Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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National Them Day

A car-key lottery for nations.
  (+34, -4)(+34, -4)(+34, -4)
(+34, -4)
  [vote for,

Each year, the heads of state of all nations throw the names of their countries into a hat and then draw at random. Then, on that year's National Them Day, each country celebrates the history, heroes and achievements of the country they've drawn. Schoolkids wear the corresponding national costume, MacDonalds has a special "Kazakhstan Burger", local radio runs a "Finnish Rock Legends" programme, or whatever.

At most, it might promote a little appreciation of foreign culture. At least, Mr. Bush would have learned the location of four foreign countries by the end of his current term.

Basepair, Mar 07 2005

Google search: "Finnish Rock Legends" http://www.google.c...&btnG=Google+Search
It would be a short program. [waugsqueke, Mar 07 2005]

Not Them, I hope. http://imdb.com/title/tt0047573/taglines
[Amos Kito, Mar 08 2005]

(??) Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes.... http://www.hanoirocks.com/
Hanoi Rocks! [gnomethang, Mar 08 2005]


       This concept exists to a small degree in the sister-cities concept, which my hometown (in Canada) took quite seriously (with its sister city in Japan). There were student exchanges and dignitary visits and cultural event swaps and stuff. Not all cities participate, and many of those that do don't take it very seriously.   

       Speaking of... I think your idea might be taken more seriously if you delete the last sentence.
waugsqueke, Mar 07 2005

       But the sister-cities concept (we have a similar idea here - 'twinning') remains constant from year to year, as I understand it. And the random nature of the annual draw means that you'd explore cultures you'd not normally think of.
Basepair, Mar 07 2005

       True. Wasn't suggesting this was done - I mentioned "to a small degree'. I like the variety aspect but I'm not sure this is a workable solution.
waugsqueke, Mar 07 2005

       I reckon that if MacDonalds had an excuse to sell something, they would find a way to make it work. <irrelevant aside> does anyone know what happened to the apostrophe in MacDonalds?<irrelevant aside>
Basepair, Mar 07 2005

       Re link - I meant geological folklore.
Basepair, Mar 07 2005

       When are you going to learn that it's McDonalds?
theircompetitor, Mar 07 2005

       //I think your idea might be taken more seriously if you delete the last sentence.// Quite right.. Bush will never learn.
neilp, Mar 07 2005

       Though the good news is, he's not alone
theircompetitor, Mar 07 2005

       Re link: no mention of Tasavallan Presidentti? Disgraceful.
angel, Mar 07 2005

       Bun for elevating wife-swapping technique to international diplomacy method.
wagster, Mar 07 2005

       Theme/ Them?
Ling, Mar 07 2005

       //local radio runs a "Finnish Rock Legends" programme // Which fits into the time-slot normally occupied by a jingle.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 07 2005

       [theircompetitor] "When are you going to learn that it's McDonalds?" - you mean they've lost the 'a' as WELL as an apostrophe? Holy heck.
Basepair, Mar 07 2005

       Wouldn't it make more sense to run a Finnish schlager programme? Otherwise, you'd just be listening to a Finnish imitation of American music, which isn't very multicultural.
nineteenthly, Mar 07 2005

       Should the kids be told that the Kazakhstan Burger is horse, or that it’s the ‘special sauce’ that gives it its unique flavor?
Shz, Mar 07 2005

       Cause it makes it easier for the US to maintain it's world domination, [scout]
theircompetitor, Mar 07 2005

       As long as my country always gets to celebrate other companies that make great beers, I'm all for it. +
krelnik, Mar 07 2005

       "Wouldn't it make more sense to run a Finnish schlager programme?" [nineteenthly]- you're probably right. In fact, bars could serve ice-cold Finnish schlager to get one into the spirit of things. This would keep [Krelnik] happy too.
Basepair, Mar 07 2005

       This is a great idea! If I could give you more than I possitive vote, I would.   

       Of course, there are many countries that wouldn't be so popular in this "game". I can think of the US and... well, um... Ok, that's the only one I can think of.
Pericles, Mar 08 2005

       Pericles - yep, there would be some awkward combinations, but they'd only come up quite rarely. There are an awful lot of countries out there, many of them small and obscure, and these would make bad pairings quite rare. And maybe a pairing between warring countries - for only one day - would be an opportunity to take a breath and think.
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       I think that it is the images conveyed by the magic of television that we are hoping to counter....
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       This could cause more trouble than it fixes. Coz the Basques and Catalans are going to want a day, as may the Kurds and Christs knows how my pig headed compatriots will conspire to cock it up.   

       And what happens if GWB pulls North Korea out of the hat?
etherman, Mar 08 2005

       Hmmmm. Good point - hadn't considered "Nations of contested status". Still, chances are that the Basques would draw Palau or somewhere else that didn't really mind one way or the other. And if GWB drew North Korea, well, I think it might be kinda nice for both parties.   

       Actually, involving politicians is probably a bad idea. Have a pre-draw raffle to select the draw-er from schoolchildren.
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       The problem is not who draws... its who goes into the hat. Turkey are gonna be pissed if Kurdistan goes in, Kurds will be pissed off in return. Might I suggest that Northern ireland is entered, but as 'the occupied six counties.' That'll get the conversation going. Is Tibet a country these days or is it a Chinese province. Anyone? Yes you at the back...
etherman, Mar 08 2005

       Pericles, that's cause all the players from those countries who liked the US are already here.   

       I'm finding it somewhat ironic that a post about fostering international understanding is really a pretext to take potshots at the US.   

       Don't you guys have the UN for that?
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       Since when is the UN a tool of anti-americanism? News to me.
etherman, Mar 08 2005

       Probably since Churchill's and Roosevelt's mistake at Yalta, [etherman].
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       I thought America was part of the UN.
wagster, Mar 08 2005

       Yep, [wagster], like that kid everyone was pointing at school and making fun of -- he was IN the school.   

       I hear he's running Microsoft now.
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       The difference is, nerds are unpopular because they're weak. America is unpopular because it's powerful.
wagster, Mar 08 2005

       [wagster], and here I thought all this time that they hated nerds because they knew they'll wind up working for them someday. I saw that in Back To The Future.
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       So [tc], what you're saying is "the US is in the UN and will soon be running the world"? Is that the analogy you're making?
I'm sure I heard Dubbya just say the US wanted to export democracy and freedom to everyone, not actually run the planet, which would be very undemocratic.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 08 2005

       What I'm saying, [Absinthe], is don't put up a "we are the world" type idea and end it with a potshot.   

       Don't pretend to see value in multiculturalism if you cannot see the value of respecting the feelings of people on a bulletin board.
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       This is a fine idea, especially when coupled with the city twinning concept, as this could lead to town-edge "Welcome to" signage featuring upwards of 180 other towns. Indeed, without the twinning (and the concomitant forced interaction with non-nationals), this appreciation of foreign culture will tend toward the shorthand of stereotyping, leaving the instigating nation convinced that all, say, French people are onion-chomping coprophiles, or similar.
calum, Mar 08 2005

       Living in the Southwestern US, I find it absolutely staggering, the number of people who lose their lives trekking northward through the desert in desperate attempts to escape popularity.
half, Mar 08 2005

       Yeah, I've heard of that, too. Odd.
bristolz, Mar 08 2005

       "is really a pretext to take potshots at the US" - well, I sort of agree. Sort of. If it is any consolation, I am a dual national (UK/US), and feel the same about Mr Blair too. I think taking verbal pot-shots at practically any political leader has a laudable and long- standing tradition, and is generally better than taking non-verbal pot- shots.
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       Basepair -- as we have learned in the last 4 years, taking non-verbal potshots accomplishes nothing, where is taking some real ones can definitely change things.   

       Look, you have a right to say what you want. Just don't dress it up in a festival.
theircompetitor, Mar 08 2005

       I think anyone wanting to do this is welcome to organize their hearts' content. Whoever gets to play us will probably find that it is more fun than a pointed stick in the eye. I'll probably be working, anyway, so enjoy.
reensure, Mar 08 2005

       "...taking non-verbal potshots accomplishes nothing, where is taking some real ones can definitely change things."   

       Huh? Are not non-verbal potshots and real pot shots synonomous or... am I so confused?
bristolz, Mar 08 2005

       //Finnish Rock Legends//
Don't Take the piss!. HANOI ROCKS! Guns n Roses even admitted that they would not have happened without them!. Vince Neil from Motley Crue killed the drummer for God's Sake!.
p.s. ignore the Leningrad Cowboys!

       Link with back catalogue! "They come from Scandanavia and do all the things that ABBA convinced us that Scandanavians don't do!."
gnomethang, Mar 08 2005

       "taking non-verbal potshots accomplishes nothing" - I agree. It was not meant to accomplish anything, I am just a half-american half-baker making a non-original comment on George W., and if it causes any offence then I retract any suggestion that he is geographically impaired. Sheesh. Re Finnish Rock - I have merely revealed my ignorance of music in general, which is almost unlimited. However, I do respectfully stand by my mild dislike of McDonalds.
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       A shame a good idea was tainted in the end - I will withhold my croissant.
trekbody, Mar 08 2005

       Okay okay - I like McDonalds.
Basepair, Mar 08 2005

       And having a fast draw won't help either of them.
FarmerJohn, Mar 09 2005

       Thank you, Basepair. Especially about the McDonald part. :)
theircompetitor, Mar 09 2005

       According to partially reliable sources, there are something like 190-195 recognised countries in the world, so the odds of US drawing Iraq, or China drawing Taiwan or whatever are pretty small. But actually I think pairings of antagonists would be the most useful part of the exercise. The point is to keep it people-to-people rather than government-to-government.   

       And Brau - I prefer TheyDay :-)
Basepair, Mar 09 2005

       [pair of Bases], all in all I like the notion of nation-swapping, but the "people-to-people" bit seems naive.
You and I both know it would take a colossal organization to mount such a national educational campaign. And really, the only organization big enough to handle it is the government. Or McDonald's.
Also, what if Botswana picks Nepal, but fails to actually learn anything about that country, either because they have no spare funds or because they are lazy or because they are holding a grudge. Don't you think that is an invitation to anger? Think of the wars that could start because one country slights another, or worse, paints a false picture. Sounds like an open invitation to propaganda.
k_sra, Mar 09 2005

       "the "people-to-people" bit seems naive" - probably true. I guess I meant that the lead would be taken somewhere below central government, with the emphasis on schools/boy- scouts/town councils or whatever.   

       Re the possibilities for conflict, again I emphasize that with so many countries, "sensitive" pairings will be much rarer than plain interesting ones. And any meeting of cultures is an opportunity for misunderstanding and conflict, but perhaps less so than the non-meeting of cultures in the first place.   

       Fair points, though.
Basepair, Mar 09 2005

       [theircompetitor] you are seriously paranoid. I didn't take any potshots at the U.S. I just mentioned that the states won't be so popular in this sort of game because they wouldn't. That's the truth. You want to blame your country's lack of popularity on me, go ahead.   

       <edit> Ok, let's end this. You don't have to see things as they are and I don't have to support your country just because you say it's great. We stand in opposite extremes; if you want to think it's because we stand in different sides of the border then I don't know where you're planning to send half the american population -who don't like Bush or the agresive/capitalist politics of your country-. I made a comment about something we all know about: your country's unpopularity. You took a fact just too personal, but that's not my problem. So, whatever you say. I'm adding this here because I don't feel like arguing anymore and you want to have the last word, I'm sure. So, have it. </edit>
Pericles, Mar 12 2005

       [Pericles] I certainly believe that many US critics are misguided, but that doesn't bother me. The idea as stated did, but I have already discussed that with Basepair.   

       As to your assertion, I don't think that Chinese restaurants were any less popular here when Mao was running China.   

       Even if you were right about Bush, declaring that you would therefore not let your kids play cowboys and Indians for a day would be at best myopic and quite likely foolish, don't you think?   

       So basically, your statement betrayed a political bias (not that you're hiding it), and a desire to take one more shot at the subject, a kind of salute to let us all know where you stand, as though we've forgotten.   

       It wouldn't dawn on me, for instance, to say as commentary for this idea, that "Iraq would be unpopular in this kind of game, since despite being the cradle of civilization, Saddam really turns me off." The idea is limited to begin with -- and this kind of commentary is more limited still.   

       As to the final measures of popularity, as I and others already pointed out in this thread, I believe that people vote best with their bucks at Starbucks. With their wallets at McDonalds or at the movies. And finally with their feet.
theircompetitor, Mar 12 2005

       In a perfect world this would be wonderful, in this world, this idea would improve the world by a good degree. ++
sartep, Jul 08 2005

       "If you are not me, you're one of Them!".   

       On the down-side, on average one country per year would be twinned with itself.   

       According to physicists, every particle is twinned with an anti-particle.
But a photon is its own anti-particle.
By this reasoning, I myself have a twin; its me.
Loris, May 30 2006


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