Get out the measuring stick

“It would be interesting to do a word count for mentions of the word “hero” in American public life, as compared with Britain, France or Germany. A hundred years ago, conservative nationalist Germans used to characterise the “true” Germans as heroes and the Jews as wheeler-dealers: Helden against Handler. Today, we have a different stereotype: true Americans as Helden and limp-wristed Europeans as Handler. Yet in practice, of course, you had the same mix of true bravery and, as one journalist on the spot noted, “real raw panic” in the response to Rita and Katrina as you would in most societies.”

Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, September 29

An Australian suggestion: a word count for mention of the words “un-Australian” and “anti-American” and an examination of their disproportionate use.

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