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poll on topics of interest

Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9043
    
  10
I'd like to discuss topics of interest in a global sense... How many people from different places can relate to American stuff other than American football and baseball? Oh, and I'd like to exclude American/World politics as well.

For example, I'd like to compare how many people in the world are aware of American movies as opposed to ... say ... Australian movies or French movies. I think we'd have to agree that cricket and soccer are pretty global topics. How about tennis (Wimbleton comes to mind)? How about music? The Beatles because pretty famous world-wide. How about Elvis Presley (I'm showing my age). So was Ravi Shankar. In general do you think that American music is pretty well known to the rest of the world? Do you think current German music is well known to the rest of the world? Do you think, for instance, that current Indian music is as well or better known to the rest of the world than American music?

As an American who has traveled to other countries, it seems that lots of people are interested in America (and some are angry that many Americans are not as interested in their country). I'm trying to gauge the interest in American in comparison to interest in other countries from the perspective of other countries. How many of you from outside America know as much about Brazil, for example, their movies, music, etc. as you do about America? Is the difference due to differences in opportunity, differences in interest, or something else that I haven't mentioned?

Do you think your interest in things American (or lack thereof) is typical?
[ September 03, 2007: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]

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Katrina Owen
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Posts: 1345
    
  12
I have lived outside of the United States (Europe) for most of my life. Each time I moved to a new country, I had to discover all the basics - politics, pop music, movies, jokes, childrens shows and theme songs from cartoons that people still sing decades later, jingles from television commercials, sports stars.

American movies, American pop music, American stars - these seemed to be pretty well known wherever I was. Politics, less so, but people always seem to know who the president of the United States is, and they generally know that Mr Schwartzenegger is governer of California. Sports, sure, but not American football, and not baseball. Mostly tennis, golf, wrestling, ... and others (I'm not big on sports, so I haven't really paid attention).

I personally am usually pretty lost when it comes to music, sports, and politics. I've been a bit better with movies. Most of the movies and books I am acquainted with are either American or British, despite the fact that I've been living in Europe since 1988 (moved back to the States a few weeks ago).
Peter Rooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 794

Yes, it is a concern how much 'American' culture is starting to dominate the media (television and films mostly) over here in the UK. As for music - yes it’s well known [well the big bands / artists anyway], while the American sports [Baseball, and that strange football you play!] are not really that well known.

And of course most of the big private companies in the UK are now American - so we get their work culture filtering through.

I did work in America for a short time, and the one thing I noticed was the lack of news that I could find about any other country, other than that of North America. It just seemed that no other country existed to the news teams.

Another thing I noticed was that you have to be careful - some words have different meanings - once asked if a shop sold "football shorts" - and got some strange looks. And its router (as in root-er) not r-out-er)

On sports, can I ask the reverse question - will football [with a round ball] ever take off over there - I think not...

"We are exactly the same as America now, in everything but language." - Mart Twain..


Regards Pete
Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9043
    
  10
Originally posted by Peter Rooke:
On sports, can I ask the reverse question - will football [with a round ball] ever take off over there - I think not...

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "take off". I don't know if it will ever be as popular as American football, but it is definitely more popular now than it was 10 years ago. I see little kids playing it quite frequently. And little kids grow up to be big kids. So if they maintain their interest long enough, I think it will become quite popular.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:
As an American who has traveled to other countries, it seems that lots of people are interested in America (and some are angry that many Americans are not as interested in their country).
Considering that 20% of Americans are said to be unable to identify the U.S. on a world map or globe, I think it's not so much a disdain for foreign culture so much as a disdain for intellectual knowledge in general. If anyone tabulated the number of nonfiction books read per year by the average American, I think people would be shocked at the low number.

It seems to me that most Americans limit most of their attention to three topics:

(1) work
(2) people they know
(3) people they wish they knew (e.g. athletes and entertainment celebrities)

I hope the moderators don't take this post as being "not nice" -- I love America and Americans. I think Americans have many great qualities. However, that doesn't mean that my average fellow American is likely to be my first choice as a partner for an intellectual conversation.
Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 29261
    
140

Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
If anyone tabulated the number of nonfiction books read per year by the average American, I think people would be shocked at the low number.

Do computer books count? That probably falls under #1 - work - for us though.


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Katrina, in what countries have you lived? Just curious.


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Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
If anyone tabulated the number of nonfiction books read per year by the average American, I think people would be shocked at the low number.
I wonder if there is a correlation between relative affordability of electronic entertainment (TV, lots of TV channels, games consoles etc) and levels of reading. Perhaps Americans don't read much (I have no idea if that is true or not) because on average they have more distractions then countries where reading levels are higher.


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Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8710
    
    6

Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Considering that 20% of Americans are said to be unable to identify the U.S. on a world map or globe, I think it's not so much a disdain for foreign culture so much as a disdain for intellectual knowledge in general.


Shocking statistics about knowledge are hardly limited to Americans:
one in six British adults lacks the literacy skills of an 11-year-old

Daily Telegraph via Wikipedia

Take a gander at the distribution of IQ scores and you can see that 16% of the population will have an IQ of less than 85, and be challenged by anything outside the most mundane task.
(insert standard disclaimer about IQ as a measure of intelligence, knowledge and potentialhere)


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Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I wonder if there is a correlation between relative affordability of electronic entertainment (TV, lots of TV channels, games consoles etc) and levels of reading. Perhaps Americans don't read much (I have no idea if that is true or not) because on average they have more distractions then countries where reading levels are higher.
I have some anecdotal evidence. I know some Hassidic rabbis who do not permit television in their homes, and for reasons of modesty avoid anything that would cause them to hear the voice of a woman singing (or any music other than Jewish religious music, for that matter).

Their children are voracious readers.
 
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