Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"The Culture Code" by Clotaire Rapaille

Wow, this guy has that French attitude down really well. My new coworker couldn't stop talking about this book, so I took it out of the library mostly to make her be quieter. So every day I would go home and read twenty pages or so, and then the next day I would come to work and talk about it, until she said to me "Look, I read that book over three days last summer. I didn't memorize it." Sorry.

There were some very silly things in this book. The author is a french guy who thinks of himself as an American, and I kept thinking he wasn't as American as he thought he was. Not all-American, anyway. The bits of stuff that people said in the "third hour interviews" sounded contrived and fake, as if perhaps CR had edited them for brevity, and whoever had been his editor had been afraid to touch them because they were "the real words of the interviewees". I was also annoyed that the people in them were defined solely by age and gender, as if those two things were the most important defining factors in their lives. He didn't really take into consideration any regional differences between Americans (I'm thinking of the New England vs. Atlanta type disparities, not even east coast-west coast or red state-blue state differences). He said that regional differences didn't show up, and I found that hard to believe. The sections about home, alcohol, food, and shopping were painfully obvious. And I've always disliked the PT cruiser, so he couldn't impress me with how he invented it.

At the same time, though, I found the sections about beauty, love, sex, and seduction depressingly accurate. And if you connect the idea that for Americans, perfection=dead, and beauty is about perfection, no wonder sex is about violence, and CR would not want to come back as an American woman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regional differences are irrelevant indeed, but that's exactly what most americans will not say about america (they all believe America is so diverse)). A trip to disney would convince anyone that no matter where they come from, americans are so identical, it's fascinating. Most people in the world always describe America in the same way no matter which state they visited. Read the hidden dimension by T.Hall