Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Party Culture

I like going to parties here because they become little lessons about Norway and Europe. More than at school or work, after a few beers people at parties are quite a bit more open about their feelings on politics, America, Eurocentrism, globalism, the French, etc.

One of the things I've noticed at parties is just how much of our culture we Americans export. This is old news, but I find it odd to be at a party and hear people quoting lines from The Sopranos in perfect Jersey-accented English before they slip back into their native Norwegian, German, Spanish.... This begs the question then, given the apparent ubiquity of American culture, do Americans have any responsibility for the media content that we not only consume, but also export to millions all around the world? My gut reaction is yes, I think we do.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I know I haven't posted in quite some time, but I saw this and wanted to know if anyone else noted something odd (besides the fact that the Flaming Lips are always this way).

Flaming Lips - Fight Test

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Dogooders beware

I've been looking at volunteering with an NGO while I'm in Norway. I think it would be a good way to use some of the free time that I have to get involved with something that I think is important. While researching some possibilities I came across organizations which work for human rights in the following locations:

It's quite possible that working with one of these organizations might involve travel to one of these places. I balked. Not because I am hesitant to travel to a potentially dangerous place, though that is certainly something I would have to carefully consider. Not because I would be concerned about returning to Norway and would have to explain why I traveled to one of these places. No, it's because I'm an American and I fear, rightfully or otherwise, the potential harassment I would receive when I return home. How sad is it that I fear my own government more than the governments of foreign countries who really owe me nothing?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Naomi Wolf, via the Guardian
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law