Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friends in 10 million dollar mansions, trailer parks and among the homeless

Let's start with a claim that may upset Germans: To the blogster, it seems very unlikely to have friends in 10 million dollar mansions, trailer parks and among the homeless in Germany. Which has nothing to do with the small number of German trailer parks.

It is not very common in the U.S. either, but - compared to old Europe - it happens more often, and there appears to be less judgement by members of each of these groups when you tell them, for example, how you enjoyed hanging out with the homeless friend while sipping a cocktail in the living room of a mansion in a world famous community overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, you might say, why should the wealthy mansion owner care? Or cynical, isn't slumming a tradition among the well-heeled?

But how do you explain the homeless friend expressing genuine joy that you spent  a couple of days with a member of the "1%'? Is it merely another indication of the well established fact that poor people are less envious of the wealth of richer folks?

The blogster chalks the remaining social fluidity in today's United States up to the history of the country and finds it one of a handful of things that we should cherish about the people of the U.S.

At the same time, the blogster cautions against romanticizing: if the federal government  ran the blogster against its databases, the algorithms certainly would flag the blogster as "odd".

That's because these algorithms, like every single algorithm under the sun, encode a very limited set of specific social and cultural notions.

This should reassure any upset German or European readers: within the institutions of government and power, the similarities between the U.S. and Europe are probably smaller than one might think.

A German born friend and long time resident of the U.S. phrased it this way:  There is so much I really love about Germany, but you simply have more freedom here.

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