America is a lot of things, to a lot of different people.
We are an industrious nation that has provided advancement after advancement in nearly every field on Earth. We are divided, by political affiliation, race, religion ... you name it, and we will pick sides and fight for that side until our dying breaths. We are wealthy and we are poor, and we are brilliant and we are uneducated.
We have provided beauty to the world through our contributions to music, art, science and theater. And we have provided ugliness to the world through our contributions to music, art, science and theater. Both of those sides are equally important because they provoke thought and conversation.
We leave our imprint on the planet through war and humanitarian efforts, alike, and we are thought by many to be generous, arrogant, industrious and a lot of other words I either can’t think of or can’t spell.
And above all, we are cool.
From Miles Davis to Fonzie to Snoop Dogg, Americans have cornered the market on “cool.” And the rest of the world agrees.
Reuters recently penned a story regarding an international poll taken by social networking site Badoo.com, which took results from 30,000 people across 15 countries, and the results should be obvious to all — Americans are the world’s “coolest nationality.”
“America boasts the world’s coolest leader, Obama,” said Lloyd Price, Badoo’s director of marketing, “The coolest rappers, Jay-Z and Snoop Dog; and the coolest man in technology, Steve Jobs of Apple, the man who even made geeks cool.”
Well, yeah, we are pretty cool. Might I add that we also introduced the world to spray-on hair and Pauly Shore?
Regardless, the rest of the world thinks we are pretty cool, according to this survey. Following us on the “cool list” are Brazilians, Spanish, Italians and French. The bottom five, from the bottom of the “cool factor,” are the Belgians, Poles, Turks, Canadians and Germans.
Germans aren’t cool? Really? I kind of thought Berlin was a pretty hip city, with lots of nightclubs and plenty of things to do when in town. I hit up the search engines and started looking for signs that Germany was, in fact, not cool.
A Reuters story was quickly found that focused on the night life of the German city Bonn. Well, I guess you could call it the nightlife.
According to the story, prostitutes in Germany pay income tax, but it is difficult to enforce it because the women seek their business on the street. To combat this compliance issue, authorities have installed “sex tax meters,” where prostitutes purchase a ticket for 6 euros ($8.72) per night. If caught without a valid ticket, prostitutes can be reprimanded, then fined for a second offense and, ultimately, be banned.
Well, yeah, I can see where this whole situation is not cool. Let me find another story.
Another article told the tale of an 8-year-old boy in the eastern German town of Cottbus. Apparently, the school bus driver forgot about the boy when they got to school, parked said bus and left the boy locked inside the hot bus for more than 12 hours.
He was later found lying shirtless on the floor under the seats, and had rationed out his lunch so it might last all night, according to the story.
I have to say that people in America do dumb things like leave their kids in cars all too often. But I have to wonder why the boy did not speak out when everybody else was getting off the bus, or at least when the bus driver started locking it up for the day.
Not cool. And I know cool. I’m American, after all.
Of course, one thing that has kept America is the popularity of the hip hop culture — you know, rap music, baggy jeans, the whole bag of cool wax.
The Florida state legislature last spring adopted the so-called “Pull Your Pants Up” law, and is cracking down on young people who walk around with their pants hanging down. Personally, I never saw the benefit of having your pants hang down around your knees, but I struggle with a belly that pushes my waistline down farther every year, so I might just be sensitive to that.
However, a Reuters story explained that Florida State Sen. Gary Siplin was in schools last week handing out leather belts to students to prevent them from having saggy pants.
I can’t decide if that’s cool or not.