The following opinion piece has nothing to do with nor was it inspired by the idiocy currently raging in the Ukraine.
On this vacation (as with many in the past), I am surrounded by Russians. With little else to do, I observe behaviour of other guests and staff. I have noticed that personnel at this hotel has changed over the years, from predominantly Asia to an increase in Russian-speakers, most of which emanate from the former Soviet Union.
Having spent some time in that country, having dealt with Russians at various levels, having read much of the great literature, and having learned a bit of the history all flavoured my opinion. Of course, I will speak in cliche, but at least this will be informed cliche.
The point I want to make is about the difference between Russians and Americans. All Russians appear glum. Sure, they laugh, but they do not seem happy. They seem to bear the burden of the vastness of the land and its turbulent history Americans are, more often, jolly. They believe that the pursuit of happiness is a right, so they tend to be lighter and laugh more-easily. I have seen a few somber Americans (some say that I am, but I am not), but I do not recall ever seeing a jolly Russian. Perhaps, they have a different definition of happiness. The main titles of their great literature gives a hint: War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Gulag Archipelago, and so. My impression is that, like wealth in Soviet times, happiness must be concealed from all but ones closest friends.
Like with most major events in the world, Americans have an opinion about a place which they cannot locate on a map or explain the history of the conflict.
Another article in the same newspaper writes about morality.
Tourists behaving badly
There are plenty of other places where you can let your hair down
and indulge in what would normally be considered inappropriate,
morally-dubious or downright illegal.
I think often about the concept of morality, because my novels deal with human behavior. Morality plays a big role in each story. In many cases, moral behavior is what you can get away with if no one is looking, no finds out, or no one cares. Who decides if one country’s laws are right or wrong? Judging other country's morality/mores is a sign of arrogance. Americans and Englishmen are good at this, and are also the biggest hypocrites.
The following headline caught my attention. Why does this not surprise me?
US adults score below average on worldwide test
This explains, perhaps, why voters choose such dubs to represent them. The scary things is that these turkeys decided so much about the fate of the world.
Humans notoriously vote against their own best interests. If you need proof, consider the re-elections of Mssrs. Bush and Putin. Many more examples could be found, if I were willing to think.
Most cannot people judge the cause of their misery or what is happening around them. Few know even basic facts about history, and most are incorrect. No one can predict the future, but believe promises of politicians who have been less than truthful in the past.
This came to mind after reading headline that stated: Majority of Russians Prefer Stalin over Gorbachev. Perhaps, respondents were not alive during the former’s reign of terror. Or they chose to glorify the illusion of Soviet greatness, which caused them to re-elect a kleptomaniac that has enriched himself and his friends at the expense of voters (not unlike politicians in the land of their former enemies).
Which makes no sense...
Supposedly, the moniker for Americans evolved in the minds of Mexican jailers during the 1800s upon repeatedly being tortured by hearing captured American soldiers or outlaws or tourists sing “Green Grow the Lilacs”.
Which also makes no sense...
I think of lilacs as being, well, lilac, or white. Of course, for most of the year, the leaves are green and no flowers are in residence, but the sight--and fragrance--which last only a few days each year are what make lilacs special and memorable. Those prisoners must have had poor memories. And, those jailers should have learned English...
P.S. The title should be Flower(ing bush) of the Day, but I found the one I chose to be more provocative and led into the text better.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.