How does it feel to be an American?

Health insurance rip off lying FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We'll kick your ass in

Postby moon unit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:37 am

iambic wrote:I will say that for the privileged immigrant who has a generally frictionless entry and acceptance into the U.S., what badhat is talking about is one of the hardest things to deal with, even after you've navigated the immigration system and attendant obtuse bureaucracies (like opening a bank account, which is weirdly hard?). I think I could talk a lot about American use of space/distance/roads—and how disorienting car culture is in ways that don't feel trivial.

Everything has been covered in this thread but I just wanna say I really appreciated this conversation. As a European transplant that mostly has grown to love America, this is the most dehumanizing aspect of America and the thing that will always gnaw at me. I don't want to live anywhere else but I also don't want to live somewhere auto-centric, which doesn't leave a lot of pickings.

I'm always trying to figure out how we can change legislation and development patterns to make it less so. Badhat you're doing important work and I share your obsession.
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Postby palms » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:59 am

Badhat made some damn good posts itt. I spend a lot of time lately thinking what's going to happen to all the vast American suburbs when (if) we finally get over cars as a society. There's going to be some interesting retrofitting iniatives designed to tackle that problem, I suppose there already are

Let's all have another orange julius
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:57 am

fox wrote:
office plant wrote:
bigcat wrote:There's nothing more embarrassing and irritating to me than going abroad and hearing liberal Americans shit all over this country. Like, do you really want our only positive representation to be from those guys?



my perennial problem with these guys as a non-american is they sometimes seem to believe america's problems are somehow unique, or that they're worse or more deserving of consideration than those of any other country, so they're hypercritical but weirdly nationalist about it


yes it's a way of distinguishing yourself from "those guys" while also monopolizing the conversation


It's weird because I can cop to occasionally having the feeling that I've done this, usually after the fact. I don't think it's soley always about distinguishing yourself from "those guys" though, at least in my instance. I think I feel guilt about not being home in the middle of it and doing anything to help. Like I realize that I'm living a privilege in that I can just avoid Trump if I feel like it and oddly that in someway bolsters my obsession on the topic.
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Postby mascotte » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:58 am

Ok, I can elaborate more on how it feels to be Polish.

It's really hard to avoid oversimplifications and generalizations here and I know my question regarding being an American was based on some common stereotypes.

There are things that I like about Poland and Poles and there are things that I hate. This is a very monocultural country with one dominating religion, race and language. It hasn't been like that throughout the ages. In the 30s last century the ethnic minorities reached 30% of population, predominantly Jewish, German, Russian and Latvian. Despite a few pogroms, mostly inspired by the nazis, and recent change in attidue towards so called immigrants (mostly people with darker complexion) this is a very tolerant country and has been so for centuries.

Catholicism is not present in my life, my father was an active communist who forbade me going to church. I don't know many devoted catholics and I believe that for most of them it is a private thing. What I really dislike is that religion here is an instrument of power, used by both clergy and politicians for their particular aims. The society is thus extremely polarized, although the parliament consists mostly of the right, far right and populistic parties, the left has almost disappeared from the scene. I fucking hate Polish politicians, most of them only care of their own interest - but I guess it is a common thing in today's post politics.

Due to wars and turmoil caused by two neighbor superpowers Poland has been in the process of reconstrucion, the process began in 1989 and will last a couple of generations. This applies to class structure, urbanization, politics, education, public space, economy, redistribution of money, virtually everything. I like this chaos, the need for improvisation, the unexpectedness of ppl and things, and consider it a part of "Slavic spirit", I experienced it in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Balcan states, Russia and so on. This is a messy, exhausted country that has been mothodically demolished for 2 centuries and this transition is the result.

Communism left its mark on mentality here and despite the new generation coming to power, ppl still have no respect for law, the police, public space. After years of oppression, for many democracy and freedom means you can let your dog shit on the pavement or that you cover your macmansion (called the "carringtons" by some) with a blue roof, against local architectural guidline (if there is any). This attitude is present everywhere, everything looks like random patchwork, although in a lighter version than in the Balkans.

I love nature here, 30% of the land is covered by forests and this is awesome. It is relatively healthy, Poland is an exception among heavily industrialized EU countries.

Due to years of occupation Poles are suspicious towards authority, and I like it, this spirit of uprisings, protests, opposing the rulers prevailed and sometimes brings spectacular results. This is great, otherwise this nation has been eradicated by the Russians or Germans.

We have strong cultural tradition, some groundbreaking writers, cinematographers, philosophers, architects, painters, musicians, etc. This helps you feel better.

What I hate the most about Poland is that during its rapid transformation a whole generation (or two) have been left with disastrous income without any help from the government, this creates a huge gap, a contrast between developing countryside and exploding cities. Sure, we succeeded as a whole, Poland is the most dynamic country in all post communist block, but someone pays the price.


Above all I am aware of some facts that must be taken under condition when making judgments about me being Polish. I am privileged, well educated, coming from the largest city, having no financial issues, I admit I am a 1%-er...
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:13 am

chowder julius wrote:i would move to europe in a heartbeat except i don't want to live in any of the native english speaking countries and my job depends on being able to understand what people are asking me

i ultimately feel ambivalent about america but the negative opinions are as strong as the positive ones so it's kind of fraught

Dutch isn't that hard and there are tonnes of libraries!
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Postby mascotte » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:53 am

Dutch pronunciation is super difficult
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Postby identikit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:13 am

But doing the job CJ is doing would require to be more than business fluent in Dutch, so at least 5 years? or more of learning and speaking that language.

Maybe I'm just lazy but every time I think about moving somewhere where I need to learn the language (so every other day) I file it under pipe-dream very fast, I don't think I have a realistic chance to get that good in a new language, now, without a shit load of effort and time.

I just want to kick my former self as pupil into the butt for being so utterly idiotic to NOT pick Spanish. What the hell.
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:20 am

No library worker in the Netherlands doesn't speak English fluently so communicating with colleagues wouldn't really be a problem. You'd probably need to have a decent ability at reading dutch and enough conversational dutch to deal with the customer service part of the job. Also I am dumb because I've been living here over 2 years and I'm still little better than basic conversation level. My accent is great tho.
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:23 am

I've really loved my time in the Netherlands, and I've got a pretty good buddy who lives in Utrecht. I'll have to get on Duolingo for Dutch. Should sort myself out in a few months
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:24 am

Duolingo is useless ime
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:30 am

I've used it a bit for German and of course I'm not fluent, but I know a lot more German than I did before I started Duolingo and gamifying it is probably the reason why. Of course if I wanted to really speak it I'd need real study
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Postby identikit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:16 am

I wouldn't call Duolingo useless, I got as far as watching not-super-difficult movies without subs in Danish. But when finally in the situation to actually talk in Danish I was of course shit out of luck. It's a fun way to get started at least.
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Postby chargie » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:36 am

Hieronymus Kush wrote:As a cishet black male I fucking loathe this country and plan on leaving as soon as I have the financial means to do so.


I have family in the states, new york city in particular, and have been invited to visit loads but just don't fancy it; almost as unattractive as russia is to me.

Where do you plan on leaving to?
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Postby office plant » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:55 am

gallits wrote:No library worker in the Netherlands doesn't speak English fluently so communicating with colleagues wouldn't really be a problem. You'd probably need to have a decent ability at reading dutch and enough conversational dutch to deal with the customer service part of the job. Also I am dumb because I've been living here over 2 years and I'm still little better than basic conversation level. My accent is great tho.


Wait you're not dutch? god damm it i've been thinking you're dutch for years
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:04 am

I'm english
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Postby badhat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Hey everybody my name popped up a few times in my daily vanity search and I appreciate that folks appreciated what i had to say in here.

If youre interested in learning more, i just wannna bump my suggestion from yesterday that this book is really great and the conversation about it i linked at the bottom is absolutely worth your time and the people in that convo are some of the smartest people in the US right now who are challenging a established ideas not just about transportation but transportation equity- designing systems and policies that actively prioritize identifying and solving historic disparities in mobility for minority populations.

Tamika Butler in particular is one of the most important social justice leaders in the US that you havent heard of unless youre a transpo/land use policy nerd.


admittedly the metal thread has recently taken a hit
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Postby joe » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:56 pm

That was a cool post mascotte, thanks
dễ dàng wrote:CHẾT TIỆT
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Postby office plant » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:56 pm

gallits wrote:I'm english


o right! <3
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Postby husbands » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:15 pm

it is v. fucked that israelis living in the US pay no income tax
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Postby ill sinner » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm

poland is one of the coolest countries, despite the scary xenophobic politics you're going through. are you going to unsound festival, mascotte?
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Postby ill sinner » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:09 pm

also the prettiest slavic language imo
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Postby Prof. Horatio Hufnagel » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:09 pm

i got a flight to chicago via warsaw on a polish airline and the language blew me away. i spent half the time looking at all the words because they looked so cool, the other trying to speak to the friendly people sitting next to me that didn't understand a word of english. one of my favourite soundsystems goes over to play raves in poland, looks tight. oh and i ate a bunch of prince polos on the flight. also the polish stores i go to sometimes here have the best crisps/chips

good country imo
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Postby mascotte » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:52 am

No, I don't go to Unsound since I quit drinking. Prince Polos are great though, I eat a few once a week. I completey forgot thw food here. It's really good, even if you dine in a middle of nowhere. It's opposite of what I heard about American food in the interior, my friends travelled east coast-west coast were depressed after having eaten hundred of meals in roadside diners.
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Postby iambic » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:42 am

crash.landing wrote:Not sure what you're asking. The average person here generally is not in a position to evade taxes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_mort ... _deduction
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Postby Milk » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:16 pm

I evade taxes by being too poor and living on the government's dime. They even refund me sales taxes. Well or an approximate equivalent.

I am mostly detrimental to the whole system. Sometimes i convince myself to feel good about it. Socialism begrudgingly keeps me alive because modern civilization has decided to forego the basic laws of nature and deemed that even the most useless of human being should get to have shelter and food. Often i have to wonder if that is truly the way to go but then i remember that i posit this question from what is still a position of extreme privilege and then i check them. My privileges that is. I list them all up mentally and then just as i am about to smile contentedly at my fortune i remember that my main privilege is being a white male from a middle class upbringing and i transform my contentment into intense shame. Then i turn to mindless entertainment as a mean to escape my conscience. That is truly the greatest privilege of the first world. As long as there will exist a variety of drugs to keep us from scratching too strongly at the door of our souls we should be fine.
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Postby Milk » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:17 pm

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Postby staple » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:18 pm

being an american is, honestly, fucking great
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Postby deadbass » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:02 pm

bigcat wrote:Oh, I've been to many other places and lived in the UK twice. My experiences abroad have led me to believe the baseline standard of living here is a notch above the rest. First world plus. And even though we're racist AF we're one of the only countries not founded on ethnic nationalism, that's pretty cool.


This is very much not true.
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Postby identikit » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:06 pm

Milk wrote:Sometimes i convince myself to feel good about it. Socialism begrudgingly keeps me alive because modern civilization has decided to forego the basic laws of nature and deemed that even the most useless of human being should get to have shelter and food.

to be clear though that is not a reason why I would want to evade taxes now, in the US. In fact I never did even while I still could. I depended on unemployment benefits too at some point, and I figure what I actually need every year in health care is 10 times more than the next Euro tax payer, and yet I pay the same. Every time I see a doc I have a brief moment of guilt thinking "in animal kingdom, I would not be alive, yet here I am." But oh well.

I wouldn't want to avoid it to go "oh my god these slobs actually buy weed and a salmon on sale from my taxes, outrageous!" - it is just the current situation, I was unable to calm my conscience that I actually willingly pay company taxes into a pool of money that can be used and abused by THIS US administration. My conscience would be fine if I would have found a way for utter and complete tax fraud and then take that money and support whatever with it instead.
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Postby Sobieski » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:37 am

smoke less weed
get more sleep
always tip %20
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