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Beef and Beer are the Best Bloody Things... B-ever.

This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

I'm not an American, though I have been there. I definitely don't want to come across as an American touting my own country and being (ignorantly) dismissed or insulted for that, so let's keep that fact clear: I'm not actually a Yank, and I'm not a pro-American douche that has never been there either.

But making this issue more annoying to me is that my own country has a similar problem. In fact, it might be even worse here.

Basically, there's an assumption that bothers me. One that's heavily based in ignorance. We've all heard it, whether we're from America or not, some of you will have said it yourself. Americans are classless, have no taste or culture and nothing they make is any good - their food is inferior and crappy, their beer is watery and useless and their wine is utter shit! Isn't that right, folks?

Except all of that is bullshit, and it's hilarious to see how many Americans believe this stuff themselves. In fact, I've often wondered if much of the anti-American sentiment in the world comes from people in other countries clutching desperately at America's self-criticism and running with it.

No nation I've ever visited or met anybody from is anywhere near as self-critical as the United States of America. The only one that comes close is, you guessed it, Australia. Australians are determined to ignore just how astounding out nation is and how lucky we are.

In fact, Australians often confuse themselves for Americans. No joke, by the way, they absolutely do. But only when it comes to the bad things. Nothing is more annoying that facing off with argumentative university dickheads besmirching their own country and yelling about how we do this, or that, or have this policy or that one, when they're actually talking about what American does. We're possibly America's closest ally but we do things very differently from them, yet the typical left-wing university student here seems to entirely borrow their politics and aesthetics from American ones. It's bizarre.

Why are you whining about our involvement in Afghanistan, dude? We're there to rebuild infrastructure and maintain regional security, we're not responsible for bombing civilians; we didn't even let our planes fly over the cities in case they got shot down and landed on civilians.
Why aren't you talking about something relevant, like the proposed carbon tax, our ridiculous import restrictions or potential abuses of the lack of separation of powers due to our executive and legislature being one and the same, because we still idiotically pander to a defunct and risible institution we call "Royalty?" Oh, I see, you can't get as righteously angry then. Gee, sorry to tell you we don't kill Arab children, I thought you'd like to hear that.

Internationally, of course, we have the same problems. Case in point, you guys think our best beer is Fosters. You cannot be serious.
That's like us thinking your best beer is Budweiser - wait, no, you guys actually drink and advertise Budweiser.
But of course, Budweiser is your best beer, isn't it? That's the best you can do, right America? If you're not a beer-connoisseur, you probably think that. Whether you're American or not. You'd be very wrong, as America has some of the greatest brews on the planet. As does Australia, for that matter. Full-bodied, flavorsome and in many cases, very creative.

But Budweiser is what the typical Yank, drinks, right? No culture, no taste in good beer!
OK, so you all drink Budweiser, Coors and shit like that mostly. So what? Cheap, watery beer is popular everywhere, there's always a market for it, and those beers aren't as bad as you might think. They are exported down here and I don't mind myself a Budweiser - it's nothing compared to the American microbrews I drink but so what?

Even in legendary beer capitals of the world, such as the Czech Republic and Germany, there is a place for piss-poor beer and it's usually not that bad. Except ours, Victoria Bitter can go to hell - I'd rather have a Budweiser. The problem is, only the best and yet most likely to succeed in the export market products are ever exported. This is true with everything. So you won't see the cheap shit the Germans drink, only the stuff that is good but also likely to succeed commercially in America.

So when you compare a Heineken to a Coors and conclude the Dutch make better beer than America, you're literally taking a Dutch beer that was selected as the best representative of the Netherlands that would also most likely to appeal to the American palate, so it would succeed commercially by appealing to the masses, and comparing it to a cheap domestic beer that I have never seen exported.

Wine? Well, we should all know about the French pricks who reacted "with horror" when they selected American wines as superior to French wines in a blind test. Wine-tasting is bullshit to begin with, but that story sums it up pretty well. I've also heard critics state Australian wine is superior now, and I can believe that. We also don't overprice things based on "prestige" or "reputation" (brand-name; $200 for a bottle of wine? You're drinking the Nike of piss, mate).

There is a big problem with Americans co-opting, or stealing, names indicative of quality, origin or creation process, and a writer for Forbes believes that's a deliberate move by the American government to keep their people ignorant of just how good the rest of the world's shit is: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/04/14/ko...
For instance, if it's not made in Champagne, France, influenced by that area's clime and terrain, then it's not champagne, and it's illegal to call it that anywhere except America.

But as that same writer points out, why do we care about Kobe beef in the first place? Americans, you produce your own, better beef. In fact, your imitation Kobe beef is a self-insult like the Fosters or Becks of your beers; it's actually made worse than the original, the flavor rendered down, in order to have mass-market appeal. It's not the best beer of Germany/Australia, or steak from Japan, it's just a pretty good product, nothing special, designed to have the most market appeal while still holding the mystique and allure of being an "import."

Again, make no mistake, I'm not talking up, or down, any nation on the planet. That's my point, we all have strengths and weaknesses and make good stuff. The cheap, popular stuff, like Mc Donalds and Budweiser, is always simple and cheap, not the best representative of what a country can produce.
In Germany, the most popular beer is Oettinger, which oddly enough is exported and I can tell you its main selling point is its price.

As for food in America in general, the only problem with it is you have too damn much of it around. Again, McDonalds is not a good example of American cuisine. Yes, I just used that term without irony, shut it.
In fact, American McDonalds is garbage - it's much nicer in other countries. No, to rank American food, you have to spend a lot more and go to the right places, same with everything.
Comparing the cheap nasty crap appealing to the ignorant masses to another country's five-star cuisine is just idiotic and of course it's going to make your culture/country look bad - many westerners, not just Americans, don't even know what counts as good western cuisine. We never have it, it's everyone else that eats it.

I had a wattle-and-lime glazed kangaroo rump two weeks ago. How many Australians know there's Australian cuisine? Put your hands up, go on. Yeah, that's what I thought.

To wrap this journal up, there's one last thing to say: Americans have culture. They are very cultured. Their culture is so dominant, they have a nasty habit of being overwhelmed by it and some of them don't know anything about other cultures. That's okay, at best most of us only know a minimal amount of trivial nonsense about other cultures anyway!

It's ignorant in the extreme to say America doesn't have a culture or history. Hardly, they're fucking obsessed by their history. C'mon, Australians, who was our first Prime Minister? No Google or Wiki, come on. I can tell you the first American President, thank you Animaniacs. Where's our equivalent of Animaniacs teaching us, huh? Hell, name FIVE Australian Prime Ministers.

Of course I'm only asking Australians to answer that. Americans won't know because there is no need for them to know anything about our history. It's not interesting and all they really need to know is that we were a British colony like them.

They have a rich, exciting history packed into a short time-frame that founded a multifaceted culture that is so dominant it has pervaded the entire world like dye through wool. Half the things we wear, say and do either are American, were popularized by Americans, or were improved on by Americans. Some of it is great, some of it is preeeetty shitty, but we all have those crappy aspects too. If you're going to say that Britney Spears and toddler beauty pageants are good examples of American culture, then I'm going to say football hooliganism and The Spice Girls is British culture at its finest. Of course it isn't.

Speaking as someone with British heritage, comparing the two, no reasonable, rational person can observe America and its history and declare it has neither history nor culture. It doesn't matter how "old" their culture is, it still exists and it's quite rich; that's a completely arbitrary definition of "culture."

I'm no pro-American asshat. I like the country and some of the people, but it's not perfect. It has flaws, and in a way they're a very unique nation -  sometimes in very negative ways. But nothing annoys me more than people hypocritically and confusingly attacking Americans for things when they tend to be just as bad as them. America-bashing is just as annoying as unbridled, ignorant nationalism. They're nothing more than two sides of the ignorance coin.

The ultimate thing to take away from this journal is this: we don't drink Fosters and Americans make good beer. Sometimes. Just like everybody else.

This is the best I've ever seen the point made: http://imgur.com/gallery/zIKsN
Despite the ignorant comments, of course. Great point, the EU is a conglomeration of multiple nations. Thanks for helping the pro-American side. You really think the artist didn't know that?
Viewed: 23 times
Added: 6 years, 8 months ago
6 years, 8 months ago
As an American, let me just say this: America makes some fucking awesome beer.  If you avoid the big names and go for microbrews, there's lots of fantastic stuff out there.

Also, I prefer Australian wines to US ones, Swedish vodkas kick ass, Bourbons are awesome, but I'll always take a good Islay single malt if I've got the choice.

Oh, and I have no idea who the Australian Prime Minister is.  XP
6 years, 8 months ago
Everclear, best damn American thing ever *swigs it*
6 years, 8 months ago
To go off on a tangent, I told you before that I tend not to prefer beers, and that as a rule I don't like them, but I did find one I liked last night while I was out with friends (Tucher). 2nd beer after the Qingdao beer that I found I liked.

Figures that the beer I like I probably won't be able to find anywhere else. >_>
6 years, 8 months ago
Gotta keep trying different ones. Beer is such a broad term that you never know what you'll like or hate until you give it a shot without predisposing yourself to hating it.

I always tell people: I went through the phase where I thought I hated beer too. I'm MORE than over that now.
6 years, 8 months ago
So many things...

Budweiser isn't nearly as terrible as it's made out to be; as far as middling American beer goes it's about as good as it gets. I wouldn't drink Coors for anything short of survival. And a lot of the microbrews (regional stuff) are really dreadful. There is good American beer, the same way there's shitty beer from other places. My personal favorite is Scottish, but that's just me. I'm not big on wine, but some of the American stuff is quite good.

I'm quite Liberal, but I support the fight in Afghanistan. It's the war we should've fought in the first place. Not Iraq; that was a clusterfuck before it even started. And it bothers me when folks act all against it, because they're reacting against the act and the tiresome decade-long involvement, not the reason for being there.

Cheap American food is bad. But so is a lot of cheap food. The difference is that we live almost solely off the cheap shit. Fresh produce isn't fresh in our markets. It's juiceless and flavorless, and has probably been there a week. And it costs way more than McDonalds or a comparable source of sustenance.  And I say that out of a straight up comparison; we eat way more processed junk here than most countries. Fresh bread is for special occasions, not breakfast. Fresh produce, like I said before, is hard to find and often less edible than frozen or canned versions. So while if you try you can get a lot of delicious things here, the average meal is pretty bland.

And I thought the Prime Minister was still Kevin Rudd. I'm wrong. Haven't heard much in the way of Aussie politics lately, but I'm way more into it than most Americans, who have issues with pointing to their state on a map. And that's not a joke; most of this country can't label a MAP of this country. And that's my next point--Americans know less about their own culture than a lot of others know about American culture. American Presidents? Most of us know a half dozen, tops. Most recent 2-3, then Washington and Lincoln. Vietnam is glossed over. Korea is ignored. Few people can name the leaders of the two sides of our Civil War. Most 8-9 year olds don't know what the capital of this country is, much less that there's a city in Australia other than Sydney. I think it's at least partially symptomatic of how far away America is from any other culture. I mean, Canada is basically identical, and we ignore Mexico like it's got syphilis. So the nearest first world country with any significant cultural difference is literately across the globe. So most Americans know nothing about any other cultures, because they don't have to. Unfortunately, that's pathetic.

I will qualify that the US and Australia are quite similar. I know many folks here who want to go there, for who knows what reasons, mostly because they see it as "like America, but backwards." We like muscle cars. You have the Holden Commodore. We like pickup trucks. You have the Ute. We like beer. You do too. We like to think of ourselves as rugged cowboy types. You had the Crocodile Hunter. We killed off most of the natives. You tried to do the same. We like guns. You don't really have those, but we don't know that.

And to say Americans lack culture is also silly. Hell, look solely at music: Rock n Roll is an American invention. Most of the cars in Australia are built by American companies. Most everyone has a computer with an American operating system. American movies are, well, most movies. There is negative culture, too, and a helluva lot of it. Reality television comes to mind. American Conservatism is the Christian version of Muslim Fundamentalism. Unfortunately, that's what we're exporting, and that makes me cringe, because for one it makes us look terrible, and for two it's not what I think America is. It's what a lot of people think, a lot of really fucking stupid people, but it's still wrong.

In short, Americans tend to be a really pathetic lot. But they're also the scapegoats for others' problems.
6 years, 8 months ago
To be honest, Budweiser is the only US beer I've ever tasted, and I poured it down the sink after my first sip. I can't wait for the chance to have a BETTER US beer, because I sure ain't given one seeing as Budweiser is just short of the only US beer exported to Sweden.

What sells best is best hear or seen, so naturally all these positive/negative things so prevalent in the US reaches out abroad like over-eager tendrils looking for something to plunge themselves into and hope for the best. (Both a positive and negative point.)

As for the food... No comment, really. D:> I'd have a hard time eating most things prevalent in the US.
6 years, 8 months ago
Well, there's little chance of having an American microbrew or whatever exported to Sweden - or anywhere. Their popular lagers aren't that impressive, though they're dangerously "drinkable." So lightly bodied and tasteless it can go down like water. You won't enjoy the taste but you'll get drunk quick enough... Ugh.

Obvious question though: did you chill the Budweiser before attempting to drink it? American lagers are completely unpalatable if they're not chilled. I think about 2-3 degrees centigrade is the benchmark. Budweiser isn't the worst, it's got some sweeter, almost citrus-like flavors to it that can get dulled if it's too cold, but I wouldn't recommend trying that first.

Though I have to ask why you think American food would be troublesome for you. >:3
That's the point I was making, it's not just McDonalds and Taco Bell and shit like that. They have excellent restaurants of all kinds and great diners as well as this cheap, plastic pseudo-food. Though their fast food isn't necessarily atrocious either; cheap nonsense like McDonalds is known throughout the world but have you ever heard of "Chipotle?" Or "Five Guys" or "Arbies?" Or "Fuddruckers?" Spend a few extra dollars and suddenly even American fast-food becomes damn decent. But have you even heard of these places? I hadn't until I dined at each of them.

This sounds a little cruel but I assure you that's not my intention: if you look at it, those extremely obese, unhealthy Americans that eat McDonalds for the 50 cent burgers and balloon themselves to 260lbs tend to be, mostly, very poor. The wealthier can afford to exercise, are better educated, live in better areas, and can buy good, healthy food. Counterintuitively, it's the poor in the USA that are overweight. So don't buy a 50c burger from McDonalds, buy a $5 ostrich burger from Fuddruckers or something equally delicious from one of the millions of random franchises that pop up here and there.

PS: I LOST weight when I stayed in the USA. >_>
6 years, 8 months ago
The Budweiser in question was near freezing point, yes. Still made my stomach churn. D:

I've heard of Chipotle and Arbies, but not Five Guys or Fuddruckers. I hear Wendy's is pretty good too.

I avoid McDonald's like the plague, despite my health freak government cracking down on the quality of fast food. 10 SEK for a cheeseburger - you get what you pay for. Dry white bread, tiny patties and barely any condiment on them. If you're lucky, there are TWO pickles rather than one. Still, it's healthier than it used to be. I prefer local burger joints myself - more expensive, but you most assuredly get what you pay for in most cases here. <3

My major point was mainly towards US grocery stores, as I'm a poor dox and yet quite a picky one, not US fast food. The idea I get from friends in the US is that cheap food = awful and more often than not, quite bad for your long-term health. I'm near the existential limit here, and wouldn't fare better in the US, which consequentially means I'd have to eat the crappy food. D:

On a side note, I tasted ostrich once. Delicious. An ostrich burger sounds amazing.
6 years, 8 months ago
I'll bring you some good American microbrews when I head out there next month.  :p
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