The quote below is from a note sent to my father who, after living over 25 years in Japan, is amazed at the overt confidence of the advertising he sees on video tapes I send him from America. If you think corporate American advertising is overt, you should see New Jersey! The difference between the East Coast and West Coast is dramatic but at least you know what you’re dealing with here. “Have a nice day!” on the East Coast may be rare but at least they mean it. On the West Coast it could be code for, “Get lost!” On the flip side, people here are always trying to dig at you just to let you know they’re paying attention. Wear the wrong shirt to work and you’ll hear about it for weeks. I still haven’t worked up the nerve to bring out the Oxford given to me by Izumi with the embroidered Mickey Mouse silhouette since the last time – good grief!
Yes, American culture is certainly more confident, even more so in NJ where I have learned the expression “bustin’ your chops” which means what someone just said to you may have been a total dig, really inexcusable, and perhaps even offensive but they said it anyway as a sign of affection and endearment.
I just finished watching the third season of The Sopranos and the tension between truth, dare, and humor keeps that show humming along a dramatic thin line where you never know when someone’s going to take it too far and all hell breaks loose. Takes issues like I’ve discussed above to the Nth level and then shines a spotlight on them to see what melts. Great television.