mercredi 21 octobre 2009

Lucky Americans

Last sunday, Prince gave, well, performed twice in the Grand Palais in Paris. All seats were sold out in less than two hours. The audience knew he's an American artist and that he kind of was an image of America by himself.

I can't think of any European artist faring as well in any American city -save a British- because European countries, by and large, have no musicians as talented as those America never ceases to produce since WWI.

Lucky Americans, both in terms of musicians or film makers worldwide famous.

When we refer to each others, Americans and Europeans, the US has an enormous advantage over Europeans : they're one nation with one language. Whatever the political dissensions between themselves, they're united. And Europeans know that.

When I see the Europeans being mentioned in America's media, I wonder if Americans actually know how divided Europeans really are. We're as foreign to ourselves as was the case one or even two centuries ago.

What do the Poles know about the Greeks? Just nothing! Is there anything common between the Danes and the Portuguese? Nope! Does a Dutch feel closer to a Croatian than to an American? Certainly not.

There are few exceptions like the Swedes and the Norwegians, the Portuguese and the Spaniards, the Germans and the Austrians because they somehow share some periods of History and their languages are more or less similar but overall, Europe is made of some 35 different countries which will never get along like Americans can.

15, 20 or even 25 century old countries with as many languages you can imagine, will never overcome this state of affair.

Nationalism is still vivid and alive among European countries and the so-called European Union is a daily opportunity for each of the 27 members to claim and demand an exception for their personnal case.

Save for politicians and CEO of the biggest companies who know their foreign interlocutor, the vast majority (say 99,9% of the population) just know nothing about their neighbours.

Going back to Prince, there may exist great or just good artists in Germany, Italy, Poland etc. but nobody knows them outside their respective frontiers. Just a tiny part of Europeans interested in modern art for example or music and the film industry can name several artists in their field of competence. But these are just an ipsy tiny bit of the 450 million people living in Europe.

Although German is the native language most spoken in Europe (85 million) English is the only way to communicate between Europeans. And we're usually exceptionally bad at it.

Lucky Americans whose unity makes their strength!

Once again, when they're told of Europeans, Americans shouldn't be fooled into thinking Europe makes an equal counterpart to America.

Europe has 450 millions inhabitants vs 300 in the US, the European GDP is bigger than that of the US and the percentage of European economy in the world trade is bigger than that of the US but it would be unrealistic to consider Europe as a united block in the world. No, it's not.

Eventually, China will settle the score...

(Anijo, je sais que le billet aurait pu être écrit en français, tu aurais tout compris, mais si tu regardes les statistiques de visiteurs tu verras que plus de 3.500 viennent des États-unis. Cela me surprend, comme me surprend la troisième place de l'Arabie Saoudite. Et je ne crois pas que tous parlent le français. Plus de 1.700 visiteurs en provenance d'Arabie Saoudite??? Bon, il y a bien eu le billet sur Sexe, love and passion à la française mais tout de même...)

5 commentaires:

Anijo a dit…

I was surprised to see a post titled "Lucky Americans". With our economy in shambles, a humongous national debt approaching 12 trillion dollars and no universal health care coverage, I wouldn't say that too many Americans are feeling very lucky these days.

But at least we have unity of some sort it would seem.

I always did think that there was a lot of unity between Europeans. I have always felt isolated here on this huge continent and felt that Europeans are so lucky to be near so many different cultures. Here in New Mexico, we basically have just three cultures; American, Mexican and Native American.

Also, as for being lucky, I'm afraid that my luck has finally run out. Yesterday I discovered a lump on my breast and it's quite large. I'm surprised that I didn't notice it before. And I have no health insurance. I have no idea how I'm going to deal with this.

But you are also dealing with a difficult health situation, so I'm sure you know how I feel.

such is life..

Anijo a dit…

Oh, yes, as far as musicians are concerned, I can say that is one area where Americans excel. American musicians are lucky to have such a huge market.

Flocon a dit…

As you found out after reading the post, the title reffered explicitely to the artistic scene in America.

Regarding the points you mention (economy etc.) no doubt Americans are in dire straits.

Particularly when one considers the health care coverage. At least from a European point of view.

Troughout Europe, the health care coverage is roughly the same, whether in the UK, France, Germany, Italy you name them.

"Europeans are so lucky to be near so many different cultures."
Hummm... A bit of an illusion here methink.

Geographycally speaking, you're right but the language barrier is so insurmontable that it makes the European countries nearness nearly useless.

Unless one belongs to the cultural elite, other cultures are as distant from each others than the moon is from the earth.

Here's an extreme example :

Greeland is part of the UE (it is a former possession of Denmark) as well as Martinique and other French departments or territories all over the world.

The same goes with the Falklands and the islands north of Finland.
Talk of unity and proximity. Granted, these are extreme examples...


Re your health situation, since you make no mystery about it, it's only fair that I be as open as you are.

After 13 months of dialysis (a fairly short period indeed, I've been lucky) I benefited a kidney transplant 4 months ago to this day.

Like all people who've received an organ, be it a kidney, a heart, a pancreas etc. we know it won't last decades. In my case, I know for sure (nearly) that 10 years is about the maximum life expectancy of my new kidney.

Could as well last 5 to 8 years. One never knows.

After that, I'll have to undergo the same process.

So, yes, I know how you must feel.

What I also know, is the power and strengh of our mental mindset.

Hold on Anijo, the force be with you. ;-)

Anijo a dit…

Yes, it takes a lot of mental strength to get through it all.

You have a good way of looking at life.

I feel a tad numb right now and I cannot find too many words to say.

I think I'll be spending some time up in the mountains with the lizards. ;)

Flocon a dit…

"I think I'll be spending some time up in the mountains with the lizards. ;) "

Our body always knows better than ourelves what's best for him when we suffer.

The same goes, to a certain extent, with our mind.

So your choice is certainly the best you could chose these days...