Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Sorry, World!

If you tell me you’ve broken both legs and have come out in boils all over, I might say “Oh, I am sorry!” but I am not apologising: it wasn’t my fault so why should I?
If Americans who did not vote for Bush say “Sorry!” they are not apologising, they are just regretting that there weren’t enough of them to ensure that Dubya was consigned to history.
It was a brilliant idea to provide webspace for them to express their regrets to the world, and already at SorryEverybody there are over four thousand illustrated messages (click "gallery"). This is the one that started it all off:

Their respective styles reflect the diversity of America: they are witty, sad, cute, ingenious, subtle, childish, profound, flippant, anguished, philosophical, hopeful, resigned, simple, elegant, or crude. But all of them, I would guess (I haven’t read the lot), are absolutely sincere.
It is heart-warming to read them; we knew all the time, while we were listening to the mouthings of the simple-minded bigots and the arrogant bullies, that Americans are not all like that, but it is salutary to be reminded.
And it is also good to see that the rest of the world has responded appropriately: there are many messages from non-Americans, saying, in effect : Sure, we know it wasn’t the fault of the 49% who voted against Bush. We admire them, and America still has our affection and respect.


(In response, some of the other 51% have set up websites of their own. Most of them, as one might expect, contain mainly illiterate and obscene abuse.)

14 comments:

Jamie said...

Why is it considered bad taste when conservatives demonize liberals, but always killingly funny when liberals demonize conservatives?

It seems a little disingenuous to (a)point to the few conservatives who demonize the left as "librul f*ggots" and on the strength of that insist that all conservatives (or did you simply mean Bush-voters?) are "simple-minded bigots and arrogant bullies"...yet (b)at the same time consider your demonization of conservatives to be the epitome of tasteful political humor.

(...and as an interesting aside, I find that many more liberals out there are unable to spell than conservatives, who are attempting to follow in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers, who were not only great men of faith, but--surprise!--very highly educated)

Not to be simple-minded here, but whence cometh the double standard?

(You might also like to note that, though I am a conservative, and voted for Bush, I neither indulge in obscenity, nor am I illiterate.)

Grumio said...

Jamie, your points were well made (I'll leave Tony to straighten things out) until the penultimate one. To vote for Bush is to indulge in a very great obscenity indeed. (I am using 'obscenity' in its slightly wider British meaning, not the more tightly defined American legal definition. I think you were, too)

I grant you are not illiterate.

Grumio said...

Actually on re-reading I take that back. The points were sincere, but not well made at all. Tony very specifically didn't say that all conservatives are foul-mouth bigots, nor that conservative demonisation of liberals is in bad taste nor, especially, that his words are the epitome of anything at all.

In fact, he is probably far too modest to say or accept it, but what his words were the epitome of was tolerance and understanding.

Your survey of spelling skills in relation to political inclination would be fascinating, though, wouldn't it, if it could be published in a statiscally valid form? There are other useful indicators this would surely lead to, such as colour-blindness or left-handedness represented in political groupings.

Jamie said...

*laughs*

He uses hyperbole, I use hyperbole. Certainly I didn't think he meant EVERY conservative was a bigot, but he did make a generalization that I still think is disingenuous. And again, while it was exaggeration to say that he thought it was the "epitome of tasteful political humor", it IS true that the majority of liberals have no problem taking petty pot-shots at conservatives, and do think it is very funny indeed to do so, as did Tony, or he wouldn't have written what he did.

As for the other point...what about it, Tony? You don't think "conservative demonization of liberals" is in GOOD taste, do you? *I* don't even think so, shocking as that may be, considering my nefarious background ;)

And...naturally I was semi-tongue-in-cheek when I mentioned spelling. Surely I can poke a bit of fun at liberals considering I was just stereotyped as being simple-minded, arrogant AND unable to spell! I do NOT think that most liberals cannot spell. However, most of my classmates at the public university I attend are very liberal indeed, and, coincidence or not, they have problems spelling :) Also, I give you my word of honor, I recently read an article by the very-liberal small-time presidential-hopeful Lyndon LaRouche, and I promise you it was simply chock-full of misspellings and every other kind of grammatical horror imaginable! And the funny thing was, the college student passing these out had the nerve to compare LaRouche to Shakespeare!!

Tony said...

Just a few points, Jamie:
1. I never use conservative when talking to Americans because it means something quite different to us. We have a party called the Conservatives (or Tories) who were in government for most of the twentieth century but are now in terminal decline.
2. Similarly, liberal appears to be a pejorative term to Americans but to us is a compliment. Also, capitalised, this is half the name of another of our political parties.
3. You are absolutely right to say that we must not assume that all Republicans are illiterate just because Dubya has problems with the English language. I cannot comment on this from my own experience; apart from brief visits to Colorado, Florida and Arizona, I am familiar only with big-city America and not at all with the Bible belt or small-town and rural America generally. And most of my American friends are academics, writers,or ex-pats. So it is possible that I have never actually met anyone who voted for Bush (82% in Manhattan and 90% in Washington voted for Kerry).
4. But Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7,16). I have read several hundred of the posts in SorryEverybody and though some are a bit weird and some have shaky spelling, none are abusive or obscene. The corresponding sites for Bush-lovers (e.g. www.werenotsorry.com and others - often, charmingly, with yourass in their titles) are quite different. Comparing the website entries - the faces, styles, language, attitudes – leaves me in no doubt which side I am on. I'm sorry you're on the other.
5. Anyone with a name like Lyndon LaRouche has already drawn the short straw of life, whether he can spell or not.
6. I don’t know how much you thought people hated Bush, but you may well have underestimated. 49% of Americans and (in the latest poll) around 92% of the rest of the world is about the right figure. But then you don’t care about the 92%, do you? Why should you?
7. I see that we have been joined by Grumio, who is not very good with computers as he seems to have put one comment in twice. I am sworn not to divulge his identity, but I can tell you that he is an Englishman whose name is not unknown on Broadway and who loves America and hates its government. I guess he hasn’t met many Republicans either.

You can tell I’m at a loose end this morning, can’t you?

Grumio said...

I am perfectly good with computers

Grumio said...

I am perfectly good with computers

Grumio said...

I am perfectly good with computers

Tony said...

Grumio: Stop messing about. This is a serious weblog.

Grumio said...

Is it? Cripes! When did that change?

Tony said...

Don't be impertinent, young man. And don't blaspheme; you well know that cripes! is a sly way of saying Christ!. Be more circumspect in your language, or Jamie will add you to her axis-of-evil list.

Jamie said...

*solemnly* Is it really? I thought it was derived from the cockney pronunciation of crepes.

Eric said...

The President of the United States is accountable only to the citizens of the United States. Our country was one of the first to put so much power into the hands of the people. We have stumbled along the way to be sure and yet we seem to have done a pretty good job overall during the last 228 years. Both Liberals and Conservatives have been in control during thos years and for the most part it seems to me our citizens have a good track record of picking the right person for the times. If any apologies should be given it is the world that should apologize for continueing to have so many people in it that have no say over who their leaders are.

Gervase said...

Eric, I think you've got a bit confused. The Sorry, Everybody messages, as the post points out, were not apologies: they were merely expressions of regret that Bush got elected. You may not share this regret, but you must not deny 8,000 of your countrymen their democratic right to express it if they want to.
I don't quite understand what you write about the world needing to apologise for having so many people in it who have no say in electing their leaders; if you're hoping to get apologies from the free world for the existence of, say, North Korea then you'll be waiting a long time. But no doubt Dubya will nuke them one of these days, together with Iran and one or two others. That'll teach them to mess with the U.S.of A.