Americans like Germans(?)

Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Americans like Germans(?)

In a 1964 trave essay, VS Pritchett wrote about Americans:

"Food is very German; technology and efficiency are German; higher education--with its great influence--is basically German; the brightness, workableness and cleanliness of American homes is German. Americans, like Germans, live by the will. Even a certain emotionalism, a certain aggressiveness, a self-torment and modesty are German."

I was wondering how others would react to this.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 12:16 PM
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I guess it all depends on which part of the US Mr Pritchett visited. It certainly doesn't sound like the South.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 02:10 PM
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He wrote (in that same essay) that "the Texan is the nearest thing to a European the United States can supply. He could easily come from Barcelona."

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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 03:15 PM
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Well, since Americans are, with the exception of Native American "Indians," originally from SOMEPLACE else...and it was predominantly Europeans who settled America...I'd say many Americans are much like Germans -- especially around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We're also like Swedes and Norwegians (or at least it used to be so) in Nebraska, Iowa and North Dakota. Hey, there's lots of Irish-Americans in Boston, and Portugese in Maine...but probably more importantly, the world, and not just America, has changed incredibly since 1964. So, I'm not certain of the relevance of Mr Pritchett's essay anymore. As a snapshot of time and place and opinion it is interesting. Sort of like reading Thomas Jefferson's impressions of the French.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 03:40 PM
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If Mr. Pritchett had gazed up at the sky and seen a cloud that suggested to him the shape of a horse: had he then gone on to write that horses are like clouds (or vice versa), I would conclude from this that Mr. Pritchett had a very active imagination.

However, I wouldn't count on him to teach me much about clouds or horses - or Americans or Germans.
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