I was perusing Borders yesterday and came across the book The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike. It’s packed with graphs, rivaling Andrew Gelman’s Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State on that score.
Some factoids, drawn from my own reading and this blog post by ParaPundit: US employment of civil servants is equal to about the median for European countries; The US is less prudish than any European country save for Iceland (gleaned from surveys on kinky activities in the bedroom); and Americans have better cancer survival rates than their European counterparts.
I’m a little surprised by the Iceland bit, as I was under the impression that the culture there was very similar to that of Scandinavia. I’ve got anecdotal evidence, drawn from the observations of a Danish woman I once knew, that northern European males are withdrawn and not very assertive on the sexual front. And as Conan O’Brien once joked, Sweden’s coin currency boasts that it is the home of the world’s most melancholy orgy. Maybe it’s hard for people of the ice to get hot and bothered.
It’s been some time since I’ve been in a mainstream bookstore with popular new releases, as University and used book stores have become my usual literary haunts in the last couple of years, living in the bay area. I even spotted John Derbyshire’s We Are Doomed, which for some reason I assumed had very limited distribution.