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  • The emigrant's destiny: The foreign country has not become home, but home has become foreign.

    --Alfred Polger (d. 1955), Der Emigrant und die Heimat

    Emigranten-Schicksal: Die Fremde ist nicht Heimat geworden. Aber die Heimat Fremde.

    Between 2007 and 2009, I lived in Los Angeles after living in Paris for many years. My Paris blog (before and after my Los Angeles sojourn) is Rue Rude.

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    « The Jews vs the Hungarian | Main | The obesity virus »

    18 September 2007


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    I dont quite agree with you on that, to be honest. By "themselves" you imply that we are part of the group we critize, and obviously that's not the case. Do conservative Americans have a gripe with themselves because they constantly rant about what libs do to the country, and vice-versa ? I dont see any difference here.

    Well, Sedulia, I know just what you're saying! But surely noone can outdo us British on self deprecation - it's part of our national fabric (and goes along with the hearty dislike of boasting that you pinpointed so hilariously some posts back). You're right, Americans don't tend to put themselves down and I sometimes think that we could use some of their self-confidence. Interesting topic.

    It's true about the Brits! Take the scene in the movie "Notting Hill" where the hero and his friends seem to be competing to put themselves down. "I've lost every job I ever had!" "Yes, but I can't get a girlfriend!" It's harder to imagine a group of American friends like that. Wouldn't someone say seriously, "Really?" and be put off?

    I said to a British friend how much I admired the way the Brits were honest with their friends. She said, "We're not any more honest than you Americans, but our dishonesty is in a different direction. We can't be enthusiastic about the good things. We have to pretend everything is worse than it is."

    See, Sedulia - the conversation you describe from Notting Hill would *excite* the hearer and make him/her feel right at home. What *would* put off the hearer is if the group was going on about how successful their lives were - the hearer would get away as fast as possible and search out more 'real' people ie those into self-denigration and who are expert in 'what's wrong with Britain'!

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    Today's quotation

    • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

        –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

      À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

    Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

    • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.