invention, and "the big yellow school bus" is dirty/noisy and usually
without seat belts].   Sadly, many Americans do not know any better - queue
the famous quote about never under-estimating the taste of the American
public.  But think about what folks outside the US see and think?   Many of
my European friends in particular all want to visit NYC.  [I tell them all,
visit Boston or Philadelphia first if you can.   Those cities are much more
representative of America then LA, NYC or Dallas; if for no other reason
they are more 'European' in feel].

When I run into things like what you just described (and I seem to run into
then most often with MicroSoft based tools), I think to myself, it must
have been a cold day in Redmond, WA and some programmer did not want to
make an effort to do make her/his solution really general ;-)


FWIW: Not only did we take my kids all over the world as children, we
brought the world to them by sponsoring kids from all sorts of countries.
But I fear, my wife and I are less the norm then I would wish.
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