Tag Archives: American culture

“People were different, not only from Swedes, but from each other.”

For the Fourth of July. Link here. Key quote:

I’m not sure if I can fully convey the cultural shock of going from Sweden to Dallas in the 1990s, or if it is even wise to try. Because how can I describe what it is to taste your very first doughnut or go to Toys R Us at that age [9 years old] and see row after row of wonderfully girly Barbie dolls? I came from the country of meh to the nation of yeah. And it was nothing short of magnificent.

I was lucky enough to spend my summers there, in the heart of Texas, and with every visit I gained a growing awareness of the differences between your country and mine. America was loud. It was uncomfortable and alive. People were different, not only from Swedes, but from each other. [emphasis in original]

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A close look at the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

For the Fourth of July: Link here. The author discusses it phrase by phrase, placing the words in their historical context so there will be no confusion. For anyone who is intellectually honest, however, I think the meaning is quite clear.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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What others really think of America

Travel tips for Russian, French, Chinese, and Japanese travelers to the United States.

Read them all. Not surprisingly, the French are the most bothered by American habits while the Russians struggle mightily with our general niceness. All told, however, these tips will each give you warm feelings for the wild, crazy, enthusiastic culture that is America, as seen objectively by outsiders, and best summed up by this Japanese advice:

In Japan, there is great fear of failure and mistakes in front of other people. It is better to do nothing and avoid being criticized than to taste the humiliation of failure. As a result, there are things we wanted to do, but did not, and often regret.

In America, you can make mistakes, fail, and it doesn’t matter. It is a fundamental feeling that to sometimes be incorrect is natural. In addition, rather than thinking about mistakes and failures, American’s have curiosity and say, “Let’s try anyway!”

As noted so wisely in the 1982 comedy Night Shift, “Is this a great country, or what?”

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