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November 10, 2011

At Cross-Culture: "U.S. Optimism Remains—You Just Might Not Recognize It."

See this guest post by American prof Tim Flood at Richard Lewis's Cross-Culture. Not sure I buy that "US optimism is inherently contentious" but do think he's right that we are noisy if happy well-meaning wariors when we talk to each other--and we always have been. Excerpt:

For people who don’t know the US and Americans well, I should clarify what makes American optimism:

US optimism is inherently contentious. Americans routinely embrace the role of “devil’s advocate” in a discussion, representing the opposing viewpoint as a way to stimulate thoughtfulness, test the hypothesis, or show interest in the issue. We argue almost routinely, so much so that the actual act of arguing rarely carries the negative impact that observers might perceive.

And we carry this contentious optimism through most political discussions, election cycles and presidential selections. Energetic argument is the grease that lubricates the machine: often messy, sometimes overly slick or seemingly inconsequential. Regardless of political affiliation, we value our candidates for their abilities to stand up to the scrutiny, to defend themselves and their ideas as they pitch their versions of positive change and a better future.

R.D. Lewis

Posted by JD Hull at November 10, 2011 11:50 PM


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