Studman's Soapbox

Surfing the vacuous void of disabled in the media

Placebostudman

Placebostudman
Location
Stow, Ohio, USA
Birthday
December 14
Title
Resident Smart Ass
Company
Self employed
Bio
WELCOME TO A CRIPPLE'S WORLD From here on out, this blog will carry regular contributions by the author (me), concerning how and where the disabled are inaccurately portrayed, or more often than not, simply ignored by the media. Please feel free to read my previous posts, as this is something of a "stream of consciousness" blog, and one entry very well may, and often does depend on what has already been said. Please be aware, I am un-PC, a bit of a smart ass, and as Rodney Dangerfield said in "Back to School" "I don't take shit from nobody" :-D If the things said here offend you, then so be it. I am a strong minded, strong willed man with an opinion. However, my opinion can and does change over time, as I mature and learn more about the world. So, if you are in the mood to argue, or see something you disagree with, bring it on. Just be forewarned that what I consider "offensive" is not what the rest of the world may find offensive, and vice versa. Okay? Okay. photo is "extreme sitter" Aaron Fotheringham, who can be seen on Youtube or his website, AaronFotheringham.com, where he performs many of his wheelchair skate ramp tricks

MARCH 2, 2010 10:13AM

Americans are boring: Where's the passion?

Rate: 13 Flag


In my travels and experiences in other countries, experiencing other cultures, I've come to the conclusion that Americans are decidedly boring.

And, perhaps more to the point, it's not so much the fact that we're boring, it's that we have no passion. Sure, there is passion surrounding The Super Bowl, or The World Series, or Stanley Cup perhaps, but those are annual events that, in my humble opinion, water down one another, when compared cross sports.

Superbowl celebration  

(super bowl post game celebration....YAWN)

Ie they're all the same.

No, the place where we lack the most passion is in our celebration and our mourning. And, in some countries, I swear it's sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Take, for example, the country of Bali. When a person in Bali dies, the ENTIRE village unifies and builds a funeral pyre, which they carry through the streets to its inevitable place where it will be consumed by fire as an offering to The Gods.

Bali 
(Balinese Funeral Procession)


This happens, as well, in places like India where families gather, build a funeral pyre and chant and dance while the deceased is cremated.

Even staunchly conservative Ireland performs an Irish Wake, where people laugh and sing and lament the deceased, usually accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

GuinessBeer 

(self explanatory Irish Wake accoutrements)

Then, on the flip side of the mourning/celebration coin, we have weddings. We've all by now I suspect seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Bend it Like Beckham. While both of these movies may be exaggerations of what occurs in Greek or Indian culture around weddings, having been to a few Greek celebrations, I can say that these depictions aren't that far from the truth.

 In India, when the couple marries, the woman's hands are painted with a Henna artwork, intended to symbolize that her role in the marriage has been fulfilled. She is not supposed to do any domestic housework while the Henna design remains on her hands. The groom is often brought in, escorted by his family, on a horse or an elephant as if he were a king.

IndianWeddingSet 
(indian wedding party)


What is it with Americans? Why are we so disconnected from our emotions? What has happened that we as a culture, don't know how to celebrate or mourn?

Where is OUR passion?

 

**Special thanks to fellow OS'er Eden Simone for helping me with this post! :-)

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Ever been to an Irish or Italian funeral? Try it sometime. A good time is had by all.
I've been to an Irish funeral/wake, and yeah, it is much more of an enjoyable experience than you would imagine for an American funeral
Who, in their right mind, would get excited about getting married?
I have to respectively disagree with you Placebo. In my travels to other lands and my experiences with other cultures I have found that we are not boring or without passion, we are merely different.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Maybe that is why many Americans see their country as boring and their people lacking in passion. Unfamiliar customs of different countries seem ever so much interesting mainly because they are so different from what we are use to. Personally I have found interesting people and loads of passion all over this country, in every state, from coast to coast. Sometimes you just have to look a little closer. R.
Mike-

LOL

Torman-

No doubt there are people and areas of the country where they show passion in their celebration and their mourning rituals, but I wonder if those are the norm for the country? Take, for example, the HBO series, Six Feet Under, about a family who owned a funeral parlor. They weren't depicting the examples of celebration around death that I've seen in other countries. All the depictions were somber occasions, mourning, not celebrating the death of a loved one.
I think wakes sound like a good old time! And I so badly want to attend an Indian wedding. But who cares about the bride and groom- I'm only about the food and music!

R.
Who knows, we show our passions differently but I wouldn't say that we are without them. I got around a bit myuself anad find that those ethnic groups will do their level best to do what their cultures demanded of them in their home lands. So we find that we hold so many of those cultures as a part of our and that would seem to give us those elements as our own as well. Then on the other hand I'm part of that Hibernian group and we are all nuts.
K.

Heh, I'm with you on that one. Besides, I'd probably be too busy eyeing the groom for myself LOL

Bob-

It's true, Americans do tend to try to hold onto their heritage and customs in many ways, and that does add to the passion that is felt in those communities, but as a whole, as Americans, why do we depict funerals as deathly somber occasions, and even weddings as rather reserved events? It seems to me that lately, American culture is scaling down its passion, not scaling it up. That may have something to do with the economy, I admit, but I think it's also part of the American cultural psyche that is preventing us from breaking out and really partying hearty as many other cultures do
coming from my little south american country and living in the US, funerals and wakes or the days leading up to weddings were a big shocker for me.

whenever someone dies, from that night until the day of the funeral (which is usually 5-7 days) people from the village, even friends who've migrated to other countries travel back to play dominoes, various card games, sing songs, drink alcohol, juice, tea or coffee, eat a ton of food & talk until the wee hours of the morning every night until the funeral.

weddings are usually colorful, the night before a queh-queh is held and the same celebration occurs. lots of singing, dancing, eating, etc etc.

same goes for the birth of the babies.

9 days later there is another celebration.

i've chalked it up to cultural differences. and when placed in comparison with each other, i can understand why you would think america is boring.
Renatta-

Bingo! You nailed it precisely. It's a cultural difference of community and gathering. It doesn't have to be a wild raucous party like Mardi Gras, but to make it a one day event, and so somber just seems like...I dunno, it's just damn depressing to me
We save all our passion for watching television. Americans get passionate about AMerican Idol, Tiger Woods getting laid too often and the latest story about someone going nuts somewhere. Americans watch life, few live it. I wish you could attend one of the Pow-WOws put on around here by the Nez Perce Indian tribe. There is passion, happiness and music. We are becoming more and more passive; hell people don't even dance much anymore. We had dances every weekend. Oh, sorry got to go, there is some breaking news on CNN--Sarah Palin and her husband Todd got caught screwing on a snowmachine, I can't miss that!
Spud-

No kidding. We are 3rd hand experiencers of life. We don't want to live, we want to live vicariously through the actions and words of others. Just another case of the "thank God it's not me" syndrome
The main difference between American celebrations and other cultures' celebrations is the way we pay for those celebrations. Simply put, it costs more, in real money, to put up a big wedding here. I've never seen anyone hold a huge wake, the way I've seen them done in my childhood, so I'm not even sure of what to say in that respect. Weddings, as I remember, were sometimes two day affairs, with two hundred invitees, partying into the night, food available at all times and the neighbors weren't bothered because they were all at the wedding. No one worried about occupancy or noise ordinance (there were none if I remember correctly.) Try and have a 48-hour wedding at your house, with the all the requisite music, dance, drunks, and hullabaloo - you simply can't. On the other hand American weddings are very highly choreographed with many requisite elements so there's very little spontaneity. It makes for beautiful photography but not much else. The real exuberant celebration is reserved for a small group of close friends' of the groom and bride's who generally converges at someone's house and party it up with joy and abandon. I had come to think of these after-wedding celebrations as the real McCoy and I enjoy them tremendously.
If I told my family I want them to party when I die, they'd think I was a sicko in need of a straight jacket. I'd rather have no funeral than one of those somber, sobbing events. That is NOT how I want to be remembered. Cripes, light me on fire and send me floating away on the water, or sprinkle my ashes in the forest or blow them into the wind. I do not want to be stuck into a hole while people watch and cry. No, no, no.

And on the topic, why the heck do we always have to talk about the rainbow bridge and cry when a pet dies?
helaina-

You're right, it's as if we're putting a price on joy. As if there is a limited surplus of it and we need to save it up for...for what, I don't know.
Boomer-

Frankly, I want to be cremated and smoked along with some "good green", but I hear that's not exactly the smartest idea. Short of that, I'll be creamted at my local cremat-o-mart, and HOPEFULLY (if we can get the proper permits) be buried in London or Istanbul. And I have no idea about the rainbow bridge and pets
Sandy-

I disagree. The worst are Catholic weddings. I swear, the last Catholic wedding I went to (and I'm not Catholic so I had no idea what to expect) was something out of Richard Simmon's "Sweating to the Oldies", where the priest would say or do something, and the Catholics in the crowd would follow his direction like a religious game of "Simon Says" LOL
i think one problem is the disconnection between people here in the States. we are a large country geographically. families members often live far away from one another.

this happened with us: not one of my brothers could be bothered to drive 7 hours to come when cait died. 2 sent cards and one sent an e-mail condolence. since we didn't have a funeral not one of them even sent flowers to the home.

it was the 4 of us all thru her battle and the 3 of us after.

all my friends had been met thru the hospital where their own kids were fighting cancer. afterwards i was left with no one outside us 3 and one best friend who was there thru everything even tho she too lived far away.

FEA has become my own battle cry...
Well, we're pretty damned good at bickering!!!! (r)
K8-

Certainly geography does play a part in the inability for family to come together and properly mourn a loss, or celebrate a nuptial union, but even in cases where the family is close knit and everyone is in attendance, the mood and atmosphere remains depressing and dark.

The point is, we seem to mourn death, not celebrate life, in all its forms, and as death is a natural part of life, I believe personally that it should be at least respected if not celebrated, rather than shunned.

I'm talking something as simple as, what would MOST (and of course there are exceptions) families do, if the deceased were to insist that NO ONE wear black to a funeral, or if a bride were to request that she and her bridesmaids wore black wedding dresses (Caroline! :-) )
Clark-

Maybe TOO good for our own good!
i am currently working on a piece about how Americans do not like grief. in this feel-good-at-all-costs mindset, where a smile is worn like a badge of honor, broken hearts don't set well...
K8-

Oooh, let me know when that appears, and if you need any other references, look me up!
Pass the Guiness! I guess I hang out with a wild crowd because we have had some pretty passionate wakes. No, we don't pay for keeners to grieve for us and we only spend $40.000+ on weddings (which is beyond my comprehension). I must admit, the wedding I attended in Prague was the most elegant and passionate. The bride and groom walked from their limo across the square to the Old Bell Tower for the reception. Everyone on the square cheered and laughed and smiled with the couple. P.S. the marriage lasted three years.
Rainee-

Hmmm...I don't know, my first reaction is to cringe when you said the wedding was "elegant and passionate". I certainly wouldn't call the weddings from other cultures I've seen and been to "elegant and passionate", I'd call them raucous chaotic parties...Greeks have dancing on chairs and dancing circles, we have The Funky Chicken
Good point Placebo. Let their be passion everywhere. Much love to you.
Jill-

Thanks :-) you too
I won't go to "funerals" because they are so...rigidly ugly. That is why I had a sunset celebration for my husband, we sang "For he's the jolly good fellow..." toasting the sunset ...in fact I did it twice.

Weddings...it depends, but no big ones anymore, nobody remembers anything anyway...unless there is humor caused by someone's pain, then I cringe.
Buffy-

you're right. Weddings and funerals both have just become so stale, precise, and practiced. In the world of wedding planners, we have turned spontaneous celebrations of momentous occasions into competitions, can we do things within the allotted time, and within the alloted budget, not how much fun can we have
Loved this post and I totally agree. Americans seem to have a manufactured sort of passion for all the wrong things.

Having grown up surrounded by the spirit and passion of the Greek community I'm often left wondering...where's the damn spirit in America? Where's the sense of community? We each exist like seperate planets in our own little worlds. We work too much. We watch TV, we are boring as a people!

As for somber funerals: In May we will be holding a ceremony to celebrate my father's life. We opted not to even have a funeral. Who wants to be that painfully sad during such a contrived "ceremony" that is lacking in any real spirit? Not me.

I am very passionate by nature but I find that here in America a sheep like demeanor is preferable to the masses. Yuck.

Great post. Wish I could've helped more but, damn, I barely have two minutes to myself at night anymore.

ox
Eden-

Your contribution was perfect. You're the one who helped me decipher the fact that I was thinking about passion in terms of our boringness.

And, seriously, I'm tempted to just refer everyone else who responds to this to your comment, because you said it so eloquently!

Thanks! ~HUG~
I think television stole the American soul, and the mainstream media ate all the scraps. We're so gobsmacked by the sensationalizing, the faux electronic reality,the hallmark heart thieves that we wonder around like zoned out zombies thinking that there, over there, is where it's all happening.
Gail-

That could be. It is interesting to see the difference between typical American TV and the TV I've seen from other countries. They may even watch as much tv as we do in some places, but the quality of their media is higher, IMHO
I admit I enjoy big Irish funerals much more than weddings.
Stellaa-

Did you even read the post? I was referring specificallyto how Americans seem to be reserved in our expressions of passion, when it comes to celebrations and tragedies, weddings and funerals in this case.

Sure, all cultures have a certain level of mindless gossip and that is extremely boring, but that has nothing to do with the fact that we don't know how to properly express our emotions
Grandma-

They can, indeed, be interesting if you're not used to them!
Red Stocking GrandMa? Ask dear Stellaa to pay attention?
A Ball Bearings topic is essential if Ya Snowblower broke.
I am grump because MD Amy joined the hate Army DOD.

She deleted my kind comment ref Yellow limo snowplow.
If people delete, Nature say YOU a pernicious MD quack.
She needs a date in India at a WAKE and help bury dead.

I was at funeral pyres in India. It takes 3- hours of poking.
That's If you are cremated after a devastating Earthquake.
Great read.
burn incense.
I still have some.
I may burn some today.
Good question/comments. It really takes a long while to cremate a body, naturally. I was there in India post he 1993 QUAKE and then 28,000 human-beings were crushed. Rural gravity laid, stone walls shook like a baby cradle.
Stones and wood beams fell.
The 4.3 Richter scale-measured a QUAKE that happened at 4-AM when rural villagers were sound asleep. I've quite a few hundred photographs. I worked as a burial-duty helper with the good humanitarian group that practices kindness, and educational- PROUT.
Google?
The humanitarians were called Ananda Marga. I think they have a web site?
I hope this spiel don't make anyone cranky. MD AMY? QUACK IF NOT? WHY?
SO NASTY?

o healer huh?
pure baloney.
pink hogwash.
oh hiccup huh.
She is NO Aunt Mae who is NO on a post office Wanted Poster. I need to send geezer64 a promised poem book. I procrastinate.

I'm way behind again.
My snowblower broke.
Where is our passion?
I do not think folk are broke, boring, and half-dead pre-croaked-Quacks? I think people are fascinating. I recall St. Francis saw a pig snout? He still saw potential beauty. I love Stellaa and Hope She NO be irked? okay.
She interesting.
She's a natural.
True physician.

Folk are who?
Who they are.
wild journey.
Art-

Intriguing as always!
I got a lot of passion in my home. Of course, that's due to my hubby. He's Italian, third generation.
Gwendolyn-

Woohoo...I can only imagine...hehehe
From an outsider... Americans do get passionate about things. Just different things. The rest of the world always watches your elections with great interest, not just because we may or may not be interested in the outcome, but because of all the drama and passion around it. The crowds, the cheering, the crying, the last-minute revelations, the balloons, the backstabbing, the breakdowns. Utterly amazing. There is no equivalent in any democracy anywhere - unless there happens to be a revolution going on that year.
Ruth-

The reason for that, of course, is the fact that in America, Politics IS a blood sport
The point is, it's passionate stuff.