Monday, March 07, 2005

Deal with it, you whiny xenophobes

I'm always bemused by xenophobic conservatives who, when confronted with negative opinions of the United States voiced by those living in other countries, sniff indignantly that they don't care what foreigners think.

Usually they resort to the childish name-calling ("Old Europe", "freedom fries") but mostly it's the hypocrisy exhibited that smells so ripe. These whiners are taking advantage of a technology -- the Web -- that makes the world smaller, yet they complain when they hear a differing viewpoint that might have originated in another language.

We should care what everyone thinks of each other when the world is this small -- and shrinking. And that's why sites like Watching America are so cool.

Watching America translates news stories about the United States from foreign newspaper Web sites into English, and also provides links to the native-language version. For example, a March 2 story that ran in Spain's El Mundo tells of that country's help in alerting the U.S. to al-Qaida plans to attack Grand Central Station in New York. You can read the English translation, the original Spanish version and a machine-translated rendition of El Mundo's home page.

I found WA at Bob Harris' blog, and his comments are worth repeating also:

To those of you not yet in the habit of reading the news as it's written overseas, the selections might seem biased, or even bluntly anti-American. Which, um, is the thing. After reading local papers during my own recent bounces around the planet, I can't say this is particularly unrepresentative. In any case, if you're interested, the bottom of the front page also provides a ton of links to the home pages of media from across the planet, so you can easily do your own digging and think for yourself. Bush really has alienated vast swaths of humanity, and the only place that isn't screamingly obvious is within these very borders.

It's a bit like having to live in an alcoholic household, really. Inside the house, Dad's really a good guy who just needs us to love him a little more and work a little harder and meanwhile the "good" kids are the ones enabling him and the ones who actually see that he's just a selfish f***ing drunk are very, very bad.

I suppose this puts people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh in the enabling-mother role, unable to see the faults in the man they love, no matter how obvious, and willing to lash out at anyone who asks why he's picking fights, not taking care of the house, and running up enormous debts.

Seems about right.

1 comment:

Traveller said...

Great post, Diddie! Bob Harris' thoughts are also welcome. As are the links -- I lost all my best links to the foreign press when my old hard drive got munched up by a virus and have yet to replace them. (And have gotten lazy since Nur al-Cubicle has been doing all the heavy lifting!)