上個月去同學家看到他弟弟的一本書,書名叫做 "Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans",出版社 Oval Books 在倫敦,算是小出版商。 這本書從頭到尾讓我笑到肚子痛。 小小一本書(A5大小,每本約300公克),但是非常精闢,點到美國很多人的想法,潛意識和做法,還有整個社會體系的一些問題和現象。

*新* You can read them on Google Books for FREE!  Then you can decide if you want to buy a copy.

從同學家回來後查了一下,Oval Books 還有出其它的 Xenophobe's Guides (點照片閱讀片段),幾乎每本都很受歡迎,作者很多是記者或心理學教授,也都讓人笑到肚子痛。 所以我一口氣買了17本(還不是全部)。 跟一些在愛爾蘭的朋友做了分享,大家都笑到肚子痛。 以下是一些很有趣的比較和摘要:

目前我讀到認為自己是很好客而且勤勞的有:  每一國的人!  最好笑的是俄國人那本的作者,寫出了我覺得其它作者沒想到的,但是也會想寫的一句話:"The Russians love all humanity, with only one sad exception, their neighbors." (Page 5, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see others and each other")


 "Americans are proud to be Americans - it's the best country in the world - but each individual will explain that he, personally, is not like other Americans.  He or she is different." (Page 2, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see themselves")

 "The attitude of the English towards other nations is not so much xenophobia (fear of foreigners) as xenopili (pity for foreigners for having the misfortune to be, well, NOT English)." (Page 1, under Nationalism & Identity: "Forewarned")

"The French see themselves as the only truly civilized people in the world.  Long ago they discovered the absolutes, the certainties of life, and thus they feel they have a duty to lead and illumine the rest."  (Page 2, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see themselves")

 "The Chinese have no need for xenophobia because they have no cause for envy.  Not everyone has the good fortune to be born into the oldest unbroken civilization on earth."  (Page 1, under Nationalism & Identity)

"Contrary to popular belief, the Germans do not know everything, they just know everything better." (This is on how the Germans see themselves) (Page 7, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see themselves")

Youtube 上有個很好笑的電影片段 (),是法國人和美國人(沒出過國的美國人)起衝突的對話。影片中法國人質疑美國人說美國是最棒的國家,問美國人貢獻了世界甚麼。美國人反問,法國人回答法國人發明了民主制度 和存在主義! :D 部分腳本在本文最下方。


* "they will probably say that they are the kindest, most hospitable and friendliest nation the world has ever seen, that without Russia the world will go to pieces. 'My Russia is so special!' every Russian will tell you in a low voice trembling with emotion." (Page 2, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see themselves")

"Inside every German there is a touch of the wild-haired Beethoven striding through forests and weeping over a mountain sunset, grappling against impossible odds to express the inexpressible.  This is the Great German Soul, prominent display of which is essential whenever Art, Feeling and Truth are under discussion." (Page 6, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see themselves")

"The Poles are self-critical; they know themselves inside out, warts and all. ... They would rather not have their faults pointed out by others.  Under attack, they will defend every flaw, usually beginning with the phrase, 'But you couldn't possibly understand, the problem is so Polish.'"  (Page 2, under Nationalism & Identity: "How the Poles see themselves")

"To the sons and daughters of the Middle Kingdom, their country is an emtional issue, worthy of patriotic songs, red scarves, and rousing slogans.  Even if you scratch a Chinese who is critical of his People's Republic, you will expose a deep-seated pride in his ancestral land." (Page 1, under Nationalism & Identity)

"Apart from such things as whisky, tartan, bagpipe music and Dundee cake, they (the Scots) have given the world the bicycle, gas for lighting, the 1st effective steam engine, the pneumatic tyre, chloroform, the telephone, television, penicillin, the ultra-sound scanner, paraffin, the mackintosh, the milking machine, the water softener, Dolly the cloned sheep... and if you didn't know this, they'll be glad to enlighten you."  (Page 2, under Nationalism & Identity: "Forewarned")


The French "find the Spanish proud but noisy,"
"see the English as small-minded, uncultured, faintly ridiculous, badly dressed... Yet they remain curious about them,"
"are willing to acknowledge the German industrial supremacy but regard their culture as inferior to their own,"
"have contempt for the Belgians, who they see as universally dull and totally lacking in fineness,"
"have long admired the Americans - for their constitution (based on the French), for their code of law (based on the French), and for kicking out the English.  Yet they go to considerable lengths to stave off the corrupting influence of American culture"
(Pages 4-6, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see others" and "Special relationships")

The Americans:  "The fact that everyone who lives within 3,500 miles of an American is also an American give the average citizen a seriously provincial point of view. ... Canada doesn't count [as a foreign country], and Mexico isn't considered 'foreign.' ... The delusion that 'they're (foreigners) just like us expect for their language, food and clothing' comes from the reality that all Americans descend from immigrants... Thus people in other countries aren't really aliens, they're just potential Americans." (Pages 3-4, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see others")

The Russians thinks "[t]he British are so amusing with their centuries-old traditions and silly sense of humor which nobody but themselves can understand,"
"[t]he French are all lovers, not one of them being true to his wife,"
"[t]he Germans are seen as serious, studious, dull and hard-working. ... The last war with Germany is still looked upon with horror, but it was fought with other Germans, not today's lot (Germans),"
"[t]he most enigmatic people are the Japanese. ... The fact that they have a European standard of living ins baffling, and most annoying.  How can this be?  Something must be terribly wrong with the Japanese - a mistake of nature." (Pages 5-6, under Nationalism & Identity: "How they see others and each other")


The Russians:
"When you know hat you can expect little or nothing from your government, you feel free to act on your own." (Page 49, under Government: "Efficiency deficiency");
"what the Russians really yearn for is a strong leader. ... With the arrival of ex-KGB officer Putin, the Russians at long last got what they are most in need of - a Czar." (Page 81, under Government: "Party time")
"they are the unluckiest and unhappiest nation possible, that things were much better in Communist times, that they were even better under the Czars, and absolutely marvelous in the days of the Vikings." (Page 4, under Nationalism & identity: "How Russians see themselves");
"There is no need to waste your time trying to crawl out a hole... You only need to sit tight and wait for the wind to change and everything will gradually get back to normal.  You just can't escape from fate." (Page 2, under Nationalism & identity: "Forewarned: a nation of fatalists")

The Americans:
"They want the government to mind its own business, but they also want it to help them and do more for them. ... A lot of them would also like the government to ban things of which they disapprove, but since nobody can agree on what those things are, life just goes on as before." (Page 63, under Government and Bureaucracy: "The only good government is no government")

The Chinese:  目前我讀到唯一沒有寫"政府"這篇的書(連蘇格蘭那本都有寫),我想作者不是不想寫...

其實這會讓人不禁想到刻板印象是怎麼造成的呢? 這是個很有趣的問題。 尤其我遇到很多人跟我說:「我不是一般人印象中的美/德/英/俄/波蘭國人!」 但是你觀察一下還是能在他們身上看到很多他們國家/民族的特色。 其實每個國家/民族都有其整體行為和思維 (這是組織學,就像每間公司都會自然產生自己的文化和做事方式),所以對外人來說會產生一種幻覺,以為這一國家/民族的人"都這樣",所以其實在苛責刻板印象的時候,也不妨觀察一下自己對別的民族的刻板印象,了解一下比較下不同之處在哪裡。 對這方面有興趣的人可以搜尋一個社會學家 Hofstede 和他分析各文化的方法和結果。

copyright (c) 2011 E.V.L International Consultings Ltd.


Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

部分腳本,取自 IMDB (Internet Movie Database)

Jean Girard: My name is Jean Girard and I am a racing-car driver just like you except I am from Formula Un. I am the greatest one in the whole world. I have been following your career with great interest, Monsieur Bobby. 
Ricky Bobby: I can't understand a word you've said the whole time. 
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Did you eat some peanut butter or something? 
Ricky Bobby: Yeah, you sound like a dog with peanut butter on the roof of your mouth 
Jean Girard: I think what you are hearing is my accent. I am French. 
Ricky Bobby: You say you're French? 
Jean Girard: Oui. 
[sounds like 'We'
Ricky Bobby: We? No, we are not French. We're American, because you're in America, okay? Greatest country on the planet 
Jean Girard: Well, what have you given the world apart from George Bush, Cheerios, and the ThighMaster? 
Ricky Bobby: Chinese food? 
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Chinese food. 
Jean Girard: That's from China. 
Ricky Bobby: Pizza. 
Jean Girard: Italy. 
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Chimichanga. 
Jean Girard: Mexico. 
Ricky Bobby: Really, smarty-pants? What did French land give us? 
Jean Girard: We invented democracy, existentialism, and the Ménage à Trois. 


To Live! And to Write for Life!

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