Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Great White North

Well hello. As you may have read, we're back from the Vancouver International Film Festival. The two screenings we were in town for were both sold out and we got a standing ovation at the first one. The Q & A sessions were amazing, and coming from an audience that doesn't generally live in the States it was a little bit different, too.

The first thing is that some people didn't respond well to us saying we were Americans. "We're American's, too," one person said, "people from the US tend to forget that." So we had to get used to the idea that we we're from the States, not just "Americans." That was probably the oddest difference to get used to and it really turned my vocabulary about my country on it's ear.

I think the most interesting thing I discovered at the Q & A's though was that people were glad that Steve and I were from the States and that we weren't a stereotype that has been propogated by the utter arrogance of our government. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that George Bush is the face of the United States of America for the world, as much is Tony Blair is the face of the UK to us and Osama bin Laden is the face of Saudi Arabians. It's easy to forget that, so it's a little amazing to meet people amazed at the fact that you're not an arrogant American conservative. (One guy told me that in Canada they'd taken to calling us Us-ians. (We're from the US and all we think about is us...)) The point I'm trying to make though is that it was bizarre to realize that This Divided State could help serve as a document to other countries to help de-bunk the myth that we're all arrogant cowboys like the hawks in the Bush administration.

I was actually proud of that, that we were able to take that message to our friendly neighbors to the north. American's...err...people from the States...are just as complex as international politics should be. Nothing is black and white, but when the representative of your country tells the world, "Either you're with us, or you're against us," you can understand why they might think that.

So, we're doing our part to debunk stereotypes of US citizens abroad and it feels good.

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