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View Diary: German Spiegel: "Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation" (317 comments)

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  •  Well, I will say this, DM. (17+ / 0-)

    There is an element of Schadenfreude (if we want to get all German about it) that creeps into so many of these articles you cite. It's sometimes as if Der Spiegel actively doesn't want American problems to get any better... because they might not be able to weigh in on America with such a judgmental air. Ditto The Guardian, and (mea culpa) ditto some of my country's news outlets in Canada, who never tire of finding some new angle on the intractable problems with the US health care system -- even as they call for creeping privatization in the Canadian universal system at home.

    One never has to look too far for this stuff. There's always some British photo montage of crumbling movie houses in inner-city Detroit, that seems to want to say: "look at this! Isn't it horrible? Dear reader, aren't you glad that you don't live in such a country?" (... even though aspects of British economic life approach American levels of dysfunction).

    Or, as some commenters have pointed out below, Der Spiegel seems to linger on questions of the inadequacy of American social provisions, when its own proclivities within the EU tend towards calls for austerity at times.

    I would just ask you to think about the cumulative effect of all of this European voyeuristic fascination with American decline. In what sense is all this actually helpful, rather than simply sternly admonitory?

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:12:36 PM PST

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    •  Whether der Spiegel is voyeuristic or not (23+ / 0-)

      is hardly the point. America is so habituated to flattering itself, gazing into the mirror of its own self-esteem, that any bit of objectivity should be more than welcome.

      Our corporate media have caused us to become morbidly narcissistic, to the point where we are nearly blind to how we are perceived by others.

      "The pessimists may be right in the end but an optimist has a better time getting there" -- Samuel Clemons

      by native on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:05:25 PM PST

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    •  right on both counts (0+ / 0-)

      Daily Kos: German Spiegel: "Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation"

      "look at this! Isn't it horrible? Dear reader, aren't you glad that you don't live in such a country?" (... even though aspects of British economic life approach American levels of dysfunction).
      a third point is sheer disbelief after decades of looking up to america from europe, as shining beacon on the hill etc, so to see it crash and burn closes the narrative arc tidily. it also deflects attention from stupid, venal corrupt policies being carried out at home.

      "see? we don't have to envy them after all!"

      media thrives on contrasts. watch RT and watch similar glee at signs of america going south, for similar reasons.

      whatever the agenda, there's something too pat and unbalanced in these hit pieces that betrays there is one, or many...

      the facts may be true, but there's a funny taste after reading them, too easy to bash the hegemon from afar maybe? glass houses?

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:35:08 AM PST

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      •  It's not like I don't enjoy a pat hit piece (0+ / 0-)

        every now and again. God knows, I'm a Canadian who reads Harper's magazine: in the salad days of the Bush administration, there was always something heartwarming about reading one of Lewis Latham's withering smackdowns of the US. And, admittedly, as a foreign person living in the US, I did indulge in a little smug finger-wagging -- about the US health care system, and even about Amtrak (though Canada's VIA Rail has nothing to be particularly smug about).

        Mea culpa.

        But the longer I live here, the more invested I become in the whole American project. And if the challenges come to seem ever more epic in scope, that's because this is a country with a degree of complexity that seems to elude the editorial offices of certain European newsweeklies.

        It's all well and good for some columnist to fire off brutal indictments from his laptop, while staring out at the cobblestone streets of some European capital of a country with a fraction of the cultural diversity of the United States. It's well and good for such a columnist to berate the US for failing to implement welfare state protections that only come easily to a country with relative cultural homogeneity. I wonder how easily Germany, say, would have established its social democratic state in the nineteenth century if it didn't have recourse to racially marked nationalist ideologies of the kind that contemporary German liberals would no doubt frown upon.

        And as far as immigration goes, I'm sure that Der Spiegel clucks disapprovingly at the antics of Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona. But I wonder whether they devote the same degree of attention to their government's sour attitude towards Turkish Gastarbeiters in their own country?

        Throwing stones in glass houses, etc.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:18:16 PM PST

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