Guardian readers 'advising' US voters?

Emily at It comes in pints has been spoiling the Guardian’s attempt to get it’s readers to tell US voters how to spend their votes in the presidential race.

BTW: The smart money is shifting (slowly) away from a Bush sure thing and getting closer to evens. Slate has only 2 electoral college votes in it. Now might be the time to switch that punt to Kerry? Andrew Sullivan is excited. Mickey Kaus is not so sure.

  • peteb

    Keeping to your opening gambit, Mick, I agree with Emily on this one. I think it’s a astoundingly stupid idea, article, promotion.

    It seems to have developed from a series of articles and letters in the Guardian about the impact of US foreign policy – this Jonathan Freedland article may have sparked it off.

    But what is most idiotic about the article by Oliver Burkeman is that he seems to believe that as long as he mentions, and gives contact details for, both candidates and their affiliated groups that the article can be said to be ‘fair and balanced’.

    As I said – idiotic.

  • slackjaw

    As my friend Chris from Chicago says:

    ‘Scandalous! isn’t it? imagine THEM
    messing with OUR elections for a change!?’

  • Emily

    It’s not so much their wanting to influence the election as much as their giving out home addresses of people in Ohio to any yob with a keyboard that bugs me. It’s true to an extent that whomever is president in the US has some world influence. Just think about how the numbers of people protesting in your European capitals will dwindle when it’s Kerry bombing Iraq and not Bush. I don’t even object to the idea of foreigners voting in our elections – as soon as they hand in their W-2 forms and agree to pay taxes.

  • peteb

    I think the idea of emailing ‘undecided’ voters in another country can only be counter-productive, Emily.

    I know how I would feel if I got an email from a US citizen suggesting how I should vote here.

  • James

    I cleaned about 130 pieces of spam from my mailbox when I got back incountry. A couple more screwballs isn’t going to make much difference.

    I do wonder if setting a bunch of Bush-hating brits loose in a culture they may destain but barely understand cannot help from rounding on them. Well, Merry Old England, welcome to Fear and Loathing.

    Mick: Zogby just gave Bush a one point lead from data gathered just before the last debate. The only thing holding firm is the percentage of undecideds at 7%. Unless Bush’s giggling fit last night influences anyone I would expect the 1% sawtooth to continue to alternate between the two choices. This is where Nader at 1% really hurts .

    Nineteen days to go and when will Bush take bin Laden off ice?

  • Cahal

    Nineteen days to go and when will Bush take bin Laden off ice?

    No. That would backfire badly at this point.

  • James

    “No. That would backfire badly at this point.”

    Since my first vote in a presidential election (absentee in 1968), I have used this as my guiding light.

    That’s the sugar coated version.

  • Davros
  • smcgiff

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. Comedy gold!

    What’s with the teeth hang-up?

    My favourite misconception was that the Americans won both world wars.

    My favourite muppet was the poster from Detroit.

    ‘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!’

    James, I despair for your countrymen! :o)

  • Emily

    I wouldn’t despair, McGiff. That page doesn’t read more or less ignorant than the letters page of any other newspaper in the world. I do love the all caps ones, though: “OH MY GOD WE LIKE FOUGHT WARS BECAUSE WE DIDN’T WANT TO SIP TEA LIKE PANSIES OVER IN YOUR COUNTRY AND HAVE UGLY TEETH AND STUFF.” Remember also that the editors had the opportunity to pick and choose which letters it printed, and given its general tone of dislike for the US, they might have only printed the worst of the lot. Too bad some of these folks didn’t take the Guardian’s advice to its own readers and remain polite.

    Bad dental hygiene is a pretty common stereotype about Europeans, the British in particular, in the US.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan


    Bad dental hygiene is a pretty common stereotype about Europeans, the British in particular, in the US

    I remember an episode of The Simpsons where Lisa was at the dentist to have a brace fitted. To convince her it was the right thing to do, the dentist showed her a book entitled “The Book of British Teeth” (or something like that), and said she would turn out like those in the book unless she had the brace fitted.

    But back to the topic – whoever in the Grauniad dreamt this thing up really needs to reconnect with reality!

  • Davros

    Here’s a question – does the US tendency to slip “like” into sentences come from another language in the way that the sentence structure using ‘after’
    as in “I’m after telling you” entered the English language from Irish ?

  • Emily

    I believe the “like” habit originated in Southern Calfornia (“I was all like, whatever, and he was so like ‘let’s just go get smoothies at the mall’ and I was like ‘totally!'”) and spread to the rest of the country.

  • Davros

    Is there anything similar in Spanish ? or is this a modern thing ?

  • James

    Like wow …

    This was a beatnik affectation, probably prototyped in North Beach during th 50’s while under the influence of a lot of wine and grass.

  • slackjaw

    ‘Is there anything similar in Spanish ? or is this a modern thing ?’

    Interestingly enough, Davros, there is. But I doubt that the Californian ‘like’ is a habit that has been borrowed from Spanish.

    Even so, the (European) Spanish equivalent of the Frank Zappa-style Valley Girl punctuates her sentences with ‘o sea’, which, like, roughly translates as like, like. :o)

  • maca

    Just saw that link Davros!
    Feck, as much as i like the Americans I have met i think it’s a very strange country with some very strange people. I don’t understand their mentality at all.

    “If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.” – Advice more Americans should heed.

    “Stay the hell out of our country and politics” likewise dude!