Archive for January, 2006

Missing Golden Globes leads to cold sweats, clarity

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

I missed watching the Golden Globes the other day, but I somehow made it through. Sure, there was some shaking, cold sweats, vomiting, hallucinations and uncontrollable sobbing — but that’s more or less my typical night anyway.

Because if there’s one thing that moving away from American pop culture has shown me, it’s that American pop culture is flat-out oppressive. It’s so in-your-face, it can see through your eyes. It’s as addictive as heroin, but doesn’t help your self-esteem anywhere near as much.

It really is eye-opening to get away from it all, and view another country’s pop culture. Here in Brazil, they barely even hide the fact that they’re trying to numb everyone’s mind. The top show here is Big Brother Brasil, a insanely tedious look at a bunch of attractive people, with the emphasis on trying to get them into situations where they’ll make out with each other.

The lines here between pop pulp and actual news are even more blurred. The guy who hosts Big Brother Brasil, also interviewed the President a couple months ago. I was waiting for him to make President Lula eat a plate full of spiders for a fabulous prize.

In the U.S., however, the situation is much worse. In Brazil, the majority of the population is broke, but they have televisions, and get about five channels. They’re kind of stuck watching crap. In the U.S., where the majority aren’t poor, and even have cable and Internet options, the populace chooses to be numbed.

Because, seriously, why in the hell should anyone care about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Or Britney Spears and that dude who leaches off Britney Spears. Or the rest of the talent-less goofs being paraded on endless shows dedicated to parading talent-less goofs?

Take a step back and look what the entertainment folks keep shoveling at you, people. There are a lot of other ways to kill time, and a lot of other pretty faces wandering around in the real world.

It’s time to change the channel, folks. Of course, expect some withdrawals — like clarity of mind.


Sure Americans are aloof, but at least we aren’t French

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Moving to Brazil has given me a few insights on how the rest of the world views Americans. There are definite stereotypes for us Yanks here, with one of them being that we have a deep, seething hatred of the French.

Well, let me put that one to rest, once and for all. The average American could care less about France. In fact, Americans really could care less about any nation not named the United States. So relax France, we don’t hate you. We couldn’t even find you on a map, or identify your flag (it’s white, right?).

A more popular stereotype for Americans though is that we are terribly aloof, and that one, at least in regard to myself, is spot on.

Here in Brazil, one of the most prominent activities is to sit around, eat a little something and talk about random generalities. For like, 14 hours at a stretch. I’m really struggling with this, to be honest. And while I’ll try and be a part of the group gab, mostly, all I do is think about how I can make my escape and get away from everyone.

Now, I’ll accept that I’m a little less friendly than the average American, but I do think this is somewhat of a national trait. Not that Americans aren’t friendly, mind you. In fact, we’re overboard polite to most people from what I reckon. I just don’t think we’re all that much into just hanging out for hanging out’s sake. Unless there are copious amounts of booze involved, of course.

But the fact that I don’t drink any longer makes it just about unbearable for me to just sit around and chat. And I have no idea how one would go about rectifying this problem. I’m really going to need some type of advanced brain therapy to get myself to want to be part of the group, rather than to just smile dumbly and nod while plotting my escape.

Who knows how we got this way, but I’m pretty sure a lot of other Americans feel the same as I on this. But, if blame really needs to be given, I truly believe there’s but one thing we Americans can blame for our general aloofness – the French.