Friday, February 11, 2011

The Way We See Ourselves

An article on national symbols (that I meant to post 6-7 months ago) that largely comes from Wikipedia. Of note is that the US's anthropomorphic symbol (Uncle Sam) is a stand in for its government rather than its people. 

Also featured are Britain's everyman, John Bull, whom Wiki tells us is "well-intentioned, frustrated, full of common sense, and entirely of native country stock ... a yeoman who prefers his small beer and domestic peace, possessed of neither patriarchal power nor heroic defiance."

The German Michel (Michael) similarly shows a national character: "his easy-going nature and Everyman appearance. He also represents the innocent and simple person who must endure and fight against tyranny and injustice."  

Portugal's Joe Public or John Doe is appreciated for "his kindness, his will to help others and, most of all, his utter contempt and disrespect for the powerful ones that try to dominate him."

Despite the popularity of male everymen, every one of the countries the article considers uses a female ideal to represent the country itself.

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