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  1. #1

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    American Life, from a Russian Perspective

    A Russian writer wrote a book about Americans (ordinary, suburban-type Americans) for the edification of Russians. I found the article about it fascinating. (Just like we don't think we have accents, how easy it is to think that the way we do something is normal, when to someone from a different culture it might look very strange indeed.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/wo...-minutiae.html

    Any Russian-speaking FSU'ers read it?

  2. #2
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    I love the bit about the Wrigley's gum advertisements.

  3. #3
    aspiring tri-national
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    I would like to read Tinami's review.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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    “You can’t suddenly show up at a friend’s house in the middle of the night with a bottle of vodka, to talk over your problems and seek support,”

    Well, you can, but be prepared for me to fall asleep on you!

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    I'd love to read that book.

    A lot of what he says are things that I can relate to, especially when you arrive to the US from a very close knit culture, which completely hinges on "family".

  6. #6

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    Fascinating article. I'd love to read the book too.
    'Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.'--John Wayne

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    I would like to read Tinami's review.
    Me too.

  8. #8
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    I would love to read this. I think it's importent for me to understand how my customs are seen by people outside my country.
    If this is to end in fire
    Then we will all burn together

  9. #9
    engaged to dupa
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    Can't find it on Amazon for some reason.
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

  10. #10
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    At least I would hope Russians, being from a country that size, would not have the issue some western Europeans do when they get here--not grasping the size of things. Of course New Englanders sometimes have the same problem (this is Michigan-you can drive six hours and over a major bridge and STILL be in the same state.)

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    At least I would hope Russians, being from a country that size, would not have the issue some western Europeans do when they get here--not grasping the size of things. Of course New Englanders sometimes have the same problem (this is Michigan-you can drive six hours and over a major bridge and STILL be in the same state.)
    I think that a lot of New Englanders are well aware of the differential of "size" for various states. After all, several of them border on New York, which isn't exactly miniscule (driving across on the thruway took quite a while, iirc).

    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    Can't find it on Amazon for some reason.
    The NYT article didn't have any links to the book -- perhaps it's not available in the U.S. I'm assuming that it is written in Russian, not English, as well. I could be wrong about that, but if true, then that would greatly reduce its marketability in the U.S.
    Last edited by skatingfan5; 12-12-2012 at 04:38 PM.
    Lady 2: there isn't anything about me on goooogle, I mean, I must take it off if there is.....
    Lady 3: The google is a terrible thing, I mean I don't want anything on there! (Overheard by millyskate on a London train.)

  12. #12
    Choice is an illusion
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    Even twelve hours ride won't take you out of the region where I live you will be just approaching it's borders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alixana View Post
    “You can’t suddenly show up at a friend’s house in the middle of the night with a bottle of vodka, to talk over your problems and seek support,”
    I wonder how many times he tried before he was able to take this as an established fact.


  14. #14
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    Cul-de-sac translates in Russian as tupik — a word that evokes vulnerability and danger, a dead end with no escape.


    America is so big and I've lived from one end to the other and people are so different depending on the region. I'm not sure one could generalize America without seeing the country/its people from end to end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarFarAway View Post
    Even twelve hours ride won't take you out of the region where I live you will be just approaching it's borders.
    So when you visit the US you need to come to Texas so you'll feel right at home. Don't come in mid-summer though.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarFarAway View Post
    Even twelve hours ride won't take you out of the region where I live you will be just approaching it's borders.
    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    So when you visit the US you need to come to Texas so you'll feel right at home. Don't come in mid-summer though.
    This reminds me of a joke I heard when I was growing up.

    An Italian and a Texan happened to meet, and the Texan was describing how vast his state was.

    "In Texas," said the Texan proudly, "You can get on a train early in the morning and travel all day and still be in Texas!"

    "We have trains like that in Italy too," said the Italian, "but we don't brag about them."

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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    America is so big and I've lived from one end to the other and people are so different depending on the region. I'm not sure one could generalize America without seeing the country/its people from end to end.
    That's true, but we Americans do that all the time to others - as does everyone really. It's hard not to. Even if this view isn't complete, it's better than thinking that we all live like the folks they see from our TV shows.

    Some of the comments made me chuckle. The one about alcohol consumption, the one about how as immigrants come, there may be a shift into more grandparents taking care of the grandkids, but most especially, one about Russian men with American wives.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post


    America is so big and I've lived from one end to the other and people are so different depending on the region. I'm not sure one could generalize America without seeing the country/its people from end to end.
    Even then, I'm not sure you could generalize a country like the US. I was born and raised in Southern California. I still get culture shock every time I fly with the BF to visit his parents in Minnesota. Our families couldn't be more culturally different if they tried.

    America has such a diverse mix of culture and people that I don't think you can classify it as one thing or another. IMO

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