Rodney Ohebsion

Cultural Imports

Most Finnish people have extreme disdain for all things they regard as foreign. As opposed to Americans, who are way more open to foreign stuff.

Let me give you some examples of American cultural imports.

Back in the 80s, all American children spent at least two months acting like Japanese ninjas. Remember that? If you were a kid in the 80s, at some point you came across a ninja on TV, and you said, "Yes. There we go. I'm gonna devote myself to that. From now on, I'm gonna hide behind walls and assassinate a wide variety of people."

Us Americans, we emulate non-Americans quite a bit. As a kid, you do the ninja thing. Then later, you're in your college years, you're watching TV, you come across a Canadian guy, and he's drinking an extremely impressive amount of beer. And you say, "Yes. There we go. I'm gonna devote myself to that. From now on, I'm gonna get drunk the way Canadians get drunk."

American culture integrates many components of foreign cultures. Over the years, Americans have demonstrated an extreme interest in Japanese ninjutsu, Canadian drunkenness, Indian yoga, Mexican pinatas, and Chinese feng shui.

As for Finnish people, they're vehemently opposed to every item on that list. In Finland, if some kid starts engaging in ninja activities, some adult named Gustav will tell him, "This is not appropriate Finnish behavior. Instead of doing ninja things, you should go outside and count the snow. Quantify the volume of snow. This is what we do in Finland."

The article you just read is an excerpt from the book What I Think of Various Places and People