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An incredibly busy off ramp in America and a monster truck that looks like a school bus.

America and European countries share many similarities in culture and governmental structures. They are democracies with similar legal systems, innovative in science and technology and have a significant influence on the world through art and culture.

That being said, there are some glaring cultural differences that are fun to point out. The broad generalization is that Europeans have refined cultural tastes, whereas Americans are a bit more brash and believe that bigger is always better. These are stereotypes, of course, and there are plenty of brash Europeans and Americans with refined tastes.

One of the biggest differences is America’s embrace of consumer culture, which Europeans see as excessive and tacky. Americans have an unquenchable love for processed foods and portions that make most Europeans shudder.


The sheer size of America is also hard for many Europeans to comprehend. During an 8-hour drive, Europeans can visit multiple countries with different languages and cultures. However, you probably won’t make it through some of America’s larger states in that short of a time.

I'm sorry, Europeans. Los Angeles and San Francisco are not an hour away, and you probably don’t want to drive from New York City to Disney World.

People have pointed out some of the significant differences between Americans and Europeans through memes with the simple caption, “The European mind cannot comprehend this.” It’s a fun way for Americans to point out the excesses that make America unlike any other place in the world.

A lot of the memes are centered around America’s love for chain restaurants and how they often are found in clusters dotting the American landscape. The downside of chain restaurant ubiquity is that it makes the country’s cuisine feel a bit homogenous. One can drive all the way from Des Moines, Iowa, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and still find the same 10 places to eat.

Americans eat huge portions compared to the average European. When Europeans travel to America, they most frequently point out this. Americans also enjoy processed foods that feel more like they came out of a laboratory or off an assembly line than if they occurred randomly in nature. This stands in stark contrast to the European diet which often features smaller portions, less processed food, and a greater emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

America is also huge.

Americans have their very particular brand of unique crazy, whether it’s monster truck rallies, the tacky beauty of Las Vegas or our very vocal support for gun rights.

To keep the rivalry going, Europeans have been fighting back by sharing elements of their culture that would boggle the average American’s mind. Some memes include the interesting ways that A/C-phobic Europeans cool their homes. They also railed at Americans for being unable to drive cars with manual transmissions and for having really terrible taste in bread.

The Europeans also mocked the incredible price of healthcare in the U.S. and how everyone has their hand out for a tip.

via Pexels

People living to work, not working to live.

If we looked 60 years into the past, there are a lot of things that were accepted as “normal” that today most people find abhorrent. For example, people used to smoke cigarettes everywhere. They’d light up in hospitals, schools and even churches.

People also used to litter like crazy. It’s socially unacceptable now, but if you lived in the ’70s and finished your meal at McDonald’s, you’d chuck your empty styrofoam container (remember those?) and soda cup right out of the window of your car and onto the street.



It’s hard to imagine that just 60 years ago spousal abuse was considered family business and wasn't the concern of law enforcement.

It makes me wonder when people in the future look back on the year 2022, which things will they see as barbaric? Almost certainly, the way we treat the animals we use for food will be seen as cruel. The racial divides in the criminal justice system will be seen as a moral abomination. And I’m sure that people will also look at our continued reliance on fossil fuels as a major mistake.

A Reddit user by the name u/MEMELORD_JESUS asked the AskReddit subforum “What’s the weirdest thing society accepts as normal?” and the responses exposed a lot of today’s practices that are worth questioning.

A lot of the responses revolved around American work ethic and how we are taught to live to work and not to work to live. We seem to always be chasing some magical reward that’s just around the corner instead of enjoying our everyday lives. “I’ll get to that when I retire,” we say and then don’t have the energy or the inclination to do so when the time comes.

There are also a lot of people who think that our healthcare system will be looked at with utter confusion by people in the future.

Here are 17 of the best responses to the question, “What’s the weirdest thing society accepts as normal?”

1. Work-life balance

"Working until you're old, greying, and broken then using whatever time you have left for all the things you wish you could have done when you were younger." — Excited_Avocado_8492

2. Rest in comfort

"That dead people need pillows in caskets." — Qfn4g02016

3. I.R.S. mystery

"Guessing how much you owe the IRS in taxes." — SheWentThruMyPhone

4. You get the leaders you deserve

"Politicians blatantly lying to the people. We accept it so readily, it's as though it's supposed to be that way." — BlackLetyterLies

5. The booze-drugs separation

"Alcohol is so normalized but drugs are not. It's so weird. I say this as an alcohol loving Belgian, beer is half of our culture and I'm proud of it too but like... that's fucking weird man." — onions_cutting_ninja

6. Stage-parent syndrome

"People having kids and trying to live their lives again through them, vicariously, forcing the kids to do things that the parents never got to do, even when the kids show no inclination, and even have an active dislike, for those things." — macaronsforeveryone

7. Priorities

"Living to work vs working to live." — Food-at-last

8. 'The Man' is everywhere

"Being on camera or recorded any time you are in public." — Existing-barely

9. Tragic positivity 

"'Feel-good' news stories about how a kid makes a lemonade stand or something to pay for her mom's cancer treatment because no one can afford healthcare in America." — GotaLuvit35

10. Credit score

"As a non-American, I am amazed at their credit score system. As a third-world citizen, credit cards are usually for rich (and slightly less rich) people who have more disposable money than the rest of us and could pay off their debt.

The way I see people on Reddit talk about it is strange and somewhat scary. Everyone should have a card of his own as soon as he becomes an adult, you should always buy things with it and pay back to actively build your score. You're basically doomed if you don't have a good score, and living your life peacefully without a card is not an option, and lastly, you'll be seen as an idiot if you know nothing about it." — BizarroCullen

11. The retirement trap

"Spending 5/7ths of your life waiting for 2/7ths of it to come. We hate like 70% of our life, how is that considered fine?" — Deltext3rity

12. Yes, yes and yes

"Child beauty pageants." — throwa_way682

13. That's not justice

"The rape of male prisoners. It's almost considered a part of the sentence. People love to joke about it all the time." — visicircle

14. Customers aren't employers

"Tipping culture in the US. Everyone thinks that it's totally OK for employers not to pay the employees, and the customers are expected to pay extra to pay the employees wages. I don't understand it." — Lysdexiic

15. Staring at your phone

"Having smartphones in our faces all day. This shit isn't normal...imma do it anyway...but it is not normal." — Off_Brand_Barbie_OBB

16. Homework on weekends

"Students being assigned homework over weekends and only having a two-day weekend. The whole point of a weekend is to take a break from life, and then you have one day to recover from sleep deprivation then one day to relax which you can’t because of thinking about the next day being Monday. And the two days still having work to do anyways." — MrPers0n3O

17. Kids on social media

"Children/young teens posting on social media sites. I’m not necessarily talking about posting on a private Instagram followed by friends, I’m talking about when kids post on tiktok publicly without parental consent." — thottxy


This article originally appeared on 03.11.22

Photo via -ted/Flickr

The health insurance reform bus tour, 2009.

At a time when it can feel like America's most pressing problems aren’t being addressed, there’s some very good news on the healthcare front that everyone should know. The percentage of Americans who are uninsured has hit the lowest point in American history.

A report from the Office of Health Policy earlier this year announced that the uninsured rate hit an all-time low of 8% in the first quarter of 2022. To give some perspective, in 2010, before the Affordable Care Act (ACAalso known as Obamacare) had been fully implemented, the uninsured rate was twice as high at 16%.


To add to the drop in the number of uninsured, more Americans have purchased health insurance during the recent Open Enrollment Period through HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces than ever before.

“The historic 13.6 million people who have enrolled in a health insurance plan so far this period shows that the demand and need for affordable health care remains high,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

A major reason for the increase in healthcare coverage has been the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced marketplace subsidies, state Medicaid expansions and an increase in enrollment outreach by the current administration.

Health insurance

The uninsured rate has dropped since the ACA passed.

via Office of Health Policy

Approximately 5.2 million Americans have gained health coverage since 2020. The new numbers were cause for celebration at the White House.

“From November 1st to December 15th, nearly 11.5 million Americans signed up for insurance on HealthCare.gov—about 1.8 million more people, an 18 percent increase, over the same period last year,” President Biden said in a statement. “That’s an all-time record, with enrollment still open and not counting people who have signed up for coverage through their state marketplaces. Gains like these helped us drive down the uninsured rate to eight percent earlier this year, its lowest level in history.”

Health insurance, doctors

​The ACA has gained popularity in the US.

via Pixabay

The drop in the uninsured rate is a great example of the benefits of smart policy-making in Washington. The ACA wasn’t the most popular piece of legislation when it was passed in 2010. Critics on the right demonized it as a state takeover of healthcare that would result in death panels, sky-high premiums and socialized medicine. Many on the far left thought that the ACA was bad policy because it stopped short of offering full coverage for everyone like Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All proposal.

But over time, the ACA has become a cornerstone in American healthcare policy that has changed the lives of millions. Former President Barack Obama knew it wasn’t perfect when it was passed, but he saw it as a strong foundation to build on. Now his Democratic predecessor has done just that and we’re seeing the results.

The American public has developed a much more favorable view of the ACA since the GOP’s 2017 crusade to “repeal and replace” the bill that failed in Congress. Now, 55% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the bill versus 42% who disapprove.

“I think it’s probably here to stay,” Republican senator John Cornyn recently told NBC News, referring to the ACA.

The numbers for healthcare sign-ups during this Open Enrollment Period are definitely encouraging but things may get even better. This year’s HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Period has been extended until January 15, 2022

Joy

An emotional Michael Jordan opens his first clinic for the uninsured and underinsured

"This is just the start of a battle of being able to touch as many people as we can."

Michael Jordan at the opening of his health clinic.

This article originally appeared on 11.05.19


Basketball great Michael Jordan made himself a global household name with his seemingly superhuman slam dunks and uncanny ability to score under pressure.

Now, 16 years into his retirement, his name is associated with something completely different—a medical clinic for uninsured and underinsured people in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina and now owns the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, spoke at the opening of the $7 million Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic, the first of two clinics for low-income families he is funding.

With tears streaming down his face, Jordan praised the community the clinic will serve, telling the crowd, "This is a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that has supported me over the years, from when I was playing the game of basketball, to now when I'm a part of this community."

The clinic, which has 12 exam rooms, an x-ray room, and a space for physical therapy, is located in a lower-income area of Charlotte and will provide affordable primary and preventative care services to people with insufficient or no insurance. A study by Harvard University and UC Berkeley in 2014 ranked Charlotte dead last out of 50 large cities for social and economic mobility for children born into poverty, so this clinic fills a vital need for affordable medical care. The clinic will also staff a social worker and offer behavioral and social support services.

Jordan announced that the second clinic was already underway. According to a press release from Novant, over five years the clinics "are projected to care for nearly 35,000 children and adults who do not currently have access to primary and preventive care or who use the emergency room for non-urgent medical needs."

Jordan vowed that these clinics were not one-time contributions to the community, saying, "This is just the start of a battle of being able to touch as many people as we can."

Watch Jordan speak from the heart at the opening of the clinic: