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Post Argentines and Brazilians
Created by John Eipper on 10/06/15 6:44 PM

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Argentines and Brazilians (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 10/06/15 6:44 pm)

Replying to my post of 5 October, John Eipper asked, "Regarding Brazil's Italian roots, why is it that Argentina, which is equally Italian or more so, is not as spirited and jolly as Brazil?" That is another interesting question that involves external perception of a group as a whole and the individuals in the group.

My experience is that Argentinian individuals can be as "spirited and jolly" as their Brazilians counterpart. The problem is that as group the Argentinians have gained a very negative reputation among other South American nations. For example, at a Venezuelan resort in Caracas, watching the final of a Copa del Mundo soccer game between Brazil and Italy, the former won and from the veranda we could see that the entire city exploded with car horns blaring, parades, and flag waving in celebration as if the Brazilians were their national team. Somewhat surprised I asked my friends if instead of Brazil it was the Argentinian team the reaction would be similar, since we are all South Americans. The answer was an emphatic no. Pressing for an explanation the retort was that Argentinians are a bunch of (something to do with unusual sexual preferences), and that they think they are Europeans rather than South Americans.

This different view of a group versus individuals in the group manifests itself in different ways. For example, my Jewish friends say that they feel and behave united as a group but they argue like cats and dogs among individuals in the group. On the other hand, they also say that some non-Jews love some Jewish individuals but hate the group as a whole. There seems to be some truth to that but personally I have great admiration for Jewish culture and their accomplishments which have greatly benefited mankind. But, as with any group, there are also many unpleasant Jewish people.

JE comments: Yes, there are unpleasant members in any group. Yet Brazilians are fortunate in that everyone seems to like them, both individually and as a nation.  Everyone, perhaps, except the Argentines.

OK, I won't generalize any more for today.  Please visit our homepage (waisworld.org) for this weekend's conference program.  I'll post more details on the morrow.

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  • More on National Character: Watching the English (John Heelan, -UK 10/15/15 5:38 AM)
    By coincidence, a Spanish friend recommended that I read Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by social anthropologist Kate Fox. It certainly has a lot of home truths that he claimed helped him understand Brits better.

    JE comments: That murky domain known as "national character" was one of the underlying themes of WAIS '15. Why, Marie Ridley asked, do the Norwegians so cheerfully embrace their diversity of dialects?  In turn, Tamara Zúñiga-Brown gave us an idea of what Saudi students think of the United States.  And what is it, in the views of Cameron Sawyer and Roman Zhovtulya, that makes Ukrainians Ukrainian and Russians Russian? Finally, we discussed the relative merits of Cuba and Turkey as a setting for the next WAIS gathering. I failed to mention at the time that there is a statue of Atatürk in Havana. I stumbled across it in 1998.  Have the Turks returned the favor, with a bust of Martí (or, egads, Fidel) in Ankara?  I'm doubtful.

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