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« Why Turks Are Such Fantastic Salesmen | Main | Problems I Solved This Week »

02 November 2007

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Bulent Murtezaoglu

Hah. Oddly enough I got what they stole from Canada w/o cheating (it was "whoa? it doesn't flow that way!"). Oh, and, I couldn't see any smoking, drinking or religion. Contrast the lack of religious stuff there with this clip for Istanbul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YAvfxA6a94

Which values do you think got communicated by that video? That it is good to smile a lot? Or that Americans are family-like and work cheerfully in a Disney-ish kind of sanitized way?

carpetblogger

I guess, as an American, I pick up more visual cues than people who are not (which doesn't really help reach the video's goal), but a I see an open, diverse society that tolerates and integrates people of all ethnicities.

I might point out that those are values that Turks haven't been doing a very good job of embracing lately.

Bulent Murtezaoglu

You're right, I didn't get that even though I'd spend more than a decade in the US. On the other hand if they'd shown the people w/o the scenery I'd probably have been able to guess the country.

On the matter of the Turks vs. integration, have you noticed any recent shift other than the present insanity? I think the underlying attitudes have been the same for a long time (I can remember from 1970 or so onwards).

carpetblogger

What do I know? I've only been here a year and I don't speak Turkish, but I find the level of racism (toward Kurds) fairly breathtaking and Turks' hyper-masculine, testosterone-driven nationalism their least attractive quality. I hope things calm down soon because people are pretty insane right now.

I say this with love because Turks and Americans are a lot alike -- both perceive real and imagined threats and (over)react by allowing their latent xenophobia free rein.

I know you probably don't like to hear this, but I find the current government's efforts to reach out to the Kurdish population (pre-all the current insanity) to be very encouraging. I hope it doesn't get derailed. Turkey can't democratize if 1/5th of its population is disenfranchised.

Little Miss Moi

Dear carpetblogger. Wowsers, naff-a-rama... The vid shows stereotypical colours doing stereotypical things (e.g., the white business people eating lunch in a posh restaurant, being served by someone who looked hispanic). Maybe being an Aussie i see through the grandiose music and the slow motion shots - makes me queasy more than anything else.

Bulent Murtezaoglu

Why would I not like it? Because of my presumed anti-AKP bias? I'm not too keen on them, but I'm more annoyed by the lack of good opposition to keep the AKP honest. Insolent pseudo-leftist babbling and jingoism don't count. That said, I don't think we get good information from that region so it is tough to tell what exactly is going on.

Anyway, yes I suppose in a way Turks and Americans are alike. Having watched flag sales explode in post 9/11 US before coming here only to witness the same I can point to at least one similarity. As far as xenophobia goes, though, I never personally felt it in the US. Do you feel it here as a yabanci? Of course this yabanci business doesn't really exist in the US. But that's probably not what you meant, yeah, you can tell tall tales in both countries about them people over there somehere and have folks fear/hate them. I think for here it has deeper historic reasons and there's more materialistic discontent to channel while the manipulative scum have far less to work with in the US. They certainly do a great job though.

carpetblogger

See, LMM, I saw some stereotypes in there (the smart asian scientist, the sassy diner waitresses), but i had the opposite reaction about the generic brown waiter guy -- hey, the guy is waiting tables at an expensive restaurant, which is a good job, rather than busing them, which is a shitty job.

Bulent, Turks are much better than americans at separating people from governments, which is why I hear complaints about George Bush almost hourly, but have always been treated with the utmost respect personally. No one (that I've understood,at least) has ever said boo to me as an American. I do know a guy who got kicked out of a bar in S'met last week when the owner found out he was American, but that is so rare as to be almost unbelievable.

But post 9-11, the republicans' entire political strategy has been to exploit americans' fear and suspicion of foreigners -- especially muslims -- and their inability to genuinely assess threats. Americans' increasing self-imposed physical and psychological isolation from the rest of the world makes this easier and easier.

I see a little difference in Turkish and American patriotism. Turks proudly send their boys to the army and genuinely appreciate and mourn their sacrifice. I YEARN for a draft, so support for Bush's military adventuring dries up faster than Los Angeles in the summer. American patriotism, of late, is shallow and consists largely of meaningless gestures. Although you may want to send flags. There can't possibly be any left to buy here.

mindthegap

I'm sorry I can't contribute anything intelligent to the comments, but just to say that I got about 20 seconds into the clip and had to turn it off as my morning porridge was starting to make a reappearance. Why do people create this kind of guff?

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