Re: Guest Post - How They See Us

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I'm wearing the same clothes as yesterday (excepting sock and underwear) but Russians never notice me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 2:55 PM
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Wild dogs in Russia are extremely smart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 2:56 PM
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how you love this sort of comments when i get deleted and cant even sign my handle over here for the fear of that, some improper impersonation


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:00 PM
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American's don't lie much or drink hard liquor, apparently. Did we win the cold war because Russians are easily fooled?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:00 PM
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Guys, it's early to thread derail, but this is perfect.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:12 PM
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I am slovenly. They got me there. I'm going for the Brett Keisel look in facial hair, but in the transition period, it doesn't look nearly as good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:12 PM
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5: There's other threads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:13 PM
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I call hoax. "America: What a Life!" by Nikolai V. Zlobin does not show up on an Amazon, Bookfinder, Froogle, or Bing Shopping search.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:19 PM
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Not even a search for "America" by "Zlobin".


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:20 PM
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Which is disappointing, because I wanted to read the book.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:20 PM
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Here is the chapter about American Jews


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:25 PM
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Guns, religion, an Hobbesian health-care system, loud, nasal accents, the legacy of institutional racism, lack of curiosity, entrepreneurship, customer service that's kind of nice at first, but then gets suffocating and creepy after a while. These are the things Europeans like to observe about America to me. About what you'd expect, I guess.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:26 PM
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"It's such a new concept for them, that you can get security by putting distance between yourself and the others," he said. "The Russian concept is that you're safe when you're with the crowd."

Of course, Japan!

I would say group rather than crowd, and the excluded middle between individualism and collectivism probably resides in the small group. I think it still exists in America in practice a little, but as ethical principle it is harder to justify.

Ontopic, I think, I read somewhere recently an American saying something like "But than God you are not a Japanese housewife!"

Are you fucking kidding me? Would you rather be a Japanese salarywoman? Japanese husbands work 12 hours 6 days a week, get drunk for the next four hours, come home maybe, hand their check over and pass out. The population is declining, nobody has sex in Japan. What is not to like for the housewife?

Serious here. The heart and soul of Japanese politics and social movements is the Japanese housewife. She does whatever the fuck she wants, from flower arranging to saving the whales.

Ok, big corps are only 20-30% and there are a lot of fulfilling jobs in the other 80% from gov't to small boutique firms. Lousy pay and benefits, and you have to deal with the sexism.

But America is better, because here every little girl can dream of being President or CEO or Nobeller. Right.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:28 PM
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This isn't Language Log, but...

He devotes many pages to privacy, a word that does not exist in the Russian language


Posted by: ms 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:29 PM
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Oh, I see. There is in fact no book titled "America: What a Life!", but there is a book titled "Америка... Живут же люди!"


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:30 PM
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I am not changing my pseudonym.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:30 PM
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In Japan, you'd be more free as a Mrs than either Ms or MD.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:34 PM
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America:the land where you get to be a beaten wage-slave and know it's all your own damn fault.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:43 PM
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I'd probably translate that as "America: How they live!" but I don't really know Russian anymore. Only 239 rubles on ozon.ru.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:56 PM
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america is better than japan bc nobody cares who you are and how you are doing, when in japan for a native japanese at least or someone naturalized it means to live in a too tight community that there is almost no any individual freedoms, everything is so too tightly regulated by the customs, hierarchy, their specific etiquette norms etc. for a foreigner though it's like living in some kind of sterile vacuum, so maybe it's not that much difference where, everywhere is the same isolation and alienation, just one learns to live not mentioning that that much


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 3:58 PM
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Interesting -- my prior employer is being sued by a female [partner], hoping to be a class-action representative for all the female partners, for $200M for systematic gender discrimination in compensation. While I can't confirm the allegations from direct knowledge, it's not in conflict with my experiences there, and certainly couldn't have happened to a nicer firm.


Posted by: Portia (of Venice) | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:09 PM
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[F]rom flower arranging to saving the whales.

You know they eat whales, right, bob?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:20 PM
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20:america is better than japan bc nobody cares who you are and how you are doing

Is this a good thing?

Don't delete 20 and consider 13 half a trolling joke.

The book I just finished on order and conformity in Japan starts by saying Japan, among OECD countries has the least crime and is dead last in Nobel Prize winners.

21:UMC gains do not trickle down to Walmart workers. I so do not care about rich people.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:21 PM
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22:Not all of them, not everyone, racist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:22 PM
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December 9 2012

The first blow to Japanese whaling is a survey by an internationally recognised Japanese organisation, the Nippon Research Centre, which has found that as many as 88.8 per cent of the Japanese people have not bought any whale meat in the last 12 months. Further, a mere 27 per cent of respondents to the survey expressed support for whaling and only a meagre 11 per cent said they support it strongly.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:29 PM
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is this a good thing? sure, compared to anybody from some too rigid structure you are in having interest and say in your life, one needs one's own space and will how to live one's own life, at least an illusion of that, for self, however illusorily
just that illusion of independence depends on money of course and job, as far as immigrants can earn some money sustaining themselves doing their job, liked or not that much, they enjoy that illusion of relative freedom i guess, contrasting from elsewhere they are from, it's different for russians and my country though, while they dont miss their political system, bureacracy and all other power structures, they miss families and friends, warmer interpersonal relations, sure
and japan, there again the material side is not that much problem, and surely native japanese feel themselves very adjusted and free within their own system, but for the non-conforming kind and foreigners considering living there that their japanese stifling hierarchy and workload makes it just a preferred nice tourist destination, not a place where one would want to live longer


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 4:49 PM
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Boss Hogg!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 5:00 PM
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read's doing fine here, I agree with much of what she says. I guess I'm being an asshole.

Order By Accident was a terrific book, it has an ad hom bad review. It did not make Japan attractive and was largely data and solid sociology.

The basic imperialism I understand is that America adjusted it's system of rights and privileges in the 20th century largely to create an exportable system of social control, a hegemony of delusion that favored the hyperproductive (partner!) and fucked the less capable or ambitious. Capital's social reproduction for places without Western traditions.

Freedom! and everybody can have it all, and if they don't we just need more freedom! and they are loosers anyway. Let's do lunch.

But Japan is just a different kind of hell. And God help Korea and China. Kinda liking Taiwan a little.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 5:42 PM
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19: If you want it in an ebook format from an American company, try kniga.com. I need to re-learn Russian, too (not that a year in college got me too far anyway).


Posted by: gea | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 7:40 PM
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In Soviet Russia, college took year of you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 8:06 PM
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Also I love it when people from other countries imitate American accents.

"Prisecolinensinenciousol, a parody by Adriano Celentano for the Italian TV programme Mileluci is sung entirely in gibberish designed to sound like American English."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 8:49 PM
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Americans don't lie much or drink hard liquor, apparently. Did we win the cold war because Russians are easily fooled?

By Russian standards, Americans barely drink hard liquor at all. And IIRC there's evidence that they tend to be more truthful - that's why Americans are about the only people in the world that polygraphs sort of work on.

This is probably a bit unnerving for Russians - "you mean they actually believe all that stuff they say?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 2:43 AM
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"What does 'how are you' mean?'"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 3:53 AM
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The article hits on what I've always thought must be the incredible loneliness, division, and isolation of American life compared to most other countries.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 10:35 AM
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Loneliness? Do those other countries even have the internet?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 10:37 AM
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Not in a way that you would understand.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 10:39 AM
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Americans are really good at inventing stuff like TV, the Internet, and 'social media' because we are less distracted by physical other people in our lives.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 10:43 AM
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They hate our freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-12-12 12:20 PM
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re: 37

The gag being that Americans didn't invent TV (invented by a Scot), and only sort of invented the Internet, as for many people the Internet just is the Web (invented by a Brit working in Switzerland).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-13-12 9:18 AM
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And yes, I know that TV in the form most of us know it doesn't really owe that much to the crude electro-mechanical devices pre-Farnsworth.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-13-12 9:19 AM
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I loved this piece when I saw it in the international herald trib the other day. I recommended it to my wife, but I wasn't sure if it was NYT or IHT material.

I would love to read it, but I'm pretty sure my Russian isn't up to it. I studied in Russia and I live in Italy, and reading the article reminded me there are some striking similarities in the cultures - especially that safe with a group thing.

Right now I'm reading the English translation of an Italian book by a Russian woman about food and culture in Italy. Great information about regional food, really annoying overdone fanboy tone.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 12-14-12 7:07 AM
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Whereas in American, there are 20 words for privacy.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 12-15-12 9:47 AM
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What's the title of the book please?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-23-12 10:58 PM
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