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Even I, a Bush-hatin' leftie and long-time Guardian reader, thought the recent Guardian "campaign" to encourage swing voters was extremely misguided and patronising. So I am not surprised at the response.

I am, alas, also not surprised by the moronic tone of many of the correspondents. While many of them made perfectly valid, reasonable points, many of them....didn't. Oh, British teeth jokes. So hilarious. Because you know, every American has access to top notch dental care. And when I had to get a wisdom tooth urgently extracted there, it didn't cost my weekly wage. Oh wait, it did! And then there are jokes about tea! Oh, the hilarity.

Which is why I loved this one:

MAY YOU HAVE TO HAVE A TOOTH CAPPED. I UNDERSTAND IT TAKES AT LEAST 18 MONTHS FOR YOUR GREAT MEDICAL SERVICES TO GET AROUND TO YOU. HAVE A GREAT DAY.
Harlan, Kentucky


Yeah, Ms/Mr Kentucky, unlike the good old U S of A, where I was charged $500 for a five minute consultation at a Boston hospital when I was working in the city for the summer. And that was back in 1997, I can only imagine what it would cost now. Luckily my insurance from home covered it, or I'd have had to sell a kidney or something. Access to health care is not something America can boast about.

I used to visit the UK every year. I love the history and culture of your country. But after I heard about your campaign to influence our elections, I've decided that neither myself, nor my family will ever visit again. I'm offended by your campaign and because of it, I'm remembering more of the negative aspects I've seen in the UK than the positive ones. Though I still love the castles!
Detroit


Good for you, castle lover! You sad sack. You know, if I was going to base my visits to countries on what their newspapers said about my own native land, I would never have set foot in the US, ever. However, as I am not a moron, I do not base my opinion of America as a whole on its newspapers, let alone on one newspaper, which is why I will continue to visit America, the country in which I have spent more time than any other outside my own.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
melusina99
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:34 am (UTC)
I've got no health insurance. I have to have dental work done, and I have to borrow the $ from my boyfriend's mother. I am simply thrilled to be reduced to this. And isn't ironic that so many people in my country think they can dictate foreign policy to other nations *cough*France*cough* and yet they use phrases like, "Hey Limey Assholes." Yeah.

Nice to know we are the main source of entertainment for the rest of the civilized world. I am going to go hide in my bedroom closet now.
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:37 am (UTC)
You know we don't blame you for these fools, right? :)

You know, I really do love America - I still even have a residency visa, which doesn't run out until the end of this month. But I have definitely lived in a north-east-coast-liberal bubble every time I've been there, because I just don't recognise my America in these people.
melusina99
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:39 am (UTC)
I ran away from the South to live happily in my north-east-coast-liberal bubble. This is like hearing my horrible relatives get up on TV and embarrass me in public. *hides face*
melusina99
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:38 am (UTC)
And really, people from some of those states in the Redneck Belt have NO business making teeth jokes AT ALL.
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:39 am (UTC)
Heh, I was actually thinking that, but didn't think it was fair of me, as a furriner, to make that particular joke!
biascut
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC)
The irony being that the overwhelming majority of dentistry is private practice now - it's very, very difficult to find an NHS dentist if you're not under eighteen, pregnant, unemployed, over 65 etc.

Still, I do think the Guardian asked for this one. I think it's a bloody stupid idea, and I really do think that if it has any influence at all, it'll harm the Kerry campaign, not help it.
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, it really was a very stupid idea. I don't know what the hell they were thinking. Did you read the letters from famous writers which were printed in the original article? I quite like Antonia Fraser and everything, but her one was just embarrassing...
alltheleaves
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)
Actually when I had toothache in the summer and wanted a new NHS dentist I phoned up one 10 minutes walk from my house and got an appointment within 4 days. And this was in Kensington.
alltheleaves
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:06 am (UTC)
My mother very excitedly told me about this campaign and how I needed to get involved but I really couldn't see it working. The incredible arrogance that the American government shows when it makes its foreign policies does reflect what many Americans think, that no one else has the right to tell them what to do. And when it comes down to it, it's also what British, Irish, other Europeans, and well, most countries, think too. It was definitely a goodwill gesture, with hearts in the right places, but so off the mark I don't know what they were thinking.

My favourite letter was the one that said "Please be advised, I have forwarded this to the FBI and CIA". Because American Intelligence doesn't read newspapers. I also liked the one that said "As a US citizen, I want to advise you that you and anyone that participates in subverting the US presidential election can be criminally charged and perhaps even charged as spies". If canvassing for votes is subversion can we put Murdoch in prison now?
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:13 am (UTC)
If canvassing for votes is subversion can we put Murdoch in prison now?

Hee, I hope so.

And yes, that response was particularly idiotic. Um, yeah, encouraging people to vote in another country's election makes you a spy. Except, how, exactly? What a fool.
zoje_george
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC)
Well shit. Does the Guardian have no one from the states on staff? Or even someone they could have called? 'Cause just about anyone could have told them this would be the reaction they'd get.

I'm not saying it's right, just predictable and damaging.
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:09 am (UTC)
I know, I totally agree. And they shouldn't even have needed an American to tell them what the response would be - I could have told them well in advance! I mean, really.
cangetmad
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:10 am (UTC)
I don't think you'd have to be American to realise that was stupid. The Guardian is just so tremendously up its own arse that they don't acknowledge intelligent life in the UK beyond the M25 (or, often, beyond some pretty rich parts of London), let along other countries, so there's not much chance of their getting that one right.

I mean, I do love the Guardian in many ways, but it is very, very smug.
alltheleaves
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
I mean, I do love the Guardian in many ways, but it is very, very smug.

Hee, and yes it's true. The Guardian has the moral high ground on so many occasions that it does get very smug, and this time they really overstepped themselves. I'm just looking forward to reading Private Eye, they will have a field day.
cangetmad
Oct. 18th, 2004 08:13 am (UTC)
I finally gave up the Guardian after the news of the UK average wage being 20 grand came out, and they ran a piece entitled "Could you live on £20,000?". To which my reaction (at the time) was "I dunno, give me an 8 grand pay rise and I'll try." But of course, poor people aren't clever enough to read the Guardian, are they?
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2004 09:18 am (UTC)
God, I remember that article. It was quite staggeringly offensive. And I couldn't believe that someone, somewhere in the paper hadn't actually said "actually, you know what, if the average wage is 20 grand that means lots of people earn much less than that, so maybe....." But, no.
angiv
Oct. 18th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
The average wage is 20 grand?

The fuck?

Until I got my payrise, I was on exactly half that. Jesus.
anglaisepaon
Oct. 18th, 2004 09:13 am (UTC)
The really sad thing is that the people who wrote in from England and the people who responded from the US are exactly the same - they have only a slight understanding of what they're talking about and no comprehension of where, politically, the letter writer is coming from.
zoje_george
Oct. 18th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC)
Hmmmm... maybe it'll go down better coming from Russia?
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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