Culturally Discombobulated

Tag: America

American Notes: A Man Called EW


I met a man called EW. He helped take my bags to my hotel room. I assumed, at first, that his name-tag showed his initials, but no, EW was his full name; it initialized nothing, though the name EW is pronounced E.W. and not, unfortunately, Ewwwww which I would have taken great pleasure in saying. EW I learned was a fourth-generation EW. The first-born male in the family from EW’s great-grandfather on has been gifted this name. Disappointingly EW has chosen not to carry this tradition on and instead called his son David.

Back to school book selections


There’s some articles I’ve come across recently that state that there’s been 74 school shootings in the US over the last 18 months. With such depressing numbers I’m unsure whether this back to school display at my local Barnes & Noble is intended as darkly satricial or cynically practical.

America Comprehended: Study Abroad

STUDY ABROAD: Program where American college students spend a semester or two at a foreign university, thus allowing them to experience a foreign culture in the best way possible – by living and socializing exclusively with other American study abroad students.

America Comprehended: Delaware

DELAWARE: US state referred to as “the first state” on account of being the first state to ratify the constitution, thus disproving the adage that winners always come first. Population size: snug  

Any color as long as it’s green.

In an obnoxious tradition (not rooted in Ireland), Americans feel entitled to “playfully” pinch you if you’re not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day; yet punching them back and deriding them for cultural appropriation is somehow not considered “playful”. American social rules are difficult for a foreigner to navigate at times.

Not that St Patrick’s Day in the US has anything to do with Ireland. No, this is a holiday run purely for the benefits of an avaricious if imaginative food coloring industry. In the early 60s finding themselves with an excess of unwanted FD&C Green No.3 and Fast Green FCF, the decision was taken to illegally dump these chemicals into the Chicago River. Fortuitously they happened to do this on the weekend of St Patrick’s Day. Never the sharpest, the people of Chicago assumed this was deliberate and celebrated accordingly. Spotting a market for their green dyes, the food coloring industry have since then been convincing various brands that in order to fully embrace the Irish spirit they need to make full use of green coloring – despite the only thing green you’ll eat in Ireland being mushy peas. How else to explain the likes of these?



The Shamrock Shake is McDonalds’s misplaced and diabetic-inducing effort to US-Irish relations. It was popularized in the 1970s by McDonalds character / marketing brain fart, Uncle O’Grimacey. Pathetically, 85% of Americans believe Uncle O’Grimacey is what people in Ireland actually look like.