Germans Can't See Forest of US Culture for the Trees

Media machine distorts view, author finds
By Michael Foreman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2008 3:20 PM CDT
Germans Can't See Forest of US Culture for the Trees
"A lack of culture is not our problem," argues Klosterman. "The problem is we've become too effective at distributing that culture."   ((c) marklarson)

German college students aren't impressed with American culture—they're not even sure it exists, author Chuck Klosterman finds at the outset of a teaching stint in Leipzig. "The proliferation of media has made it virtually impossible to tell the difference between a) what information is unilaterally interesting," Klosterman writes in Esquire, "and b) what information is merely available."

Klosterman tried to pare down his over-subscribed pop-culture class by asking students to write about the 20th-century American they find most interesting. "I used to think Richard Nixon and Ryan Adams had nothing in common, but I now realize I was wrong—they both share an equal potential to be randomly fascinating to Germans," he found. "There are no interesting 20th-century Americans. There can't be, because they all are." (More Chuck Klosterman stories.)

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