Humor


Culture shock has most certainly been a part of this, my first, full week back in the U.S.. Six years away can’t take the American (Californian if you want to be picky) out of me, but it can certainly make my compatriots seem curious, weird, and sometimes downright freakish. There have been moments of “man, I am never going to feel right ever again” in the last few days.

I’d love to get my hands on a copy of a Bill Bryson book I read many years ago, I’m A Stranger Here Myself. The title says it all – he wrote it upon returning to the States after 20 years of living in Britain. I feel he would understand.

However, I couldn’t find that particular book before coming back. What I did find was a fairly good substitute. On the bar at J&J’s Books and Coffee, for the bargain basement price of €1.50 and weighing in at a baggage-allowance-friendly 64 pages I found, as if by divine intention, Xenophone’s Guide to the Americans.

I have since discovered that this is a whole series – and they are full of wisdom. I find them a comfort in decoding my own, long-estranged people.

I find the cover illustration, with Statue of Liberty, McDonald’s and money, to be an apt representation of what might strike a foreigner (or native stranger) about the United States at first glance. Most of my instances of cultural disconnect have been in response to their/our consumerism, obsession with spending, and our distinct idea of patriotism.

An excerpt from the foreword of this satirically wise pamphlet:

Americans are like children: noisy, curious, unable to keep a secret, not given to subtlety, and prone to misbehave in public. Once one accepts the Americans’ basically adolescent nature, the rest of their culture falls into place, and what at first seemed thoughtless and silly appears charming and energetic.

And so begins this very politically incorrect and often prfoundly truthful, yet concise, examination of the American soul. I think I will be using it as a constant guide in transitional phase 🙂

[via crooks and liars]

Someone has put together a clip reel of very very cheesy movie lines, and claim they are the cheesiest EVER! Of course, this is merely fodder for debate.

What would you include?

My contribution on the C&L thread was this

Daniel Day Lewis all sexy and wet in a cave in Last of the Mohicans, avowing:

“Just stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you, no matter how long it takes, no matter how far! I will find you!”

Cheese moment extraordinare, perfectly complimented by the use of the Clannad song “I Will Find You” later in the soundtrack. Sublime cheese.

Loved this strip via Spanglish Geek.

I understand that positive thinking and having a positive attitude is important, but some people go overboard shoving it down your throat like “if you just change your head, the world, no matter how shitty, will be fine and dandy.” I’ve never been able to accept that because I see it leading to a degree of complacence – ignoring what’s actually wrong and blaming it on someone’s negative perception. Sometimes, things are shit. And they need to be fixed, not “wished” into something good.

positive1

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Click through for rest of strip.

And of course they have a YouTube channel, which they announced in typical Monty Python fashion a while back.

Monty Python sometimes feels a bit old for me, doesn’t induce quite the same laughs as when I was, well, 12. But they will always hold a special place in my heart, and in comedy history.

Thanks to Chris for leaving a link in the comments to a great little clip of comedian, Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brian’s show. Sadly, some fastidious taker-downer of videos seems to have cleared it off of youtube or other sites from which I could embed here so, you’ll have to click though. It’s worth it.

louisck

Apropos of nothing…

(Ok – apropos of….the fact that I feel I spend too much time online)

Found a link on Spanglish Geek to this video of a version of John Lennon’s Imagine that challenges us to envision what we might accomplish in life, and as a society, if we didn’t spend so much frickin’ time online. The lyrics are amusing, the  video – ok, it’s cringe-worthy – not a natural born crooner – I couldn’t actually listen to the whole thing.

Lyrics:

Imagine there’s no Apple,
No products that begin with “i,”
No monthly iPod models,
No Apple stores to get you high.
Imagine all the people
Finding other things to do!
Imagine there’s no bloggers…
It isn’t hard to do!
No viruses or spyware,
No weekly Windows patches, too
Imagine all the people
Learning to get a life…
(You-hoo-hoo!)
You may say it’d be a nightmare
Without Google, Mac or Dell
We might have real conversations–
But the world would be dull as hell!
Imagine no new cellphones;
Kiss console games goodbye.
No David Pogue or Mossberg
To tell us what to buy.
Imagine all the people
Getting some exercise!
(You-hoo-hoo!)
You may say that I’m a loony
But rest assured I’m almost done.
I’m pretty sure it’ll never happen
So we nerds can live as one!

Faced with a shortage of money and materials, I wasn’t sure what to do for Halloween until the last moment. But I stumbled across this hideous American flag disco top and knew it had to be the centerpiece of any costume. So I decided to dress as the moral and political antithesis of myself! Red State Karina! Here’s some photos from friends of mine, mine are still stuck on my camera (stupid broken USB cable boo).

Here I am, bitterly clinging to guns and religion (fake Bible there), draping myself in the trappings of patriotism, preparing to vote McCain Palin.

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The hat was key – I printed up a McCain Palin sign in a jiffy, and it looked super spiffy. The hat actually caused me problems sometimes, when people (in the metro, for example) didn’t really catch on to the “it’s Halloween” thing and thought I was just some nut American. I had to explain it’s only a costume.

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Not the best photo but you get a better look at the shirt – which was actually this incredibly slutty backless disco-sequin thing (given as a joke gift years ago). I had to wear an undershirt – I thought dressing as a prostitute would somehow conflict with the whole concept 🙂

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Hey! It’s an American neo-con cozying up with an oil rich Saudi! Ahh the night was ripe for creating images with so many layers of meaning.

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All in all, it was an interesting experience. Most people loved the outfit – and before I even told them that I was dressed as the opposite of myself, the usually recoiled in mock horror at the scariness of it. Ok, it’s silly, but hey, it was Halloween and I had two hours to think of something, and I HAD to use that shirt. It was actually quite an interesting psychological exercise in exploring neglected sides of one’s personality, the dark side shall we say. Anywho,

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