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  1. 28 Jan '13 04:40
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the United States. When she was 18 years
    old, she went to study at a university in Canada. Then she relocated to Europe
    and later to Japan, where she worked as an English teacher and a bar hostess.
    After at least several years' absence, she returned to the United States.
    Rather to her surprise and dismay, she discovered it was almost like entering
    a foreign country. She found herself unable 'to fit in at (her) new school'.

    "Other people (Americans) said that they wanted to hear about life in Japan, yet
    they generally started to lose interest when they noticed that Japan was the only
    topic on which I could manage to hold a conversation. Everything else was
    scarily unfamiliar to me, and I was always making others snicker at my pop
    culture slipups....At that, I made an attempt to become culturally educated...
    In this I discovered the maddening degree to which contemporary media in
    America is almost entirely self-referential, making it largely impossible for any
    cultural outsider to understand. Comedy isn't funny when you don't understand
    any of the pop-culture references, so I tired of the new hobby quickly. Having
    been out of the country for so long, American culture felt like a constant joke
    whose punch line I would never get."
    --Lea Jacobson

    In some ways, her experiences abroad had not prepared her enough to
    become comfortable (or even safe) living as an American again:

    "Life in Japan for the past few years had made me incredibly naive in some
    respects....I had no idea how dangerous it is to be a drunk girl out at bars in
    America. As it turned out, I had been taking Tokyo's low crime rates entirely
    for granted...As I was learning, the relative safety of Japanese society certainly
    did cater to the rampant alcoholism that flourished there....In a similar light,
    I have yet to meet any Japanese men who possessed the same sense of
    entitlement that I have seen in some men in the United States when they
    encounter an unconscious woman....It is one of the more curious quirks regarding
    the country (Japan) that produces the most violent video games and the most
    perverse pornography in the world, yet is so safe that children as young as six
    or seven often ride the subways home from school by themselves. Even if I was
    not respected as a woman...while working in a hostess bar back in Tokyo, the
    club regulations that banned any of my clients from laying a hand on me inside
    its doors most often were....the rigid rules that confine her can likewise keep her
    safe from outside harm. My brief return in America had made me acutely aware
    of this fact."
    --Lea Jacobson

    Without describing all the details explicitly, she implied that she was robbed or
    sexually assaulted at least several times during her brief return to the USA.

    "...enough had happened to me to convince me that I was not safe in that
    environment (New York City). As a result, I felt a keen nostalgia for my life
    at the zoo (Tokyo)."
    --Lea Jacobson

    So Lea Jacobson went back to Tokyo, where she lives to this day.
    Apparently, she had concluded that she could find more understanding or
    sympathy among the Japanese than among the Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
  2. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    28 Jan '13 10:48
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the Un ...[text shortened]... he Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
    Well, perhaps you hit on 2 things that most Americans don't like to discuss.

    1. America is NOT that "great shining city on the hill" that good old Ronnie Reagan described.

    2. Americans are the hillbillys of the industrialized world. Rude, crude, and ignornant.
  3. 28 Jan '13 11:13
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the Un ...[text shortened]... he Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
    I Crossed the boarder into Mexico a couple of decades ago and found that it sucked down there compared to where I am from.
  4. 28 Jan '13 17:10
    Originally posted by bill718
    Well, perhaps you hit on 2 things that most Americans don't like to discuss.

    1. America is NOT that "great shining city on the hill" that good old Ronnie Reagan described.

    2. Americans are the hillbillys of the industrialized world. Rude, crude, and ignornant.
    I agree that the US is not the shining city on the hill. We have rejected what has made this country great.

    Yes, the US has some really horrible problems with a bunch of totally screwed up people, but that has its roots in multiculturalism and the desturctive aspects of Socialism that have been inflicted on my society.
  5. 28 Jan '13 18:27
    Originally posted by bill718
    Well, perhaps you hit on 2 things that most Americans don't like to discuss.

    1. America is NOT that "great shining city on the hill" that good old Ronnie Reagan described.

    2. Americans are the hillbillys of the industrialized world. Rude, crude, and ignornant.
    I know several people whom you might consider hillbillies that could spell ignorant correctly, so they have that going for them. Certainly I would classify you as rude, crude, and ignorant. Fortunately, I don't consider you representative of the population as a whole.
  6. 28 Jan '13 19:32
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the Un ...[text shortened]... he Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
    Without knocking America or Americans, I think there is a possible negative correlation between ethnocentrism and foreign travel (overseas - the report cited below leaves out travel to Canada and Mexico). A small fraction of Americans travel overseas. Limited exposure to people in their home habitat and limited exposure to other cultures (using their public transit, buying groceries, other everyday dealings, going to the symphony, etc.) fosters an insular and distorted view that reinforces stereotypes. It's a sort of chicken and egg situation. In some of our travels, my wife and I have had times when the people we met were agog at what was going on in the US -- as were we (example: the 2000 presidential election, which we had to try to explain to some Kiwis). More exposure to one anothers' cultures, both ways, brings more understanding and acceptance. Lea Jacobson experienced the results of limited exposure in the US, and also, it must be said, exhibited some of the results herself.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-d-chalmers/the-great-american-passpo_b_1920287.html
  7. 28 Jan '13 23:49
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the Un ...[text shortened]... he Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
    Do you think that may be somewhat similar of other cultures as well?
  8. 28 Jan '13 23:55
    Originally posted by bill718
    Well, perhaps you hit on 2 things that most Americans don't like to discuss.

    1. America is NOT that "great shining city on the hill" that good old Ronnie Reagan described.

    2. Americans are the hillbillys of the industrialized world. Rude, crude, and ignornant.
    It is really difficult to culturally identify Americans. Culture in America is extremely diverse, perhaps more so than other countries.

    I was in culture shock when I moved almost 50 years ago from Boston to Detroit. Now it is not shock but enjoyable curiosity to visit places like the Michigan UP, or Alabama, Texas, or Minnesota and see folks with entirely different outlooks and habits, but with some threads of America running through them all.

    If you are so negatively impacted with American culture, I would find a more suitable place to live.
  9. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    29 Jan '13 00:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    This post's based on one person's experiences and views (not mine) concerning
    American culture, American ethnocentricism, or American exceptionalism.
    Most Americans don't seem to grasp how ethnocentric most Americans are until
    they have spent enough time outside the United States (not on US military bases).

    Lea Jacobson was born and grew up in the Un he Americans.

    What do you think of her story or her views of American culture?
    I lived abroad for a few years, and traveled extensively, thoroughout Europe. I gained more of an appreciation for what it means to be home. I saw Kurdish refugees by the tens of thousands all over Europe. I think the subject of your OP just developed a different sense of home, although I think some period of adaptation back home would be normal. I'd also think that pop culture fluency would be less important than boorish behavior in a bar.

    A good friend of mine is currently with the State Department in Japan. He loves the culture. I think there's a lot to love about America too.
  10. 29 Jan '13 00:13
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    I lived abroad for a few years, and traveled extensively, thoroughly Europe. I gained more of an appreciation for what it means to be home. I saw Kurdish refugees by the tens of thousands all over Europe. I think the subject of your OP just developed a different sense of home, although I think some period of adaptation back home would be normal. I'd ...[text shortened]... Department in Japan. He loves the culture. I think there's a lot to love about America too.
    My son and his best friend have talked for years about working in Japan for a couple of years, but he seems settled on a homegrown Vietnamese girlfriend, so I don't think he's going anywhere.
  11. 29 Jan '13 03:03 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by JS357
    Without knocking America or Americans, I think there is a possible negative correlation between ethnocentrism and foreign travel (overseas - the report cited below leaves out travel to Canada and Mexico). A small fraction of Americans travel overseas. Limited exposure to people in their home habitat and limited exposure to other cultures (using their public tr .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-d-chalmers/the-great-american-passpo_b_1920287.html
    My original post was intended to discuss cultural differences without necessarily
    attaching political significance to them. While I was not attempting 'to knock
    America or Americans' here (I can do that elsewhere), I do wonder why so many
    Americans seem so concerned about not appearing 'to knock America' that they
    feel they have to keep bending over backwards not to say anything critical at all.

    Lea Jacobson's point seems to be that her living for years in some diverse cultures
    abroad transformed her from being a sheltered ethnocentric American into
    someone who found herself unable to feel comfortable enough being around
    ethnocentric Americans (as she probably once was herself) when she returned
    to the United States. In her case, she concluded that she really could not stay
    home (in the United States) again because she had changed much more than
    than her American acquaintances whom she had left behind. I don't know whether
    (or why) Lea Jacobson might believe that Japan's 'better' than the United States.
    All I do know is that she concluded that it's a better place for her for now. And
    it's good that she seems to have enough freedom and resources (unlike most
    poor non-white people) to move from society to society without too much trouble.
  12. 29 Jan '13 03:12
    Originally posted by bill718
    Well, perhaps you hit on 2 things that most Americans don't like to discuss.

    1. America is NOT that "great shining city on the hill" that good old Ronnie Reagan described.

    2. Americans are the hillbillys of the industrialized world. Rude, crude, and ignornant.
    Speak for your damn self....
  13. 29 Jan '13 03:13
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I agree that the US is not the shining city on the hill. We have rejected what has made this country great.

    Yes, the US has some really horrible problems with a bunch of totally screwed up people, but that has its roots in multiculturalism and the desturctive aspects of Socialism that have been inflicted on my society.
    Well stated...
  14. 29 Jan '13 03:14
    Originally posted by dryhump
    I know several people whom you might consider hillbillies that could spell ignorant correctly, so they have that going for them. Certainly I would classify you as rude, crude, and ignorant. Fortunately, I don't consider you representative of the population as a whole.
    Well stated....
  15. 29 Jan '13 05:56
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    My original post was intended to discuss cultural differences without necessarily
    attaching political significance to them. While I was not attempting 'to knock
    America or Americans' here (I can do that elsewhere), I do wonder why so many
    Americans seem so concerned about not appearing 'to knock America' that they
    feel they have to keep bending over b ...[text shortened]... ost
    poor non-white people) to move from society to society without too much trouble.
    "I don't know whether(or why) Lea Jacobson might believe that Japan's 'better' than the United States. All I do know is that she concluded that it's a better place for her for now."

    OK that's what I get, too.