America may be a paradise for introverts, but from what I’ve seen (I’ve lived there for 12 years), america is much less introverted than europe.
Consider the schools, for example – in america, students are encouraged to participate in class, and there are lots of projects involving student presentation. In europe (in my experience), such presentations are much rarer, and students are instead encouraged to stfu.
There may be more in southern europe, though. I don’t know.
I think there’s a failure of reasoning in the original, linked post.
People in places of high population density don’t become more extroverted. That would be unsustainable. They increase the mental walls between themselves and others, in order to be able to get through the day without crippling themselves with human interaction.
Compare the behavior of a pedestrian in a major American city to that African village where people do nothing but greet each other all day.
Europeans stress introversion because they need it in order to survive in their crowded conditions. America is hell for dorks.
I remember once reading that Europeans appreciate “surreal” humor. Think “a dog walks into a bar, shotgun in hand…,” whereas Americans like, for lack of a single word to describe it, “humor that makes fun of somebody.” More direct, more generic. This sounds to me like Europe is for the dorks, even while maintaing that the top dorks in Europe prefer American universities.
I’ve never been in Europe long enough to make a proper comparison (longest visit: 10 days in Copenhagen – my god what a nice place!). Having said that, I’ll take Europe. I don’t care much for having kids, so far like the single life, and since having moved to the bay area much prefer it to the suburbs of the hinterland (central valley CA), though I agree with TGGP that the suburbs are so damned comfortable.
The dork paradise is not a polity at all. If you’re a bachelor dork, the paradise is a decent-paying job you can do 20 hours a week via net. That way you can travel wherever you want, do whatever you want, and think whatever you want. If you like being in one place or want to get married and have kids, that’s a different story.
[...] 26, 2009 — Isak Dain made an interesting point about American humor in the comments over here. He pointed out that Americans particularly like type of humor where one is making fun of someone, [...]
Dain, I think the word you may be looking for is schadenfreude, although I’ve been told by native German speakers that the term implies a faint sense of shame experienced by the onlooker for enjoying others’ suffering.
Another potentially useful descriptor would be ‘low-concept’. Americans are notorious for liking slapstick and broad comedy more than conceptual humor, and I find that the stereotype often holds.
There are subcultures here that find British / Canadian comedy to be more worthwhile – specifically, geeks or nerds are far more likely to enjoy conceptual absurdity more than pure suffering.
Most humor contains elements of both – and when you consider that absurd juxtapositions of concepts induces a dissonance within the listeners’ minds that is itself unpleasant or motivates them to resolve it, perhaps all humor revolves around pain of one kind or another.
I often associated England with a certain kind of humor, but not Canada. There do seem to be plenty of Canadians in American comedy though.
Jim Holt has a book on jokes and diavlogged with Will Wilkinson on it. He notes that Jewish humor has an aspect of “jaunty superiority” over other ethnic groups, but is also neurotic and self-critical. Steve Sailer says that mid-century Jewish humor on television centered on hostility between characters, whereas English humor was about trying to maintain social decorum. At the same time its often characterized as having a penchant for the absurd.