Sunday, October 17, 2004

No Culture...Not Bad!

"I am also informed that coupled with the religious fervor is the ‘dangerous fact that America, Carol, has no culture to speak of, and that is a lethal mix.’ "

--playwright/documentary filmaker Carol Gould in The Guardian.

American playwright Carol Gould shares some thoughts about being an American Jew abroad today. There are lots of stories to cringe at and frusterate in this article, but this one interested me in particular.

It's funny to me that having spent some time in London, I came back looking forward to all the culture in America. Not just the variety of amazing cinema this country has to offer (far better in quality, quanity, and diversity than the generally weak British film production of which there is little) at affordable prices (expect to pay at least 15 American dollars for one ticket there) but also the little things that make one think "culture" such as getting on a bus and not having tons of drunk people harass you and if this does happen in America, it's generally looked down upon instead of seen as "charming" which I promise you it is not. Also England might have better theater(well, at least they have more of it) but then again, theater is almost always either boring or else, tacky. I passed by the theatre doing the Rod Stewart Musical everyday on my way to classes. A large gold idol of Stewart stood on top of the marquee. Ben Elton, who wrote the musical, had several other productions going along in London at the same time (including one for Queen). Yeah, culture...whatever.

Very very bad theater and very drunk people using public transportation. Now that's what I call a lethal mix.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Molly, your (kosher sausage) links don't work--not to Crescat or to the Guardian in your earlier post. Could you fix these? Thanks.

Alex B. said...
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Alex B. said...

Just wondering, as a non-American non-Jew: how is being an American Jew abroad different from being an American abroad? Does feeling the need to distinguish 'American Jew' from 'American' imply that America is a Christian nation and that Jews are, well, not completely American? Or am I just being a complete parano who doesn't really understand America?

It seems to me like this is another of these "only in the U.S." things. Here in Canada, we hardly say "Canadian Jews"; we mostly refer to them as Canadians. Same thing in France: Jews are "Français", not really "Juifs français". Am I wrong?

Phoebe said...

I thought French Jews were called, "francais, d'origine juive."

And being an American Jew abroad can be a blessing or a curse. You are considered to be part of the conspiracy running the Bush administration, but, if you're small, dark-haired, and from New York (not all American Jews are, obviously), you look less stereotypically "American"...

Molly said...

anonymous - I'm sorry if the links didn't work for you but I just checked and they worked...I don't know what happened.

Eh, I merely said American Jew because that's what she was talking about a bit in the article, as it seemed to me. I'm not sure if it's a big difference nowadays in as much as anyone perceives someone as Zionist. There's a general assumption that the terms Jew and Zionist are interchangeble but that is of course, not true but I think more likely to happen in Europe than here. For example, I was in London when Bush visited and after awhile I stopped counting how many anti-Bush signs also involved swastikas and Jewish stars.

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing that unites Europe (and I assume it is worse in France and in Germany than in Britain), then it's hatred against America (i.e. Israel/Jews, i.e Nazis - European logic.)

Alex B. said...

Anonymous: there has indeed been a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe recently, but you are definitely pushing it too far by asserting that Europe hates America and/or Jews.

Phoebe: you're right, the French will often say "Français de confession juive" to speak of their Jewish community. But then, they use the same expression in evoking their Catholic, Muslim and Protestant communities.