Biggest difference between Old / New World?

You’ve got citizens from the “Old World.”

You’ve got citizens from the “New World.”

Q) What, would you say, is the most noticeable difference between the two groups?

Terence in Marietta, GA

Be someone’s hero

New World people walk upright, work with tools, and go to the gym three days a week.

New World people usually think of themselves as the descendants of immigrants. There ancestors came from from the “old country” and they still consider themselves to have some cultural ties to there, regardless of whether they’re French-Canadian, African-American, Japanese-Peruvian, or Spanish-Argentinian. Old World people, on the other hand, generally are descended from ancestors who lived in the same place they are living since as far back as anyone remembers.

Building a bit on what Mike said, I think that New Worlders have a sense of possibility and openess that Old Worlders do not; it’s the trade off for the lack of clear cultural identities and historical tradition.

In my experience, the New World has a much less entrenched bond to the past. Even though the actuality is that the European Old World is rapidly becoming as “mixed” as the New, they’re just now catching up the normal state of affairs around here. I still remember a Belgian acquaintance sniffing that Americans are a mongrel race. And he said it w/ a straight face, serious as a heart attack. Total misunderstanding as the Americans broke up laughing, proudly capping each other comparing the various racial and national components of their backgrounds.

That said, I don’t think this expansion is happening nearly as quickly in Asia–which is about as Old as any Old World gets. The Middle East has always been a rich and remarkably tolerant mixture (a splendid history!). But China, Japan, etc. still remain very insular in outlook.

Apologies. Wordy response. And I fully expect and welcome rebuttals. Hey, I’ve been wrong before. Frequently.

New World women shave their pits (except Julia Roberts [See latest “People” magazine])

Old World: Many people speak languages native to their countries.

New World: Most people speak languages native to the old world.

New World monkeys have prehensile tails. Old World monkeys have the other kind of tails (for decoration? balance? a leash for cruel human children to restrain them with? probably balance). Apes have no tails. Satyrs have tails, but those are for decoration.

I hope I don’t get blasted for this, but Old World Europeans (with the fluctuating exception of the British) are more prone to handle a problem in an intellectual manner, through processes of negotiation and mediation, rather than in a physical manner. New World Americans, on the other hand, are quite eager to annihilate any problem that is depicted as evil in the newspaper headlines. In Europe the press is an instrument of information (usually) whereas in America it is a tool of sensationalist and guiding propaganda.

I noticed this difference between Europeans and Americans even on a personal level, and it seems to me an important distinction between one New World area and one Old World area. of course, this is not a distinction that holds across all New World/Old World areas.

An interesting point. American news media claim to be objective, and I think that is true up to a point, but their choices for matters to cover bely objectivity. They will spend much more time on news that offends and titillates us than on news that informs us. Sex scandals beat out urban development patterns every time.

I don’t know about European papers in general, but I know that British papers are commonly divided into the quality press and the popular press. The popular press is like National Enquirer in tone, but with coverage of actual events. The quality press tries to keep an elevated tone. American papers have the benefit of no such distinction. Indeed, many cities have only one paper, so they’ve got to somehow appeal to the lowest-common-denominator set who couldn’t pass high school English even after the standards were reduced to previous 8th-grade levels. Combining this with serious journalism is pretty hard.

I usually just ignore the local paper and try to glean facts from the web, and (long after the fact) from reference books. When the Guardian comes to my town, I’ll get a subscription. Yes I know, I could get a subscription to The Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, but the former is pretty right-wing and the latter is focussed too heavily (if understandably) on New York.