My first encounter with Anti-Beerialism

Posted by Dominic on Friday, January 20th, 2006

When I look back and remember that I was eating soup dumplings in Shanghai two weeks ago and now I’m slamming pints of Young’s Ale with Londoners in makes my head spin (pardon the pun!). France felt really successful and our Frenchman Yves went the extra mile (or kilometer) to bring the four of us straight into middle of his life. His generosity and commentary was extraordinary.

We parted ways with Bao a few days ago and are off and running with Bob as our “listener.” Bao was a fabulous listener whose intense, personal history as an American immigrant pushed him into deep and poignant dialog wherever we went. We’ll miss his commitment, thoughtfulness and love of food. He ate more than any of us, especially Chinese dumplings and French pastries.

Matt Torr our English character works for a London publishing house that puts out Maxxim magazine amongst others. He’s been really hilarious, especially when you put a pint in his hand. He went off last night about Budweiser and it’s aggressive marketing here in England. Matt coined a new term, “Beerialism,” to describe the American imperialism of the global beer market. In the past month we’ve heard countless discussions of US foreign policy, president Bush, the war etc. (many very eloquent commentaries) though it’s been fun to explore some subtler US perspectives like beer and sex. Matt’s magazine Maxxim is the raunchier version of it’s American cousin. Most folks here can’t understand why the American version is so tame. English daily newspapers and magazines commonly feature nudity yet there exists little or no porn industry here. Folks seem perplexed that America for all it’s editorial concern around nudity on TV and mags, it has such a massive porn industry.

After nearly a month of travel and 4 countries, it’s been surprising how much good will exists in the places we’ve visited. We’ve been welcomed as Americans constantly. The distinction that seems to be emerging is of the difference between politics and people. Many people have voiced a myriad of concerns about American foreign policy and corporate dominance yet speak in positive ways of the American people (with caveats of course). I have a feeling this may start to change as we move into more volatile regions like the Middle East, later in March. It’s so hard to generalize about “what people think of the US?” as there are so many interesting facets to this question.

Ultimately this project is about a global conversation. The feelings and ideas being shared may offer some clues as to how we might all survive the next hundred years on this planet without blowing each other up. Beyond its obvious worldwide influence, is America also in some way a metaphor or doorway (both good and bad) in which to understand something greater about mankind and its future?

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