Tag Archives: culture

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Whenever You’re Ready

re-educationSo Charlottesville happened. Trump is to blame. But he was elected president; all those who voted for him are therefore to blame. Everyone could see this coming from the beginning. It was 100% predictable. The fascist marches in the streets, the gun nuts out in force, everyone who isn’t a red-blooded white American male the target.  And Trump doing nothing to discourage any of it. Continue reading

Table Manners

image: pinterest.com

image: pinterest.com

How do you eat a salad? How do you cut your steak?

In Holland, I learned to eat with knife and fork, the European way. Holding your knife in your right hand, in a certain way, and your fork in your left hand, in a certain way. The cutting or folding of leaves happens just so and you keep your knife an fork in your hands the whole time you’re eating. Not just with salads, anything that isn’t finger food. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Let’s Put This into Perspective

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

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Anything Helps 1: Hillbilly Steve

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Texas Politeness and One of My Rare Better Moments

(Photo: farmwars.info)

One thing I’ve learned is the difference between Dutch politeness and Texan politeness.

To A Texan, being polite is not just a matter of saying please and thank you, holding the door open for the person coming behind you, not belching loudly at the dinner table, etc. It also means avoiding embarrassing someone. Continue reading

American International Dissociation and the Melting Pot

Cartoon by O’Farrell

One of my readers asked me a while ago to give my take on the apparent ambiguity between the American “melting pot” diversity and America’s dissociation from the rest of the world.  Well, here it is.  My take. I’m fully aware that I’m generalizing the heck out of this, but the question itself is generalizing, so that makes it totally okay. Continue reading