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When exactly did America lose its innocence?

GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
edited September 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
I keep hearing people saying it lost its innocence on 9/11, but didn't they say the same thing during Vietnam? And after the bombing of Pearl Harbor? And during the Philippine-America war? And during the Civil War? And during the expansion into Amerindian territories?

How many times is America going to lose its innocence?

And what does that even mean anyway?

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    It more lost its complacency. America was never innocent (hint: slavery). It's basically American Exceptionalism bullshit.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Americans (and, fairly, probably most human beings) adapt to trauma fairly quickly. They lose their innocence every generation. Americans encounter national trauma far less often than many other countries, so they have time to forget.

    Incenjucar on
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  • Dr Mario KartDr Mario Kart Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Americans encounter national trauma far less often than many other countries, so they have time to forget.

    I'm very curious about this statement for 2 reasons. One is the premise. Sure, we do experience trauma much less than many developing nations where conflict and toppling of governments are par for the course. But advanced, developed nations with high standards of living? I dont know to what degree that is true.

    Second. If we give you that we experience trauma less, we dont exactly forget. We still take off our shoes at the airport because of one dude. The semi-permanent over-reaction to trauma indicates that we do not forget. Maybe if we experienced trauma more often, we would get used to it and not go apeshit every time something crazy happened. Either that or we would go crazy from the stress.

    Dr Mario Kart on
  • Johnny ChopsockyJohnny Chopsocky Scootaloo! We have to cook! Grillin' HaysenburgersRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Glyph wrote:
    I keep hearing people saying it lost its innocence on 9/11,

    So do I, and it annoys me every time.

    The only thing America lost on 9/11 was its shit. Also the plot.

    EDIT: Although, to be fair, 9/11 is unique in one fashion. It is one of the few tragedies in world history that had millions of eyewitnesses. Every other disaster happened where only a select few ever saw it, but not 9/11. The world saw that one as it happened.

    Still doesn't justify all the shit that's gone down in the decade since.

    Johnny Chopsocky on
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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    America spent about 60 years thinking it wasn't ever going to be attacked and then... oh, whoops. We got attacked again.

    Not a bad record, sure... but it's so much a loss of innocence as it was a kick to the pants telling us to wake up and realize our actions affect the rest of the world and there may be consequences we don't like.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I'm very curious about this statement for 2 reasons. One is the premise. Sure, we do experience trauma much less than many developing nations where conflict and toppling of governments are par for the course. But advanced, developed nations with high standards of living? I dont know to what degree that is true.

    Second. If we give you that we experience trauma less, we dont exactly forget. We still take off our shoes at the airport because of one dude. The semi-permanent over-reaction to trauma indicates that we do not forget. Maybe if we experienced trauma more often, we would get used to it and not go apeshit every time something crazy happened. Either that or we would go crazy from the stress.

    I made no statement in relation to advanced, developed nations.

    The rituals we've adopted - especially the useless ones like most airport stuff -are part of how we adapt. These eventually just become part of our daily life, like locking our doors.

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  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Really, it's just a comforting myth, everyone tells themselves the old days were better, because when they were kids they didn't have to worry about things. And yeah, we still take off our shoes at the airport, but on the other hand we don't crawl under our desks to drill in case of nuclear war.

    Looking at things objectively, I'd sure as hell prefer to deal with Al Qaeda than Soviet Russia. I'll even take another 9/11 before I take another Cuban Missile Crisis. I'll definitely take the war on terror vs. Mutually Assured Destruction. Not to diminish the lives lost in 9/11 or any other terrorist attacks, but at least they're isolated events. Nuclear brinksmanship has the potential to simply wipe out humanity. Just because nobody ended up firing the nukes doesn't mean we weren't in danger.

    Besides that: If you're a minority, if you're a woman, if you're not hetero: Now's an awfully good time to be alive.
    I'm very curious about this statement for 2 reasons. One is the premise. Sure, we do experience trauma much less than many developing nations where conflict and toppling of governments are par for the course. But advanced, developed nations with high standards of living? I dont know to what degree that is true.

    Well, think about France. World War 1, they had something like 1.7 million dead and 4.3 million injured... In a country of 40 million people. That's basically an entire generation wiped out. If you figure 20 million men, it's 1 in 4 Frenchmen getting shot. WW2 had more than a half million more deaths, both military and civilians. Not to mention all the massive damage to infrastructure and hardly an economy to speak of. That's an awfully rough 40 years. And yeah Vietnam tore America apart, but that's nothing compared to what America did to Vietnam.

    Kana on
    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them an their "feedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Kana wrote:
    Really, it's just a comforting myth, everyone tells themselves the old days were better, because when they were kids they didn't have to worry about things. And yeah, we still take off our shoes at the airport, but on the other hand we don't crawl under our desks to drill in case of nuclear war.

    Looking at things objectively, I'd sure as hell prefer to deal with Al Qaeda than Soviet Russia. I'll even take another 9/11 before I take another Cuban Missile Crisis. I'll definitely take the war on terror vs. Mutually Assured Destruction. Not to diminish the lives lost in 9/11 or any other terrorist attacks, but at least they're isolated events. Nuclear brinksmanship has the potential to simply wipe out humanity. Just because nobody ended up firing the nukes doesn't mean we weren't in danger.

    Besides that: If you're a minority, if you're a woman, if you're not hetero: Now's an awfully good time to be alive.
    I'm very curious about this statement for 2 reasons. One is the premise. Sure, we do experience trauma much less than many developing nations where conflict and toppling of governments are par for the course. But advanced, developed nations with high standards of living? I dont know to what degree that is true.

    Well, think about France. World War 1, they had something like 1.7 million dead and 4.3 million injured... In a country of 40 million people. That's basically an entire generation wiped out. If you figure 20 million men, it's 1 in 4 Frenchmen getting shot. WW2 had more than a half million more deaths, both military and civilians. Not to mention all the massive damage to infrastructure and hardly an economy to speak of. That's an awfully rough 40 years. And yeah Vietnam tore America apart, but that's nothing compared to what America did to Vietnam.

    Well said. The "things were more innocent back in the day" tripe makes me angry for reasons I've already explained before. What is a more innocent time? The 60's when segregation still existed and a Protestants and Catholics each thought the other could not enter heaven? The forties when WW2 was going on? Lets go the whole nine yards. The pilgrims were much more innocent---oh, witch burnings, right.

    You have to do a lot of whitewashing of history to call the past "more innocent."

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  • AspectVoidAspectVoid Registered User regular
    First, America as a country lost its innocence in 1774 when our ancestors decided that it was worth fighting for our freedom. Second, the fall of the World Trade Center was a defining moment for a generation, and its something many people are never going to forget, just like the assassination of JFK and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Because of this, people are going to make it into more than it is.

  • QuintessaQuintessa Registered User
    I refuse to think of a country having "innocence" to lose, but I think the people who say this really mean that the current generation of people who have not experienced a horrible event like this lost their "innocence" about how this country is just as vulnerable as any other.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Bondage Discipline Spider-Man Registered User regular
    I would say Americans lost their innocence 1604 at the latest.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    America lost its innocence during Manifest Destiny :P

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  • dbrock270dbrock270 Registered User regular
    America never even had innocence. They just had ignorance or were unaware to the problems of the world

  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Americans (and, fairly, probably most human beings) adapt to trauma fairly quickly. They lose their innocence every generation. Americans encounter national trauma far less often than many other countries, so they have time to forget.

    also, every generation has a new group of people who weren't alive for the last trauma and thus don't feel the pain or understand the significance of it.

    Dunadan019 on
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    AspectVoid wrote:
    First, America as a country lost its innocence in 1774 when our ancestors decided that it was worth fighting for our freedom.

    Well, be honest. We decided that it was worth fighting to not have to pay more in taxes to an off-shore power than a favored corporation does.

    The founding fathers were more sour grapes anti-corporate than anti-imperialist monarchy.

    Which I figure puts their innocence at about zero to lose.

    Plus there's those whole slavery and native american genocide things.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    America lost its innocence when H.P. Lovecraft irreversibly tainted the mortal realm with the Necronomicon.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    AspectVoid wrote:
    First, America as a country lost its innocence in 1774 when our ancestors decided that it was worth fighting for our freedom.

    Well, be honest. We decided that it was worth fighting to not have to pay more in taxes to an off-shore power than a favored corporation does.

    The founding fathers were more sour grapes anti-corporate than anti-imperialist monarchy.

    Which I figure puts their innocence at about zero to lose.

    Plus there's those whole slavery and native american genocide things.

    Don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

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  • RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User
    Kana wrote:
    Really, it's just a comforting myth, everyone tells themselves the old days were better, because when they were kids they didn't have to worry about things.
    Exactly. No country for old men and all that jazz. America never had innocence to begin with. It's just something to tell yourself so that you can bask in the good old days that weren't always good. Or, as the class of 1997 learned...
    Accept certain inalienable truths. Prices will rise, politicians will philander and you too will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

    Feral wrote:
    Hell just froze over, because I just agreed with everything Raggaholic said in post about sex.
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Warning: Donkey Kong is not a real doctor Registered User regular
    The busty ladies in OP's collage are not particularly work safe.

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Futurama wrote:
    "Do you remember a time when chocolate chip cookies came fresh from the oven? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Do you remember a time when women couldn't vote and certain folk weren't allowed on golf courses? Pepperidge Farm remembers."

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    It more lost its complacency. America was never innocent (hint: slavery). It's basically American Exceptionalism bullshit.

    Exactly. The other phrase I hear batted about a lot is "9/11 changed everything." For whom? After ten years of warfare, a bit more than one million American service members have been deployed to Iraq, and that sounds like a big, round number until you remember that there are 307 million of us living here. As a matter of policy, "changed everything" has been limited to the lives of around half of a percentage point of our population; for the overwhelming majority of our country, change means taking off your shoes when you wait in line at an airport terminal.

    And that's okay. My hope is that as time goes by and especially with Osama Bin Laden dead and at the bottom of the sea, we'll realize that one horrible day didn't actually fundamentally alter our lives the way we thought it had, and we'll stop ruining things for the other 0.5% and the rest of the world in general.

  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Warning: Donkey Kong is not a real doctor Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    Futurama wrote:
    "Do you remember a time when chocolate chip cookies came fresh from the oven? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Do you remember a time when women couldn't vote and certain folk weren't allowed on golf courses? Pepperidge Farm remembers."

    That was Family Guy.

    And that is also how I feel about people who whitewash the past.

    easy_tetris_sig.gifbubbulon3_sig.png
  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 __BANNED USERS regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    AspectVoid wrote:
    First, America as a country lost its innocence in 1774 when our ancestors decided that it was worth fighting for our freedom.

    Well, be honest. We decided that it was worth fighting to not have to pay more in taxes to an off-shore power than a favored corporation does.

    The founding fathers were more sour grapes anti-corporate than anti-imperialist monarchy.

    Which I figure puts their innocence at about zero to lose.

    Plus there's those whole slavery and native american genocide things.

    Don't let facts get in the way of a good story.


    God I love that commercial so much. I almost bought a Challenger because of it.

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    Futurama wrote:
    "Do you remember a time when chocolate chip cookies came fresh from the oven? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Do you remember a time when women couldn't vote and certain folk weren't allowed on golf courses? Pepperidge Farm remembers."

    That was Family Guy.

    And that is also how I feel about people who whitewash the past.

    It was the Futurama episode where Fry becomes extremely rich.

    America was never innocent and has been committing the occasional atrocities like every other country.

  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2011
    This is a dumb argument but



    Family Guy's was a different joke.

    JustinSane07 on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0584425/quotes
    Announcer: Do you remember a time when chocolate chips came fresh from the oven? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
    Fry: Ah, those were the days.
    Announcer: Do you remember a time when women couldn't vote and certain people weren't allowed on golf courses? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Warning: Donkey Kong is not a real doctor Registered User regular
    Damn it. I'd pretend I mixed it up with Family Guy's joke but I don't even remember the clip Justin posted.

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  • StarcrossStarcross Registered User regular
    America lost its innocence when you, the person reading this, grew up. That's all there is to it.

  • VoodooVVoodooV Registered User regular
    dbrock270 wrote:
    America never even had innocence. They just had ignorance or were unaware to the problems of the world

    Pretty sure we still are as a nation. Sure we understand a little bit better as a whole, but the average American (including myself) is still pretty flippin' ignorant of the outside world and just delude themselves (not including me) that America is the last bastion of awesomeness and purity and the rest of the world are just barbarians.

  • psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them an their "feedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Play Smash Bros 3DS with me! 4399-1034-5444
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  • FencingsaxFencingsax Bondage Discipline Spider-Man Registered User regular
    psyck0 wrote:
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them and their "freedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Well, we're special in that we were the first nation to legally set out why we should be a nation, but other than that you're right.

    Like I said, 1604 at the latest.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Fencingsax wrote:
    psyck0 wrote:
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them and their "freedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Well, we're special in that we were the first nation to legally set out why we should be a nation, but other than that you're right.

    Like I said, 1604 at the latest.

    1619 is the first recorded incidence of slavery, so I would go with that as the latest.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    Fencingsax wrote:
    psyck0 wrote:
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them and their "freedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Well, we're special in that we were the first nation to legally set out why we should be a nation, but other than that you're right.

    Like I said, 1604 at the latest.

    Nah the Dutch Republic have you beaten by centuries with the 1571 Act of Abjuration, and that's just the first example that came to mind - the American revolution was the product of a looooong sequence of enlightenment ideas, not a unqiue snowflake shat out of the whole cloth by the founding fathers.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Bondage Discipline Spider-Man Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Fencingsax wrote:
    psyck0 wrote:
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them and their "freedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Well, we're special in that we were the first nation to legally set out why we should be a nation, but other than that you're right.

    Like I said, 1604 at the latest.

    1619 is the first recorded incidence of slavery, so I would go with that as the latest.

    1604 is Jamestown, the first permanent settlement. My point is that we were never innocent.

    Fencingsax on
    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    Fencingsax wrote:
    Fencingsax wrote:
    psyck0 wrote:
    Fallingman wrote:
    I always assumed that it meant that the average US citizen became more aware of the affect their country's actions have on the rest of the world. In that they could no longer pretend that the world loved them and their "freedomish" ways. Hence, they lost their innocence/ignorance.

    Alternatively, I take it to be a commentary on the idea that the US has lost the moral highground after some of the actions since.

    The US never had the moral high ground, are you kidding me? It wasn't a horrible cesspool, but you guys have a decades-long history of your intelligence services acting to overthrow democratically elected governments who just happened to be a bit socialist or opposed to your industries. Not to mention the whole civil rights thing. The US was never special, it just happened to be rich.

    Well, we're special in that we were the first nation to legally set out why we should be a nation, but other than that you're right.

    Like I said, 1604 at the latest.

    1619 is the first recorded incidence of slavery, so I would go with that as the latest.

    1604 is Jamestown, the first permanent settlement. My point is that we were never innocent.

    1607.

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    That OP sure meets the Titty Quota.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Statistically speaking, America probably lost its innocence around 1790/1791.

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  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    Oh wait, are you guys having a serious discussion about National Innocence™?

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