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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Sunday, June 29, 2008


So, I've been in Boston for two weeks, I've had my ups and downs (socially and professionally). I like the town. Too expensive, too fancy for my taste, but very chill anyway. Highly international, I was sitting in a coffee place yesterday with some Syrians (speaking Arabic) on one side, some Bulgarians on the other and me talking French with a Haitian girl on my phone. I like these things, this conglomerations of people from all over the place. Today, I played ball with three Iranians (who were pretty good, but some skinny white motherfucker from Germany killed everyone on that court) and some Spanish-talking guy. Sitting in a park yesterday, I noticed the amount of Americans walking by who most obviously have somekind of an ethnic background. While none of this really is anything new I just figured I should point it out again.

The United States is easily (becoming in any case) the only non-ethnic society of the world.

I saw a little league game yesterday, with both teams being Hispanic, black and white. I had a conversation with nice black British gentleman the other day who has been living here for 20 years is married to a white American and in a very evident manner has been accepted by his white step-son as the surrogate father. Please don't get me wrong, I realize that the US has a long way to go, that blacks and hispanics earn less, are less educated, less represented in power positions. But at the same time, the irrelevance of race has moved further here than any other place in the world that I know of, especially among children and with an eye towards the future isn't that all that really matters?

Just to piss of this Texan dirt farmer I know, the United States from my point of view is a post-modern society based on modern sentiments (Europe I would argue is the opposite, a modern society based on post-modern sentiments). As a disclaimer I should say that the definitions of post-modern and modern I use here are really personal, I am not up to date on the discussion of the concepts, I make up my own meanings so to speak. Anyway, what I mean is that the in the United States race is not as relevant as in Europe (Germany in any case, but with some exceptions in regard to France I think this is very generally applicable), making it a post-modern society not dominated by one homogenous people. The ironic thing about all this is that this society is based on concepts of nationalism of a pride in one's country that is far less existent in Europe (because of reasons of size, history, whatever), a very modern concept in the end that really should have left any validity with the Second World War.

But maybe the American society is schizophrenic in general, making this combination less bizarre than it seems at first glance (and one could of course argue that these two interact supporting one another (again, look at France)). Look at this country after all, I have never seen a place where truly gigantic (fat) people at least outwardly portray less shame at their weight (and why would they, I like that they do), yet at the same time I know no other place where more guys clearly take drugs to bulk up. A country where certain events are broadcast on TV with a three second delay in order to prohibit another nipplegate, but where girls going out might as well wear no top at all considering their cleavage. A country that has produced Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, Auster to name just a few, but where intellectualism is seemingly frowned upon. A country where the beer is light in order to preserve one's looks but one whose traditional food sources are greasy as fuck. Amazing the contrasts one can find here really.

Again, please don't misunderstand me. There a massive problems to deal with here, just bike along E Berkley anytime in the evening, go to the basketball courts of Dorchester, check out the bums on Newbury (and anywhere else), yet this racial post-modernity I find intriuiging, that's all I'm saying really.

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