The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO) has been busy investigating cultural differences between nations. For example, the guy who threw his shoes at President Bush The Younger the other day in Baghdad has served to remind us that there are many cultural differences between America and the rest of the world. While it is instructive to learn that throwing shoes at someone is a grave insult in Iraq and much of the Arab world, Department research has found no country or region where the act of pitching footwear at your head is considered a compliment. An exhaustive search of data bases and research libraries has proved fruitless.

But we here at DOPOTO know from long experience that no research is completely useless. Most people know by now that the wonder sex drug Viagra was originally formulated as a heart medication. While it didn’t do a heck of a lot for bum hearts, it sure jump-started a lot of love lives. On the  debit side, Viagra gave rise to perhaps the creepiest reality television show ever, the one about ancient and wrinkled Hugh Hefner and the three young and beautiful girlfriends he hired to sleep with him. Similarly, DOPOTO’s research into cultural differences between America and the rest of the world has produced some unexpected but interesting observations. For example:

While both American children and Korean children love puppies, Korean children generally love theirs medium rare with ginseng garnish.

American women show their independence by becoming educated, productive and in control of their own lives. In much of the Muslim world, women show their independence by getting stoned to death for leaving the house.   

The term “whiplash” has very different meanings in America and Singapore.

In America, bulky clothing has been associated with hip hop culture. In Israel, the same sort of outfit gets you wrestled to the ground by the bomb squad.

In much of the rest of the world, gambling is confined to casinos, race tracks and betting parlors. In the United States, the most popular high stakes gambling action takes place in corporate boardrooms.

While Britain still clings to the vestiges of being a monarchy, maintaining a Queen or a King and many lesser royals who have a lot of money and are sort of decadent but wield no real power, America is content with our fascination with the Kennedy family.

Eating with sticks and having paper walls in one’s home are Japanese traditions. In America, we call such things signs of homelessness.

As France and Poland have learned the hard way, it is a mistake to say to a German: “Make yourself at home” or “Help yourself.” 

In Afghanistan, upon visiting someone’s house for tea for the first time, bringing a small gift is customary. Nothing too big or showy as to embarrass the host, perhaps a couple of hand grenades or a small automatic pistol. 

In America, we consider Canadians to be just like us. They are not, but close enough. Besides, they are far too insecure to say otherwise or stake a claim to any identifiable cultural identity, so few people bother to inquire. All the interesting ones have already immigrated to America where having something original or controversial to say is not considered impolite.

While in America bagpipes are played as musical instruments, their original purpose in Scotland was as a weapon to annoy the crap out of their enemies and attack while they they were in a panic from the godawful shrieking.

In Darfur, it is considered impolite to whip your host’s slave without permission, even if they deserve it.

In America, a popular remedy for obesity is having an operation called a gastric bypass to reduce the size of one’s stomach, thus eliminating the need for strenuous exercise and following a proper diet. In many parts of the world, starvation does the trick, also without the exertion of exercise or any diet plan.

It is considered polite in China to compliment the taste and color of the air. 

In Brazil it is considered bad form to pop a woody at a nude beach.

The main difference between American Mormon males and Larry King is that Larry divorced his first 6 wives before marrying lucky #7.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Grab some ass.

In Saudi Arabia, immodest clothing is frowned upon at public beheadings.

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