James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Alison Rosen, Four Houses, and Flyover Country

An observation I didn't make yesterday on the show "Four Houses" was about cultural differences. The "meanest" cast members in each episode came from Europe. They were the most openly critical and most inclined to give others low scores. They also happened to be the winners each time, though that's probably because had the most expensive homes. That's a big advantage. But what struck me was how Americans seem more reserved, generally. One wouldn't normally think of Americans as "reserved."

A more significant observation from watching the shows back-to-back-to-back is the differences within the regions. The Jersey NYC suburbanites seemed intense and critical. The Miami cast seemed laid-back, but in a passive-aggressive way. The New Yorkers were very friendly and witty with each other.

Thinking of these differences, even of those from house-dwellers across a river from condo-dwellers - reminded me of a very stark, and sad, observation made on Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend podcast several weeks back. It was the "Thursday gang," And aside from Jenna Kim Jones, a blonde Mormon from Korea, the rest of the crew, as far as I know, were born and raised in Los Angeles or adjacent Orange County.
One of the guys on the show said that he used to hold the door open for other people, but no one ever said "thank you." He didn't need the affirmation of the thank you, but the courtesy of holding doors open for others deserved the courtesy of acknowledgement. So he doesn't do it anymore.

And I thought, that's crazy! I've lived in flyover country all my life: Nebraska, Saskatchewan, Wisconsin, Chicago, and eastern Washington State. I've held doors open thousands of times, for men and women, adult or young, disabled or not, people carrying stuff or not. Every single time I've gotten a "thank you." And when it's been done for me, I've always said "thank you."

How is this NOT done? To me, this mindless courtesy is impulse. How are people raised so as to not even say "thank you?"

I've never been to southern California. Now I wonder if I ever want to go.

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