Global Shift    (Check out the vid of the Voyager voyaging)

Globalism’s one colour fits all approach is becoming more and more evident in the patchwork of the EU. Years ago I might have expected my Dutch friends to scold me in English that I should learn more languages. In Germany I would have been surprised to find two or three people out of ten that could work an English diphthong. Now not only do eight of ten people have the skill to say,” Dude, you are eating way too many Snackinfredas!” they also know how to order at Starbucks ‘Ich, bin eine Duplio mit the extra whipped cream’. People from the tip of Estonia to somewhere in western Romania have a firm grip on the 21st c. and that grip appears courtesy of Sports Check and Disney.

What I’m getting at is that the battle between evolved national culture and the drive to create culture from the need to make us all into the same consumers is moving forward at a breakneck pace. As I sit here in Bonn looking out a cafe window there is not much to differentiate kids coming home from school from those who walk down the snowbanks from Wolseley School or Laura Secord. Fashions (with the exception of snow suits) and visual cues are very similar. -A gang of three jostles each other as they head to the McDonald’s on the corner – The same is true with jokes. Mass culture has shaped what we consider funny and now that globalism has drifted television and movies across the world, someone in Germany or Morocco understands ‘get over it’ from the Soprano’s, the irony of Honey Boo Boo, or that you don’t want to be kicked off the island.

The evidence of the move to unicuture is all around. True, Germany is stronger than most with a highly developed domestic brand culture, film industry and music scene. The shift is in the style of clothes that are less European and more Chicago, the music that is more LA and the food that is more burger, less schnitzle.

Thanks be to Vishnu for beer. The brew is a stalwart of culture that has near nationalist undertones. Consider Köln where Kolsch rules the roost. Kolsch is a light hoppy Pilsner-style brew(4.8 per cent) that comes in thin 6 oz glasses. Citizen clink the bottoms and pound them back. If you are a fan of Gaffle or Sion, don’t show your face at bars where patrons drink Reisdorf or Früe. In Dusseldorf, just a few miles up the river Alt beers are all the range. “Where should I go if I just have one day to see the city,” I asked a couple who had stopped by my friend Han’s house for some of his free advice. “You must go to the Bierstadt and drink our Alt beer,” they said almost in unison with an undisguised pride. I didn’t go, but I did drink lots of Alt (this is the beer Belgians would brew if they were German) and I can attest that Frankenheim is awesome.

Is beer culture real culture? Of course and I hope to find more of it. Glad that the Millers and Buds have not been able to chip away at the true bedrock of European civilization – its beer. Think I’ll just grab another Snackinfreda and a cool Kolsch. Here’s to culture – popular or not. Cheers!

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