Saturday, November 19, 2005


I am prejudiced. Prejudice is what prevents me from putting my hand in the fire again.
A very nice lady an ex school mistress from the days when they actually knew something, who lives nearby rang my wife and I answered the phone. She had been in hospital and so I asked how she was.
Seemingly taken aback by my interest she said, “Oh! Very good in parts”.
Trying to show off I said “ Like the Parson’s egg?”
To which she immediately replied “Certainly not”.
I realised at once it should have been the Curate’s Egg and took the rebuke to be pedantic.
Months later after she had died it came to me that she was being much more subtle.
The Curate’s egg quotation is all about humility and the very, very last thing you could say about our ‘Parson’ was that he was in any way humble.
I now cannot remember why I am following this particular route when the object in mind is to slander the Americans.
Perhaps I was thinking that my school master prejudice prevented me from seeing a first class joke and a bit of self depreciation might make what follows more acceptable.
Anyway some Americans I like, some Americans I even admire but generally speaking when presented with an unknown American he has to overcome my natural prejudice against his whole kind.
I have played maybe 2000 to 3000 games of chess on the internet against people from all over the world.
Here is a ‘conversation’ that has occurred on at least 3 occasions.
Yank: Where U from?
Me: Wales
Yank: Which State is that in?
More frequently than that and I would say in between 3% and 5% of all games the following typical ‘conversation’ follows a game.
Me: Nice to meet you too.
Me: I am pleased to see that you have such a fine grasp of the English language.
Etc, etc.
One particular ploy against this kind of thing which I find surprisingly effective is to allow two or three bits of foul language and then for me to say “I take it you are American?”. This seems to startle them and I get the impression that it is as if I have held up a mirror and all of their obscenities are being channelled back onto their precious flag. Maybe they’ve just come to the end of their vocabulary though.
I will say that my own race, the English are the next most aggressively foul mouthed on the net. How appropriate that they should be united in the Iraq aggression.


Kara Alison said...

Prejudices are a way for the human mind to make sense of what would otherwise be far too many individual inputs to process. What is important is to be aware of what one's prejudices are so that they will not tarnish actual interactions.

I can't say I'm thrilled with the current worldwide sentiments towards Americans, however I can understand why we're not terribly popular right now. I'm willing to take a little heat to represent the fact that not all of us are so bad (at least I hope I'm achieving that). I do feel the need to include one disclaimer though: I did NOT vote for Bush in either election. The man scares me.

MacDuff said...

You are making me feel guilty Kara.

What is important is to be aware of what one's prejudices are so that they will not tarnish actual interactions.
Very nicely put - you should be a diplomat.

Kara Alison said...

I apologize then. You shouldn't feel guilty. My point is that you feel what you feel regardless of your desire to feel it. The only real choice you have is how you behave in response to your feelings.

That aside, thank you. Your post was fun and thought provoking. My favorite things.