A Conversation With An Imgur Stranger

This post is about a conversation I had on imgur which I thought would be an interesting discussion about the Pakistani-Indian conflict and the long-term radicalisation of a created nation. The thing that started the conversation was someone posting an unpleasant photograph of a young man injured by a failed bombing attempt in Pakistan. I’ve included the photograph, with the original captions, to preserve the conversation, but it wasn’t a particularly nice picture, and I recommend that sensitive people skip it.

I see this sort of thing daily. As Eddie Grant asked – Who is to blame in what country

Talenlee Is the answer Britain? I mean, in the ‘first cause’ kind of way?
MaxFrench (OP) Ahh….the one who thinks. You are on the right track. Colonial history is a bitch.
Talenlee You gotta love how I wound up downvoted so heavily. :p
MaxFrench (OP)Because in the world today, no one wants truth or fact. However, I applaud your individuality.
TalenleeWell, to be fair, they don’t know why I said what I said. And I do talk negatively about America, which some folk really dislike.
MaxFrench (OP) Well, I have 2 rules if one must talk negatively about America. 1. BE an American Citizen, 2. Serve in the US Military.
Talenlee Because socially limiting how people should express their opinions is very true to the principle of the First Amendment? :p
MaxFrench (OP)1st amendment is predicate on the Constitution. Free speech is predicate on Citizenship. Citizenship is based on duty & acts, not just birth
TalenleeHence principle. But hey, if only the US military are allowed to comment negatively on America, I might as well just step out now. Tata!
MaxFrench (OP)The catch 22. I take it you are not American?
TalenleeI’m not, no! And thus, I am not allowed to have my opinion.
MaxFrench (OP)Well. you can have an opinion. We all have opinions. The sharing of opinions, that is what’s tricky. Most folks do not care for free speech.
Freedom is a hard earned commodity and people abuse it. But you cannot enslave people either. The balance point is difficult to find.

This is the reason why I have such a hard time respecting the culture of the United States of America. In this one conversation, a man bemoans how terrible it is that other people criticise Americans and Muslims for the state of Pakistan, and talk negatively about the byproducts of British colonialism, before going on to say that in his mind, criticism of America is a privilege reserved for the US Military only. Can you imagine a state where that was true? That’s some Starship Troopers bullshit going on there!

He then goes on to inform me about freedom and balance and how I’m entitled to an opinion. This is how the culture looks. Incredibly free of self-analysis. Totally failing to appreciate the irony in its own ideals and the ways it expresses them.

5 comments

  1. Premmy

    I’m annoyed with myself that I had that knee-jerk “but they’re not /all/ like that” reaction but proud that I didn’t give in to it and was mature and am now posting it in a weird act of humble-bragging bullshittery because fuuuuuuck.

    • Talen Lee

      I know! I know heaps of totally rad Americans! But every single one of them can stand up and say ‘I’m not like the rest of my culture because-‘ and almost always it ends with something like ‘I’m thoughtful.’

      • gotyaoi

        My general reaction to most criticism these days is to sigh and go “Yeah. We kind of do suck.” I don’t agree with that guy (and by his standards I’m not entitled to an opinion anyway), but… I do personally bear some measure of responsibility for what my country does, and how the people in my country speak, because I am in it and I am one of them. Or something.

        • Talen Lee

          The thing for me isn’t that you such, it’s not that ‘we‘ suck, it’s that there’s this large, slightly clueless, world-influencing robot made out of badly constructed rules that does this stuff called ‘The US’ at this point.

          • gotyaoi

            But it’s also made out of and nominally run by people, who sort of like how it’s working just fine, and these are people who I have some link to. It’s weird, like I want to say that it has nothing to do with me since I don’t think the way they do, but that’s incorrect.

            #notallamericans, maybe?