Douwe Osinga's Blog: Americans

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

American bashing is one of the least attractive European habits. I guess the US is too successful and too much like Europe and then again not and that tends to irritate. People seem to have no problem calling Americans stupid (I am pretty sure a comment or two with that message will appear below), even though they'd think saying Africans are stupid is racist. I say, count the Nobel prizes. Of course I work for an American company, so I might be biased. Even so, they so the darnest things, those Americans. Here are some striking examples.


A while ago there was a thing about Disney wanting to trademark Sleeping Beauty and her friends in New Zealand. I thought this was rather ironic all and all, seeing how a company grown big from copying German fairytales not only leads the troops when it comes to fighting other creative copying, but now wants to rewrite history and make it impossible for others to copy those German fairytales. Anyway, I mentioned this to an American friend and she said “they don't have it trademarked in the US?” – she never knew that all that Disney stuff is based on folk tales.


Another American friend told me that when he decided to move to Switzerland, he started paying attention more to the country of course and he found this very curious feature of the English language. There seemed to be two adjectives for Switzerland and he could not figure out when to use the one and when to use the other. Why for example is it ‘Swedish Fish', but ‘Swiss Cheese'? Language is a tricky thing.


The last thing was when an American friend was sitting in a Swiss train, passing by the allotment gardens around Zurich, i.e. where people get a small piece of land and can do some gardening even if they don't have a garden. ‘The Swiss are so organized', he said, ‘even the slums look neat'