Every American seems to think he has three natural gifts as a birthright

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Every American seems to think he has three natural gifts as a birthright — although Dunlap’s list is not exactly the same as I’ve heard from other shooting instructors:

He can play poker; he can carry his liquor; and he can shoot.

And it takes sad experience to convince him that practice plays quite a part in handling all three.


  1. Kirk says:

    Interesting note for cultural differences…

    Europeans and Japanese, in general, tend to take up single hobbies and then do those hobbies exclusively and to a degree that the average American looks at and goes “Wow… That’s… Kinda… Obsessive, there…”.

    As well, the European/Japanese person will describe themselves to others, upon meeting, as being a “Mountain Climber” (hear the capital letters…?) or a “Bicyclist”, as opposed to saying “I am a carpenter…” or “I am a salesman…”. In other words, they wrap waaaaay more into their identities and sense-of-self from their hobbies than they do their jobs. You ask an American what he does, and the answer is usually going to include a job title, while that American is going to have a number of different avocations which he or she follows to one degree or another, but nothing with which they fundamentally identify.

    It’s a weirdness, and I don’t know why that this has grown up. Americans are also, stereotypically, a lot more willing to take up new things without going through some aggressively detailed apprenticeship and/or training. When I was in Germany, I took a PADI course in basic scuba diving. The German instructor about to lost his mind, dealing with Americans who were not anywhere near as obsessively engaged with learning the skills and information. According to him, Germans would have taken his handouts and charts, then gone home and treated them like the study materials for a calculus test, and memorized them. Americans? Pshaw… Don’t need none of that crap memorized–That’s what the tables are for. With the Germans, you rather got the impression that the whole point of the exercise was to demonstrate mastery over the esoterica, vice learning how to scuba dive…

    There is a vast gulf between the Old World, and the New when it comes to this stuff. The Japanese are the same way–I’ve got a third-generation Japanese friend who got into Kendo in a big way, and one of the things he mentioned as being a bit hard to deal with was the way the Japanese in Japan expected him to do nothing else–He was working with an instructor while he was stationed there, and the guy expected him to do nothing else at all–He was to be a Kendoka, exclusively. Any other hobbies? Anathema. And, that wasn’t just with relation to Kendo, either–Everywhere else in Japanese society, it’s one thing, and one thing only. You don’t have multiple hobbies or avocations, the way the average American does. Here in the US, you may have a guy who follows baseball, football, hunts, shoots, and does mountain biking as appropriate to the season. In Europe or Japan, that’s looked at as being direly casual… “How can you do something well, when you do other things…?”.

    And, I don’t think it’s necessarily down to Americans generally being more prosperous and having more disposable income, either. European immigrants I know, and I know a few, are kinda in a baffled transitional state–”You mean… I can mountain bike, *AND* rock climb… And, and… Ski?”. There’s some element of social pressure in there, because if you have a hobby like climbing, then you’re in a club, and your buddies in the club treat you like an obsessive girlfriend–”You’re going to a soccer match…? In ITALY? What is wrong with you… We’re going climbing that weekend! You must be there…”.

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