Friday, March 16, 2007

Some Observations...


Last week I was in my political life in Europe class and my professor asked me if I had been to the Normandy beaches, he was telling us all to go. We were having some discussions about the differences between France and America (his hypothesis is that the French think about their decisions a lot longer than we do, that we're kind of more "let's do this and see what happens" maybe even implusive culture, than they are., (which consequently might explain why Bush got himself into this war... )I said I agreed, when I go out with French students, no one ever wants to make the decision about where to go! We spend hours freezing outside listening to everyone's ideas and never actually GOING anywhere!) Anyway what struck me more is that he was very poignant about saying to the students that the French must never forget the American troops and what they did for them on DDay and in the Second World War, and went on to say that we saved them in the Cold War too! I thought that was cool considering he's a very French guy, and considering that's the number one thing I hear from Americans who say they don't like French people 'we saved their buts in the second wold war and' ....they're not grateful, or they didn't support us in Iraq, or something. I have yet to meet a French person who thinks the stereotype is true that they don't like us. Most will admit they don't like our politics, but I haven't met anyone who says the French actually dislike us.

The next week in that same class, a girl asked me about stereotypes Americans have for French people. I told her a few and then she said, "Do you think we smell?" I laughed and said it's not that you smell, it's just that we're obsessed with being clean...you should see how high-tech our bathrooms are. (One of my least favorite things about Europe: most bathrooms only have a cold-water faucet, which makes washing your hands not fun).

She also said that she thinks the French are a bit more realist, which I would agree with. As the professor was saying, I think people here think a lot about decisions they are going to make. Right now they are thinking about putting a new metro line in, and they have a big display at the downtown metro stop with a table with a representative and a "ideas and comments" section. I don't feel like the CTA would come to the people in the city like that before instituting a plan. It's the same thing with the presidential candidates, they take a lot of time to talk to people and ask for suggestions. On the other hand, I feel (this is a huge generalization) they have less of the sense of idealism that we value. For the French, it's more like after you make a (very very well informed decision) you stick with it. I feel like they value critical thinking less than we do. Students are expected to take exams and tell them back exactly what the profs say in the first place.

So now I'm going to talk to my brother on Skype. By the way I am thinking about writing a paper on the subject "What is Truth?" For North Park.
These are my corresponding questions
"Does truth exist?"
"If so, does it exist absolutely?"
"If absolute truth exist, does anyone know it?"
"Knowing absolute truth exists is a pretty audacious claim, don't you think?"
"If one knows absolute truth, should they guard it to themselves, or do they have a responsibility to tell others?"


If you could answer any of those or just give your thoughts on the subject that would be great.

Going to Brest tomorrow and a football match on Sunday!
Love Amanda

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