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Streaming subtitled box sets is the new Eurovision (economist.com)
217 points by doener 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 340 comments

One thing I like about the European shows is that they feel 'fresh' and more connected to life here.

American shows tend to focus on American themes that feel a little alien to us Europeans. So many military / intelligence team shows, or police shows set in megacities where everyone carries guns.

When I grew up in the 80s/90s, American shows were better than local ones because European actors were very bad at acting. I think this was mainly because they were being trained at schools that still trained for stage plays, with exaggerated pronounciation and gesturing.

But now European shows are also excellent. Thinking of the German DARK, the Spanish casa de papel ("money heist"). It's indeed the translation but also the quality that makes it watchable.

Netflix did indeed boost this partly due to that law mandating the 30% local content but I don't think it's the only reason.

This might just be my personal opinion but I feel like a lot of European shows avoid many of the common Hollywood tropes, which is another reason they feel 'fresh'.

Most US shows are quite predictable if you've watched similar shows of the same genre and I often find myself guessing the plotline or a plot tool while watching.

This did not happen with DARK; in fact, that's how I realised that it avoided many of the tropes because they just did not eventuate when I tried 'guessing'.

When the Danish series The Killing was first shown in the UK it was acclaimed by both critics and audiences. Since then, there has been a boom in European dramas shown on UK TV screens, particularly thrillers. (Dramas from Italy, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Iceland are just some examples.)

However, what seems "fresh" at first soon becomes familiar. This is particular true of Scandinanian thrillers. Once you watch a few, you realise they swap one set of familar tropes with their own set. For example, for thrillers:

- Many red herrings in the murder case (often not making any sense but carefully planted by the writers to keep audiences guessing).

- The death of at least one major (likable) character usually after the audience has warmed to the character.

- At most a "bittersweet" ending is provided. A 'happy' ending is never executed: some distress or anxiety must always accompany the main character at the end of a series.

Sounds familar?

Yes very familiar. I watched The Bridge ("Bron Broen") and it had all these. It was still OK, but too much of it won't be.

And the later seasons were a bit contrived so I stopped after the second one.

Sounds "real"(istic-ish?).

I think it's important to note that Dark is "engineered." It has a comparatively short runtime, and the major points of the plot were written before the show even began production. This is something even some of the most widely acclaimed series didn't do, but up until streaming services started dumping whole seasons at a time, it wasn't really viable; leaving open ends meant more opportunity for big viewer numbers and ad revenue. La casa de papel (mentioned in the grandparent) wasn't planned to the same extent, and it shows. It's not bad, but the writing is nowhere near as strong as Dark. It's possible that these European Netflix series that started to get made largely for the sake of hitting the 30% domestic content number are inherently advantaged in that regard. They just need to exist in the catalog, and don't need to drag on and on (which has ruined plenty of American series) to fulfill their business case.

True, Dark is great in that way. The story is really intricate. I came across it by fluke and I really liked it a lot.

Indeed the dragging on bit of some series is very familiar. Like LOST :) I also notice that many of the 'villain of the week' series have many eps in each season, and all the good shows are much more sparse.

This did not happen with DARK; in fact, that's how I realised that it avoided many of the tropes because they just did not eventuate when I tried 'guessing'.

Not to get too off-topic, but if you liked DARK then I'd highly recommend the 12 Monkeys series. If I had to pick one, I'd say 12 Monkeys may be a bit better.

I hadn't heard of that one, thanks for the tip!! I will try it.

From the writeup it sounds a bit like Travelers, which I also liked (sad that it was cancelled, but at least they finished their 'iteration' of the story!)

(The 12 Monkeys series is very bad compared to the original Terry Gilliam movie.)

It's sort of terrible, but gets better.. it has many moments that seem like they will be so bad you will stop watching but then it will turn it round somehow. It got more interesting after the first series, and then the last series is just not available in the UK which is annoying.

The 'original Terry Gilliam movie' was inspired by a French short, La Jetée [1962].

Love and Anarchy feels very fresh. I enjoyed the light hearted story, an opportunity to hear how IKEA language sounds, and learned a thing or two about modern Sweden.

Witcher universe is very East European, so this was another show that's not only epic, but it felt different from the generic fantasy. I am not sure how much can be attributed to the original franchise, and how much to Netflix production.

I am glad to see German series. How to sell drugs online fast, S1 was good.

I think the whole success of the Hollywood is based on their ability to create films that cut across all the cultures. They tend to be simplistic and yet in a way can actually go very deep, probably because of tapping on the human nature instead of the culture. On the other hand, locally produced films usually tap on the local culture which leads to amazing German/Finnish/Italian/Turkish/French etc. shows making sense only in that culture, thus not gaining traction outside of their locality.

At some point we had Brazilian soap operas, now we have Turkish soap operas gaining large traction on TV and probably will be followed why some other ecole.

However with Netflix, something different is happening in my opinion. I'm sure that Netflix looks into statistics when doing new shows, EU pushing for a single market on these services could mean that the Netflix shows are indeed optimised for common European consumption instead of local one.

Saying that Netflix is the new Eurovision is comedy gold :) I mean, Eurovision is definitely a spectacle but no one(maybe with the exception of Lars Erickssong of Iceland) in EU actually takes it seriously and definitely it's not the cultural event that brings nations together. Eurovision is the show where we accept to be vulnerable for a day, get out there and remember our favourite neighbours by voting for them.

If it was a serious thing, the Brits would have won most, sharing it with the Spanish summer hits occasionally. UK is a music and culture powerhouse with extremely poor Eurovision track record.

Hollywood depicting an universal culture?

Far from it. At first I was thinking high school bullies were something Stephen King always added to his books. Then I realized high school bullies were something Hollywood always added to plots, even when it had no reason whatsoever to be there.

Sadly, this has become more like culture contamination. In highschool I never saw bullies. Now they are more common, because of that Hollywood influence.

So, how much of that universal culture is a reflection of the world, and how much is just Hollywood pushing their own culture over the world?

The same with racism. As someone from South America, I find the racism in USA extremely pathological and not at all similar to what I experience in real life.

Also the idea that depicting guns and violence is normal, but nudity absolutely isn't, is very Hollywood.

Yes, luckily this isn't as bad in European cinema and TV.

Though the ratings boards have become a lot stricter here too, sadly. Some movies that were made in the Netherlands in the 80s would fare pretty badly now :P Like https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105999/ In those days pretty explicit (but not actual!) sex in movies was so prevalent it was almost a trope of its own. Exposed breasts at the very least :) I don't think that would fly now without an 18+ rating.

The bullies example seems spot on. I do not know why, even if it were true, it always and predictably needs to be portrayed in TV/movies. It normalizes bad behavior and will move people towards a world were this is deemed normal. It is not, and never should be.

School bullies already sort of don't exist anymore. They went away along with the enormous drop in violent crime in the US in the 90s, probably caused by everyone not having lead poisoning.

Instead GenZ tries to cancel each other on tumblr or something.

> I find the racism in USA extremely pathological and not at all similar to what I experience in real life.

Are you saying that the obsession with racism in the USA is what's pathological? Or that USA's portrayal of it in media is pathological?

(I am not the same person as the one you replied to)

The racism debate in the USA is mostly centered on two groups, "blacks" and "whites" (and "asian", but I'll ignore them for now). Jim Crow laws said that a child of "mixed" (one black, one white) parent themselves count as "black". So you have people with quite light skin who are considered "black" and experience racism directed at "black" people. I consider seeing everything through that black/white lens to be pathological.

There is a huge amount of racism elsewhere in the world, probably even more than in the USA, but it's not along the same lines.

Which is why it was so jarring when the "black lives matter" protests spread around the world. In the Netherlands there is quite some racism, but it's directed at Moroccans, Turks, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and black people, usually of Surinamese descent, all in slightly different ways. The division in black/white makes no sense. The term "people of colour" got imported from the US but racism here is also directed at Poles who are as white as the Dutch are.

The result is oversimplification of our own racism problem, along American lines that aren't relevant here.

I am surprised you even took the time to answer, since my desire for clarity was seen as a negative influence on the community and was downvoted.

Only a community like this would pretend to actually value intellectual growth and foster an environment where asking a question is seen as worthy of downvoting.

By the way, your characterization of racism in the united states is remarkably narrow, non-historic, and sophomoric in nature. The idea that racism in the US could be put into three categories - let alone two - is offensive and deeply inaccurate.

You have it not even partially correct. Go back to the drawing board.

> The same with racism. As someone from South America, I find the racism in USA extremely pathological and not at all similar to what I experience in real life.

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here. But if you're saying racism in America is overblown, you couldn't be more wrong.

>"[holywood is] tapping on the human nature instead of the culture"

I am wondering what makes you think so, when you are not from US or especially if you are not western a lot of whats going on their looks terribly unnatural.

I particularly dislike the way police is portraid in the US shows, in the show I was watching the main character regularly points a gun at random guards and passerbyes and threatens them. They depict torture as mundane business.

I mean, even in russian shows we dont portray this as right and proper behaviour.

> I think the whole success of the Hollywood is based on their ability to create films that cut across all the cultures.

Good time for Rammstein's _Amerika_ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr8ljRgcJNM

Their point is that the USA _exports_ its culture to the rest of the world, and Hollywood is one of the main ways in which it does that.

> and Hollywood is one of the main ways in which it does that

Hollywood is the greatest marketing department ever built.

> Hollywood is based on their ability to create films that cut across all the cultures

Hollywood is widely caricatured outside of the US for its disconnect from reality. Flat characters, childish good VS baddies dichotomies, bombastic action movies...

And Hollywood is crying all the way to the bank. People can deride those movies all they want, but people (not necessarily the same ones) pay money to watch them. For some reason, those terrible movies engage audiences. And Hollywood has gotten really, really good at knowing how to do that.

Much better movies also get made. A lot of them, in fact. The critics' Top Ten lists are full of them. But they rarely make all that much money, because movies with deep characterization and challenging plots aren't very enjoyable. They're fulfilling, perhaps, in the same way that a job well done is fulfilling. But when you've worked your 40 hours (or more) this week, you may not want any more fulfillment. You want to relax.

There are plenty of movies for everybody, including the ones who want a challenge. You won't hear commercials for them, because they're not going to please everybody. Hollywood has somehow mastered the trick of pleasing, if not everybody, at least a largish majority, and they rake in a ton of cash.

Likewise you would expect Italy and France to do better.

Eurovision is not about high quality song's otherwise Amy RIP would have one for "Love is a losing game" (it did win a novello) and the Beatles should have won several times

Iceland is not a EU member. And the UK just don't send very good acts to Eurovision.

Eurovision is not limited to EU. Even Australia is participating now. Israel, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia are other non-EU members with strong track records in the contest.

Another recommendation: Deutchland 83/86/89, fast-paced spy thriller about the relationship between East and West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Another recommendation from me - I just finished watching '89, and this was a great series!

Thank you also, this sounds great too! I really like cold war stories.

> When I grew up in the 80s/90s, American shows were better than local ones because European actors were very bad at acting. I think this was mainly because they were being trained at schools that still trained for stage plays, with exaggerated pronounciation and gesturing.

Tbh, it's still like that in some countries. Norwegian actors (where I'm from) have felt quite stiff/wooden since forever, and they all have the same backgrounds - i.e classical theater schools, play actors before working on TV, etc.

I'd say that it's just in the past 10-15 years that we've gotten a somewhat fresh breath of air, from actors that seem to embrace method acting.

But you see it in other countries here as well. It's easy to spot a script and dialogue that's been written by "academics", with little to zero exposure to the real world they're trying to depict.

> Tbh, it's still like that in some countries. Norwegian actors (where I'm from) have felt quite stiff/wooden since forever, and they all have the same backgrounds - i.e classical theater schools, play actors before working on TV, etc.

This is how UK actors are trained to this day, and everyone seems to like Patrick Stewart, Emilia Clarke, Judi Dench etc. I wouldn't call them stiff but they are better at going Shakespearean than American actors.

Really my only complaint is David Tennant's terrible American accent.

Why would stage actors be worse at this?? I would have expected them to be better!

Stage actors are acting for a large audience, screen actors are acting for a camera. It's far harder to communicate subtlety to a bunch of people in the back of a theater than it is to a camera that's right up in the actor's face, so they both necessitate different acting styles. The exaggerated style of stage acting does not translate well to screen.

  It's far harder to communicate subtlety to a bunch of people in the back of a theater
actually it's a different job. you use your body in space to communicate. nobody sees clearly your face expressions unless accentuated by dramatic lighting. it's a team work. your own personal performance is a team work.

Worked pretty well (in fact better than your random tv&movie-only actor) for Patrick Stewart..?

He needed some time to grow into his role too. He was clearly still getting into it in Season 1 of TNG :)

One example that comes to mind is the end of the first double-episode encounter at farpoint. Where he's like "Let's see what 's out there! Engage!". That really looked like stage acting.

Some hardware developers can also make nice single page apps. That doesn't mean hardware developers generally make better single page apps than anyone else

Just a "fun fact" of "Casa de Papel": it was a national series from Atresmedia and later it was bought by Netflix who reedited and redistributed it, making it much more popular

I think it's the case for the most of series coming from European countries, not just on Netflix, but HBO, Amazon, etc. Usually there's a season or too on the national level, and then they're bought by big distributors.

I mean, Netflix in the Anglosphere isn't much different. A sizable chunk of the "Netflix originals" are just licensed (Snowpiercer, The Good Place) or bought after gaining attention (Black Mirror).

I'm happy there is some diversity in which companies are producing these. Watching too many netflix series, they can start to feel a bit too cookie-cutter in how the drama is laid out over an episode or series.

> When I grew up in the 80s/90s, American shows were better than local ones because European actors were very bad at acting.

What I've heard, the difference in quality is mostly one of budget.

In US series, they do much more takes from a scene, while in European (or Japanese) TV they don't have the budget to do so.

> When I grew up in the 80s/90s, American shows were better than local ones because European actors were very bad at acting. I think this was mainly because they were being trained at schools that still trained for stage plays, with exaggerated pronounciation and gesturing.

So that would include Patrick Stewart, Lawrence Olivier, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, John Hurt (all European theatre trained actors) ?

Yeah I was mainly referring to the ones I knew in those days, so Dutch actors as I'm from there, and in those days we didn't get a lot of international TV.

I was watching Jumpin' Jack Flash just a couple days ago and I thought Jeroen Krabbe was pretty bad in it there also.

But good point. Europe is bigger than what I know from those times.

British actors, not European. I know that sounds nationalistic but I don't know any British person who has referred to themselves as European.

OK, here's one British person who refers to themselves as European. As that's probably not enough for you to win Today's Dumbest Comment on Hacker News, here's one of the above actors who definitely considers herself European:


and here's another:


Hah - well you made a point with your links that I didn't want to bring up, but since you did: the only people calling themselves "European" are people who really detest the idea of Brexit. But let me ask you something, what possible question could you be asked about yourself that would result in the answer "European". Here let me try:

Where are you from? > "Europe" is too vague, people want country or city.

What would your cultural heritage be? > Again, "European" is far to vague. Mine's English and Irish.

I'm really struggling here...

Again, if I didn't make myself clear: the use of the term "European" is entirely political (pro-EU).

Most Europeans will say they are French, German, Italian, etc. "European" means very little to us except not-american

Huh, really ?

Well, I guess this explains the Brexit...

I suppose that Scots might be excluded?

As well as some 48% of voters in the Brexit vote. They are talking nonsense. Furthermore however much the Brexit fanatics may wish otherwise, the British Isles are still part of the continental landmass of Europe.

So is the most populated part of Russia, this doesn't prevent them from "trying to find their own path".

> One thing I like about the European shows is that they feel 'fresh' and more connected to life here.

That's an interesting insight. I very much prefer US (or UK) shows to the continental ones. The production is just better and they feel less pretentious (to me).

Not to mention that who grew up with American shows and eventually visited the US noticed as nothing was real or connected to reality.

All pure drama and advertising a non existent American dream society.

>When I grew up in the 80s/90s, American shows were better than local ones because European actors were very bad at acting.

I don't know where you grew up, but this is demonstrably untrue. Maybe you're referring to some low-budget domestic "shows", but French, Italian, German, Polish, Scandinavian, etc. cinema was on par with Hollywood in terms of acting talent.

I'm not quite sure about most other European countries, but German cinema is famously bad. There is the occasional comedy that is at least watchable to pass the time if nothing else is on. But other than that, formulaic, badly acted drivel that is just produced to grab state film subsidies. The only German production I would call good is "Das Boot", and that is decades old by now. With lots of squinting maybe "Lola rennt".

As for German TV shows, there is a bunch of bad soaps and "Krimis", badly acted, formulaic criminal investigation stuff. Usually with the police as universal good guys working through some tough midlife crisis problems, a token dialect actor from the region that episode is supposed to be set and a story that makes your brain bleed. With a raised finger moral point du jour to educate the stupid plebs out there as to how they are misbehaving. You would have to go back to "Raumpatroullie Orion" to even get science fiction, not to mention any other genre that is popular with non-old-people (Yes, Netflix is definitely an improvement there).

Yeah, German TV in general is just pathetically bad, however the documentaries produced by NDR ("die nordreportage") and some others of the "Dritte"/"Spartensender" [0] are really quite good most of the time. Interesting topics, rarely any fluff or artificial tension, almost no overly dramatic music just for the sake of it, just all around well produced programmes. An interesting programme from one of the "Dritte" called WDR was e.g. "Feuer & Flamme".

On the topic of "Krimis" (crime drama type shows) however I have to agree with the other commenters that it's just formulaic trash. "Tatort" for example is by many regarded as a good or even excellent show, from when I tried watching it a few times over the years, it was often just the "moral education packaged in flat drama" with a very see-through "current issues" topic selection. Just pathetic.

Don't get me wrong, I also rewatched some less recent American crime dramas like NCIS etc. and especially in one episode of NCIS LA (really lame spin-off IMO) it was very much "How dare you be a hacker and government whistleblower, don't you know how that hurts Our Troops(tm)?" with the black bald guy saying that to and then assaulting that suspect. YAY, moral panic!

[0]: for foreigners, these are the state-run/-sponsored TV channels for different large parts of Germany, like NDR for the northern part etc. Basically smaller regional parts of the ARD/ZDF.

True!! We did get some German police shows and I know exactly what you mean. Like Derrick and Der Alte.

But maybe it was also the way that there was always this bleakness in it. Whereas US series had the opposite thing, they were more colourful. Thinking of Miami Vice with their neon lights and blue skies at night.

Ok, here are some good German movies just from the top of my head:

- The Lives of Others

- The Tin Drum

- Goodbye Lenin!

- Downfall

- The Edukators

- Berlin Calling

- Benny’s Video

die wende could be added to that list aswell.

Der untergang and Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter are also highly recommended in my opinion.

I grew up in the Netherlands... Most shows from my youth were pretty poor, I thought. Very strong overacting (especially the older actors), very poor decors etc.

All the old actors have this "toneelschoolstem" (acting school voice) which is horrible for realism.

> police shows set in megacities where everyone carries guns.

This is a weird concept; megacities are easily the most gun-hostile locations in the US.

I think even the gun-hostile places in America are (in relative terms) way more gun-loving than you’ll find in Europe.

Why would you think that?

Probably because nobody except police carries guns (in particular pistols) here at all. Whether concealed or not. You just can't get a carry permit. There is no such thing.

The only way you can get a pistol is for sports shooting and you must carry it in a closed case all the time, and it must be to/from the shooting range.

Rifles are easier to get for hunting but of course this is not what people carry regularly in the US.

But more generically: In Europe we have nothing like the second amendment. This is what makes even the gun-hostile places in the US less gun-hostile than Europe, because they still have to abide by the constitution.

> Probably because nobody except police carries guns (in particular pistols) here at all. Whether concealed or not. You just can't get a carry permit. There is no such thing.

That is also how US megacities work.

> In Europe we have nothing like the second amendment. This is what makes even the gun-hostile places in the US less gun-hostile than Europe, because they still have to abide by the constitution.

That depends on jurisdiction. Compare https://reason.com/volokh/2021/04/01/ninth-circuit-holds-the... :

> The en banc Ninth Circuit last week held that the Second Amendment does not extend to open public firearm carriage. The new [decision] in Young v. State of Hawaii complements the Circuit's en banc from five years earlier, Peruta v. San Diego, which held that concealed carry is outside the Second Amendment.

> By statute, Hawaii has a restrictive "may issue" carry licensing system. If an applicant proves "sufficient" "urgency or need," then a police chief "may" issue a permit.

> In practice, Hawaii is "never issue."

Notionally, they are obligated to obey the constitution. But there's no one to make them do it, so they don't.

You also find things like New York passing a law which allows possession of a gun outside the home in only two circumstances: if you are bringing it from your home to a firing range, or if you are bringing it from a firing range back to your home. Notably, this "accidentally" banned transporting a gun from the store where you purchased it to your home.

The idea that the most gun-hostile places in America are more gun-loving than what you can find in Europe is self-evidently insane; the claim is that a bunch of people who largely define themselves by their opposition to guns are nevertheless more gun-friendly than a bunch of other people who rarely think about guns at all.

Laws on the books aside, are there big cities in Europe where there are more shootings than in American mega-cities NYC, Chicago, or LA? If so, they don't make the news here in the US much.

I think you have the causality reversed: the reason gun-hostile politicians and activists are so vocal in the US is because the country has so many guns in so many members of the public, both in an out of cities. I haven't seen their vocalness successfully eliminate the guns and shootings from their cities.

Its also worth pointing out that all large American cities aren't equal in terms of crime stats - NYC is (surprisingly, to many people) among the safest. I can remember reading headlines within the last decade about London notably reaching a higher murder rate, despite London presumably having something closer to total prohibition of firearms.

TV shows here love to portray NYC as a Gotham-esque hellscape because that makes for good police procedurals, but in reality I'd bet if you invented some kind of metric comparing TV portrayals of violent crimes against actual violent crime stats NYC would have the largest gap between fiction and reality.

Don't get me wrong, horrific stuff happens here. There are millions upon millions of people, some of them awful to others. But by the numbers its safer than almost every other major metro in the country, and solidly middle of the pack among comparable global mega-cities.

It's because NYC was very dangerous from 60s-90s, and the US is still stuck appealing to Boomers. They also might've picked it up by copying older shows - even if you're too nerdy to watch TV, "NYC is dangerous" is the whole message of Batman.

This is also not 100% voluntary by Netflix though for some of the bigger languages like French and German it totally makes economic sense too (as mentioned in the article). A few years ago EU mandated that a certain % of content on streaming services serving EU has to be produced within the EU. There is only so much English language content you can pump out in Europe so making (or just buying existing stuff like in the case of Finnish content for example) it in the other languages.


This always made sense to me, for example a profit driven TV station would have never put any money into creating say a children show based on national culture(Romanian children stories) when they could just get almost free stuff from Disney(because Disney also sells toys and other products they gain a lot if a new product is published in new markets).

When my child was very young I found only a small number of cartoons with Romanian content and most of that is stuff before 1989.

Off topic, for Romanian audio only stories I found this youtube playlist that grabbed the old vinyl tales we grew up with, I suggest you have a look and maybe backup them too, who know how much time they will be up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2rQVK1ig8g&list=PLFO3TQ182_...

And also, where both private and public broadcasters in most European countries certainly would like to sell their series abroad, they need to find a buyer. Netflix "just" needs to ensure their contracts allows them to target all their markets and provide translations, and see if it sticks. The threshold for Netflix to make e.g. a Norwegian series available across Europe and subtitle or dub it in a handful of languages is far lower than for a Norwegian production company to find buyers willing to both translate it and pay a fee to license it in each of the same countries.

So when Netflix are forced to produce some series in these countries anyway, they have a very strong incentive to recycle their investment in as many countries as possible if it's even somewhat plausible that it'll do ok.

This seems like a fairly impossible quotum to meet for streaming services that for instance serve nothing but Japanese content. — are they simply not allowed to operate within the E.U.?

> 1. Member States shall ensure that on-demand audiovisual media services provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction promote, where practicable and by appropriate means, the production of and access to European works. Such promotion could relate, inter alia, to the financial contribution made by such services to the production and rights acquisition of European works or to the share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programmes offered by the on-demand audiovisual media service.

I would assume that falls under inpracticable. Stuff like crunchyroll is exists in the EU aswell.

Article 13: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CEL...

If it's impractical in this case because a streaming service offers continent from outside of Europe; then the law is fairly useless. It's essentially a circular escape route of saying that it's impractical for a service to offer content produced in Europe, because the service does not offer content produced in Europe.

N.b. that the law speaks of Europe, not the E.U.; that's a particularly material difference with respect to the U.K. leaving the E.U..

I assume that they would have to be prepared to explain their case to the satisfaction of a human regulator. Crunchyroll being an anime streaming service is easy to understand. On the other hand, to my knowledge Netflix has never advertised itself as a platform for exclusively American content.

So all one needs to do is advertise oneself as such to be exempted?

I doubt that, and I, frankness be, suspect there's probably going to be some very dubious standard that will no doubt even consider race and other similar tribal nonsense when deciding to allow it or not.

If one deliver U.S.A. content one must deliver European content as well, for they are white, and thus they are like us, but the Japanese are not white, they are not like us, so we don't compare themselves with them, so one can offer their content without our egos feeling hurt.

Crunchyroll sponsors the production of lots of anime these days, and isn't too picky what they make (eg they've done like two fantasy novels written by misogynists about guys who travel to another world and get a sex slave.) They could sponsor adaptations of European stories, like Ghibli's already done.

Canada has a law requiring promotion of Canadian culture in tv and film, of which Netflix accommodates.

It is an interesting responsibility of government stewardship/preservation of culture, I think.

I simply know many streaming services which obviously don't comply with such protectionism, yet are allowed to exist.

Does Youtube count as a streaming service? What of last.fm which does need to often comply with radio laws I believe.

The way I see it; if such laws were really consistently enforced then many things that exist would not be allowed to exist, and it seems to be more a matter of deciding not to enforce them based on the rather arbitrary criterion of “Do we want this service to stop existing or not?”.

And who is to decide what “Canadian culture” is, and when it is “promoted”? — the way I see it, such laws must be incredibly inconsistently enforced.

What? Are you saying youtube and last.fm doesn't host music made in Europe?

The law pertains to access, not to hosting.

How last.fm works in it's streaming facility is that it creates a personalized radio station, if one will, based on past listening habits; it actually cannot allow users to select tracks, as that would not conform to radio laws.

It is thus entirely possible that no European music plays, based on past listening habits.

Netflix is moving into European production because governements subsidies it. It's a pure commercial move , Netflix doesn't care at all about the respective culture of 20+ country of UE.

I'm From France , my country back movies with hundreds of millions of funding every year. New European laws are forcing governements to open those fundings to "Foreign Institutions", that's why they are making this move.

This law enable Netflix to make content much cheaper using public funding while using each country culture to improve customer retention.

As a French coming from African descent I'm absolutly terrified of what they are going to do with character like Napoleon or Charles de Gaulles...

Lupin show a clear tendency to override history fidelity toward a much more political narrative... It's frightening because they is literally THOUSANDS of story that do contain French coming from African Descent or Foreigners soldiers who decided to fought for France[0]

Seeing Big tech taking over everything with a political agenda is deeply saddening.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senegalese_Tirailleurs

> Lupin show a clear tendency to override history fidelity toward a much more political narrative...

Lupin wasn't about recasting Lupin, it's about a modern person who is inspired by the stories. I'm not really sure what that has to do with historical fidelity? I really enjoyed it, it's a fun modern crime show that deals earnestly with issues of race in contemporary France.

Maybe Africa could follow the EU example and twist Netflix's arm to make some African centered content? I'm in Egypt at the moment and you could do quite a lot of interesting stuff beyond the usual mummies coming to life and attacking people that Hollywood seems to like.

I really hoped that Black Panther (the Marvel movie) was going to be the start of a new era of mainstream Afro-futurist fiction. Such an amazing genre/setting/aesthetic (depending on how it's used) that is so tragically underexplored. I've yet to see that really manifest, although I know there are sort of rumblings at the fringes -- the newest Magic: The Gathering set is explicitly paying homage to African cultures and peoples, for example.

Mummies with machine guns?

> New European laws are forcing governements to open those fundings to "Foreign Institutions", that's why they are making this move.

They're making this move because the EU mandated[1] that locally produced content comprise at least 30% of their catalog. The subsidy expansion is a byproduct of that regulation.

1. https://www.engadget.com/2018-09-04-netflix-amazon-european-...

> Lupin show a clear tendency to override history fidelity toward a much more political narrative.

As someone who is english, what am I missing? Its a modern day rebrand of a 30's crime novel no?

I imagine i'd understand more if I could differentiate french accents.

I haven't watched Lupin, what does it do? From a political point of view.

Well I tried, and half of each episode felt pretty fresh. Probably less Hollywood cliches. The action part, that is.

However, someone decided that half of each episode should be the main character's miserable childhood. He's a poor immigrant's child whose father is blamed by the local white rich for a crime he didn't commit and dies in prison, leaving our main character an orphan. We're getting shown that in excruciating detail.

They basically spliced together a pretty good action-ish/heist movie and a depressing festival movie designed to take golden globes or something.

At least for the first 4-5 episodes, because afterwards i simply stopped watching. It was either that or skip all childhood scenes, i.e. half of each episode.

My favorite synopsis of Napoleon is from the City of Men TV Series where the teacher explains European politics in terms of favela gangs to make it relevant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rByBefzeY98 the meat is at around 22:47

> As a French coming from African descent I'm absolutely terrified of what they are going to do with character like Napoleon or Charles de Gaulle

Could you elaborate on this?

White Frenchman perspective:

Napoleon and De Gaulle are characters that are usually viewed positively in France, they were important figures that did big things for the nation (such as freeing it from the nazis). But you don't need to scratch the surface very deep to see the dark side: imperialism, colonialism, racism, despotism...

I don't particularly trust Netflix not to whitewash these leaders. It'd be easy to gloss over the not-so-shiny stuff and present them as one-sided heros to the French people, who are not always taught the dark side of their own history.

For Napoleon, I suspect there's not _that_ much danger of that, because if Netflix is developing a show to be shown all over Europe... well, Napoleon is somewhat less popular elsewhere in Europe. Just a bit.

Of course, but not universally so. Eg. Napoleon's perception in Poland is very positive (including a favourable mention in the national anthem).

When I went to France first time, I was surprised Napolen was celebrated. I was around the time people start high school.

Here, he was basically mocked (over size etc). Because he went in, brought war with him, history books have people flying city when his army is comming and he blew the castle. So basically the history is only the negative, because foreign army matching through country means hunger and violence.

> he went in, brought war with him, history books have people flying city when his army is comming and he blew the castle. So basically the history is only the negative, because foreign army matching through country means hunger and violence.

Not just that, but you also gotta remember his failed invasion of Russian Empire.

He got cocky, went all-in, didn't realize how brutal winters there were, and didn't expect that Russian generals were more than willing to set their own cities/towns on fire just to not let Napoleon capture them. So in the end, he had to retreat back to France during winter. Which not only marked his invasion as a complete failure, but also humiliated him on top of it by making him lose a ton of his soldiers on the way back due to the weather.

Napoleon army lived off land (as historical armies often did). It means that everything soldiers eat was stolen from people living there. In those times, it meant starvation for locals - marching army eats basically everything there is to eat. It obviously also involved a lot of violence against them.

Not that Russian generals would care about people that they diaplaced. But emptying those places of supplies was not just preventing capture in abstract. It was meaningfully weakening ennemy army, the same way shooting at them does. Logistics makes it breaks wars in general.

In a way, it is interesting that these realities are mostly lost from contemporary stories about wars. We like to paint heroic fights in past, but don't like to show where the food soldiers eat comes from. When we do talk about it, we use euphemisms like "living off the land" as if they were hunting and collecting berries.

>Not that Russian generals would care about people that they diaplaced. But emptying those places of supplies was not just preventing capture in abstract. It was meaningfully weakening ennemy army, the same way shooting at them does. Logistics makes it breaks wars in general.

Absolutely agreed. My original reply wasn't meant to paint Russian generals as stupid for setting their cities/towns on fire. In fact, I believe that if it wasn't for that, then Napoleon would have been way more successful in his invasion, as he was pretty much stomping the Russian military up until it got to point of capturing major cities.

In fact, Mikhail Kutuzov[0] (Russian Empire commander-in-chief at the time who was responsible for coming up with the plan to burn down Russian cities rather than giving them to Napoleon) is remembered as an exceptional military commander and a hero to this day. He let Napoleon occupy burned down Moscow, so that Napoleon army could be starved and then driven out using guerilla warfare.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Kutuzov

As an aside, he probably wasn't short for the period.

The French inch was longer than the English inch at the time and the press either didn't know this or knew it and thought it'd be funny to miss-characterize.

They'll get cancelled, or worse, a modern-day makeover.

Napoleon was ""cancelled"" within his lifetime by being sent into exile. In Britain, his name used to be used as a shorthand for dictatorial behaviour, especially from short men.

De Gaulle was again subject to what you might call the ""woke mob"" during his lifetime: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_68

People have to learn to cope with accurate presentation of what historical figures did, a lot of which was very bad especially for the losing side.

What's with the double quotes? Of course we want an accurate portrayal of the character, the good and the bad. The worry is it won't be so accurate coming from a contemporary American perspective.

I think going to the barricades is a much older French tradition and labeling it with the modern "woke" label -does tend to indicate your politics.

That's what the sarcasm quotes were for.

While I've read a bunch of critical media of de Gaulle, much of the media I've read of Napoleon seems to be tinged with his glory - I'd actually love a more critical review of historical Napoleon given his influence on modern Europe and the West at large.

Napoleon is kind of a.. controversial character in history. let's not forget that the late 18th century was a bloody period in european history with massive societal change. It saw the removal of old medieval systems and them being replaced by more modern ideas.

Absolutist monarchy is an (early) modern phenomenon, not a middle age one. Middle ages ended with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453.

In fact, wouldn't Napoleon be part (and the end ?) of the absolutist monarch phenomenon?

Oh, all the more reason for a more critical review of his legacy, I'm sure it'd be very interesting with a more objective/modern lens.

You know, he is not celebrated in places where he brought destruction with him. As in outlook on foreign army in more informed by pillaging then by glory.

That is how countries typically interpret history - from their point of view.

What do you think they might do? to De Gaul or Napoleon.

And which political agenda do you exactly mean

I know it is the crux of social validation among the journalist class to see everything that "crosses borders" as inherently exciting and beneficial, but I fail to see how having a handful of giant american companies organizing the broadcast of a streamlined worldwide culture while exercising its subtle (and not so subtle) influence is a good thing.

If anything, this line of reasoning is (for lack of a better word) "reactionary": cultures and nations are not built top-down, they are built bottom-up. Culture is decentralized by essence, that's part of why the internet can be so great. It could even be argued that culture is the very first thing that may still be attached to someone's immediate reality.

This. Made more terrifying by the idea that it's television that's supposedly creating the culture. I'd prefer not to live in a place where the culture was created by people optimizing for engagement and customer retention.

But there's no question that television had a huge impact on culture - especially when everyone watched the same unique channel.

Yes, everyone speaking the same language used to watch the same unique channel.

And now everyone in the West (and even beyond) watches the same Hollywood movies (& series). Well, "now", meaning "for many decades now".

If you show kids enough undubbed TV shows they'll learn the language from it easily enough.

As a European, this article is the degree of pretentious, market-driven, and shallow, that fits perfectly with the Economist.

"Streaming subtitled box sets" are not "the new Eurovision", and Eurovision itself meant and means squat when it comes to "common European culture". (If anything Eurovision is something most of us watch for laughs, and more often than not we take sides and vote for countries we already knew and liked for other cultural and historical reasons).

We have had and have a quite good understanding of other European states and their cultures, even more so when they share the same borders (as it's often the case in Europe - to have 2, 3 or more countries sharing your borders and have millenia of interaction with them and their culture, plus "shared" areas of mixed culture, e.g. Strasbourg).

It's not the lack of Netflix's European programming or watching each other's shows that prevented a "common European culture".

Not to mention, we have had something like that, both in the high-brow sphere (for centuries), but also in the pop-culture.

E.g. non-artsy Italian and French cinema from Alain Delon to Bud Spenser was big all-over Europe until the 80s when Hollywood dominated with emphasis on impossible to meet big productions and vfx. European pop music frequently travelled all over Europe, from Al Bano to Roussos and from Nina Hagen to Kraftwerk. Comics too, French, English, Italian, Belgian, Spanish (to namedrop some that were published and loved all over Europe: Asterix, Tin Tin, Mortadelo y Filemon, Lucky Luke, Blek, Judge Dredd, the Smurfs, Manara, Corto Maltese, and so on).

And as somebody mentioned, Interrail and Erasmus have been going strong for 3 to 4 decades now or more... (I've done the first, and have had many friends doing both the first and the second.).

I stream a lot of French and other European shows, and it's primarily because I'm bored with American and (especially) BBC TV. But, as you say, it's nothing new. I've read translated French and German literature all my life. I've long enjoyed French, Polish, and Hungarian cinema. So have most of the people I know (including those who were pro-Brexit).

I enjoy it precisely because, although Europe shares a fair bit of culture, these works are not the product of a homogenized Mid-Atlantic or "common European" culture, but an expression of the particular culture, xplace, and time in which they was made.

Yeah, these sorts of "arguments" are typical of either those who wish for Europe to have a common culture (like EU federalist extremists) or people who don't have a genuine common culture like Americans, but think they do. Both fail to grasp the reality of culture and end up trivializing it to great detriment for everyone (the Soviets tried the same and it all came crashing down as Soviet Man led to the return of the repressed ethnic identities of the Russian Empire). The former trivialize it, thinking they can magically manufacture some kind of common identity (What the heck is "European" identity? Common cultural features or foundations, much less the suppression of diversity, do not suffice to magically produce an ethnic or cultural identity). I suspect EU federalists think they can replicate the kind of rootless Americanism that was produced by identity theft and makes people vulnerable to manipulation (the dissolution of European ethnic neighborhoods was largely the product of social engineering that attempted to assimilate these people into a manufactured, imposed, and ultimately vacuous "white" identity and you can see this because most European immigrants weren't white until much later in American history. I mean, what the heck is "white" identity? It's ultimately meaningless and allows those in power to fill it with any content they like, like "person who drinks Coke, watches Hollywood movies, and buys tons of crap he doesn't need, oh, and accepts abuse from a usurious oligarchy that uses debt and compound interest as an instrument of power and enrichment"). This is part of the reason why Americans are so confused about such things because they have no real culture. Why would you want to inflict something like that on Europe? Besides, ethnic difference is interesting and need not be a source of hatred or conflict. You need some way to simultaneously keep your ethnicity and transcend it. Every attempt to go to the extremes, to exaggerate ethnicity or so suppress it, always lead to disaster.

All of this is not to say that TV cannot be used as a powerful tool for social engineering. It can and it is. Television and Hollywood have, in concert with the education system, caused enormous changes in society. It's just harder to accomplish without first demoralizing and robbing someone of his identity first. Solve et coagula.

Not having a common culture is because the goal mounted on greased maglevs - anything common is declared "cultureless".

The "rootless" line by the way is itself an absurd dogwhistle of antisemites amounting to "They are not trustworthy because we repeatedly robbed and kicked them out - ergo they must have deserved it!" Along with all of the feudalist anti-merchant and anti-banking cliches to assure literal serfs that military dictators. While whitewashing all of the considerable hatred and conflict. You unironically repeat ancient self-serving lies of long dead strongmen and yet you think we're the ones confused and manipulated?

> As a European, this article is the degree of pretentious, market-driven, and stupid, that fits perfectly with the Economist.

Almost every time I read an article from The Economist I see that many of their arguments are founded on false premises which are (usually) trivial to fact-check. I really don't get why this publication gets posted here on HN so often.

The Economist has a variety of types of article. It has a World news round up. It has short opinion pieces (like the ones that get shared here) and longer form in depth analysis sections. It finishes with Arts and culture science and obituaries.

I have only ever seen the short (1/2 to 1 page in the printed version) opinion pieces shared here. I think most publications could be judged unfairly by reading the only those parts. Usually the magazine is themed on one subject for the week and publishes a range of angles on the same thing. Again sharing one part of it rather destroys the beauty of it. I think that is why I can't get on with the digital editions.

I was a subscriber to the paper edition, but it is supposed to arrive Saturday morning in the mail, but often didn't. I found thay if it arrived on Monday I was only finding time to flick through it.

This happens with other papers as well. It's always the opinion pieces that get shared because they press people's buttons. Then everyone piles on with 'Oh this isn't journalism' obviously! of course it's not, it's usually not written by a journalist and it's not meant to be journalism. I can understand how people that didn't grow up with the print editions can get confused though as I've noticed that Apple News puts lots of opinion pieces in my 'news' feed and because of the diversity of sources it's not always easy to tell as there are no strong visual clues and each outlet's conventions for opinion pieces are different and I think they call them something different in America, I forget the word, (editorial?).

I'm curious, can you cite some examples? In my experience The Economist has a definite bias toward "market reforms" (which some people might instead describe as "gutting the state" or something), but "trivially false" seems a lot more extreme.

I realize that this ask is standard on HN but it’s a bit of a pain to comb through a publication to produce the imputed litany of minor inaccuracies. I share the OP’s sentiment that the economist is a lousy source for opinions (it is however great for total coverage of world events, but you take this with an ideological spin that free trade and deregulation will make everything good). In general the economist is written as a series of anonymous op-eds. Articles will bring up specious comparisons ‘the amount of natural gas reserves in Bolivia is greater than the oil sands of Alberta’ and use these to support opinions that are unrelated. They will make bold forecasts from scanty data ‘more subsidies for domestic industry will reduce GDP growth’, ‘restricting access to Qualcomm chips will cripple Chinese Mobile Manufacturers’ and never validate their success rate. In general it requires a lot of critical reading to not get sucked into believing that they know what they’re talking about.

> They will make bold forecasts from scanty data ‘more subsidies for domestic industry will reduce GDP growth’, ‘restricting access to Qualcomm chips will cripple Chinese Mobile Manufacturers’ and never validate their success rate. In general it requires a lot of critical reading to not get sucked into believing that they know what they’re talking about.

The Economist actually interestingly runs a forecasting competition that does just that. I expect you have to pay more for those intelligence reports.


They won't be able to supply any examples beyond the opinion pieces, which are like most opinion pieces in all publications: click bait OPINIONS. The Economist does a decent job of reporting when reporting.

The seem to be publishing what most people want to hear and as such it is pleasing to many people, regardless whether it is true or not. They just want to feel good for a moment and escape the reality.

I've been reading the Economist for more than 15 years. I couldn't disagree with you more. This publication gets posted here so often because it is excellent IMO. It has a great balance of humor and rigor, they have great insights based on data, common trends, public opinion, government stance, etc. Weekly, I read a hard copy of it usually on Sunday mornings. Perhaps, I am biased of off habit.

They admit their mistakes openly: https://medium.economist.com/mistakes-weve-drawn-a-few-8cdd8...

All that shows is that your values/political views/understanding of the world align with The Economist. It doesn’t say anything about whether that world view is true or not. I am not making any claims as to the rightness/wrongness of The Economist. Just pointing out that what you are experiencing is not an objective evaluation.

I completely agree with you. I've been a subscriber for over 12 years, so maybe similarly biased. A good test case for me is whenever there's an article about something I have in-depth knowledge about it's rare to find grievous errors. A reverse Gell-Mann amnesia if you will.

The articles that are posted here are usually from the Leaders section, which are in effect opinion pieces. For every Leader article there's also a more in-depth article. If your only experience with the Economist is through their Leaders I can see how you would come away with the idea that all their articles are biased and lack detail.

From my limited experience, their finance writing (as the publication's name might suggest) is actually pretty good; I appreciate the skill it takes to write about financial markets in a way that's understandable to someone with very little financial knowledge.

Almost every other thing I've read from them is 1) total horseshit or, worse, 2) deeply right-wing conservative propaganda veiled behind a thin veneer of "we have a study that we cite!"

Yeah, when I had a commute I would devour Economist magazine, and I still consider it an even-keeled international news source for English-speaking readers. I can tell it has a neoliberal, "we have everything under control" underpinning, but I'm curious what people suggest as an alternative.

That said, their culture section can be sloppy. After noticing numerous errors in topics I care about and being disappointed in multiple book recommendations, I think I'd sooner try a cooking recipe from PC Gamer than accept their entertainment opinions at face value.

The Economist is nothing but a mouthpiece for propaganda pushed by IMF, Brookings (a.k.a Rockefeller), Rothschilds, Goldman Sachs and further globalist swamp organizations.

They get posted here as often as any other shoddy trash. But their crap seems to "stick" more at the frontpage than the others (probably because of better writing skills).

Spot on. I think that nowadays Champions League football (and European football in general) has done more to create a common European identity/culture than all the top-down measures implemented by various institutions, you can have a Romanian and a Swede both saying they’re a Madridista or a Scouse while having no other interest in the Spanish and British cultures.

Re: Italian music, I still have a couple of Ornella Vanoni and Mina CDs in my car, it’s the only thing that I listen while on road-trips (am Romanian).

Huh, football of course. I only forgot it because I'm not a big fan, but as far as "common European thing / knowledge of each other countries aspects" comes, it has historically been huge!

Another benefit of football is that in channels all that aggressiveness and fanatic nationalisms into a harmless sport.

> to namedrop some that were published and loved all over Europe: Asterix, Tin Tin, Mortadelo y Filemon, Lucky Luke, Blek, Judge Dredd, the Smurfs, Manara, Corto Maltese, and so on

Many of these were loved in Latin America as well. Lucky Luke and Asterix are my personal favorites, though there's a special place for Corto Maltese (Hugo Pratt is revered in my country) and I also liked Manara for erotic comics.

To this day I consider European comics way superior to American comics, where superheroes tended to dominate. Yes, I do love Sandman and Robert Crumb, of course.

A Donald Duck fan here: It is funny to mention that Donald Duck is way more popular in Europe then in his place of origin in North America. Several European publishers had (have?) authors on staff and share stories with other European publishers. Se we got (get?) stories that the Americans don’t get. Also in the nineties the translation in my home country was exceptionally good.

When I talk about Donald Duck with Americans they don’t get it, but when I talk with other Europeans there is a long and fun conversation ahead.

I always think it is cute when a work of art travels from the place of origin and shines in a different part of the world in this way.

I try to pick up a Donald Duck weekly in every country that I visit. It is fun to see how different Kalle Anke is from e.g. the Dutch Donald Duck.

Depends on which Donald Duck comics, to be fair. A whole bunch of them are utter garbage, not everyone is Don Rosa.

Yes, for example the grand tour which many young upper class people went on in the 17th and 18th century. With the explicit goal to expose themselves to as much culture and other elite people around the continent as possible.


Far more recently than that, Interrail and the Erasmus scheme.

The UK withdrew from the Erasmus scheme as part of Brexit seemingly for no other reason than to discourage cultural integration.

> The UK withdrew from the Erasmus scheme as part of Brexit seemingly for no other reason than to discourage cultural integration.

I think it was because of two reasons. First, the sort of people who go on Erasmus and Interrail tend to be the sort of people who could have afforded it anyway - it is a subsidy for the well to do.

And secondly, far fewer people go from the UK to other countries, than come from other countries to come here, so it is a financial drain.

You could argue that it was a good idea for soft power reasons for the UK to do, but it doesn't seem to have built up a lot of European good will so far and perhaps the government has reasoned that the money is better spent elsewhere.

> so it is a financial drain.

Only if you subscribe to the zero sum idea that there is a fixed pot of money which must be shared out between competing claims on it. Unfortunately our current and recent governments have propagated that notion for their own gain.

It neglects the fact that foreign students in the UK spend money in the UK economy thereby propping up jobs and economic activity. When my daughter did a year studying abroad in Germany the funding she got was nowhere near enough to cover her rent and other costs. So something like 10 grand of British money ended up getting spent in the German economy to keep her going.

> First, the sort of people who go on Erasmus and Interrail tend to be the sort of people who could have afforded it anyway

Absolutely not in my experience. They don't tend to be super poor, they are college demographics. But among social classes that do go to college, it actually enables people who could not pay for it. These programs are a way how students for whome it would be expensive go abroad for few months.

The Turing scheme will probably be more attractive to UK students because it will likely include more countries that UK students are actually interested in experiencing.

Does not look that good https://twitter.com/maxfras/status/1368913490308702208?ref_s...

The missing tuition support is really harsh, especially if Turing is for the US

supposedly, students don't pay tuition fees, because universities are expected to partner to waive fees.

I don't see this working in all honesty.

This tuition agreement which is often implemented as a waiver (so the student pays at most their home rate) is already the case for many exchange programs which have existed between innumerable university-pairs for many years. I don't see why the Turing program approach wouldn't be feasible.

Eurovision may be more for laughs today, but I believe it historically had a different position?

From watching it in the 90's as a child, I don't remember it being near as crazy as today, and they started in the 1950's

It's been pretty camp for a long time though. As a European living in the US I got a good laugh when my American friends watched the Will Ferrell movie "Eurovision". Especially when I got to explain to them that it wasn't even all that exaggerated and some of the characters were actually real-life former contestants.

> E.g. non-artsy Italian and French cinema from Alain Delon to Bud Spenser was big all-over Europe until the 80s when Hollywood dominated with emphasis on impossible to meet big productions and vfx.

It's not impossible to meet Hollywood's financial power, also its artistic power... Germany alone for example has producers (Constantin Film), studios (Bavaria, Babelsberg), VFX shops (Scanline, Stargate, Pixomondo) or tech rental (ARRI), and not to mention all the locations which many US blockbusters regularly use.

The core difference America has and what makes Hollywood so dominant is that everything except locations is pretty much concentrated in Hollywood (with Vancouver and Toronto offshoots in Canada), whereas in Europe everything is splintered - Germany alone has Cologne, Berlin and Munich. That makes it harder for all parties involved in a production (please don't get me started on the disgrace that is high-speed internet connectivity here) and, crucially, we don't have the informal "network effects" resulting from having everyone drink at the same bars in one town.

If anyone, be it a billionaire or a government, in Europe were to fund a "cinema town" modeled after Hollywood, inter-European infighting would kill the project before it even had a chance at getting started. We can't even get our heavy industry companies merged so that they're sizable enough to fight against Chinese and US companies - how are we supposed to successfully do that for a industry that doesn't have much economic relevance?

Well, there are attempts, especially in France, to pick national champions in different industries and concentrate public funding on them to build up companies that are relevant on the international stage. This has also been tried on a (somewhat) European (but still French-dominated) scale with Airbus and Arianespace. But I think most other European governments view these kinds of activities rather suspiciously.

In general I agree, but I also have a counter point.

I enjoy the European shows on Amazon and Netflix, much more so than the tiring Hollywood garbage.

Netflix does bring a decent budget for more Hollywood competitive production value to shows that feel distinctively less "US", which is a good thing for Europe, or at least provides a distribution platform to increase revenue for local shows.

Of course many of those shows also are produced for selling to a global audience, and French or some other local productions are more valuable for a European culture.

But the contribution is not zero or negative.

German shows were especially horrible (no, really, horrible) until very recently.

What is "high-bro sphere"? I googled and didn't find anything.

I think he means highbrow as in opera, Dante etc.

I quite like the article and found it interesting. I'm a Brit and you have to realize British publications like the Economist tend to take the piss out of Europe a bit, especially the Eurovision song contest.

> I quite like the article and found it interesting.

Well, you're British and this is a British publication targeting you :-)

Most readers of the Economist aren't in the UK. It's not even its biggest market.

Quite a few countries do that as well not just the UK.

In the past Italy sent its B team - and TBH san remo has much better strike rate for good songs.

The main point of watching (UK perspective) is for the cometary, The late Terry Wogan and now Graham Norton ) and to see how few points the UK gets

I guess it's "elitist circles". There were no enforced borders before WWI. It was common for people who could afford it to travel between big European cities. So there is a big chunk of shared culture actually.

> There were no enforced borders before WWI.

What do you mean by that? There were of course borders, and they were certainly enforced.

Not in today's sense:

Until the late 18th century travellers were more likely to be monitored at the district or parish level. During the French revolutionary wars the Jacobins began to issue foreign travellers with a carte de sureté on arrival at the French border, but these early ‘passports’ were dependent on the ideological affiliations of the holder rather than their nationality and subsequently fell into disuse after the Napoleonic Wars.

For much of the 19th century border control was sporadic and often non-existent, as millions of people migrated from Europe to the New World or within Europe itself without any passports or documentation. In 1942 the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig recalled the amazement of young people when he told them he had travelled across the world without a passport before the First World War.

The situation had started to change following the global economic slump in 1873, when governments began to introduce immigration controls based on nationality and ethnicity for the first time. In 1882 the US government passed the first Chinese Exclusion Act in response to racist ‘Yellow Peril’ lobbying from California politicians. In 1885 Bismarck ordered the expulsion of 40,000 Polish workers from Germany to prevent the ‘Polonization’ of Prussia. In 1897 the South African colony of Natal introduced a language test for immigrants, which barred entry to anyone who could not fill out an application form in English – a test that was specifically intended to eliminate ‘coolie’ labour from India. The ‘Natal formula’ was also introduced in Australia in order to keep out Chinese migrant workers.


That's fascinating. I was recently reflecting on how in 20 years Ill be telling young people "with a western passport, you used to be able to just book a flight and fly to almost any country you want and stay at least 30 days, but then covid happened." I'm so glad I got to do some nomad-ing for 2 years in my mid 20s. That level of openness is gone, and no the vaccine isn't bringing it fully back. The borders between The US, Mexico and Canada used to be a lot fuzzier too only 30 years ago. While there was SOME control, it was a lot more lax and after 9/11 it never came back. Once you give up some openness for security it never returns.

There were borders and they were enforced, but during the 19th and early 20th Century, it was quite normal for artistic elites to move around, especially to cultural hotspots like the Paris of the high-modernist era or Vienna in the late 19th C. etc.

Indeed but the view that survived from so long ago isn't coming from the "regular folks" but from a selection of people closer or fully a part of the elite. They're the people who could pass their ideas and experiences through the time. It's more or less like reading Bezos' journal two centuries from now and imagining that it's probably a representative way of life for the early 21st century.

I meant that passport were ot required for traveling inside Europe before WWI. Crossing borders didn't require to obtain a document beforehand.

I think he's referring to this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAhM0nds2UY

Wow, how does he make that ball and coin levitate. Is this a CGI prank?

No it's not CGI. Here's another view and you can see at 7:00 he does a similar setup where there's a large ball placed on his head which he removes before doing the smaller floating ball, which gives him some excuse to touch his head. I'm guessing there is an invisible string dangling down off his forehead because the ball always floats in alignment with his head.


You're definitely on to something. In both videos he touches his head and then spins the small ball. Still the execution is amazing.

Sorry, high-brow (I'm a notorious typo-ist). There's a high culture European dialogue that's been going on for a millenium at least, and even more intensely in the 18th and 19th and 20th centuries...

Both in the social scene (upper-middle classes and above travelling around Europe), and in the explicit and implicit exchange of influences and ideas between philosophers, writers, poets, musicians, painters, and so on.

Although I really like the idea of 18th century aristocratic Bros. Bumping gloved fists, downing full kegs of claret, and quoting Thomas Hobbes instead of Simon Sinek.

Well, I'd say romantic poets and enlightenment philosophers kind of were :-)

High brow

Opera, music, art, literature etc

Thanks, I learned a new word :)

I thought OP was referring to the fact European upper noble families were all blood related and shared the same interests.

The word’s origins are more dubious unfortunately: https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/08/23/the-myth-of-pop-cul...

> The terms ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ come from phrenology

The “high-bro sphere” is a circle of Europeans who are so culturally advanced they are not even a circle - they are a sphere.

They sit around in their special sphere saying things like “The Economist is pretentious, market-driven, and stupid, like Eurovision.”

Then they say “Yeah bro, high five!” like Borat.

Not sure what you mean here, but there appears to be a lot of resistance to the idea that, god forbid, anybody anywhere in the world might have a higher education and/or appreciate something more than pop culture.

I like opera, renaissance art, pop culture, rock music, Impressionism, jazz, and kitsch, amongst other things.

I’m not sure what you mean by “more than” pop culture.

There is good art and bad art in all genres, which are just mediums of cultural communication that reach different audiences.

I didn’t understand the reductionist criticism of The Economist, which I have found to publish numerous examples of good criticism and bad criticism, about a range of topics, mostly to do with economics, and occasionally culture.

I don’t think culture is The Economist’s forte. They probably don’t either, except when cultural platforms have measurable economic consequences.

>I’m not sure what you mean by “more than” pop culture.

Basically that aside from there being "good art and bad art in all genres" there are is also more substantial and less substantial forms and artistic cultures.

How do you measure "substantial"?

It perhaps doesn't influence European culture at a larger scale (yet) but what I really appreciate about Netflix is that the shows and movies they offer are almost always available in the original language version alongside with dubs and subtitles / CC.

In Germany, where I live, you otherwise almost exclusively get German-only versions of movies (due to a mixture of licensing shenanigans and there not being a sufficiently high demand for original language versions in the German market).

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of closer integration between European countries today is language or rather the lack of a common language.

For that matter, Brexit could be a blessing in disguise because it might allow EU countries to embrace English as a common language - in addition to their native ones - without any of the more dominant EU members having the "advantage" of that language as its native, official one anyway.

This idea probably is a pipe dream, though. Realistically, I don't really see France, Germany, or Italy, for example, adopt English as an additional official language any time soon.

You don't promote a culture by assimilating it to your own.

>Streaming services, however, treat Europe as one large market rather than 27 individual ones, with the same content available in each.

Lol, they don't even treat one country as one market. I need to change the language of the Netflix interface to be able to access all content in my country.

Across countries in the EU, there exists a gap in the available shows.

Common European culture is enabled by dirt-cheap Ryanair and easyJet tickets(Berlin-Milan is 30 EUR round-trip) and open borders. Just hop on and explore your neighbour's thousand year old history.

Many Europeans have studied, worked or otherwise lived abroad, not to mention all of those who benefited from those dirt cheap flights.

It's quite amazing that you can drive from one end of the EU to the other without showing your passport, learning new road signs, exchanging currency (with some exceptions), getting a new SIM card, or waiting at a border crossing. If you live in Berlin, driving to Warsaw is no more of an inconvenience than driving to Frankfurt.

I don't know what we get out of the U.S. border situation. People who have to commute between the countries hate it. People who work these posts probably hate it. Trucking industries hate it. Tourists hate it. And yet, based on what I see in my city, the cartel has no issues getting drugs in for cheap enough that someone with no income can be high for every waking hour of their life. I just want to be able to go to Tijuana without the traffic jam. I didn't ask for this damn wall (well, sturdy fence, really).

That's what happens when elected representatives from Wyoming and Tennessee have a congressional majority over the control of a border 1,500 miles away from them.

Stoke fear of immigrants to get yourself elected, then make legal immigration impossible so that illegal immigration is the only option.

Also, erasmus and similair programms which makes it possible for (young) people to exchange.

I have a Netflix subscription that I've not actively used since half a year now.

It's because I know that when I use Netflix, all I get is some over the top and dumped-down-for-the-masses content.

Like, I completely given up on Netflix documentaries. The last one I watched was this stupid one on Minimalism. It was terrible.

Movies: Well, I have total Hollywood 0815 movie fatique[1]. If there's yet another good looking hero just barely being able to save the world and their family, it's definitely not me that is surprised.

All I watch now is Youtube or even German ARD and ZDF mediathek. There, at least, I know what I'm getting is somewhat grounded. Amazon Prime video has had some good content too recently.

- 1: https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/08/15_(Redewendung)

This is a rather pretentious take. Not sure I agree that a lowest-common-denominator i.e. violence and sex TV-drama counts as common culture. The setting could be whatever, it would still sell using the same tropes. I guess it is in a way similar to how McDonald is European "common food culture"..

One thing that Netflix is absolutely terrible at is dubbing. As a German, I grew up with the luxury of all movies shown on TV (Hollywood or European) being dubbed (this is not true for many of our neighboring countries). In Germany this means that there are actually really good voice over artists that dub so well (sync with the actor's lips so well) you can barely tell the audio is not original. And certain great voice over artists being as recognizable as great actors across movies, and sometimes even commonly used for specific actors.

But Netflix's dubs are absolutely TERRIBLE. The voice is out of sync with the lip movement, there is barely any emotion in the tone like in the original audio, the translations are sloppy and don't work for the dialog.

I also grew up with the luxury of having learnt English well enough from young age to a proficiency that I can watch movies in English just as well as in my mother's tongue. This is definitely not true for my family members or even some friends. So when I have a movie on Netflix that is English I chose to watch it in original audio, when it is German (like Dark) I can watch it in original audio, but any other show they produced in Europe I usually give it a try and have to stop watching it because the terrible dub just ruins the experience.

I know there are a lot of people that are fine with subs, but Germans are used to enjoying their movies dubbed. And similarly I heard some American friends who really wanted to watch Dark but were just turned off by the terrible English dub.

So, as far as I can tell, they're very far from creating "common European culture".

> In Germany this means that there are actually really good voice over artists that dub so well (sync with the actor's lips so well) you can barely tell the audio is not original.

I seriously doubt that. In France we also have dubs that are considered extremely good (Back to the Future is a big one), but you stil can easily tell it's not the original audio. And it absolutely loses a lot compared to the original. I wish I grew up with subtitles instead of dubs wherever possible.

Dubs only make sense for cartoons and animation (South Park and The Simpsons come to mind as having better dubs in French than in the original version).

As a Flemish person, I really hate dubbing. And so does anyone who grew up reading subtitles instead of dubbing.

I'm also certain that this is the main reason why the average person in a subtitle country (Flanders, Netherlands, Nordic countries, ...) speaks way better English than in the dubbing countries.

> In Germany this means that there are actually really good voice over artists that dub so well (sync with the actor's lips so well) you can barely tell the audio is not original.

It's weird how perceptions can differ. I found that German dubs are pretty bad, you lose pretty much all emotion in it and if you don't know the language spoken in the movie, using subtitles is preferable over German audio.

> I also grew up with the luxury of having learnt English well enough from young age to a proficiency that I can watch movies in English just as well as in my mother's tongue.

Chicken and egg, really. You get much better at understanding English if you watch movies. My reading comprehension shot up when we were offered a subscription of Time magazine at very affordable rates (for secondary school students).

> So, as far as I can tell, they're very far from creating "common European culture".

Hopefully. But if anyone does, please don't do it by translating it into any and all languages. Let's just settle on English and slowly fade out traditional European languages to a heritage thing that you learn for fun and use on special occasions with your grand parents.

> It's weird how perceptions can differ. I found that German dubs are pretty bad, you lose pretty much all emotion in it and if you don't know the language spoken in the movie, using subtitles is preferable over German audio.

German dubbing, and really dubbing in general, is a regular subject of mockery in Norway where we're used to sub-titles, as a thing that makes anything unwatchable whether or not you know German. I think peoples ability to deal with dubbing is strongly dependent on whether or not you grew up with it.

That's likely, yeah, though I know some people (including me) that grew up on pretty much German-only, at some point transitioned to English for movies and shows and now won't go back. It's probably not just a dub-thing as pretty much all of them prefer English over German in general.

> One thing that Netflix is absolutely terrible at is dubbing. As a German, I grew up with the luxury of all movies shown on TV (Hollywood or European) being dubbed (this is not true for many of our neighboring countries).

Being from one of those neighbouring countries, it’s hard to understand what’s so great about dubbing, and I guess back home people kind of feel sorry for the countries where dubbing is the norm.

Only television for young children is dubbed, because usually they can’t read or read fast enough yet, and growing up reading subtitles becomes a second nature. Once you’re used to them, it’s hard to understand what added benefit dubbing would then bring… Except from an accessibility point of view—I know not everybody can read, and I know there are dedicated dubs for the visually impaired.

The benefits of subtitles are many though—of course first and foremost you get to enjoy the sounds and atmosphere of another language while still being able to understand it. And then being confronted with a language often enough will be a massive help in learning it. English of course is the main language people learn this way, but when I learned French and German in high school the French and German spoken movies on TV and in the cinema definitely helped.

So I guess what I mean to say—of course it’s simply the result of the economical reality of living in a smaller linguistic area, but subtitles feel quite the luxury to me!

It’s interesting to hear that Netflix’s dubbing is subpar though, and I see how that could hurt their bottom-line since in most bigger countries dubbing is the norm.

Some dubbing was and is also quite bad. Several examples come to mind where I was forced to acknowledge I should rather watch everything in the original if I could due to the huge number of translation mistakes .

There are some notable exceptions though. Animated movies in particular, like Ice Age where you just could feel the difference between B-Level US actors/comedians vs A-Level German voice overs and comedians (Otto).

Same here. I grown up in Czechoslovakia where everything is dubbed with high quality. Netflix dubbing sounds to me like somebody just reading the script. What I slso hate when englisg dubbing and subtitles doesn’t match.

If some young person, maybe here, could figure out how to dub seamlessly, and realistically; they could make a fortune with the technology.

I guess this would require deepfaking updated lip movements into the actors' faces - so that they're not out of sync anymore - and I don't think we're that far away. (Personally I'm not a fan of dubbing, but that's another story).

Well, you could make a very modes fortune, possibly. Dubbing isn't exactly a high margin high volume market.

This is absolutely ridiculous.

There were actually three full paragraphs with about 300 words here, but then I realized that would just be dignifying this pretentious drivel.

I prefer watching foreign shows in their native language, not dubbed in English. English subtitles are fine.

But yeah, the world is homogenizing, and there's no way to stop it. Germany, England, etc., become more like the US every time I visit.

Netflix to their credit does let you switch audio language and subtitling to any version they have available for the most part as far as I can tell (with some hilarious results, as for some shows the dubbing and subtitling does not always match well - my son noticed this with anime shows where the English audio and subtitles often say entirely different things)

Though I also wish they'd let me set better defaults. They let you give a list of languages you prefer, but that's too simplistic. E.g. I'd prefer to always get original audio, but subtitles matching the audio in a handful of languages I know well enough to follow if I can read but not only by audio, and falling back to English.

Instead you need to check for each series what is available, or set it broad and change it per program accordingly.

Sadly depending on which country you're in, some shows on Netflix won't have all the audio/subtitles available. No idea if this is Netflix's fault or yet another unfortunate result of copyright hell.

Globalization for Me and Not for Thee, S36E571

This happens fairly often on German Netflix. When the program's language is neither German nor English, often there are no English subtitles available.

International licensing is obviously complicated, so it's hard to say whose "fault" it is, but my suspicion is that some rights owners will only license the service to use the local language to prevent end users doing digital geo-arbitrage.

For example, the Swedish series "The Bridge" is available on German Netflix, and the trailer has English subtitles, but the actual episodes only offer German subs. AFAICT in the US market this show is only available for streaming as a purchase from Amazon.

I’ve found that with the plugin https://languagelearningwithnetflix.com/ I tend to get a longer list of options both for audio and subtitles. It also let’s you do fun stuff like displaying two sets of subtitles simultaneously—although that didn’t really work for my brain.

+1 for LLWN! Fantastic Chrome extension, especially for language learning. They also have one for YouTube.

However, the language options offered beyond those already provided by Netflix are machine translated. This is good enough to follow along or fill in gaps in your knowledge of the officially subtitled language, but is a subpar representation of the program.

> for some shows the dubbing and subtitling does not always match well

It is very common for languages other than English. I'd say most Netflix content has the French audio and subtitles not matching each other. They have the same meaning but not the same wording.

Give us up the bomb!

And the US, sadly, becomes more like the developing world, every time I visit...

Public infrastructure, decent wages, national health care, public transport, and such ain't "beyond the pale" guys...

Though, to be frank, European politicians are influenced by this and want to bring more of it here faster. Private profit of the few above people, and let the suckers believe in wealth "trickling down"...

The homeless crisis in Seattle parallels the progressive rise to prominence in the city politics. All the city positions are occupied by progressives. Nobody else even bothers to run.

LA has had every flavor of mayor over the last century, and Skid row has been Skid row ever since it was first named such in the early 1900s.

Skid Row's origin is from Seattle, where the logs were slid down "skid road" to the boats.

Skid is another word for shipping pallet and it’s called skid row because it’s next to the freight train lines into downtown. Pallets would get stacked high along the streets, hence skid row. There are plenty of cities across America with their own area called skid row. The name has nothing to do with the current homeless population.

It is common for poor industrial areas to end up with large transient populations, but that’s a case of convergent evolution.

It's not named after homeless people, I'm saying the character of the place has been the same since like the 1890s. That part of town has always been full of transient and destitute people no matter the flavor of local government, is the point I was trying to make. The OP comment was implying some false correlation between homelessness and progressive government. Lest we forget it was progressive government initiatives that ended the great depression and both peace and wartime public works projects, not private corporations, that finally got people back to work decades ago.

That is indeed the progressive interpretation of those events. The other interpretation is FDR's progressive policies extended the Depression into by far the longest in US history.

The banking runs were caused by the fixed exchange rate between gold and fiat money - in 1929 one could double one's wealth by buying gold from banks at the official exchange rate. This naturally caused endless runs until the banks either collapsed or FDR (correctly) suspended such sales. The banks remained crippled for lack of money because the Federal Reserve Bank (not a free market bank) failed to understand what the problem was.

The country came out of the Depression late in the 30's because of vast quantities of money flowing into the country from foreign countries buying arms.

If you're going to correct someone, isn't it worth spending just a few minutes doing due diligence? Skid row comes from logging roads where the logs were skidded down the road.[0]


And the larger the safety net holes get, the more progressives will be elected, hopefully.

That’s a pretty dubious implication of causation.

Capitalism extracts work from wealth gradients the same way a Stirling engine extracts it from temperature ones. The higher the gradient, the more efficient it becomes.

Haha, I wish this wasn't such a STEM-y analogy so I could mention it to my friends, it's great and describes so much in so little.

Is it a pro and anti capitalism point, i cant tell.

By that logic it was most efficient with slavery? And the next best thing with serfs?

It’s not pro or against. It’s an observation. Slavery and serfdom is not as efficient because the motivation to work is extrinsic and needs work to maintain.

It's worse than that. Slaves will actively sabotage the work, even at the risk of execution when caught.


I went for the most morally neutral analogy I could find. Systems and models are not inherently good or bad - what gives that quality is how we use them.

There's nothing morally neutral in exploitation.

So visit a different part of it. As someone whose parents grew up without electricity in their home that's nonsense and tone deaf. We don't need an "America bad" melodrama on every thread, especially one about European culture. Turn off the news and talk to real people. You have no idea how positively we brown 1st and 2nd gen immigrants view America, and the pages I could write on how far ahead of the "developing" latin and South/Southeast Asian world it still is. And yes Ive been to 20+ countries I'm not missing "perspective". Europeans have certain benefits explicitly defined by law and we don't because the US is rooted in a libertarian understanding of what a "right" is but we get them anyway and to keep it brief I will say that the recent hyper-focus on the US' flaws and fixation on what other countries "promise" their citizens make people myopic to how it actually plays out in the real world. I've met many entrepreneurial Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, French, and Australian friends abroad on the nomad circuits who start their own cafes and training centers and studios in other countries and tell me about what they lack back home and went in search of outside of the EU. I'm much more appreciative of the opportunities the US still offers after having traveled.

The US is definitely doing better than most developing worlds. Except of course for minor things like lifespan, health, crime etc. However doing better than developing worlds is quite a low bar.

“ what they lack back home and went in search of outside of the EU. ” that’s a very heavy selection bias. The Americans I’ve talked to in Europe doesn’t represent those that I’ve talked to in America. There’s a reason people both leave and stay.


Second-generation Americans almost universally didn't start from a low bar themselves. Many first-generation Americans didn't start from a low bar, either, but that's maybe a different point.

Wealth is not "trickling down" mainly because of high taxes in Europe. Corporations have incentive to transfer profits outside and spend it only when absolutely necessary, otherwise any bigger project wouldn't be economical. So not only those corporations act like a hoover of funds, the void that is created has to be filled with something - and here comes progressive tax, that ensures middle class cover what otherwise those big corporations would have to pay and also ensures that if someone comes from a poor background they almost never go up in the class ladder. This will eventually create a society where everyone cannot afford anything to buy, but they will be able to scrap money together to pay for subscriptions and big corporations will become de facto governments and all parliaments will focus on protecting that status quo rather than serving the public.

> Wealth is not "trickling down" mainly because of high taxes in Europe

it's not trickling down anywhere.

While it might be in most corporations best interest to have consumers that can afford to buy all the thing they are selling, it's also in their own immediate interest to squeeze as much money as they can, and keep it for them self.

And each year laws get passed (or reverted) that help corporations , and they get better and better at squeezing.

Look at the trends, middle class is disappearing, and more and more wealth is captured and kept at the top. (corporations are getting bigger and bigger, and rich people are getting richer)

and it's happening in USA even faster than in most of Europe. Pretty much the only place where middle class is growing is China (and other developing countries), but that is because they are still catching up.

So it can't be just the EU taxes.

Trickle down is nice theory, too bad it doesn't work in practice.

And no I don't even pretend to know what the solution is.

I just think that lowering taxes for corporations, will just make even more money for corporations, make them more powerful and not really help anyone else.

While there are obviously major problems, if you rank countries by the social mobility indexes, or by GINI (income inequality) indexes, the top ten or so are all high-tax European countries.

Mind you, there's more to it than that; just setting the high-income-band taxes high won't do it. Efficacy of taxation and control of corruption is also important. Ireland's an interesting case; in the 80s its income tax was quite high (and it was a substantial net beneficiary of EU funding) but its GINI index was the worst in the EU (it was actually worse than the US for part of the decade). Today, income tax is still quite high (though not as high), and it's a donor of EU funding, but the GINI index is middle of the road European, far better than it used to be. The main thing that changed, beyond overall economic development, is reduction of corruption; there's no point in having big high-income-band taxes if no-one pays them.

"Corporations have incentive to transfer profits"

They will always have incentive to movw money into a tax heaven, their rate is zero

Only if the money can be freely moved.

“Trickling down” economics has been completely disregarded by serious Economists for years now. If it actually worked, the US would be in a much better position today than it actually is.

Large corporations like Google, Amazon etc. pays zero tax. I hope you enjoy your percentage of those non-existing “trickling down” $.

A great thing about America is you can buy stock in corporations and get your share of their profits. It also gets you the right to attend shareholder meetings and vote on corporate business issues.

> And the US, sadly, becomes more like the developing world, every time I visit...

But Biden has the "once in a generation infrastructure plan"!

Not at all. As a European, I am still shocked when I visit the US. The disregard for people suffering in the streets, the trash and crumbling infrastructure, the disillusioned and depressed people, the open usage of drugs, the bullying attitude of anybody wearing a uniform, the carefully carved out areas of smug entitled rich people feeling they are better than anybody else, the “we are better than anybody else” attitude that has no relation to reality etc. etc. I used to enjoy visiting the US but nowadays I prefer to go somewhere else. Very sad.

> Germany, England, etc., become more like the US every time I visit.

As a German: In what ways?

1. McDonald's everywhere. These were non-existent in 1970.

2. I recently was in a shopping mall in Stuttgart. The design, parking garage, mall exterior, interior, looked exactly like an American mall. The displays and signs inside were nearly all in English. You could not tell you were in Germany.

3. Germans have by and large quit smoking.

4. English everywhere.

5. More American style clothing. Less Lederhosen (in fact, I can't recall seeing any Lederhosen after 1970).

6. American brand names everywhere.

>3. Germans have by and large quit smoking.

I'm not sure how long ago you were in the US, but it was ubiquitous here a couple generations ago, and the shift away from smoking seems to be a global trend associated with wealth - in Mainland china, I see much less of the younger generation smoking nowadays.

I was in Berlin recently and can attest to the English signage anecdote though, even if your experience seems to be an exaggerated version of mine.

As a Brit who went to Amsterdam a couple of years ago, I was really surprised at the number of smokers on the streets. It's definitely regional.

Germans smoked heavily everywhere in the 1980s. This all vanished by the 2000s.

Smoking largely ended in the US by the mid 70s. Not completely, but in the 1960s I recall every office building stunk of stale smoke. This disappeared by the mid 70s.

Just to address your first point - You can't visit a major American city with out finding an IKEA or even two. The world globalized, it didn't americanize.

Step into any IKEA in America, and there's no hint it's a European company. Step into a McDonald's in Germany, and it's like you stepped into America.

Besides, McDonald's are everywhere in Germany. I even ate at one at Checkpoint Charlie. An obvious triumph over communism :-)

I'm sure there is an IKEA around here somewhere, but I don't know where. I know where all the McD's within 10 miles are!

Shouldn't the BLAHAJ and GODIS SKUM signs in Ikea be a hint? The cafe likes to sell its Swedishness too.

> 3. Germans have by and large quit smoking.

Eh? How is stopping smoking a "US thing"? Surely it's a result of public health campaigns and regulations slowly introduced over decades?

And these laws were passed in some European countries before the USA introduced them

The US was about 20 years ahead in pushing smoking to the margins.

Just to play the devils advocate.

USA has double the smoking rate (per capita) than in my country (2017).

Germany was very,very early with anti-tobacco campaigns: “in 1929 (presumably too late to be included in the handbook) the German physician, Fritz Lickint published a paper in which he showed that lung cancer patients were particularly likely to be smokers. He then went on a crusade against smoking, and antitobacco activism actually became widespread in Germany.”

Hollywood was one of the main proponents of marketing cigarettes.

See also the newish American trend of vaping.

America is the forth largest producer of cigarettes.



The fact remains, in the 1980s in Germany if you walked into any business office there was a choking blue haze like in 1960s America. It was inescapable.

It was starkly obvious if you traveled back and forth between the US and Germany in the 1980s. In the 80s US businesses had done a good job of pushing the smokers out on the porch.

I never thought that would work, but it did, and smoking became generally recognized as the filthy habit that it was.

My '72 Dodge hasn't seen a cigarette since the 1980s and still smells like smoke :-)

There are Chinese restaurants everywhere in the US. So obviously the US is becoming Chinese then? Using your arguments? Or perhaps the US is becoming English since everybody is using mobile phones with an arm designed CPU? Or perhaps Mexican because of all the Mexican restaurants in the US? Or Italian? The US sure loves eating pizza? Using your arguments I could make all of those claims.

You can argue whatever you like. I lived in Germany in the late 60s for 3 years, and visited occasionally in the decades since. For someone living there the whole time, the change might be gradual enough to not be noticeable, but I notice it as discontinuous jumps.

Re 2 & 4: All signs here (pop 200k city) are in German. Only some very rare exceptions are in English (and other languages as well), like Corona behavior signs. The only English I normally see is the atrocious Denglisch (Portmanteau of Deutsch (German) and English) like "Back Factory" (Baking factory…) or single words like "sale".

The Lederhosen are the American equivalent of the hick bib in the South.

Those are just form Bavaria and nowhere else.

You woudn't see a cowboy dress in NYC.

I lived in Wiesbaden in the late 1960s. It was commonplace to see boys and men in Lederhosen on the street, and not just as a costume during Fasching. They wore them like jeans (not with the suspenders).

So did we the Basques with the fisherman/peasant custome but nowadays that dress it's just used for holydays as a folkloric tradition.

> You woudn't see a cowboy dress in NYC.

Well, there's the Naked Cowboy. But I guess he's missing the "dress" part of it (aside of "keeping the hat (and boots) on").

QAnon comes to mind ;) More serious: The unquestioned total power of intelligence agencies.

Homogenizing geographically but dehomogenizing in some ways both iffy such as alt right vs woke and also into specialist groupings such as HNers I guess.

English subtitles would be awesome but Netflix for some reason want to force users to use closed captions. There's always a long list of subtitle languages and then one in English with closed captions.

Aren't subtitles and closed captions the same thing?

There are two types of subtitles: for the hearing impaired and normal subtitles. English subtitles are usually for the hearing impaired, which means that they also add information about the sounds of the scene, like the phone is ringing or the music is playing.

I think closed captions include description of noises, music cues, etc.

CC subtitle tracks often show up with the name "English (SDH)" (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing).


Thanks, I wondered what that implied. Though I don't really understand what the point of [music] would be to a deaf person.

I’m not deaf but I watch a lot of video content with no sound and only CC captions. Usually with my own music playing instead.

When the CC is good it can communicate the mood of the music that is playing, sometimes it even shows the lyrics.

[ominous music], [workout montage music], [knocking on door], [Rachel clears throat], [music: Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd]

Usually there tends to be a description connecting the music to a specific kind of emotion, but it could also be a generic music symbol that leaves the person to imagine something in its place. Deaf people can still feel a subset of the vibrations that sound creates (usually the low end bass frequencies played with a higher power output). So a subset of such deaf people may be able to relate to certain sounds with certain emotional content too. The number of humans who cannot hear is a union of two sets – those who were born without the ability to hear and those who could hear but lost it at some point in life. The closed captioning indicators for music leave it to the imagination of the person.

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