I explore the common attributes of American life that foreigners find weird, such as saying “how do you do”, tipping, being fat or driving in cars. We spend a bit on whether Americans are unnatural or not, and discuss whether some crazy foreigners want to kill us.
Here are my notes, no need to read just for search:
What’s weird about America
Admit it is not a collective, there’s different folks
Do I want to defend this list?
- “How are you?” and being too friendly.
- Alvin Tanasta, Indoneasia
- Extreme friendliness towards strangers. This is just plain weird for me. Looking at the barista talking to a customer like he has known him for years. Later when the same customer comes back, the barista is going to act like he hasn’t known him before, and a similar superficial conversation is going to happen again. Oh please no, don’t do that, just shut up and get your coffee. In addition, I find that “How are you?” is one of the most disturbing questions to answer ever. This question just does not have any meaning. No, you don’t want to know how I am doing. If it is just a way of being friendly or to greet, just say “Hello.” In most cultures, if you are asking a stranger “How are you?” They will think that you are a creep or maybe a pedophile if you are asking a child or teenager.
- Southerner’s handbook
- My take as America’s representative
- Generally good
- We could cut it out when it isn’t genuine
- I’ve seen it go overboard (toothpaste in WI)
- Is how do you do empathy? If it is default, Empathy and cheerfulness would be a boon for a free society. A great natural state.
- Freedom doesn’t require everyone to be angels, and since people aren’t we probably shouldn’t have a government where the non-angels can access force
- My take as America’s representative
- Their frustration
- I think I like tipping – having each transaction tied to performance is great. The further away from this mentality, the worse. Think about health insurance or school or college where you pay for things without regard to the transaction. It gets expensive and crappy.
- First, there’s rarely taxes involved. Waiters are taxed on a portion, assuming 8%
- Ron Paul’s tipping tax exclusion would’ve been great
- Not including taxes in prices
- Yea, we probably should
- Food portions
- Yea, they are right
- Hard to complain about getting too much, perceived value. Usually in the low and middle tiers oddly. Fancy restaurants don’t always stuff you
- You don’t have to eat it.
- Free refills of soda and coffee
- It was just too cheap to do, if I had to guess.
- Obesity for poor people, fitness for rich people
- A sign of anti-poverty
- The BIG/UBI people worry about starvation after tech takes our jobs. If we get massive technological unemployment, we’ll probably have to reengineer every seat and doorway in the country.
- This is just preference and our state of technology
- Dilution, get to crunch on them
- In the south, it’s not unusual to have a real ice machine
- Why not beer? Miller lite would probably work out well.
- Drinking tap water
- I guess this is good.
- Is this just customary, like how we would find eating a bug disgusting?
- Or is the rest of the world just in a state of Flint?
- We never really do the cost analysis of what potable water is costing us. It might make sense to only purify the water we drink.
- Return policies
- Is this free markets in their greatest form? Cooperation and sustainment over short term profits.
- I have a return policy, only have had to soup natzi one customer. That’s how back and forth goes.
- Customer service
- Same here. Businesses have service because they want to add value and have customers forever. We don’t want screwed over customers.
- No public transportation
- Well it’s a big country
- It kind of sucks
- PT and an ineffectiveness of government, or not giving the government a chance. The government took over the trains, the government built the highways.
- To hell with trains or buses. I want airbuses.
- Not seeing families very often
- Indian toilet paper
- Now here’s an idea I can get behind.
- Isn’t like half the sub-continent without running water?
- Metric system
- Not many gripes from the foreigners
- Probably should do it.
- Honestly think the world and the US is doing this wrong
- Patriotism, flags and the pledge
- This validates my nationalism podcast, it really is just us and North Korea
- Americans comment back that we never see them.
- Police brutality
Cristian Vidrascu – Nature vs. non-nature
Cristian Vidrascu, traveled to over 30 countries, multiple times
I find the American love-hate relationship with nature somewhat weird.
On one hand, people in the US cherish their natural parks, protect wildlife, and build and maintain nature trails. People take vacations in their wonderful parks, and generally refrain from leaving trash, disturbing the flora and fauna, or otherwise disrespecting their nature. They often go to the beach, and enjoy clean water and clean sand.
On the other hand, in everyday life, people avoid anything natural like the plague.
Any food ingested must be as unnatural as possible:
- Coca Cola and other chemical-laden liquids loaded with sugar or corn syrup have replaced water for many people
- if water is consumed, it must be loaded to the brim with ice
- Raw milk (the type that comes directly from cows) is illegal in most states
- apples and other fruits are polished with chemicals for a shiny look (taste and health effects are lower priorities)
- tomatoes and many types of produce have been bred out of existence, and replaced by genetically similar plants devoid of any taste
- meat is injected with chemicals before being sold
- certain staples of human nutrition (such as animal organs) have disappeared from the typical American diet (chicken liver is the only exception)
Lifestyles have evolved to avoid any interaction with nature:
- office buildings are built with windows which can never be opened (fresh air is to be avoided at all costs)
- the workday keeps most people inside during daylight hours (there is a commonly held belief in the US that sunlight is dangerous)
- people work sitting in an unnatural position for most of the workday
- lunchtime for people in the workforce is usually limited to half an hour or an hour, for very speedy eating (and no time for digestion/rest/nap)
- human movement is something that is done at specific intervals (exercise sessions) but otherwise avoided
- air conditioning is ubiquitous, in almost all seasons – again, keeping people completely separated from nature’s temperature and humidity for that particular day
- laws in most jurisdictions severely discourage walking, or any other natural means of locomotion
- the sun (and sunlight in general) is portrayed as the enemy – it’s seen as responsible for cancer rather than vitamin D, increased bone strength, better mood, and life; people generally avoid it, or block its rays with sunscreen
- people with houses often have only one type of vegetation (called a lawn) and are forced by law to keep it trimmed; no wildflowers or weeds are allowed to grow
- outdoor seating at restaurants is restricted (partially by consumer choice, partially by laws)
- clothes, cleaning supplies, detergents, hygiene products and many household products are laden with chemicals, and few are made at home (with known components)
Part of this phenomenon is cultural (maybe nature was a tough thing to conquer during the early settlement days, and left some sort of trauma in the collective American psyche) and part is social engineering, through laws (the creation of the suburb, food laws, building codes, or standardized working conditions).
ISIL and Sam Harris
Read the article
Play the conclusion
Wrong though (armchair analysis):
- The US death cult without philosophy
- 1700 year old tradition
- We awoke the balrog!
- We’ve already got the signal to come over, it was 9/11
- There is an army of muslims
- There was an army of muslims keeping them at bay, it was called Saddam Hussein.
- They needed to find a shit hole that was destabilized
- Indoctrination of crazy needs the kind of trama that comes with having your family blown to bits by a bomb.
- They aren’t doing that well to the world domination goal
- Most muslims, even the crazy ones like hezbolla, al keida, Taliban aren’t on board
- Their weapons are from the west
- Their primitivism is counter productive to the goal of being militarily great
- Let them have it, there’s already shia law countries
- We’re just going to waste money and kill people
- If we want to help, help the refugees get out, send the crazies some good literature. Maybe Tony Robbins can ask them about their parents. Or we can send some beatles records, or my little pony to the girls. Maybe Issac’s new book “don’t do things you hate”