Log in

No account? Create an account
Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

Day 15: Piss-up [20041023|10:27]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
Today we had planned to go to Battersea Park, meet Marco's workmate Suzie and her roommate Damien at a pub near Battersea train station for lunch and then go to the Affordable Art Fair in the park. I suppose two out of three isn't bad.

Everyone is late arriving at the pub. We had planned to meet at 11 am, but it's more like 2 pm when we get there. It is rather wet and cold outside. I have bangers and mash, my first such meal in an English pub. While we're eating, the rain begins in earnest. We look at it, look at our drinks, look at the nice warm toasty pub, look at one another, and the park is quite easily forgotten. Instead, we settle in for a good piss-up, which lasts until around 10 pm. The conversation veers around from football to sports to science – I spend a good half hour attempting to explain my research to a drunken Damien with what amounts to a minimum of success, in my estimation – and finally settles on a heated discussion of American politics. Damien insists that the British ought to be allowed to vote in the American elections, since American policy has such a powerful global influence. I resist the urge to tell him that's he's probably welcome to vote for the emperor president – if he's willing to pay the taxes. Anyone can be a Roman American, as long as he pays taxes.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-10-26 08:43 (UTC)
It's weird being in a pub in midday on a weekday, though. They're generally very deserted and ghostly until later in the afternoon, and of course the good ones are packed solid all weekend. Midday is Dodgy Punter & Young Mum o'clock. The Dodgy Punters either can't afford pints or prefer slinking down the street looking shifty and drinking Guinness out of cans and the Young Mums are too busy using their babies as battering rams in the grocery store to sit down in a pub for a pint.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sekl
2004-10-25 18:36 (UTC)
All things considered maybe they should vote.

Or at least be able to buy out American voting options from all those people who say, "Oh I don't vote, I'm not informed so I don't vote."
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-10-26 08:37 (UTC)
I want Lisa Simpson for president, please.

I don't think the Emperor would allow for American votes to be bought. It's better for him that they be wasted by the ignorant subjects of the empire.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sekl
2004-10-26 16:02 (UTC)
Yeah, it says something that England felt America could be run better by Homer Simpson than the current administration, but I'd prefer Lisa Simpson too. Butting in with helpful advice could be come a national pasttime. And think of the budget for museums!

The problem with putting votes up for sale is that Halliburton could also get together and buy some votes...oh wait...right. What American company needs to buy voters when you can buy supreme court justices?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: paris_of_priam
2004-10-25 23:59 (UTC)

The British getting all smug about empires?

There are no noble men but Romans! Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, and render unto George that which is George's. ;)

The funny thing about all this is that the british are some of the last people on earth who should be criticizing the heavy handed american empire, since the british empire was twice as heavy handed, right up until it collapsed at the end of WWII. I remember one time when I was doing a history project for a course I was taking, and I had to root through old british newspapers from the turn of the century, and up until the start of WWII. I was amazed at how much the old 1920 British newspapers, like the TIMES resembled FOX NEWS of today. All of the stories were so overblown and pretentious, and exaggereted the role of the britain in the world. All of the stories divided the world up into 'us and them.' And all of the problems in the world could be explained by the fact that all those damned foreigners don't behave like the british do, and if everybody else in the world though, acted, and had the same political system as the british, there would be no more such problems. And therefore, it was britains duty to go around inforcing the british way of thinking and acting upon the rest of the world. Very similar to the 'Shrub Manifesto' of the early 21st century.

Although, I have to admit that the british empire was less sloppy than the american empire, because the british actually BELIEVED in having an empire. Up until the end of WWII there was actually a large faction of the british population that believed they were right while everybody else was wrong, were civilized while everybody esle was barbarian etc., and it was their right and their DUTY to go around spreading the civilized way to the rest of the world, and therefore they had not only a divine RIGHT to rule, but a divine RESPONSIBILITY to rule. In other words, they didn't see anything wrong with 'ruling' other people.

The U.S., on the other hand, has a very hypocritical and scizophrenic attitude towards their empire, where part of the American psyche believes that everybody else in the world should think and believe what they believe (which is a universal characteristic, that most societies have...so it's not unique to Americans), but at the same time they don't believe in FORCING other people to adopt the same way of life, or the same value system, and the same political system. They also believe in democracy; and the principles of democracy are not compatible with the principles of running an empire. So the american empire has usually involved propping up a bunch of pro-american tin-pot dictators who support the U.S., while leaving the american psyche a loophole, so that we can say that we're not really 'ruling' those countires. Sure, the people who live there may be oppressed, but at least it's not WE who are oppressing them.

So, the U.S. has always had a 'surrogate empire' or an 'empire by proxy,' which is always a lot more clumsy and messy than a real empire where people rule directly and arrogantly, because they believe it's the right thing to do.

I remember I had a Turkish girlfriend once, who used to defend the Ottoman empire. And she would say "oh, the Ottoman empire wasn't that bad, compared to the British empire. All the Ottomans wanted you to do was pay some taxes to Turkey, but at least they didn't go around FORCING everybody to BECOME TURKISH!" Heheh!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-10-26 09:18 (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't quite feel like alienating our new new friends by pointing out the irony involved in an Englishman berating the Americans for being a global superpower. I might give it a couple more piss-ups before I attempt that. :-P

I do like your point about the schizophrenic attitude that Americans have towards their empire, in that no one actually wants to admit that it exists. It kind of dovetails with the American tendency to admit to a minimal amount of personal responsibility for, well, just about anything.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2004-10-26 02:53 (UTC)


and if you evade taxes apparently you can vote twice for the emperor
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-10-26 08:39 (UTC)
Fascinating. I wonder if expats can pull that trick. Not that I would ever try, because it's immoral and unethical and things, but it would be interesting to know.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)