A Creepy Ad

The following ad keeps popping up in my blogroll and it just bothers me to no end:

Do people find it as creepy as I do? Would you feel the same if it were a man kissing a child on the lips? The slogan on the right of the photo also resembles the pedophiles’ motto of “We really care about kids” way too much. Altogether, this just looks disturbing to me.

The ad is for a restaurant chain that feeds kids disgusting garbage, which is why I don’t want to name it.

P.S. Now that I placed this nasty ad here, I can’t even look at the homepage of my own blog without shuddering.

Are Euro-teens Better Than American Teens?

As a European, I totally love it when certain self-hating Americans otherize Europe to present it as some beautiful Mecca where the sugar is sweeter, teenagers are all uniformly polite, and everybody looks like a supermodel. Here is a prime example of such a completely hilarious portrayal of the polite, intelligent and self-sufficient “Euroteens”:

I first noticed it at the boarding gate area at JFK airport in New York, waiting for the flight to Berlin. For some reason there were a lot of teenagers on the flight. They were Euro teenagers. They were distinct from American teens. The Euro-teens acted like civilized people with what can only be called a sense of decorum. They were not costumed like clowns, criminals, sports stars, or zombies. Every day is not Halloween for them. Being a person seemed enough for them, as though the human condition were an honorable state-of-being. There were no obese Euro-teens. They were not stuffing their faces with pizza, French fries, and cinnabons. They were not obsessed with texting or other cell phone demonstrations of their social status. They waited patiently through the boarding delay and appeared to enjoy each other’s company without impulsive demonstrations, tantrums, tears, fights, or fits.

I’m guessing that the author of this passage wanted to say something nice (albeit completely invented) about “Euro-teens.” To me, however, they sounded like obedient, patient little zombies who are completely devoid of any personality. Honestly, I’d take a normal, happy, pizza-chewing, glued-to-the-phone teenager over this sad parody of a Stepford teen any time of the day.

The good news, though, is that this description of European teenagers has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Every European teenager I have met as an educator, traveler and a European was just as much into pizza, texting, tantrums, social status and dressing outrageously as any regular American teenager. We all have heard of how these supposedly polite, non-impulsive and extremely mature young Brits raze the Spanish resorts to the ground whenever they descend on the coasts of Spain. We also have all heard about the ways in which German youths celebrate their country’s football wins. And many of us have observed the embarrassing tantrums the Spanish young people throw in hotels whenever they can’t get exactly what their fancy has suggested to them two seconds ago. I will also never forget a group of Dutch teenagers with whom I was unfortunate enough to share a hotel once.

The author of the post I linked to shares with the readers the following experience:

When I got to Europe seven hours later I found myself in a world of purposeful adults who take care of themselves and the place they live in.

I love Europe passionately but I keep finding myself living in a “world of purposeful adults who take care of themselves and the place they live in” right here in North America all the time. I wonder what the author of this weird piece is doing with his life to be constantly surrounded by mothers who call their small children “a motherfucker.”

The problem with generalizations is that they are offensive irrespective of whether you generalize negatively or positively. Europeans are not all supermodel-looking, invariably polite, smiling and responsible creatures. And it’s annoying to see one’s place of origin used by a disaffected American to project his unhealthy fantasies of what Europeans should be like. Europeans are human beings who have no interest in fulfilling self-hating dreams of every American tourist.

Visas for the Bandits

Among all the ridiculous measures our politicians are proposing to deal with the economic crisis, the following really stood out to me because of its sheer ridiculousness:

Two Senators have come up with a plan to boost the moribund U.S. housing market: Give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy a home in the U.S.

A report in The Wall Street Journal says Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) are preparing to introduce the idea as part of a larger package of immigration measures. The idea is to help make up for the lack of American buyers in the housing market, according to the report.

I can just imagine the joy that the Russian bandits will experience when they hear about this helpful policy. Until now, they’ve been hiding from the retribution for their crimes in London and Greece. How cool is it for them that now the US wants to open its doors hospitably to them? And how about all those drug overlords, mafia bosses, and corrupt politicians terrified that the justice system in their countries will catch up with them? This legislation will be a godsend for them because now they will be able to effectively buy themselves papers that will allow them to escape from justice in their countries. The influx of these criminals will do wonders for the United States.

A healthy alternative to this exercise in idiocy would be to distribute green cards to all people who completed their graduate degrees at US universities instead of kicking them out the second they graduate. Who needs all those smart high-earners, though? We can have criminals, mail order brides, lottery winners, and folks who managed to buy paperwork about how they have been religiously persecuted. Oh, this is so going to save the economy.

Do you think these senators are plain stupid, or are they being paid off by foreign criminals to promote this piece of legislation?

P.S. I just found a really wacky objection to this policy:

There’s an important caveat highlighted by Matt Yglesias: the housing visa doesn’t include a work visa. These new immigrants wouldn’t have the right to work here. Without jobs, what’s holding them here?

Yes, people who found a way to make half a million dollars in third world countries are really in a huge need of jobs. I can just imagine those criminals organizing their CVs and prepping for job interviews.

This is what happens when you project your own cultural hangups onto completely different cultures.