July 3, 2009

The American Media's Bias toward English-Speaking Foreigners

The Iranian election protests have apparently sputtered out, significantly faster than the Mexican election protests of 2006 that excited far less interest in the American press. Obviously, there are a lot of specific reasons for this disparity, but I think there's a general pattern emerging.

As English has become the world's dominant language, it has become easier for Americans to be influenced by foreigners who are fluent in English. For example, Americans follow political controversies in Iran by reading blogs by Iranians -- Iranians who like to write in English, of course, which is hardly a representative sample of Iranian opinion.

This means that the American press will tend to be biased toward political movements who represent the better educated, wealthier, more cosmopolitan, Internet-savvy, and more elitist elements in a foreign country (i.e., those likely to speak English well), while the American media will be less sympathetic toward parties comprised of the less educated, poorer, more xenophobic, offline, and more populist elements.

Thus, the American media was sympathetic toward Mousavi's complaints about vote-counting in Iran because because his supporters were good at communicating them to Americans, while the populist Ahmadinejad draws his support from uncool people who don't speak much English. In contrast, the complaints of Lopez-Obrador, the populist mayor of Mexico City, about vote-counting in Mexico were greeted with yawns in the U.S. press because his supporters are generally not very articulate in English, and his party's ideology is fairly anti-American and anti-globalist.

Being biased toward the better English speakers is not just a custom of convenience for the American media and the American government. There's a moral feeling as well that the better English speakers deserve to win because they are more like us. Of course, this is self-serving: promoting the triumph of English-proficient classes also promotes the global dominance of American media institutions.

This is hardly a new phenomenon, of course. FDR's Administration routinely overestimated Chiang Kai-shek's regime in part because it possessed a facade of charming English-speaking UCLA and Berkeley-educated officials, even though the real decisions were made in very Chinese ways that Washington never understood. Meanwhile, Mao's rebels had few English speakers, so FDR underestimated them.

Similarly, why did the U.S. side with Maliki's Iranian-aligned Shi-ites in Iraq, when it would have made more strategic sense to side with the anti-Iranian Iraqi nationalist Shi-ites of Muqtada al-Sadr? A big reason is that Maliki's gang, who had spent decades in Iran while their rivals were holed up in the slums of Iraq (such as Sadr City), were more cosmopolitan -- i.e., were better at speaking English.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

77 comments:

Garland said...

Smart. But to clarify, I think there's an honest assumption of progressivism/liberalism in English-speakers as well. That is, it's not just the charm or attractive elitism/cosmopolitanism of English-speakers that make American elites biased toward them and overestimate them. It's also the conscious belief that this cosmopolitanism equals progressive end-of-history democratic liberalism. And since that is the happy ending of history, that's who we should back.

Eg, Iraq was to be a liberal democracy, so of course we couldnt go with that retrograde Sadr, we had to go with cosmopolitan Maliki. The English-speaking Iranian Tweeters are the cool ones who will eventually inherit history, so they're the ones we should back.

Whereas the only thing Mexicans have to do with immanentizing the eschaton is that they will improve America through diversity. So other than that there is no reason to take interest in that country.

korf said...

Very true. As a vivid example, US media and establishment prefers to get its information about Russia from a very small circle of cosmopolitan English-speakers (Masha Gessen, Pavel Felgengauer, Gary Kasparov et al).

It so happened that almost all of these sources rabidly hate all things Russian, hold views that are diametrally opposed by about 99.99% of Russian population, and (with some exceptions) belong to a quite closely-knit ethinically Jewish clique. To an American reader or pundit, their views represent the Russian mainstream. In reality they are about as relevant to a Russian worldview as a USA Communist Party to an American one.

Edward said...

I don't think "Why does the US media always pick the side of the English speakers?" is the most interesting question you could have asked.

What is interesting: why is one group of foreign people more likely to be speaking English and savvy with powerful Americans than their main rival group?

It's not because of US media attention. The media is biased, but it can only exploit what is already there, or what is willing to show up.

The foreign elites that win over the US media were already engaged, and had already chosen to become engaged, with a global English language media culture.

They were ahead of the curve. They were better educated and richer, and smarter. Things the US media had nothing to do with.

The South Chinese are supposed to be smarter than the North, and I can well imagine the other cases also go with average IQ.

Lloy G. said...

I don't know. There were at least a couple of Iraqi bloggers -- Salam Pax and Riverbend -- who wrote like Colombia U English majors. They had a large following on the 'net but were completely ignored by the MSM. As it happens, they were against the invasion. Instead we were treated to interviews with obvious frauds like Chalabi, and mysterious characters in silhouette.

Point is, the US media will seek those foreigners who confirm its biases.

In Iran's case, it helps that there is a very large exiled community of urbane, educated folk who had it better under the Pahlavis. So what if 2/3rds of Iranians actually voted for that other guy?

Peter Lehmann said...

"when it would have made more strategic sense to side with the anti-Iranian Iraqi nationalist Shi-ites of Muqtada al-Sadr?"

Why would that be?
Is more islamicism, less democracy and possibly more nukes always the preferred outcome?
No, I'm not a neocon. But I don't get this.
By the same token, you could say that Ahmadinejad might be preferable to Mousavi because once he's allowed to have his nuclear program (which Mousavi wants just as much and did, in fact, start as prime minister) he might support the US in its anti-terrorist efforts east of Iran.
What's with this strategery, this never-ending who - whom?

oTUHV59pr5bShhuNi3eHWALUB0.yCYHCOI8- said...

Oh, boy. This of course explains the US foreign politics of the past decades - what an epiphany, it all makes sense now!
And as for media: wow you mean they are biased? I though they have been *fair and balanced*: 50% time of obama hypnosis, 50% apologizing for the crimes of the past.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree ! One more example would be the Western press's infatuation with Christian Lebanese, a snotty bunch who lorded over the country as if they were Medieval kings. Well, they all speak English or French. Oh, their women are hot too. Beyrouth has one of the highest 'babe-per-square-foot' numbers in the world. The one glaring exception are Palestinians. You can easily find Western-educated, smart people that would be forceful advocates for their cause, but all you see is poor Arab-speaking Ahmed raising his fist in the air. I need not explain why to friends of this blog.

Christopher said...

Brilliant! As the English say.

Anonymous said...

So, basically, the neocons are hoping that Iran will turn out a little bit like the West - that its elites will betray it. For the sake of the Iranian people, I hope the neocons are wrong on that.

By the way, Ahmadinejad seems to be a member of Iran's cognitive elite and look at him.

From the Wikipedia:

"In 1976, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took Iran's national university entrance contests. He has claimed that he ranked 132nd out of 400,000 participants that year,[29] and soon enrolled in the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) as an undergraduate student of civil engineering. He also received a PhD in transportation engineering and planning from IUST in 1997."

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Do you try every angle you can to tiptoe around bigger truths?

KingM said...

Seems a no-brainer to me that we should hope that English-speaking, educated types run all these countries. The alternative is the Taliban, Hezbollah, and the like.

Now, hoping, and providing covert CIA aid are two different things.

Anonymous said...

If an English-speaking Iranian told a NYT reporter that he supports the Islamic Republic in general and Ahmadinejad in particular, would that be reported in the NYT? Obviously not. I don't think we should judge what educated Iranians think by what the US media says they think.

I think the War Nerd alluded recently to some poll numbers from Iran which indicated that the Iranian electorate was not significantly split by social class or by educational level.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it is also possible that you are mixing up cause and effect. What if the reason we support English-speaking foreigners is because English-speaking cultures represent the heights that human civilization has achieved to date, and thus English-speaking foreigners aspire to a more civilized condition than their opponents who have never seen the value in learning English?

"We must be free or die, who speak the tongue / That Shakespeare spake." --Wordsworth

Anonymous said...

Same thing seemed to happen in Ukraine a few years ago.

Iran sort of reminded me of Nixon's election in 1972. There's no reason that I know of to have any certainty that Ahmadinejad actually lost.

Cliff Arroyo said...

The flip side of this is that Americans almost never engage non-English speakers in an intelligent manner.

Among other undesirable effects, this leaves the field open for self-styled local 'experts' to interpret the US and its political and economic interests in ways that no American would recognize or agree with.

Anonymous said...

I think this was also the case during the days of British colonialism.

Half Sigma said...

The overwhelming majority of English-speaking Hondurans support the recent change of government, but Obama is trying to put the leftist Zelaya who wanted to make himself president-for-life back in power, and no one in the MSM is telling the story from the side the Hondurans who kicked him out.

Anonymous said...

Further supporting evidence:

The decision to back Croatia in the Serb-Croatian wars of the 90's was made - at least according to the one in-depth historical account that I read - very much as a result of a persuasive Croatian political lobby, which trumped its Serbian counterpart in parading its cause for the American political and media establishment.

The Serbs in America, not so well-connected or polished or ivy-educated, were not able to state their case sufficiently convincingly. Hence they were cast in the role of The Nazis.

I needn't remind iSteve readers that the central myth of our politics is the morality tale about German National Socialism 1933-1945. The only way we can understand group conflict anymore is by recasting one group as The Nazis and another group as The Jews: everything else is fathomless ambiguity, which we would rather leave alone.

It can determine the fate of a nation whether they get cast in the role of The Nazis or of The Jews - and the first question more group-think-tending Americans ask themselves upon viewing any group conflict is: "Who are The Nazis here, and who are The Jews?"

Its essentially a form of pavlovian morality training, like you would do with a dog or a child. You get a biscuit when you give aid to or yourself resemble The Jews (victims) and you receive an electric shock when a resemblance can be found between yourself and The Nazis (oppressor). Whites are taught early on that there are moral brownie-points to be had through "expunging your inner Nazi" which in the context of group conflict means being nice to the point of complete selflessness/self-sacrifice - something rarely urged in personal relationships, but which we imagine to be a rewarding group strategy.

Unfortunately for us, the founding myth of our modern politics turns out to be based on assumptions about the universe which don't hold up. The brownie-points turn out not to carry real-world value in themselves, but were just a moral fiat currency rigged by those who, in the meantime, have completely and totally usurped power in all our institutions.

I speak for whites collectively when I reflect on all our billions of stored-up, and now, useless brownie-points and say: "D'oh!"

Simon said...

English-speaking is clearly a major factor. There are other biases though. Do Bosniaks speak better English than Serbs? Maybe, but Serbs are pretty artistic and there are lots of Serb actors, musicians et al. So why support Islamist Bosniaks over ethno-nationalist Serbs?

airtommy said...

Excellent post, 100% correct.

But it can't be left unsaid that an overwhelming factor in American media treatment of Mexico vs Iran is Iran's hostility towards Israel. The American media is rife with Jews who hold a deep attachment to Israel. Some of them are overtly fanatical, while others are more subconsciously fanatical.

asdf said...

Well, I see this as mainly a correlation of speaking English with American/Western ideas and us taking those familiar ideas more seriously. No doubt the generally populist and non-English speaking Mao and Ahmadinejad were hostile to Western/capitalist/free speech beliefs and had a slant of anti-Americanism in them.

J said...

American journalists are a very lazy bunch, they speak no foreign languages and write their reports from the air-conditioned bars of large hotels in the capital. If they had a five minute conversation with the taxi driver or the bartender, they feel they had done their journalistic duty.

On the other hand, the American public is not interested in the world, and would change channels if a bizarre fellow speaking some foreign lingo would be up on TV longer than 20 seconds.

Dave said...

George Friedman of Stratfor made the same point recently:

"There are undoubtedly people who want to liberalize the Iranian regime. They are to be found among the professional classes in Tehran, as well as among students. Many speak English, making them accessible to the touring journalists, diplomats and intelligence people who pass through. They are the ones who can speak to Westerners, and they are the ones willing to speak to Westerners. And these people give Westerners a wildly distorted view of Iran. They can create the impression that a fantastic liberalization is at hand — but not when you realize that iPod-owning Anglophones are not exactly the majority in Iran.

[...]

Perhaps the greatest factor in Ahmadinejad’s favor is that Mousavi spoke for the better districts of Tehran — something akin to running a U.S. presidential election as a spokesman for Georgetown and the Lower East Side*. Such a base will get you hammered, and Mousavi got hammered. Fraud or not, Ahmadinejad won and he won significantly. That he won is not the mystery; the mystery is why others thought he wouldn’t win.


*The Upper West Side would have made more sense in this analogy. That's probably the most liberal neighborhood in NYC. The Lower East Side isn't the Jewish labor stronghold it was a century ago. It's more of a hip, gentrifying neighborhood today.

Anonymous said...

Good insight.

"WWKOS"

"Who Would Keith Olberman Support"
(whoever he percieves to be his fellow elitist*)



elitist-
someone who deeply believes a small group of the population (about 5%) are the "better" people, and deserve to get to not only run the lives, but control the birthrates of all the "others" in a population, especially those just below them in the status sweepstakes, whom they fear the most because some of them have shown higher intelligence on various tests. Elites tend to uphold small lesser minorities within a population of low-achievers to those of slightly-lesser-status-than-themselves and constantly blame the latter for the former's plight by virture of their (A)racism, (B), sexism, (C)religous, cultural intolerance for them to constantly remind everyone in that populace that they, the elite, are everyone's "betters". These same elite oft-see a need for treaties and agreements to remind the riff-raff, oops, I mean the rest of us, that we are wrecking the planet, and killing off its animals, destroying its resources, and therefore we should all only have one child each, and that for our own good, they should get to run more and more of our lives and make more and more of our choices for us. The resist standardized testing because deep down the elite (especially those with degrees that didn't require much math or science) are deeply, bone-close afraid that they really wouldn't score all that much higher (if at all) than a great great portion of those just below them in the status sweepstakes.

The elite support groups they percieve as "their fellow elites" in other nations stronger than anyone else, like Honduran presidents breaking their constitution to retain power for instance over those rabble people isisting their stupid laws be followed and their elections be fair (like in Mexico............and as of late Iran, where Ahmadinijad did indeed have the will of the people according to a Rockefeller Brothers Fund-underwritten private poll held before the real election, by about a 2-1 margin).


Above all else, our elite is terrified of anyone else ever getting nukes and the missles to deliever them, because as much as they are horrified to admit it, that is where their real power stems from when one gets right down to it.



A big ol' meanie.

testing99 said...

Oh boy Steve, you are far, far, off your expertise. Let's count the mistakes:

1. The Iranian protests are hardly dying down, they are entering a new stage, general strikes. With Rafsanjani siding with the anti-regime elements.

2. Iran isn't Mexico, it has nukes, a virulently anti-American as well as anti-Israel regime, that has conducted terrorist operations killing Americans over the years.

3. Ahmadinejad is favored by Obama and therefore the Press. Obama wants "Peace in Our Time" with a piece of paper he can wave around like Chamberlain. [As both a Muslim and Black, he also wants both Israel and the US nuked, to eradicate the former and "punish Whitey" for the latter. Obama dreams of a Vichy America with himself as Marshal Petain.]

4. Sadr is in fact, an Iranian Stooge and has been since Saddam killed his father. Maliki needs us, while Sadr needs the Iranians (which also makes him weaker). As Maliki has retaken most of Southern Iraq, Sadr's Iranian ties have proved costly -- most Iraqis don't like him for that reason.

5. An Obrador government would have been a disaster for the Media and Dems (but I repeat myself) flooding the US with 40 million Mexican economic refugees. As such, there was agreement to make him go away lest the GOP be revived by a Base-appealing Issue (close the borders).

6. Iran is an Imperial regime, with control of parts of Lebanon, a client state in Syria, and claims to Bahrain and other Gulf states (like Saddam's over Kuwait). Moreover, the strife in Iran involved considerable amounts of Hamas Palestinians and Hezbollah Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese beating Iranians in the streets. Making it entirely different from Mexico's internal struggle.

7. Iran had a pictorially symbolic moment -- Neda, the nice young woman shot to death on the street by a Basij goon. Symbolizing more thirty years of US hatred for the Iranian Regime that has been our enemy, declared or undeclared since Iran seized our Embassy and Diplomats.

8. Did I mention how Iran seized our Embassy and Diplomats? Held them hostage and tortured them? When exactly did Mexico do that?
-------------------
A better comparison is Iran and Honduras, now. Hondurans upheld their constitution (which as Half Sigma notes, calls for immediate dismissal from office of anyone advocated amending it by plebiscite) by united action of the Congress, Supreme Court, and Military. Even selecting Lezna's successor from his own Party.

Honduras, for better or worse, has rejected Chavez's puppet, one man rule, and seeks stability not Caudillo-ism, remarkable for that region and astonishing in itself.

Far more likely than your English-language thesis (Hondurans speak English well) is that the Dems/Media are divided on Iran, with Hillary and her backers sensing disaster around the corner with a nuclear Iran unfettered and a likely Israeli nuclear strike before that, fracturing the Dem Party and allowing Republican gains. Imagine a General Strike failing, the regime in control, a bolt-from-the-blue strike by Israel killing millions, and the US internal reaction.

Most Americans hate Iran, and Muslims. With thirty years good reason. Obama breaking ties with Israel or invading it ala Samantha Power's musings, would invite impeachment. Iran-Mexico-Honduras to my mind indicates an internal battle in the Dems/Media over avoiding that fight.

John Craig said...

Too bad they don't show the same bias towards English-speaking Americans.....Especially grammatical English.

Anonymous said...

"What if the reason we support English-speaking foreigners is because English-speaking cultures represent the heights that human civilization has achieved to date..."

But those heights are all in the past. I'm sorry to say this, but that corpse has been rotting for a long time now. If you're a foreigner who consumes English language media today, what are you most likely to pick up from it? Feminism, race is a racist illusion, buggery is cool, all real artists and sensitive souls "experiment" with drugs all day long, hard work and moderation are for squares and bores, etc., etc.

It's not Shakespeare that these people are consuming in English. It's Hollywood crap, and for the smarter ones it's the kind of crap that the NY Times produces. The less they see of it, the better.

airtommy said...

John Craig said...

Too bad they don't show the same bias towards English-speaking Americans.....Especially grammatical English.


LOL, comment of the week.

Obama is trying to put the leftist Zelaya who wanted to make himself president-for-life back in power

That's not a fair representation of what's going on in Honduras. Obama is trying to do what Clinton did in Haiti.

In Haiti, a military coup (tied to the U.S.) overthrew a popular democrat. After a few years, Clinton let the democrat back in office on the condition that he renounce his leftism, which is of course what made him popular in the first place.

The same exact thing is going on in Honduras right now. Obama is trying to use this coup (which has obvious American ties) as leverage to get the ousted Honduran leader to renounce his leftist policies before we let him take his office back.

So, Obama is not promoting leftism in Honduras, he's promoting rightism.

Testing102 said...

Steve, you need to stick to what your good at. This isn't like the old days. Nukes and the pill change everything.

This is why WHITE WOMEN support affirmative action and letting the Iranians do what they want. It's a way to weed out the beta males. If nuke goes off in one of our big cities, who's gonna be out there trying to save people? That's right, the betas. The Frank Riccis of the world will be dying and the WHITE WOMAN will be standing over his corpse laughing.

The Muslim terrorist Obama HATES whitey. That's his connection with the Iranian mullahs and white women. This isn't like the old days. America first isolationism isn't gonna cut it. You can fit a nuke into a suit case and take out a whole city. You can even bring in a case of birth control pills and destroy their fertility rate.

This support for the mullahs is due to the Harvard WASP mafia. While American Jews have been for generations putting the interest of the nation first the white elites with their WHITE WOMEN have been conspiring to keep the blue collar guy down.

Anonymous said...

al-Sadr ran away and hid in Iran... cuz he hates it so much?

Anonymous said...

"Steve,

Do you try every angle you can to tiptoe around bigger truths?"

Steve mentions some of those bigger truths regularly, which is brave of him. I'm guessing that he keeps trying unexpected, overcomplicated ancillary angles partly because they're fun to think about. And it WOULD be fun if more things in life worked like Rube Goldberg contraptions.

I don't think this one does though.

Felix said...

There's a moral feeling as well that the better English speakers deserve to win because they are more like us.

Oh really? In that case, too bad the media only applies this moral world view when it comes to turd world nations. Here at home, the media's primary raison d'etre seems to be to destroy everything that has to do with "us" and replace it with any random foreign equivalent.

Steve, sometimes in this blog you come very close indeed to telling it as it is, but then at times like this one you just pretend like the reality doesn't exist and go back to a dream world. I'm curious why that is.

Markku said...

Of course, it is also possible that you are mixing up cause and effect. What if the reason we support English-speaking foreigners is because English-speaking cultures represent the heights that human civilization has achieved to date, and thus English-speaking foreigners aspire to a more civilized condition than their opponents who have never seen the value in learning English?

English-Shmenglish ... modern Western culture (englightenment & the industrial revolution) developed mainly in an area that covers Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. A minority of the pioneers of modern Western culture were English speaking. The Anglosphere only stands out in having produced the best systems of government.

Svigor said...

Hey Steve, how much do you know about Social Identity Theory? I'd be interested in reading your take if it's better than the guy on the street.

Svigor said...

I think there's an honest assumption of progressivism/liberalism in English-speakers as well.

You go on to note how "of course" we had to go with x instead of y in Iraq, "of course" our only interest in Mexico is Mexican interlopers, but I don't see how the salient results of a compare and contrast between the two amounts to an "of course."

Could you elaborate?

Svigor said...

To clarify Garland, I can see how you get "of course" for liberalism, but I'm missing the "honest" part. What's the above-board explanation?

Svigor said...

That's right, the betas. The Frank Riccis of the world will be dying and the WHITE WOMAN will be standing over his corpse laughing.

LOL! Hilarious!

(one false note: replace all instances of "big cities" with NYC)

Anonymous said...

One more example would be the Western press's infatuation with Christian Lebanese, a snotty bunch who lorded over the country as if they were Medieval kings.

Well it used to be their country, generations of vibrant muslim immigration and higher birth rates put paid to that though. Yet those snotty Christians still go around think its their country. The bare faced cheek of them!

AmericanGoy said...

"Similarly, why did the U.S. side with Maliki's Iranian-aligned Shi-ites in Iraq, when it would have made more strategic sense to side with the anti-Iranian Iraqi nationalist Shi-ites of Muqtada al-Sadr?"

Because they are arrogant idiots, who have no experience of the world apart from their offices, institutes and TV world of megalomania.

They have no clue about America - the real one, where people wake up every day to go to actual, honest to goodness work - much less about places like Vietnam, Grenada, Haiti or Iraq or Iran.

anony-mouse said...

Its nice to see that Steve Sailer, who, according to his own blog, didn't know a thing about Iran a week ago has suddenly learned all about the differences of political opinions between the English speaking Iranians and the non-English speaking Iranians.

This high IQ business of his really is important.

Anonymous said...

"English-speaking cultures represent the heights that human civilization has achieved to date, and thus English-speaking foreigners aspire to a more civilized condition than their opponents who have never seen the value in learning English[.]"

Dude, are you Sean Hannity? America as the "height of human civilization"? Based on what?

steve wood said...

I'm sure you're right, Steve, but it hardly seems like a major revelation. Few Americans, journos or otherwise, speak Farsi, so it's natural that ideas expressed in English would penetrate earlier and further into American media than those expressed in a another language.

Furthermore, people - not just journalists - like to pick sides. If you know next to nothing about either side, you're instinctively more likely to choose the one that seems most similar to you. Language is such a basic part of culture that there is an inherent and mostly unconscious sense of kinship with anyone who speaks our language fluently.

Finally, it's probably true that foreigners who speak English are more Westernized, on average, than foreigners who don't. One can make the argument that, ceteris paribus, it is in our long-term cultural best interest to support Westernized people over nativists, regardless of the specific moral or political situation.

Anonymous said...

Testing 102, as usual, brilliant.

Mr. Anon said...

"testing99 said...

Oh boy Steve, you are far, far, off your expertise. Let's count the mistakes:"

You on the other hand, T99, have no expertise whatsoever. And by the way, Iran doesn't have have nuclear weapons yet. And also by the way, many Americans HAVE been killed by mexicans - far more than have been killed by Iranians.

Steve's thesis here - that journalists are predisposed to parrot whatever is fed to them by those foreigners who happen to speak english - rings true in light of the fact that journalists are generally lazy and not all that bright.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Of course, it is also possible that you are mixing up cause and effect. What if the reason we support English-speaking foreigners is because English-speaking cultures represent the heights that human civilization has achieved to date,...."

This might have been true in 1914 (and the same might have been said of german or french culture at that time as well). It may have been true in 1950. But it certainly isn't true anymore. What distinguishes anglo-saxon culture these days? Fiddy Cent and Eminem? Brittany Spears and Lil' Kim? NASCAR? WWW Smackdown? Monster Truck Rallies? Reality TV? Melissa Etheredge concerts? Quentin Tarantino movies? Methamphetamine?

Modern anglo-saxon culture is a morass of loathesome crap that is variously and by turns puerile, insipid, agressively stupid, and evil.

Pattern Recognition McGee said...

Until men's names are stated, from the actual human beings at the helm to those down in the muck doing the dirty work, the meejya remains just another ephemeral bogeyman to talk about and never defeat. It's like when a bunch of Mexicans moved into my old neighborhood - robberies began to happen, cars began to be stolen, and armed assaults began to take place, and it was reported locally as "crime descending". You can't fight "crime", of course, just criminals.

Must agree with some of those commenters above - this really is one of your poorer thoughts, more along the lines of some dissembling foreign affairs prof than the guy who writes about the Donmeh. T'aint the language, and you probably know it. It's what's being said. It's who poses the biggest threat to a hegemony like the world's never known.

Anonymous said...

"This might have been true in 1914 (and the same might have been said of german or french culture at that time as well). It may have been true in 1950. But it certainly isn't true anymore. What distinguishes anglo-saxon culture these days? Fiddy Cent and Eminem? Brittany Spears and Lil' Kim? NASCAR? WWW Smackdown? Monster Truck Rallies? Reality TV? Melissa Etheredge concerts? Quentin Tarantino movies? Methamphetamine?

Modern anglo-saxon culture is a morass of loathesome crap that is variously and by turns puerile, insipid, agressively stupid, and evil."

Well most of that shit is American (and some of it is okay) and wasn't reality TV invented by the Dutch?

"English-Shmenglish ... modern Western culture (englightenment & the industrial revolution) developed mainly in an area that covers Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. A minority of the pioneers of modern Western culture were English speaking. The Anglosphere only stands out in having produced the best systems of government."

And conquering much of the Earth (and how do you say it? pwning?)almost every foreign nation apart from Portugal who are our most valued ally. I'm not sure what makes Portugal so useful, but there you go.

A Perfect Spy said...

It's hard to think of a more dramatic case of how we are dependent on foreigners who speak English than Pham Xuan An. He joined the Viet Minh in 1945. Selected by the Communist underground to travel to America because he was the best English speaker in the group, he studied journalism at Orange Coast College in California. He befriended Americans going back to Edward Lansdale and became the best source and analyst for the foreign press corps. By the end of the war he was a correspondent for Time magazine, spying for North Vietnam the entire time. See the Amazon reviews for strong reactions to An and highlights of his career.

Black Sea said...

"Modern anglo-saxon culture is a morass of loathesome crap that is variously and by turns puerile, insipid, agressively stupid, and evil."

Most pop culture, around the world, is . . . maybe not evil, but pretty aggresively stupid. Pop culture is an outgrowth of the widespread distribution of discretionary income, combined with the reduction in cost for entertainment distribution. Pop culture is whatever sells, pure and simple, and to sell well, it's got to appeal to millions of decidely ordinary people. I wouldn't expect too much of it.

It is true that the Anglo-Saxon world (America in particular) has defined the major genres of pop culture, and established patterns for success in each of these genres. Pop culture in many other societies is often simply an inferior knock-off of something produced in America. It's rarely any better, or even as "good," as the original, which is, of course, not saying a whole lot.

I would agree that much (although not all) of pop culure is prettty thin gruel, and often is offensive, degrading, or idiotic, lowest common denominator fare. I wouldn't agree that it is completely synonymous with modern culture, or American culture, or Anglo-Saxon culture.

Simon said...

BTW from a non-American perspective, the determination to find White Hats & Black Hats in any conflict is a peculiarly American characteristic, which extends into very many fields of life,eg Law, not just foreign affairs. I don't think it started with Jews/Nazis.

The idea that there might be good & bad on both sides seems alien to American thinking.

LBK said...

According to T99's Grand Theory of Everything, single women hate beta men, which is why they voted for Obama, which explains why Obama supports Ahmadinajad and wants Iran to nuke America. Or something like that.

Paleo said...

"There's a moral feeling as well that the better English speakers deserve to win because they are more like us."

Ah, but who is "us"? In this case, "us" is the cosmopolitan global elite (including the media), not most Americans.

As an American nativist, I think I have more in common philosophically with the Iranian nativists and populists than with the global elite. And I consider that elite to be the most dangerous enemy of the American people, just as it is the enemy of the Iranian people

Anonymous said...

And if they speak English and went to an elite US university, they are treated
like gods or demigods.

Cf. Mikhail Saakashvili (LLM from Columbia), Benazir Bhutto (BA
Harvard, further studies at Oxford), and Ahmad Chalabi (B.S MIT, Ph.d University of Chicago) for examples.

Anonymous said...

A reader objected to my portraying of Christian Lebanese, saying that 'their' country was more or less 'stolen' from them. No offense intended, but this is a clear example of 'Western bias'. Lebanon was carved out of Syria as a Christian Maronite enclave. They were indeed a majority at the beginning, but so many of them just left the country even BEFORE the civil war that the ethnic balance eventually tipped over. Granted, the Muslim (especially Shia) have a far larger birthrate now, but it is a relatively recent phenomenon, as Christians too had many children. So many simply did not care enough about Lebanon to keep it. You should see how many have dual Canadian-Lebanese citizenship, go there for the good times (or for that latest election), and then rush back to Canada when to going gets tough. As long as there is electricity in Beyrouth clubs and for the Casino in Jounieh, they couldn't car less, especially about those Muslim they so despise and treated like dirt. In a sense, what is happening to Lebanon is a portend of what will happen to the West.

Anonymous said...

The same exact thing is going on in Honduras right now. Obama is trying to use this coup (which has obvious American ties) as leverage to get the ousted Honduran leader to renounce his leftist policies before we let him take his office back.



Yikes! Clearly Steve does not filter comments for stupidity.

1) There is no "coup". The lawful goverment is in power, not the military.
2)There are no "American ties", obvious or otherwise.
3) Obama is not attempting to get the ousted Honduran leader to renounce his leftist policies.

Anonymous said...

One can make the argument that, ceteris paribus, it is in our long-term cultural best interest to support Westernized people over nativists, regardless of the specific moral or political situation.


One can make all sorts of arguments, but I notice you did not actually make that argument here. I don't think that "Westernized people" - here being a stand-in for left-wing politics - are in the best interests of America or of humanity.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe America supported Chiang Kai Shek because Mao's rebels were, I don't know, COMMIES?

Anonymous said...

America supported Chiang Kai Shek because Mao's rebels were alphas with nukes and in cahoots with white women. Did I mention how this somehow ties in with Israel and NYC?

Ivy League Bastard said...

This surprise at the attention on Iran (vs Mexico) is odd.

Since the fall of the Shah, Iran has declared itself the nucleus of worldwide Islamic revolution and initiated warfare against the United States. The first Iranian attack on the Great Satan was the 15-month hostage affair, which (without any October Surprise theories) was enormously influential on the electoral fortunes of the Carter administration. I think it made a larger impression in its day than the Sept 11 bombings did in the past decade.

9/11 was the culmination of a long series of terrorist spectacles, including quite a number of bombings and kidnappings of US citizens (hundreds dead) in Lebanon carried out by proxies funded and trained by Iran. Spectacular as the 2001 bombings were, the Iran hostage crisis with its nighly agonizing TV coverage was probably the second-most demoralizing US military humiliation after Vietnam. The place of Iran as chief US Mideast enemy has never been usurped since that time, Iraq and Afghanistan notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

So why support Islamist Bosniaks over ethno-nationalist Serbs?

It is part of surrounding Russia. Seriously.

Bhanu Prasad said...

Media sympathizes with english-liberal's alone. Not traditionalists

David said...

ivy league bastard said

"proxies funded and trained by Iran"

Neocon claim. Prove it.

Anonymous said...

So why support Islamist Bosniaks over ethno-nationalist Serbs?

The answer is in the question - the ethno-nationalism.

Floppy Disk Full o' Tools said...

One more example would be the Western press's infatuation with Christian Lebanese, a snotty bunch who lorded over the country as if they were Medieval kings. Well, they all speak English or French. Oh, their women are hot too. Beyrouth has one of the highest 'babe-per-square-foot' numbers in the world.

The Lebanese Christians can also be rightfully compared to high school prettyboy jocks who treated the Muslims as nerds. Leb-Xtian women were so hot, after primping in the mirror for four hours a day, and carrying pom-poms along with their crosses and mini-skirts. And don't forget their transformation of Bayroute into a city filled with "liberal" bars, discos, casinos, and strip-clubs.

The decision to back Croatia in the Serb-Croatian wars of the 90's was made - at least according to the one in-depth historical account that I read - very much as a result of a persuasive Croatian political lobby, which trumped its Serbian counterpart in parading its cause for the American political and media establishment.

Don't forget that Croats are better dressed and (genetically?) better looking than Serbs.

Croats: tall, dark, handsome, slim, clean-cut. Their women all look like Katie Holmes. Many of them happen to be supermodels.
Serbs: short, fat, smelly, hirsute, no fashion sense (AK-47s and ammo belts are not fashion accessories.) The women look like bearded Tolkien/AD&D gnomes.

It's no wonder the Western media and corporate elites had a huge collective hard-on for Croatia!

Afer all, who invented the tie worn by Western newscasters? Can you say Croatian imperialism disgusied as subliminal autoerotic low-level asphyxiation fetishism?

So why support Islamist Bosniaks over ethno-nationalist Serbs?

The bosniaks weren't Islamist when the war started in 1992. If they are Islamist now, that is only because of the war, ethnic cleansing, and Saudi cultural meddling.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Floppy Disk Full o' Tools: The women look like bearded Tolkien/AD&D gnomes.

And you censored my post on Persian -versus- Nahuatl women?!?

ARGH!!!

What does a guy have to do to get any love around here?

Anonymous said...

Black Sea's explanation of pop culture wins for best comment in this morass of speculation.

Ivy League Bastard said...

> "proxies funded and trained by Iran"
>
> Neocon claim. Prove it.

Perhaps you didn't follow the civil lawsuit against Iran for the bombing in Beirut that (via proxy Hizbullah) killed about 300 people including more than 200 US Marines. The one where NSA intercept transcripts were put in evidence, of Iran-to-Lebanon communications ordering the attacks.

Anthony said...

So why support Islamist Bosniaks over ethno-nationalist Serbs?

Religiously, the big difference between Serbs and Bosniaks was that Serbs didn't go to church on sunday, while Bosniaks didn't go to mosque on friday. Bosniaks were the slightly more pragmatic ones when the Turks invaded - they converted to get slightly lower taxes.

Bret Ludwig said...

I'm not sure what the correlation between language abilities and "cosmopolitan viewpoint" is. Consider that paragon of linguistic skills, Dr. Revilo P. Oliver. He spoke at least thirteen languages to a relatively fluent level and wrote scholarly articles in four. However, he was singularly uncosmopolitan in many ways.

Anonymous said...

"...initiated warfare against the United States."

There was a kid in my neighborhood picked on by another kid for a couple of years, something the latter did to a lot of others. This picked on kid wigged out one day and hit the bully in the face. I guess if you walked into the hall at the exact second he did it, you could say that the little guy "initiated it".

Ivy League history. Can't beat it.

Richard Hoste said...

"I'm not sure what the correlation between language abilities and "cosmopolitan viewpoint" is. Consider that paragon of linguistic skills, Dr. Revilo P. Oliver. He spoke at least thirteen languages to a relatively fluent level and wrote scholarly articles in four. However, he was singularly uncosmopolitan in many ways."

Quite a sample size you got there.

In all seriousness, reading Revilo Oliver is a guilty pleasure. The racial slurs mixed in with the references to the classics and gentlemanly affability is something we'll never see again.

For those who have never heard of Revilo Oliver: look him up and know that he once wrote regular columns for National Review.

Anonymous said...

---ivy league bastard said

"proxies funded and trained by Iran"

Neocon claim. Prove it.---

Karine A.

Markku said...

And conquering much of the Earth (and how do you say it? pwning?)almost every foreign nation apart from Portugal who are our most valued ally. I'm not sure what makes Portugal so useful, but there you go.

The Mongols also conquered a lot of territory. So, the conquests of Britain do not really stand out as much as the British tradition of stable liberal democratic government (with the emphasis on individual liberty and rule of law). The combination of liberty and political stability are a genuinely British heritage. That model has been later implemented outside the Anglosphere, however.

Mike said...

"One can make the argument that, ceteris paribus, it is in our long-term cultural best interest to support Westernized people over nativists, regardless of the specific moral or political situation."

It was true two hundred years ago. Nowadays westernized elites in non-western cultures feel a hatred toward the west for alienating from their cultural roots. The American media never covers the rage many westernized elites feel towards the west.

Paleo said...

"The American media never covers the rage many westernized elites feel towards the west."

Nor do they cover the rage many Americans feel toward the media.

Ivy League Bastard said...

Anon contests the phrase:

> "...[Iran] initiated warfare against the United States."

INITIATED is the correct concept, not only factually (the Khomeini regime launched attacks on the US and its predecessor did not) but because we are discussing the perceptions of Americans and why Iran is more in the US news than Mexico. That the US had a long history in Iran does not change the fact that Iran's entry into the US news (esp. television) coverage in the late 70's as a new and unexpected global enemy, was epoch-making.
The hostage dramas in Iran and (equivalently) Lebanon were drummed home nightly on television, for years. The psychological effect of this was far stronger than any stories emanating from Mexico or Canada.

Anonymous said...

"And conquering much of the Earth (and how do you say it? pwning?)almost every foreign nation apart from Portugal who are our most valued ally. I'm not sure what makes Portugal so useful, but there you go.

The Mongols also conquered a lot of territory."

Ah, but the Mongols had a largely inland empire and much of low density. Ours was far flung and usually tied to the seas and important resources.

"So, the conquests of Britain do not really stand out as much as the British tradition of stable liberal democratic government (with the emphasis on individual liberty and rule of law). The combination of liberty and political stability are a genuinely British heritage. That model has been later implemented outside the Anglosphere, however."

Imperium et Libertas.