Give back the Elgin Marbles!

A good American friend of mind came up with this gem on You Tube – I very much agree with the sentiment but it has come as a bit of a shock to discover that an American a) knows where Greece is b) objects to someone taking what is not theirs.  Mike Gerbich take a bow.

Having taken this opportunity to have a little dig at the reluctance of Americans to step outside their comfort zone I decided to go on a Google journey to uncover what percentage of Americans have a passport.  At the bottom end I found 10% being quoted while at the top end 30%.   I also found this sword crossing on a blog:

. . .  for the average American, traveling abroad is not nearly so feasible, economically or logically, and these are the people taking the brunt of the criticism. In an article written for the London Guardian, John Patterson claimed most Americans don’t go abroad because it’s a “drag”, because they’re “ridiculous, paranoid, pathetically insular and grotesquely self-pitying.” And just so we didn’t worry that any of this was hyperbolic, he explained that Americans “have no reason to hate or fear (foreigners), but they have given the rest of us a million reasons to hate and fear them.”

My main observation here is the mis-spelling of the word travelling and Microsoft’s determination to keep defaulting to American spelling.  Bill, it’s called English and that is a big clue.  If you want to switch to American spelling be my guest but leave English to the English, our bat our ball.  And while you are at it stop calling your baseball championship the World Series, it’s a little local affair on a par with Gaelic football or Aussie Rules but I don’t want to be accused of anti-Americanism here so I’ve deferred to Wikipedia on the issue.

Although the name “World series” might imply an international competition, no international federation has ever sanctioned the series as a world championship event. Nevertheless, as only a handful of countries have national baseball leagues and, historically, the best baseball players generally play for MLB teams, the winners of the World Series are sometimes informally referred to as “world champions” by fans, players, executives, and the media within the United States and Canada.

This gets me neatly onto my favourite subject, sport!  The World Cup is getting close and the omens are good for England.  We’ve just cleaned up at the World 20/20 cricket and have an outsider’s chance in the footie.  What’s interesting here is that the most rabid anti-immigration people ever will be cheering on an England team featuring a significant number of second generation immigrants and what’s even better is they are black.  My bet is the team that wins the World Cup will have to beat one minimum but possibly two teams on penalties.  In this respect Capello should have taken Graham Alexander who plays for Burnley and hasn’t missed a penalty ever.

I don’t want to get accused of being anti-American so here goes with my top five Americans of all time.

  • Martin Luther King
  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Tommie Smith
  • Mohammad Ali

And to show that Americans can do some things incredibly well, here is a pic to put a smile on your face.

dog on surf board

A dog competes during the 5th annual Loews Coronado bay resort surf dog competition in Imperial Beach, south of San Diego, California



Filed under Observations

3 responses to “Give back the Elgin Marbles!

  1. Lee Faulkner

    Being a Canadian and ‘not’ prone to supporting Americans in any way, I cannot help but feel that for some reason or other Canadians too have been lumped into the very descriptive blog by John Patterson, of which I have to make a stand.

    I am sure if you did a search on how many Canadians carry passports the results would be very similar. And as I said, not that I support Americans but on this point I must ask..why do Americans or indeed Canadians need to travel abroad anyway? In North America alone you can have every type of ‘vacation’ (notice the americanism) you would want, ie. from skiing to beaches to amazing scenery and, dare I say it, great shopping!

    OK, I will give you the obvious. Experiencing other cultures by travelling abroad should be reason enough for them to want a passport, but quite honestly, do they really need to experience the dour Scots, grumpy Germans, clueless Aussies, shall I go on? Oops, sorry for the ‘other culture’ bashings!!

    I will agree however on 2 points that Mr. Patterson mentioned. Yes, Americans are insular and yes they can be ridiculous at times. But I must question his reasoning on the paranoid and self-pitying. As a Canadian and being part of the great North ‘American’ culture there are a few things I would like to make clear.

    We are rarely paranoid about anything. That should be obvious in the way we couldn’t care less what we wear or say to anyone. And as for self-pity, well I have never heard of any Canadian wondering why we don’t have the opportunities other cultures do. We are proud of where we come from, we are proud of what we have to offer the world, we are proud of who we are. And no sarcastic Englishman will change any of that.

  2. Keith

    Thanks Lee – well done for spelling travelling correctly
    The article by John Patterson was a shocker – looks like a Scottish name to me! Don’t worry though – USA is in the same group as England at the World Cup so the Scots will all be waving their American flags come the big day
    Do Canadians support anyone else but the US?
    On the subject of travel I’m looking forward to visiting Winnipeg – the city of opportunity!

  3. Hehem…where are the women in your list of top Americans?

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