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USA compared to Other cultures
I would like to invite anyone who has lived outside the USA for a month or more, not as a tourist, to compare the cultures of the USA and the foreign country.  I lived in Brazil from 87-90 and it opened my eyes about my own culture.  I like to compare the experience to walking on the sidewalk outside your house while your family is visible, going about their lives as you watch.  The insight cannot be obtained by reading or discussing or attending a classs about your culture.  It has to be experienced directly as someone looking in from the outside.  Besides learning to speak Portuguese I learned to think or behave like a Brazilian.  It was like being an actor in a very long film project that required me to be in character for a very long time.  I was never the same after that.  For one thing I learned to see relationships with women very differently.  I learned to take on a more proactive role, to be more of a seducer, a pursuer, and at the same time to have a whole lot more respect for the power that a beautiful woman can wield.  I also learned about the overarching importance of Family and Friends, both with capital F's.  And that being "safe" is more about knowing where you are and how to act than it is about "laws" and lawyers and cops and rules.  I learned that all the rules and laws and order we have here results in a certain loss of joy, of spontaneity, of practicality....

This little tale will illustrate...  I was on a ferry boat that went from Salvador Bahia to a small island,,, it was a holiday, lots of folks in line, lots of delays.  Once all the passengers were aboard some guys with motorcycles were allowed to ride their bikes over a ramp and onto the boat.  The boat was huge, big enough for a hundred cars or more plus passengers.  The guys were showing off doing wheelies and the crowd loved it but one bike got away from the rider and he fell off.  The bike careened into a crowd and people were hurt.  The crowd grew very angry... I felt a riot was about to happen... I was sure I was in danger.  I looked up at the full moon and thought "what the hell have I done? I should never have come here"  Suddenly a group of people began playing guitars and hand drums.  The crowd instantly caught the energy and began singing and dancing.....The tension dissolved like salt in a glass of water.   I will never forget that night.
This will mainly be a short post of pointers (that's the effect of the story as I read it on this cold winter day). Mainly, I am surprised how little we have access to music as a way of educating or influencing the emotions in day to day American culture. Besides, that is, the obvious examples like dance music in clothing stores to get people excited about shopping. 
As for your question about cultures, Patrick, the discussion of Paris is relevant.
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Latest Post: January 27, 2010 at 3:14 AM
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