Be American Goddamnit!

When you go somewhere you may think it’s you who’s supposed to get the cultural experience, but what happens is the locals (rightfully) treat it a two way street. This is why I’ve posted earlier that it’s sometimes advantageous to speak English to a local because they want to practice.

In Asia, more than Europe, I’ve had people tell me, not in so many words, “Be American Goddamnit!” Drink Coke. Go eat at McDonald’s. Be a giant. They have their own stereotypes and perceptions and they want to see me fulfill them, or at least address them. Or they think what I want more than anything is all the stereotypical American stuff.

On the other hand, as an American overseas, you’re trying to assimilate the local culture and in many ways leave behind those traditionally American mores. But by doing this you’re depriving the locals of very Americanness they want to see (maybe for sheer amusement!).

Interesting tension.

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