An Opportunity for Conversation…

1 10 2006

I came across an interesting passage in the book “A Prayer for Owen Meaney”, by John Irving, today. Here it is:
“Every American should be forced to live outside the United States for a year or two. Americans should be forced to see how ridiculous they appear to the rest of the world! They should listen to someone else’s version of themselves–to anyone else’s version! Every country knows more about America than Americans know about themselves! And Americans know absolutely nothing about any other country!”

While I’m not convinced that the latter part is truly original thinking, since in my own sarcastic opinion of Americans, I feel the same way. But the first sentence I feel particularly drawn toward. When I was in high school, my older brother, Bill, sat me down and told me I should go away. Both he and his wife were adamant that I experience a culture other than that of the US.

I guess I want to know how other people feel about the above passage. Do you think it’s important to go away? Who out there went “away” to college, and who stayed close to home? What are the advantages and disadvantages of going or staying? Who can chime in? I know I have my opinions, but I want to know what other people think.
Thanks.

PS: Winner #1 of the “Something from Brazil” contest is Nate. Winner #2 is Rob. For prizes, I am supporting local artists by purchasing their work; so if you want some very cool local art from Brazil, you gotta participate!


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