26 May 2008

A Little Bit of America in Alemanya

Germany is the most Americanized European country I've ever been to. I held this as a faint idea two years ago, but now I am without doubt.

From the popularity of McDonald's, to the explosion of both hip-hop and emo/hipster pop culture, to the amount of cars roaming the cities, to the use of common kano idioms... there is a kind of familiarity that makes it easier yet a little less enchanting to travel around Germany. (Note that "enchantment" while travel is, however, overrated.)

Obviously, it still has more in common politically and linguistically with its neighbors. But this is the kind of thing that endless mountains of wurst cannot hide.

OMG Shopping Queen!

And hey, what do you know, there is a book about this whole phenomenon. Maybe the cultural invasion has its roots in the Americanization of the West Side of the Wall? Maybe the Wall intensified the aspirational pull of a drastically different model of living. I don't know.

Coming from a thoroughly Yanquified country myself, I find it interesting (yet frustrating) to always have this lens over my everyday perception of popular culture. It is painful because I consider American mainstream media to be of revolting quality, and I have a special discomfort with the ease with which it has exported itself. It sure doesn't make us less awesome as people, but it's a challenge and is something to think (and do something) about.

West Side of the Berlin Wallz yo

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