European Vacation — My foray to “The Continent” was great fun and provided me, by contrast, with a heightened sense of American culture. There are a few things I prefer about German norms over American. You can smoke just about anywhere and you can bring your dog just about anywhere (and you can probably let your dog smoke just about anywhere). People insist on eating breakfast. There are tits and foul language on network television. Beer as a food group. In Prague, I admired the anarchic attitude toward fireworks.
And some things about Germans are unexpectedly cute. A Christmas Eve performance piece at a very prole club in Cottbus, which featured folks dressed up as reindeer, Santa, snowmen, striking awkward poses and chanting “Kung-Fu fighting!”, confirmed the reality of endearing German loopiness of the Sprockets variety. I also like it when my lovely German friend requests intimacy in the imperative mode, e.g. “Now you will pet my hair.”
I came to better understand the complaint of American cultural imperialism. A great deal of German TV is dubbed American. Almost all the incidental music I heard in Germany and the Czech Republic was either American or British. Almost all the movies in theaters are American. I knew that American pop culture gets around, but I really wasn’t expecting this kind of dominance. Of course, it’s really not imperialism at all. It’s just that Germans don’t seem to make music, TV and film that they themselves prefer over American products. I have a theory why this should be so, but as I’m suffering jet lag, and feeling rather like I swallowed too much cough medicine, I think I’ll advance my theory tomorrow, for cogency’s sake.