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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief

 

no one else is gonna save the usa-holes



there's a running joke about me at work... my cube's nametag for a while said:

Justin Hall
(From the United States Of America)

because of a phone call i was on once with a company from the netherlands... specifically i was trying to resolve some shipping problems with a piece of network equipment. i got connected to the woman who was holding up the order, and, being that she was in this strange european country i assumed she wasn't great with english, so i announced myself on the phone as justin hall "from the united states of america", in my best speaking-to-a-four-year-old tone of voice. she sounded used to this kind of treatment in her response - in flawless english, of course.

since then i've been more self-conscious about it, and yet still notice the phenomena. i spent much of the day on the phone with people in other countries today, trying to arrange for the installation of equipment in their datacenters. i noticed in myself a very troubling shift of mindset whenever the person on the con call spoke in broken or halting english - i immediately assumed they were unintelligent. even more painful to me is knowing i've done it all my life - with classmates, professors, dudes on TV, strangers, people manning tech support phone lines (although...)

i listened to nofx's usa-holes on the way to the gym tonight, and it kind of brought this all to a head. what the heck is my problem? i remember this mental perspective, this instant classification of foreigners and non-english-speakers as slow or incompetent, from when i was very young, but i don't think my parents taught it to me, because they're not like that. but i have no idea where i picked it up. did i learn it from america? i'm very aware that i'm not the only one with this flaw, and i'm starting to think that our culture sort of raises us in this way. i am an arrogant american with a superiority complex, just like (most of) the rest of us.

while our government's foreign policy often embarasses me and makes me cringe at the thought of how it makes us look to the rest of the world... seeing this in myself disgusts me even more. i'm such a sheltered little kid, pretending a global, inclusive perspective because my minor's in international business and i have internet access. but place me in a foreign environment where i have to depend on people from a different country, interact with a different culture, and i go all fish-out-of-water and freak out.

put me in an environment with foreigner playing and i'll be a jukebox hero. with stars in my eyes.

 

for this post

 
Blogger Simon Says:

Yeah, I've noticed that some in myself too. It's like we expect the world to cater to us. When I call you up in Netherferkistan, you need to talk to me in perfect English. Where did that idea come from? You mention thinking of them as unintelligent idiots, but the truth is that they need to be pretty smart to learn our stupid language. I mean how many years of German did you take? And all we can do is sing those stupid little songs, "Ich bin Auslander und sprechen nicht gut Deustch" We are idoits!

 
 
Blogger Justin Hall Says:

Die Uhr schlägt zwölf, ich hör' es schon, Dracula am Telefon

that's about all i got

 
 
Blogger ryanham Says:

You've got...double vision!

 
 
Blogger B-Call Says:

why do we have to be the jerks?
the rest of the those MFers need to catch up to us.
we're the superiors!

 
 
Blogger Nickolini Says:

There's only two things that bother me:
1. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures.
and
2. The Dutch

 
 
Blogger scott d Says:

Man... I had to deal with an Indian (and I don't mean "native American") yesterday... I was about to pull out what little hair I have. I definitely understand what you're saying... when I'm talking to folks who don't sound like me, I probably sound just like you with your "I'M JUSTIN HALL FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS..." treatment.

 
 
Blogger Nickolini Says:

What is frustrating is having to speak with someone in India, when your issue is with an American company. If I was talking to a foreign company, I don't expect them to speak English well. But when I'm talking to someone who works for Delta or America Online and the are obviously not getting what I am saying (not because of intelligence, but because of the language barrier) then there is something wrong with that. This is obviously a symptom of a larger issue, outsourcing jobs to other countries. I just want to speak with someone who can tell about my flight from Dayton to Colorado Springs....India does not come into that equation.

 
 
Blogger B-Call Says:

unless there's an Indian food option on your flight.
GOTCHA!!

 

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