This display of insularity on the part of Yankee noders can actually be quite amusing. For example, I've seen Umberto Eco described as the greatest American philosopher of the 20th century, 1984 hailed as a classic of American Literature, and (less egregiously) The Propellerheads described as a great American techno group.

However, it has to be said that American Everything noders seem to be on average a lot less clueless about the rest of the world than you might expect.

The most interesting issue of all of this is the one of perspective. Beyond simply thinking like Americans, or Europeans, who, in the majority that I've met, have similar psyche issues*, is the issue of how can we talk about information and pass it to each other? We need shared perspective to do that and what this type of discussion is, IMHO, one of the distance between two perspectives, and how much difference people can handle.

*While Americans have a general tendency to think not of anything outside America, the Europeans I've known seem to be posses an almost overweening tendency to talk about why Europe is best. That said, however, in both cases, the people I like in either geographical landmass possess neither characteristic.

See those user names in this node? They all come from different places, different views. Everything2 takes all of those thoughts and allow anyone to barge into this node page and discover for herself that for every single thought in her mind, there's multiple truth right outside of her noggins. More than one belief in what the truth is. More than one perspective and understanding of what reality looks like.

I fully expect more people to come in and contribute even more diverse ideas that will knock me off my socks. Ideas that we never expect to apply to the node topic. Ideas we miss. Ideas that enriches and *gasp* changes us for the better too. Like a devotee who embrace the lovely world around her, we are alive and respect the learning process.

That's what Everything2 is here for, if you see American culture in little chocolate nuggets left and right, that doesn't mean Bill Clinton made Everything2 America, it's just a bunch of people noding. When you node, a little piece of England or China or Israel becomes Everything2's wacky culture too.

I think it's true that most good Everthing2nians write only what they know, and a few drops more. And if Everything2nians are from North America, there's not much we can do to make Everything2 nodes be about anywhere else. If the references to American culture are minor, I hope there's no serious impedance mismatch to hurt your comprehension. Most English speakers will be able to relate capably.

However, if one simply dislike America, the mere sight of roman type will offend, French or American, and no one can help a person with a different shade of beliefs. I've met people who feels this way about America. And both of us are online and enjoys the Internet immensely. She simply surfs non-American websites. We both feel a part of this global living stream of cheerful exchange.

You don't have to feel strongly about something to feel significant amount of discomfort either. One doesn't even have to dislike all of America, just a few things will shape the radius and sensitivity of his or her comfort zone. We can't hold it against anyone for who they are and what they believe in, people are people--not computers. But one could see that no amount of change to the Everything2 site can be a difference to Every Single issues and preferences all at once. Of course, look around the site, it appears the Everything2 inventors are trying! :-)

I bet Everything2 will welcome a planned approach towards non-English submissions Undoubtly this change will requires modification to the labeling templates of the web scripts. The scripts constitute the hand-crafted cyber-directives and intelligence of the Everything2 realm. This initiative to integrate more noders from diverse cultures into the programming and nodes collective is call Internationalization. Once localization work begins, the speakers of the most widely used languages will have an opportunity to submit nodes that matters in their world.

The Everything2 inventors may recruite translators, programmers, demo providers and people with experience regarding such culture-related enhancement. We could use this node and later--subnodes to discuss the issues. If you put your thoughts here, not only will it be a reference to the original Everything2 crew, it will be a great source of information for those working on independent Everything2-based sites. Everyone gets to learn!

Please volunteer if you find yourself free one weekend and you can speak, write, and even translate both English and a second language reasonably well. You can also spend your time doing someone who can help a favor in exchange for his or her service. Rough translations are as valuable as good translations, users are quick to point out improvements, so things just need to get rolling.

In my humble goofy anti-Everything2-guideline and wrong opinion, future technologies that will help get rid of US-Centricness on Everything (and bigger problems) include inventions like:


This concern of the US-Centricness on Everything is, to me, rather like the weather announcer I once saw on a Chicago super-station:

He was giving a weather report--for the entire U.S.A.--but speaking about it as if it were just his own neighbourhood: New Orleans down the street; Los Angeles downtown; New York around the corner.

Technology always eliminates time and space--think of steam engines moving trains, jets moving us now, the telegraph, then telephone, radio, and now internet. But, our technology is not separate from us, or our hopes, wishes, beliefs, prejudices, aspirations, and fears. Technology is not the remedy for problems caused by technology.

Americans have always tended to be chauvinistic, and unable to accept, or even to tolerate, sometimes, the way other people think and act. (See, for example, Why do Americans persist in misusing the word liberal?, or the debates on gun control)

Americans, in general, are unable to see their own culture as a national culture; they see it as a universal culture. Everything is a clear demonstration of this.

Americans, knowingly, or unknowingly (I think I hope the former), are compelled to turn the world into a melting pot, when, in reality, it is a vertical mosaic.

Regarding blowdart's comment on copyright laws: In Canada the protection is at least 20 years less--see How Long Copyright Protection Endures.

Some people don't see beyond their country's borders. I've noticed the British do it, because we're an island nation, and we hate the French, Americans do it because they're so big and Canadians don't do it, because they dislike being thought of as an American state.

I see nodes on driving that assume you drive on the right hand side of the road, nodes on law that assume American law is all that counts, nodes on copyright that are not applicable outside the US and Canada, and yet the author does not make clear where the information will apply.

Even numbers can be different, a US billion is different to a UK billion.

E2 should be global, the information you provide may be more useful if you inform us where it applies. Otherwise people may get the age of consent mixed up, and who knows where that will lead ...

It's not a matter of being centric to your own country, it's a matter of making your bias clear.

The US-centricness on Everything is a product of the nigh-overwhelming generosity of its American contributors toward their less fortunate brothers and sisters abroad.

Its purpose is twofold: for those of you who wish to emigrate to our great country* from whatever godforsaken hellhole in which you currently dwell**, we are thoughtfully preparing you for life here by introducing you to the rich variety of our culture and folkways, as well as giving you some handy geographical tips.

For those of you who are unable to scrape together the rubles to escape your miserable homelands, we give you the gift of a glimpse into our happy, full lives here in the Land of the Free, that you may cherish it as a light in your darkest moments as you cringe beneath the whips of your cruel commissars or are forced to sit through yet another impenetrable foreign movie.

*And who would not?
**Canada, for example. Or China.

Okay, let's lay this to rest here:

Things are different in each country, yes? People living in a country node what they see, yes? One of the purposes of e2 is to function as a repository of all knowledge (or something), yes? A node consists of one or more writeups, yes? Okay, so here's what you do:

If someone nodes something which mentions an item, custom or whatever particular to their own country, add your own writeup with the extra information, like so: "In England/America/Wherever, a taxi/ferret/dildo is called a cupboard/pictogram/felcher, and is usually black/beige/Nigel in colour." That way, when people look something up, they will have all the facts at hand, and you will keep your individuality and all that shit. For fuck's sake don't turn the world into one big country, where everything is the same.

Don't add things like "How DARE you not know what colour a furbengabber is in Katmandu, you Americans/British/Serbo-Croats are so fucking insular and narrow-minded", because it just starts ugly, smelly fights with cheap aftershave. They're not doing it just to insult you, they're not ignorant, they just haven't memorised every single fact and statistic on the entire planet. While we're at it, let's drop the colour/color favor/favour thing too - so we all spell things differently, big deal. Hey, in most countries they have a totally different language - should we insult the French for spelling it "bonjour" when it's quite obviously spelt "hello"? No. (We should insult them for setting fire to sheep and blocking ports with lorries, instead.)

On a final note, to all you lovely Americans - without whom there would have been no Stanley Kubrick, no Pi (the film, not the number), no Hunter S. Thompson, Marilyn Monroe, J. D. Salinger, or any other amount of coolness that has had some influence on my life - relax. A few Europeans poking fun at you won't bring your country crashing down around you. Poke fun back. I like America, Americans and a lot of the things you've given us. That doesn't mean I can't take the piss out of Michael Bolton, or cheesy tourists in loud check pants, or kids who ask me "do you have pizzas in Ireland?" and "what colour are the trees over there?" - because I understand that not all Americans are Michael Bolton, or cheesy tourists. Don't go apeshit every time someone has the gall to not love every aspect of your country (this goes for everyone, not just US-folk), it just makes you look like a bunch of humourless fucks. You really won't stand for anything other than blind allegiance from everyone else sometimes, and it doesn't do you any favours at all. Chill out, okay? We like you really, you're our mates - and mates always mess about and jokingly insult each other without taking offence, don't they?

That's why you can add your own piece under a writeup - so that all the information is noded, and available. Multiple writeups, folks! Officially a Good Thing. Thankyou and goodnight.

Oh, another aside to Americans - you didn't win the war for us, though - sorry...

donfreenut: Good point, well made. But as for the vitriolic noding - if you want to see a writeup really getting killed and eaten, convince a non-US noder to post something even mildly making fun of Americans. Even if it's correct, well-written, and a work of genius, it will still die on its arse...

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