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BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory

GUEST,bbc 31 May 00 - 11:43 AM
alison 31 May 00 - 11:48 AM
TerriM 31 May 00 - 12:05 PM
Peg 31 May 00 - 12:13 PM
Bill D 31 May 00 - 12:30 PM
Wolfgang 31 May 00 - 12:32 PM
Bert 31 May 00 - 12:49 PM
katlaughing 31 May 00 - 01:00 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 31 May 00 - 01:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 00 - 02:10 PM
Jed at Work 31 May 00 - 02:55 PM
Jon Freeman 31 May 00 - 03:11 PM
Jed at Work 31 May 00 - 03:34 PM
MK 31 May 00 - 03:55 PM
Jed at Work 31 May 00 - 04:01 PM
Rick Fielding 31 May 00 - 04:11 PM
GutBucketeer 31 May 00 - 04:31 PM
Jed at Work 31 May 00 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Mrbisok@aol 31 May 00 - 04:40 PM
Bert 31 May 00 - 04:44 PM
GutBucketeer 31 May 00 - 04:57 PM
bbelle 31 May 00 - 06:20 PM
Art Thieme 31 May 00 - 06:23 PM
gillymor 31 May 00 - 06:38 PM
gillymor 31 May 00 - 06:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 00 - 07:06 PM
Lanfranc 31 May 00 - 07:26 PM
Irish sergeant 31 May 00 - 07:42 PM
bbc 31 May 00 - 07:43 PM
katlaughing 31 May 00 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Joerg 31 May 00 - 09:49 PM
Kelida 31 May 00 - 11:53 PM
DougR 01 Jun 00 - 01:17 AM
Amergin 01 Jun 00 - 05:09 AM
bbc 01 Jun 00 - 05:49 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 00 - 06:08 AM
JedMarum 01 Jun 00 - 08:24 AM
Jon Freeman 01 Jun 00 - 10:00 AM
Peg 01 Jun 00 - 11:24 AM
Bert 01 Jun 00 - 11:50 AM
Little Neophyte 01 Jun 00 - 11:59 AM
Bert 01 Jun 00 - 12:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 00 - 12:15 PM
Jon Freeman 01 Jun 00 - 12:51 PM
bbc 01 Jun 00 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 00 - 07:29 PM
Irish sergeant 01 Jun 00 - 07:38 PM
bbelle 01 Jun 00 - 08:24 PM
Bert 02 Jun 00 - 01:10 PM
DougR 02 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jun 00 - 02:12 PM
bbelle 02 Jun 00 - 03:15 PM
Frank McGrath 03 Jun 00 - 11:31 AM
Amos 09 Jun 00 - 12:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 00 - 01:33 PM

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Subject: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: GUEST,bbc
Date: 31 May 00 - 11:43 AM

threads without any musical merit? Why generalize about an ethnic or geographic group? Do the words "Get a life" have any meaning anymore? Who's fat; who's thin. Who cares?!!! As if you could generalize a statement like that about a country, anyway! I happen to be a thin American. Go sit on a tack! I am sick to death of the percentage of junk on this site lately!

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: alison
Date: 31 May 00 - 11:48 AM

well said bbc

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: TerriM
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:05 PM

at the risk of repeating what has been said a thousand times...so why open/read the thread? Why not just pass on to what does interest you? I'm genuinely interested, not being facetious or spoiling for an arguement..why can't there be a policy of live and let live here?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Peg
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:13 PM

I agree Terri, even as a BS thread I do think there is some truth in what has been said... and as an American who often wonders why so many other Americans are fat (and worries about starvation in other countries) I think this is a legitimate topic for a BS discussion...there are lots of threads that aren't about music here...and plenty that are. People are free to choose what interests them and start their own threads...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bill D
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:30 PM

bbc..having just posted to one of 'those' threads, I see your point...but let's face it- you will not stop them. You are quite different in your outlook and sensitive points than others. We have a wide diversity of people here and Max has put VERY few limits on what can be discussed. I used to abstain from many of the BS threads, and seldom START one, but whatta ya gonna do?...and YOU just added one more log to the fire...*shrug*...Remember sitting around at the Getaway where we all came together to make music? There were MANY conversation that weekend that had nothing to do with music...even between you & I. It just 'happens'. I, too, often wish there were less extraneous stuff, but I am learning to do as I did at the Getaway when the conversation went in direction I found silly or not to my taste..get up and go across the room. Can you really imaging getting up in the dining-hall at thr Getaway and standing on a table and shouting at everyone to keep their talk 'on topic'?...yep...I know there are differences...but..


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Wolfgang
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:32 PM

Terri,
I can't answer for BBC, but here are my reasons:
(1) because of the spill-over to other threads: in times in which there are many BS threads of that type the tone in the music threads also tends to get worse.
(2) because of the bandwidth: I have contributed to make the new super search possible and fear that in a few months this search will be down again; it is getting increasingly difficult for me to find the information I come for.
(3) because of the impact on casual (or not so casual) visitors: some people I'd like to frequent this site are repulsed by these threads and others I'd not particularly like to come here are attracted. (that's a guess from me, not knowledge)

So my reasons are not these threads as such (you're right, I do not need to open them or at least not read them) but their impact on the whole Mudcat 'atmosphere'. There are many threads I do not open for lack of interest or knowledge (e.g., fingerpicking), but have not the slightest objection to them being here.

BBC, thanks for starting this. I was near to start an abundance of 'why are Germans so...', 'why are Irish so...', 'why are Italians so...', 'why are Australians so...' threads and to insert the respective worst of prejudices, but I feared someone would take this too serious and start posting to them true to my words and not to the intention.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bert
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:49 PM

The ratio is about ONE BS thread to FOUR music/folk threads. That doesn't seem too bad a mix to me.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 May 00 - 01:00 PM

Grow/oaning pains, again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 31 May 00 - 01:34 PM

Bs is just that BS.. and if it doesn't interset you.. Pass it by....Of course if you could see the humor in "those" threads it may even give you a chuckle or a laugh even.. Check out some of SPAWS comments..... SMILE ...KGH


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 00 - 02:10 PM

One thing is, given the large number of threads, people are inevitably often going to try to put up a headline that will grab attention. It's what the media does all the time, and though we're a funny kind of medium, that's one thing we've got in common with the others.

So the thread with the headline bbc commented on turns out to be started by an American who was trying to initiate a discussion about world hunger. And like any and every thread on the Mudcat that goes on for any length, songs came into the conversation before very long.

But I wish there was an alternative conventional prefix to "BS" for threads that aren't BS, but aren't primarily about music either, like this present one we're on.

One of the most fascinating things about the Mudcat is exploring the unexpected differences and similarities between us around the world. Like, I was reading in the paper somewhere that someone has researched it, and found that people in America and Europe have a completely different technique when it comes to using toilet paper. Now with the Mudcat when you read something like that in the paper, you can immediately set out to find out if its true or not...Still I'll leave that to others. (Both the discussion and the search after relevant songs.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jed at Work
Date: 31 May 00 - 02:55 PM

Right on bbc - the thread in question was easily the most ridiculous one I've read on the 'cat ... and although some of us responded in good faith and with well thought out comments, the original intent of the thread was mean spirited, hateful baitng - it nothing to do with honest debate.

bbc's original comment in this thread, on the other hand, is honest debate - she doesn't say "don't have these disucssions on the 'cat" she says she's sick of the nasty and/or ignorant comments that are posted under the pretense of intelligent conversation. I agree.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 May 00 - 03:11 PM

Given the the forum does allow non-musical discssion, I think that the actual topic of world starvation is worthy of conversation (and IMO a better subject than some of the thread I have seen here.

I am not sure wheter the original poster was trying to initiate intellegent converstion or start a row but as he came back and explained his view point a little further, I suspect it probably was the former although I agree that the title is inflamitory. Maybe in some cases, it is more a matter of a person thinking more carefully over how they express themselves.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jed at Work
Date: 31 May 00 - 03:34 PM

good thoughts Jon. I agree the issue is well worth discussing, but I am not as generous as you about the author's original intent. I must say; when I have been faced personally with the misfortune or hurt of others, my initial response isn't to tell my neighbor it's his fault (even if I thought it was). My first thought is to roll up my sleeves and offer what ever help I can.

We all get angry (and some get uncomfortable) over the misfortune of others - it helpful to take those issues where we can make a difference and get involved personally to do just that (make a difference) - it counter-productive, and in fact harmful to point a finger at some one else and say "it's your fault all this happened" and believe we make a system that eliminates misfortune and evil from the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: MK
Date: 31 May 00 - 03:55 PM

Some people who have been part of this Forum for any length of time, gravitate towards reading posts of certain contributors, and bypassing one's posted by those whom for whatever personal reason we choose to ignore, or don't consider credible.
Others, I am sure are open and up for anything. That is their choice. It is afterall an open forum.

My rule of thumb here, (and I can only speak for myself,) is regardless of whether a thread is music related or BS, when I first open it, I quickly scan the down the column to see who the primary contributors of the given thread are, and make an instant determination as to whether or not to explore the thread in more detail and read the posts.

We all formulate opinions about the various personalities that comprise this Forum (whether we want to admit it or not.)

There are obviously those, who I consider credible, regardless of the nature of their posts, and others who I.M.H.O. have demonstrated time and time again, that they are not worthy of my time or energy in reading anything they have to say, let alone dignifying their posts with an response or acknowledgment.
So this is my personal methodology and self imposed form of censorship, and it works just dandy for me. It also saves me time and energy, which can be put to better use in other ways.

I will say that I am in 100% agreement with BBC...and can empathize.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jed at Work
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:01 PM

Well put, Michael; words or wisdom!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:11 PM

Have to agree that starting a thread with something that's bound to get some people angry is just plain mischievous. Lately we've had things like "Why are Americans......? They're just insults in the guise of discussion. I see nothing wrong with starting a thread on a social issue (or a humourous one) but if the person doesn't have the intention or the imagination to be nice.....screw 'em.

Sometimes it's frustrating to start a thread on a music issue and see so few people interested in it, and like Michael K, I'll often take a look at some other threads and see the same folks again and again again. But it goes "in and out" and "up and down" doesn't it?

Let's face it, Mudcat is part chat, part therapy, part boredom reliever, and part information site. On occasion I've noticed that someone has a really serious issue (not related to music) and it brings EVERYONE in. Just don't make it the ONLY thing in your life!

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:31 PM

BBC!

I hear you and agree. I wish people would just practice on the net the same principles of behavior that they follow in real life. Then I think much of the inflamatory statements would go away. I haven't opened the thread on fat americans yet, but I know one contributing factor to my recent weight gains has been ice cream at night while listening to Hearme. :-)

What bothers me much more than inflamatory threads that you know not to open is off topic and inflamatory statements within other threads.

This Keyboard Tourette's Syndrome (KTS) has reached new heights of late (in my mind) with back and forth responses at the level that my 2nd grader has grown beynd some time ago. They make following serious music topics tedious, and have even killed off a few.

Again, if people would only practice what they would do in the 3-D world then I think much of this garbage would go away. Even I make a funny smart comment or pun once in awhile (my wife disagrees with the funny part) in the real world. People groan, or most likely look at me strangely (non-linear thought is my specialty) and then go on. They don't jump in with a response, and another, and another and completely divert the conversation.

Maybe off topic asides should be put in very tiny print to make the point that they are off topic. Or maybe people can learn to restrain themselves. Parish the thought.

JAB


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jed at Work
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:35 PM

I actually do what Michael does; read through to see who's responded, then I read the original post, scan the responses, and read all (or most) before I get involved. Lately I've been reading much much more then I've been responding to, but I suspect that's more related to my being busy then it is being exposed to worthy threads. I enjoy the debates - but get occasionally pissed-off by the baiting!

I learned a very powerful about trying to make large scale efforts at relieving famine when I was in Bolivia. I was very lucky to spend a day with a fine young woman who was the daughter of a famous Bolivian politician. She showed me all around Santa Cruz Bolivia, and told me many tales about her home land. She spoke with love for her people and passion for its politics!

One story still rings in my ears. The regional agriculturally based Santa Cruz economy was still (in those days) reeling from the effects of a poorly planned American relief effort, from several years before. It seems that a very poor growth year had occured with the corn crop, and the American congress determined that it would solve the problem by delivering a vast of amount of free corn to the city. A very high quality corn was distributed to locals for a very low price - local farmers who had a small crop of low quality corn could not sell any corn - the give away lasted some time and during that time the local farmers who could not compete with the high quality 'free' corn were forced to get out of the business of growing corn. Years later, with no local production of corn, the region was forced to continue to look for hand outs, while the local farmers were driven off to other work. The economy crumbled.

Her beef was not that American's tried to help out, but that they simply reached into their pockets and gave from their excess with no thought or concern for the consequences of their actions. What was really needed was a closer look at the problem, and a more 'involved' action. The old adage "give a man a fish, feed him for a day - teach a man to fish, feed him for a life time" comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: GUEST,Mrbisok@aol
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:40 PM

Does anyone have a problem with this generalization: The vast majority of folk music lovers are liberal, not conservcative? -- no problem with that? OK, then it follows that this music which is heavily charged with politics will bring out the liberal voice. Liberals are big on guilt: Americans hog the world's food and it's not right. Etc, etc. There are a lot of songs out there which promote sharing! So it's reasonable that editorials will break out on this forum from time to time. -- thanks for reading this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bert
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:44 PM

Oh I don't know JAB, people in real life also make inflamatory, tongue in cheek, mischievous remarks. The trouble with the web is that we can't 'see' when someone is just teasing us.

So I have this rule. If the remark could possibly be a joke then accept it as one.

So could 'Why are Americans so fat?' be a joke? - of course it could. Why I even once defined an American as "someone who has a power lawnmower, an electric drill, an electric toothbrush and an exercise machine".

Sure the guy was stirring it a bit and trying to get our goats but he was just having fun.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:57 PM

Actually, I can live with the occasional aside and witty remark. That's what a forum is all about, or sitting around a bar drinking, or just talking. It keeps things from getting dry.

What pains me is that the KTSers then see the initial post as an open invitation for an I'm more witty then you field day. Away the linear thread goes never to return to it's original concepts/ideas/topic. In a Newsgroup the KTS branch can simply be ignored by not following that part of the thread. The linear nature of Mudcat is both it's boone and its bain. You can get involved in an almost reat time discussion and see it progress as people respond. You can ignore BS and other spurious threads. But if you are following a serious thread its difficult to ignore 10 or 20 "witty" give and takes because they are in the body of the thread. They take time to load. You have to scroll down through them. They can even hide on topic responses.

On My Soapbox in Hyde Park Today!!!!

JAB


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbelle
Date: 31 May 00 - 06:20 PM

bbc .... You know that I support you 100%! If it were not for honest, direct friends like you, and a handful of others, whom I respect, I would be gone, as others have already done. I am so tired of threads about how rude americans are; how fat we are; prurient language; men's and women's body parts. I have counted the posts of one particular mudcatter, which came close to 3,000, and 99% of the posts had nothing at all even remotely related to music. The Mudcat Cafe is beginning to resemble a home for dysfunctionally oppressed, repressed, needy people, who have not one thing of value to contribute to a site dedicated to folk music, blues, bluegrass. You're absolutely right ... get a life folks ... your inane threads cause the Mudcat to take far more time to download than it should ... moonchild


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 May 00 - 06:23 PM

bbc,

I know, I know. Gonna go read a good book.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: gillymor
Date: 31 May 00 - 06:38 PM

bbc, While I wasn't crazy about the title of it, I found the "fat" thread one of the more interesting ones I've seen here in a while. It was a veritable smorgasbord (pun intended) of valuable information (and links) on world hunger and nutrition


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: gillymor
Date: 31 May 00 - 06:44 PM

...whoops, premature posting (forgot to think about Mays vs Mantle). And it also contained dollop of some petty funny stuff.

Frankie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:06 PM

We had an American starting a thread called "Why are Americans so fat?", and we had an Englishman starting a thread called "What is it with the English?"

The American thread was about world hunger, the English thread about hangups people have about folk music.

They both seem perfectly reasonable questions for someone to ask about their own country, and sensible subjects top have discussions about. Why should anybody see them as offensive or whatever?

I'm not being sarcastic, I just can't see what there is here that should get anyone upset.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Lanfranc
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:26 PM

"We speak of things that matter, with words that must be said. Can analysis be worthwhile, is the theatre really dead?"

I see Mudcat as a kind of public bar sans beer. Sometimes the conversation is banal, sometimes fascinating, from time to time we learn something, and then on another visit we have something worthwhile to contribute. Often someone breaks into song or plays a tune and we all join in. Occasionally someone sings or plays something that is so intense we just listen gobsmacked.

Once in a while we try to set the world to rights, other times we just shrug and endure it. Sometimes we get pissed off and leave.

But we come back for the fellowship, and the songs, and the humour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:42 PM

BBC: I cannot comment on the Why are Americans fat thread. You see I haven't had a chance to read it. Is it BS, sure. Is it improper. Don't know. If the intent is to open discussion on starvation and the allocation of world resources, then the thread is merely mistitled. If it is meant to be humorous, then take it is such. If it is meant as bigotry, ignore it. The flames of bigotry are best quelled by the waters of inattention to the ranting. This does not mean bigotry should be encouraged1 It means we live our lives as best we can and try to teach our children to be open minded. I find bogotry is the result of ignorance and I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. I believe, you'll find most of us to be fairly open minded and kind-hearted individuals. Don't run off screaming into the night over one poorly titled thread. This site is about music and friendship. GHive it a bit more time and I believe you'll not be disappointed. With best reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbc
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:43 PM

Well, I'm home from work now & I appreciate the time people have taken to respond to my questions. McGrath, since you just posted, I'll respond to you first &, at the same time, to TerriM & keltcgrasshopper. What gets me upset is the thread title itself. Even if I don't open the thread itself (which I frequently don't &, when I do, I screen by user name as others have mentioned), I see the ridiculous, unfriendly titles anytime I scan the Forum. Some of you (Peg, for one) seem to be missing the point that the initial premise of "Why are Americans so fat?" is patently untrue, so what's the motivation behind an untrue, unfriendly statement? Provocation/stupidity? Since the thread's author admits to being American, we can only assume he himself is grossly overweight, since, according to him, Americans (that must mean !) are!

Jon, you are very kind & assume the best of the thread author. He is welcome to speak for himself, act for himself, & have whatever guilt he chooses. I resent him trying to impose his guilt on me merely because of my nationality. If the thread developed some thoughtful posts, I think it speaks well of some of our members, not the author.

Bill, yes, I did add to the BS threads in this case. It is rare for me to use the BS prefix or even start threads that I consider to be BS. In this case, I felt it was preferable to start a discussion thread, rather than to respond on a thread I really disliked. If you read my initial post carefully, I didn't bother objecting to all non-musical threads (obviously a lost cause). What I am objecting to in this thread is only the negative & untrue ones. In the past, there have been some really fine discussions here that were not primarily musical in nature.

kat, if this is growth, in my opinion, it is of a cancerous variety--not healthy cells.

bert--Maybe I'm a stick in the Mudcat. I don't see any way that "Why are Americans so fat?" can be seen as anything but a rude, judgemental statement.

Mrbisok--Yes, I have a problem w/ your generalization, too, although it raises some good points. I am conservative (in the American sense), as are some others I know of on this Forum. It doesn't preclude a love of folk music, although some of our politically liberal members don't extend that courtesy to their social lives & seem to feel that their beliefs are the only valid ones for anyone.

Now that I've got all that off my chest, I would like to thank all those who responded in thoughful ways. It is really nice to see that we still have some thinking members left.

best to you, always,

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 May 00 - 09:17 PM

The good point is, Mudcatters turned the offensively titled thread into a meaningful discussion, so what is the point of belabouring it further. We seem to have gotten very good at looking for the positive in such threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 31 May 00 - 09:49 PM

bbc, should there be taboo topics among people who share their interest in music? I believe in the wisdom of some kind of the opposite. If there is anything touching you and you want to know how others think about it - first try to talk to people who are similar to you than to so-called or even real experts who know absolutely nothing of how you are, how you feel... who simply are too different from you. The reason for that is simple: you are much more likely to understand the answers. And once you have, you will be MUCH smarter, i.e. smart enough to understand what people are saying who do not share anything with you. My own experience is that there are many, many people of that kind, and I am not always able to step aside when I hear them coming.

Joerg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Kelida
Date: 31 May 00 - 11:53 PM

What is "offensive"? Honestly, I am not offended by the word "fat" being used to describe Americans. Over 20% of our population actually IS considered obese (20% or more overweight). Big deal. I'm sure that there are ethnic jokes about EVERY race, but all they are anymore (except to a few mean-spirited people) is JOKES. Get over it, everyone.

I imagine you could say I am one of those who has little to contribute here (note my recent lack of posting) but I came here to learn more and in the hopes that someday I will feel less than completely musically inferior to everyone here and that I will someday be ABLE to contribute. I enjoy the BS threads. It makes me remember that you guys are all REAL PEOPLE and not just musical information machines. Of course, real people have feelings, such as anger and indignance, that tend to get in the way of what has been called "intelligent conversation."

I just wish that everyone would remember that we are all just people. Everyone here is human, and as such, we are not infallible, nor can anyone please everyone all the time. It only takes one person to be offended and start a fight, and, naturally, everyone will take sides.

Please everyone--try not to be offended by comments that are made jokingly, and THINK before you post something that could ruin a good thread. The worst threads I've seen are the ones that degenerate into argument. Please just try to be kind, and make sure that if you are joking, everyone knows it. Since we can't hear each other here, make sure to write as clearly as possible. Everyone's human. . . and we all make mistakes.

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: DougR
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 01:17 AM

I didn't read all the comments in this thread. Many of them are repetitive anyway. But those I did read seem to be missing bcc's point (I think). Her comments weren't so much about BS versus Music Threads, I think her concern is the fact that a "poster" focused on one group rather than making the subject matter generic.

America doesn't have a franchise on fatness. If the intent was to infer that Americans have more bountiful goods than people in many other countries, well, that's true. But the majority work for it, it's not given to them by a government or anyone else.

If bbc was questioning why any one group, race, creed, color or nationality should be singled out for criticism of any sort, I'm on her side. We all have our blemishes and warts and let those that don't have them cast the first stone. Hmmm. Somebody might have said something like that before so I apologize for plagerizing.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Amergin
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 05:09 AM

I don't mean to be disrespectful or anything but is this not one of those biased, inflammatory threads?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbc
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 05:49 AM

Thanks, Doug. No, Amergin, if you read it carefully--no, I don't believe it is. It does, however, express a high level of frustration with the low intellectual level of many of the postings on Mudcat in, say, the last 6-12 months.

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 06:08 AM

I don't think the implication was that all Americans are fat, which is clearly absurd, but that on average Americans weigh more than people in many other countries, including the countries from which their ancestors came. And I think don't think that is actually in dispute.

Would it have been offensive if the thread had been "Why are Americans so big?" Is the trouble the word "fat"?

There is a distinction to be made between people who try to stir things up with posts that are meant to insult or antagonise others, and people who may use "provocative" headlines to draw curious people in to threads which are meant to help exchange information, or explore topics. (And both the threrads mentioned in this thread so far undoubtedly fall into the latter category, I feel.

Recently Rick Fielding has started up some great threads about various guitar chords, using eye-catching headlines that suggested they were about other stuff. For example: "What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?", "Mudcat Seems To Be Diminished". I'd hate to feel that this kind of thing should be frowned on.

One of the pleasures of browsing around the threads here is saying "I wonder what the hell that is about?", and opening up to find out. Sometimes you are agreeably surprised, and you stay and read on and maybe contribute; sometimes you are disappointed, and you move on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: JedMarum
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:24 AM

The content of the "fat Americans" thread evolved into something much nobler then the original poster intended (again, thanks to some good mudcat thoughts). The initial post was nothing more then a nasty hateful comment, thinly disguised as a comment on world hunger. I haven't heard bbc or anyone else in this thread say "we need to protect ourselves from this sort of thread at mudcat" - she, and others, have stated clearly that the thread in question was offensive.

And I certainly do dispute the 'facts' the original poster purported as true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 10:00 AM

My debate was wether the intentions of the poster were genuine or not rather than whehter the choice of wording were offensive or not. Out of curiosity (and I am not claiming this is true - I have no idea about the eating habbits of the average Brittish person let alone American ones and I think the concept very niave) but how would a title: A concern over world hunge followed by:

"I am an American and I am aware that I over-eat and I believe that many of my fellow countrymen do the same. I have recently become concerned that this over indulgance is depriving others of food. Do you think that as a nation, we should try to cut down on our consumption in an effort to help those less fortunate than us"

have been recived? I gave the guy the benifit of the doubt and assumed he was trying to say something along those lines.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Peg
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 11:24 AM

Thanks for the clarification on your intention, bbc, and for addressing individual posters' comments.

While I agree the title of the "fat" thread could be seen as somewhat inflammatory to some, I do not think pointing out something which I believe is quite obviously TRUE (i.e. that obesity is a major problem in the United States) should bother anyone. I appreciate that you think I "missed the point" by assuming the original premise was true as opposed to "patently untrue" as you said...but I don't think I missed anything by allowing that this statement was offered at face value, and not to bash Americans...I mean, every other nation in the world sees the majority of us as fat, stupid, rude, and violent--could Americans really be the only ones to stereotype people based on nationality? It is easy to forget that the vast majority of Americans do not live in those areas which exert the most influence in the media, i.e. L.A./Hollywood and New York...and many foreign perceptions of Americans come from a combination of media portrayal/news stories and tourism...and a lotta tourists, given complete freedom of choice betwen native cuisine and McDonald's, will go for the Big Mac every time...

In my experience and observation Americans are either overweight and obsessed with eating or losing weight, or of normal weight and obsessed with eating or losing weight, or underweight/anorexic and obsessed with eating or losing weight. If the tabloids can't sell enough copies picking on Oprah and Roseanne for being too fat, they'll pick on Gwyneth and Calista for being too thin...

The fact that so many American children are now obese, with up to 1 in 5 being significantly overweight, is something we need to face up to...along with the fact that most pre-teenage girls have tried dieting at least once. These are girls whose damn bones aren't even done growing! We will soon have many more children dropping dead of coronary occlusion before age 12, not to mention saddled with the health risks of Type 2 diabetes and other diseases common in the grossly obese. These kids will also have a much harder time maintaining normal weight once they become adults. This is a major public health problem which directly stems from lifestyle choices.

oops...sorry for the thread creep!!! Jon Freeman, thank you for your most recent post, an excellent example of stepping back to consider what might have been said with a bit more forethought...

A musical thought: does anyone remember that great Jane Siberry song where the chorus goes "Gonna lose a lotta weight, etc." and at the end one of the characters in the song says she doesn't know what she would do if "a man thought I was sexy or something," and the song's main narrator ends with "and we didn't say very much after that." A very witty song that captures the silly anxiety American women have about their weight...

Peg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bert
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 11:50 AM

bbc,
you said 'I am sick to death of the percentage of junk on this site lately!'
then you said 'I didn't bother objecting to all non-musical threads'.

So, somehow I must have misunderstood your first remark. Please forgive me for thinking it had anything to do with the percentage of BS threads.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 11:59 AM

Should we all take an IQ test before we are allowed to join the Mudcat? Recently there was a joke posted on one of these threads about musicians and IQ levels. From what I gathered in that joke, the lower the IQ, the better the musician.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bert
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 12:05 PM

Nah! that joke was just about BANJO players *Gotcha Bonnie* tee hee.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 12:15 PM

A good rule in life is always assume other people mean what they say, and avoid reinterpreting what they sy and do in a way that is unfavourable to them.

At the same time, if you like, you can work out the other permutations of what they might mean, so as to be ready if it turns out they are conniving bastards after all. But you keep them to yourselves, and discard them if it turns out they were being straight with you. Which most people are most of the time, in spite of everything.

And I've just had another look at Guest Jiohn Evans opening post on the "fat" thread, and I just cannot see anything offensive in it, or to suggest that there is any sneaky or disruptive intent in it.If he'd headed it "Why are Americans so big?" I can't see anyone seeing it that way. Is "fat" really seen as such a taboo word? I mean, if he'd said "gross", maybe - but "fat"?

Is this another of these situations where words have different offensiveness loadings, according to which side of the Atlantic you live on? Which is one of the themes bein g explored in BS Improper language


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 12:51 PM

McGrath, I disagree and think that the title would be offensive to certain members of any nation regardles as to whether the chosen word was big or fat. It is an unfair generalisation which in this case, whether meant or not implied all Americans are fat, or overweight or what ever you care to call it.

Having read his opening post, it would appear that obesity was not the intended topic, so why even use a title like that? He said.

"I guess that most people here are aware that there is more than enough food produced to feed everyone in the world.

I recently heard the statistic that if everyone ate as much as the average American, we'd need 5 earths to feed them.

Cousins, please eat less "

He was asked what his point was and repied.

"My point is that us US citizens consume far more of the worlds resources than we have a right to.

I for one feel damn guilty"

Again, no mention of being fat.. but by that point, he is telling other US citezens what the have a right to eat and it could be to imply that they should share in his guilt.

I am still not as convinced as some are that it was a troll but I think that once a thread has got of to a bad start with what will be offensive to some, others having been upset, will look for the worst possible interpretation from then on and I agree with those who pointed out that the fact that thread turned with some interesting disuccsion was down to other Mudcatters efforts.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbc
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 06:22 PM

Here's my last attempt at explaining my position, folks. If you haven't understood it or didn't agree w/ it before, you probably won't now, either, but what the heck. After this, I'll just quietly go away & let people play. I will not respond to individuals this time around; my intent is not to offend & I apologize if I have. Actually, a personal message from someone not from my country helped me to clarify my thinking. The "fat American" thread was the straw that broke my proverbial camel's back, but not the main point. Why is it ok, though, to slam Americans? Is it that obvious that we, as a group, *deserve* abuse? If I were to make derogatory blanket statements about blacks or gays, I bet some of you would be furious. Well, guess what--I try to live right & I am offended at being attacked by someone who doesn't even know me. The person who wrote to me has seen American tourists in his/her city &, evidentally, hasn't been to the U.S. to see us in our native habitat. The judgement from seeing obvious American tourists was that we are, indeed, loud, fat, & ugly. I've travelled, too, & I've been offended by some Americans I've seen. Emphasis on *some*. Guess what--if I was visiting your country, you'd never see me, because I would be quiet, polite, unassuming, & trying to fit in w/ local custom. In other words, you'd never identify me w/ your stereotype of an American. What gets my goat is that the originator of the now-infamous thread supposedly *is* an American. I'd like to know where he lives, 'cause the folks around me are certainly not all or even mostly obese. Enough--more than enough of that.

Here's the main point--I have been on the Internet for about 3 years now & I love it. I've also been on Mudcat most of that time. I think one of the greatest values of the Internet is as a vehicle for international communication & relationship. I have formed friendships w/ folks I never would have had the opportunity to meet in person. I have come to understand things about other folks & other cultures without ever leaving my home. Good grief, folks, most of us didn't even know that Mother's Day is celebrated in different months till we came to Mudcat. Some of us didn't know that the seasons are opposite in the U.S. & Australia, or at least we didn't think about it as we do now that we have friends over there! My desire for us all is that we use this resource that we have in a positive way, to educate ourselves & to build others up. Otherwise, it seems to me that it's a waste. I have tried to have a positive part in the Mudcat family; I hope I've succeeded. I wish you all well. I will not be posting to this thread again. Continue it if you like or let it die. If anyone wants to communicate personally w/ me, I can be reached at my email address. I've had my say. Thanks.

bbc over & out


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:29 PM

Yes bbc - you have indeed made a positive contribution to the Mudcat, and long may you continue to do so. The picture gallery, and the list of birthdays, and the profiles make an enormous difference to the cohesion of this odd virtual community; and there've been numerous posts where you've said things that deserved to be said, and responded to requests for information and so forth. This long and boring post on my part is not a criticism of you and your concerns..

"The "fat American" thread was the straw that broke my proverbial camel's back". That's a good analogy. And the thing about it is, the last straw isn't what really breaks the camel's back, it's all the other strws and branches and logs. (And there have been some which I feel merited the kind of response you made to this one.)

One reason I've posted here is because I feel an unfair load of antagonism and suspicion had been expended by a number of people against the man who started the thread in question.And it looks very much as if he may have been driven away by that, and I don't like to see that happen.

GUEST John Evans explicitly said that his purpose in starting the thread was to share his belief that his country uses too high a level of resources, and that somehow this needed to be reduced. He quoted a statistic that "if everyone ate as much as the average American, we'd need 5 earths to feed them." If that statistic is accurate, I cannot see how his conclusion is either extreme or offensive.

As for the headline, that was designed presumably to pull people in, and it succeeded. Normally I tend to find myself arguing in favour of some the kind of things that get put down as "political correctness" ( a term I detest) - but this time I really do not think this use of language deserves to be attacked as over-offensive.

In this context the image of a fat American is a metaphor, founded in an aspect of the real world. It's a bit like Pete Seeger singing about being "Waste high in the Big Muddy". He was singing about his country being involved in a particular war, and using an image about being stuck in a swamp which both had a general reference, and echoed the reality of what was an actual common experience of conscripts in the war.

No, all Americans are not fat. In fact for various reasons being fat is often associated with being poor in America. But America does indeed consume an enormous amount of the resources of the planet, and "fat" is an image reflecting that. That doesn't means there's any simple answer to the problems raised. And the thread reflected that.

The point I'm making is that there's a valid argument around these kind of things, and it's not about anti-Americanism. Still less is it about being anti-fat people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:38 PM

BBC and All; Still I haven't read the infamous thread. I would however like to applaud you, BBC for stating what i learned long ago as a sailor. If you don't want to be viewed as the proverbial "Ugly American" treat others as you wish to be treated whereever you go and try to learn a little about the culture. Do we in America, consume more food than other countries? Yes. We also produce more. We export a large percentage of what we grow. As a nation we also tend to be the first to dig deep in the pockets when a natural disaster devastates someone else. And by the way, not to overdo the horn blowing thing, America's Marshall plan rebuilt Europe and Japan after the second world war. Yes we have our faults and they can be numerous at times but let's try to tone down the rhetoric and try to avoid these unpleasant misuunderstandings. reguards to all, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbelle
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:24 PM

Well, now ... aren't you all just so proud of yourselves ... Jenny


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Bert
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 01:10 PM

Whatever you do bbc luv don't 'just quietly go away'.

I really enjoy a little argument from time to time. The FAT thread allowed me to get a couple of things off my chest. Yer right the title was provocative, yes even nasty, but the thread brought up a lot of discussion. To me that seems worthwhile.

I'll agree with you that a more appropriate title could have been chosen. But if you refer back to this previous posting you'll see that sometimes what we write is not always what we mean.

Luv ya!

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: DougR
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM

Yes, Jenny, we are! Hear hear, Irish Sergeant.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 02:12 PM

"I really enjoy a little argument from time to time." And you're not the only one, bert. It's a less violent equivalent of playing Musical Chairs.

Maybe the answer is a new prefix instead of BS for thsi kind of thing. LBHY - "Let's Be Having You!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: bbelle
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 03:15 PM

Irish Sergeant ... Thanks for "making" your point so succinctly! Jenny


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 11:31 AM

I hate "fence sitting" but I understand both sides of this debate.
The Irish have endured ridcule and discrimination for a centuries. While it is less common now, I clearly remember being infuriated by constant "put downs". There is a grey border where fun and jest become insulting and demeaning.

The thread, "Why are Americns so fat?" was such a silly statement that I naturally assumed that it was "a bit of fun". Particularly as the USA is such a powerful and successful nation, I did not stop to think that many may be offended by such.

So, I think there is no real answer. Much humour is based on exposing the weaknesses in people eg., slapstick, satire, etc. Charlie Chaplin portrayed a pathetic but loveable character. The Irish were portrayed as pathetic but loveable (sometime not so loveable) characters. One instance funny, one instance racist.

If we TRY to treat one another with respect - that is the best we can hope for. The "Fat Americans" thread started an important debate but certainly the title was insulting to some. But even if the debate had a different title such as, "Does the USA consume too many resources?", many people wold be offended by the inplications in the question as well as many of the resulting comments.

My opinion therefore is that debate on all and any subjects is important but we should always respect the views and sensivities of others. Is there a thread prefix "Fun:"? so we can distinguish humour from "Breeze Shooting" or is this going too far? Can we as adults be trusted to contribute to an open forum without degenerating it into an "open slagingmatch"? Certainly, the folk tradition has explored and influenced every subject known to man and it is only natural that contributors to the forum will whish to discuss them again online.

The kind people who provide this venue have acted as generous, even handed and openminded hosts. If we respect the guidelines which they have set out and the example they have given over the years then we will have an excellent base to work from.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:47 PM

One of the aspects I have always loved about the 'Cat and 'Catters is their maturity. On the whole, they whine less and contribute more honest communication than many other communiuties, especially virtual ones where so many aspects of close experience of others are not present.

My sense is that part of that maturity is tolerance, and by and large there are large amounts of it in the 'Cat. So much so that the occasional exception, the rare bitter or sarcastic post, jars loudly as an exception.

In order to sustain a community of this quality, of course, a sense of humor is definitely part of the formula -- those who take themselves too seriously tend to put their cyber-feet in their cyber-mouths. (Well, so do all of us on occasion).

I applaud all of you who keep on communicating, exercising your best qualities and making the 'Cat one of the nicest places in Cyberspace, and I hope it will continue for a long time.

Amos


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Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 01:33 PM

One of the things that keeps me coming back to the Mudcat so often is the fact that it is a trans-national, transcultural thing. You keep on rubbing up against these aliens from the other side of the planet, and exploring the differences is part of the appeal.

That's one of the reasons why threads about that kind of thing pull in lots of posts. And sometimes feelings get ruffled, because as Frank poibnted out, these are prickly subjects.

And so far as America is concerned, one thing about living in a big pretty self-contained country is that it must feel like a world in itself at times. (I mean look at how there are "World Series" contests which are just the United States, with maybe Canada). Moreover of course the Mudcat has mostly Americans on board (look at the Mudcat locator for example).

Inevitably that gets echoed in the assumptions made by people posting. That sometimes feeds into a tendency toward American-teasing which probably isn't too helpful. When it's time to criticise a country (etc),it's best to go carefully if you don't belong to it.

Though of course the post that kicked off this whole thing, about America consuming more than its share of the world's food, was actually from an American, so that's no sure-fire recipe for avoiding conflict. (Incidentally, here's a link to the site with the statistics that I think might have set the whole thing off. And it's an American site, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Can't get much more American than that, unless maybe you're Woody Guthrie.)


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