Friday, February 12, 2016

So, How Worried Should I Be?

Claire Berlinski,

Berlinski image from article
Sometimes when you’re far from home, it’s hard to gauge what’s really going on. I know how much the media distorts and exaggerates everything, often to the point of outright lying. I know most of what I read in the news about France is factually wrong at a minimum, hallucinatory at worst. This was true when I lived in Turkey, too, and don’t get me started on French coverage of American politics. If you only read the French newspapers, you’d believe utterly insane things about Americans. People here earnestly believe that we nourish ourselves entirely on burgers and Coca-Cola, shoot each other as a friendly way of saying hello, and are always making jokes about France . ...
So today I run into some French guy at the bakery who tells me all wide-eyed that people in New Hampshire — New Hampshire, like he could find it on a map — are overwhelmingly of the opinion that our next president should either be a self-declared socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union or the star of The Celebrity Apprentice.
Of course I laugh and tell him, “You can’t believe every crazy thing you hear about Americans, dude. We don’t do socialism. And that’s just a dumb TV show. We’re America. I promise.” ...
I’m shaking my head and thinking our public diplomacy has reached a new low. The Embassy should be countering rumors like this, why don’t they get ahead of this stuff? ...

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