July 21, 2002
Mathew Engel plays nice

Guardian columnist Matthew Engel (you'll recall his snide columns earlier this year, in which he sneered at rural and suburban America), apparently received some mail about his America-bashing. He responded with this column, in June. (Yes, I know it's almost the end of July, but I just found the column.)

In the giving-credit-where-credit-is-due spirit, I must admit that I was startled. He manages to get in swipes against our gun laws, capital punishment, low gas taxes, our food, our work ethic, and (of course) Bush and Ashcroft. However, he also has a number of points about why America is a good place, and even paints a few flattering direct comparisons between the US and Britain. I'll not quote his entire piece, but he makes four points that I would really like to share.

1. Race. It's been a 140-year journey and the US has not arrived yet. But Europe is way behind in its commitment to racial diversity and equality. A black cabinet minister in Britain? So what? Two of the five most important leaders here are black (Powell and Rice), and no one comments. Also, the tradition of immigration makes it far easier for any outsider to be accepted.
2. The legislators actually think and matter. Senators and congressmen are not lobby-fodder. Lobbyist- fodder, maybe, but they play a crucial role in the national debate.
3. Invincible green suburbs. My observation (on incomplete evidence) is that the average patch of American suburbia is less crime-ridden and certainly less fearful than its British equivalent.
50. The sense that things are getting less decrepit, not continually worse.

From the Guardian, no less.

posted on July 21, 2002 05:56 PM


Very scary, from him. Good, tho. I think one of the main reasons no one (i.e. liberal media) comments on the race of Powell and Rice is because they're in a Republican administration and it flies in the face of the anti-conservative liberal ideology. While that's amusing, it's also a good thing, because I think that's effectively pulled the issue out of discussion in the future too. Anytime someone in similar positions in the future cries "race" when criticized, we can rightly point to Powell and Rice and say, these two did their job, and rode the waves of criticism or praise, on their merits. Their race was not an issue. Why is it with you? Could it be a ruse to cover your incompetence?

posted by susanna on July 22, 2002 07:43 AM

Michael Engel must have had a few drinks and a "point for point" discussion of his comments with someone prior to writing that article.
We (U.S.) have two fingers to point for every one his regarding American policies and way of life.

It is a rare thing to see a journalist write an article that isnt completely one-sided, for fear of contadicting themself. In addition, it is far easier to swallow knowing that rebuttals to his usual approach are thrown in the recycling bin. He effectively cut his hate mail in half.

This is more than I could ever expect from the propaganda machine "The Guardian".

posted by J on August 27, 2002 12:13 PM

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