The SDMB Xenophobe’s guide to…

While at the airport for my flight out of Denmark last year I noticed that I had forgotten to bring something to read. It wasn’t a long flight (to Zurich) and I decided to buy something easily digestible and short, good for an early-morning flight. In the humor section of the book shop a title caught my eye: The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Danes. Interesting I thought, it was a little book so I bought it.

The book, part of “a series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations”
presented a humorous view of what makes the Danes different. It wasn’t really a xenophobe’s book, more like a guide for somebody that knows very little about the Danes. It was funny, and my husband, a Dane, decided to join me reading after getting curious why I was laughing so hard. He accepted that the book was quite accurate, although pointed out that the author failed to recognize that amongst Scandinavians Danes are the smartest, handsomest, and have better breath (the author mentioned the friendly rivalry between Scandinavian countries).

The point in these books is to make fairly educated generalizations on what makes countries different. They are mostly written by nationals of these countries. Excerpts from other books in the series:

If you were writing a guide to your country what would you say in a paragraph to describe your country? Mine?

Dominicans are deeply distrustful of their government. It will be assumed that if a politician opens his mouth only a lie can come out of it. Surviving two dictatorships and a tortuous path to a moderately successful democracy has given Dominicans a firm belief that politicians ‘solo quieren jodernos’ (only want to screw us). Elections are just a mean to choose who will screw us for the next four years.

I saw these when I lived in the UK! They’re great! I bought the Xenophobe’s Guide to California and the Xenophobe’s Guide to the US and gave them to some of my UK friends. The California one was surprisingly spot on and hilarious, but the US one sounded like a European traveler visiting the US and the caricatures presented didn’t really sound like an American wrote it. Then I looked to read the author’s bio and it turned out it was an American whose father was a State Department official and she never really spent much time living in the US.

Hm, from visiting Germany I can sum up in a sentance … As in America, they seem to partition their areas into zones for smokers, they have smoking and chain smoking sections.

I cant remember the time I say a cigarette machine on a street corner in the US, and the guy I was visiting started smoking when he was 12, and it didn’t bother his parents :confused:

I remember giggling over those books in a shop in London! I’ll tell you what was spot on about the US and I never never thought of twice until seeing it: our tendency to measure everything by football fields. It’s really quite weird, when you think of it.

I also liked their treatment of France - a map of Europe with “La France” and every other country labelled “Not La France”.

That’s true, that was a good one. I was offended when she mocked root beer, however.

I have one of these for Australia. It’s pretty funny. I don’t know how accurate it is, though.

Since the US has so many different regions with their own local “flavor”, how about one just for Texas?

Texas has two seasons each year. One, known as “Damn It’s Hot” and the other known as “Thank God It’s Not Summer”. The latter season is also known as “Football Season”.