Thursday, January 29, 2009

Patriot! Red Scare!

So I have a flashback to when my main character immigrated to the USA. And I was trying to think what would strike a new immigrant about this country. I don't mean the geography or weather or even the language: I mean, what would strike a German (or Pole or Chinese) as peculiarly American about these people he was suddenly surrounded by.

And of course, this has to go down in one chapter, so it kind of has to be boiled down to a couple key points. And this is taking place at the height of Red scare, white bread, suburbia America in 1956.

So I thought these thoughts would probably go through his mind:

Americans really like cleanliness and efficiency (as a German, he feels right at home).

Americans really don't like authority and intimidation and people marching around with guns (as a German, he finds this kind of refreshing, but also wonders how the trains can possibly run on time, with such a lax attitude).

Americans are scared to death of Communism, or foreigners in general (as a German, he can identify with that feeling).

Americans feel supremely confident, almost vain and arrogant, about what their country stands for - not who they are, ethnically or racially, but their "way of life" (this fills him with awe at an attitude he really can't understand as a non-American).

For regular readers: bonus points if you can identify the exemplar of attitudes 3 and 4!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an evil man, Paffenroth. I know what (ahem, whom) you're getting at, but I'll keep me trap shut in the interest of propriety. I'll aver that the individual is cute and fuzzy, though.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Douglas F. Warrick said...

Hm... I've a sudden craving for marmalade.

12:51 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Oh, you two are good. Clearly you know me well, you poor benighted creatures.

12:55 PM  

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