March 2017 – Catherine’s Intercultural World in Review

just got back from Cuba

What a month! I just got back from Cuba, my blog welcomed a new logo, and I was flattered to be interviewed by Werkstatt, a community supporting German business in the US. March 2017 was also rich in politics and little-known facts about Germany.

Politics still made many headlines in March

Politics appeared worldwide throughout March, and not only in the US. My fear of French populist candidate Marine Le Pen is covered by two articles.

The first is by The Economist, who addressed the topic on its March 4th cover: “The Next French Revolution.” According to the British media agency, Western liberal democracies observe a rising pattern of populism across similar topics: “fear of job losses, backlash against immigration, distrust of self-serving politicians, echo effect of information spread on social media”.

The other one is from the French Le Monde, published on March 13th: “Leçons américaines pour élection française.” (In English, “American lessons for the French election”.) Both Le Monde and The Economist drew parallels about Trump’s and Le Pen’s backgrounds; born to wealthy families, they speak for those they call “forgotten” in a way that their supporters find credible.

Little-known facts about Germany

The conservative Die Welt published a surprising article on March 2nd, entitled “Armutsbericht zeichnet schlimmstes Bild seit 25 Jahren.” In English, the title reads, “Poverty report shows the worst situation for 25 years.” The article contrasted favorable economic indexes with the rise of poverty in Germany. In 2015, 15.7% of Germans lived under the poverty level. For a single parent, this means living on less than $1,027 a month. For families with two children, this means living on less than $2,577 per month.

Prostitution was featured as another little known fact about Germany. Prostitution has been legal in Germany for a long time, and The Local summarized five things to know about it, including sex tourism at the German-French border.

Going green (and yellow)

I also learned this month that the French liqueur Chartreuse is having its moment in the United States—or at least in Washington DC. Check out this article in the Washingtonian to find out “Everything you need to know about Chartreuse, the hot liqueur of the moment”

Advertising in the United States

Curiously, I have never written an article about the way Americans advertise. The closest I came to sharing my thoughts on this subject was a post about “Why Trump-like overselling doesn’t work in France or Germany.” The European Union forbids any kind of comparative, branded adverts. Furthermore, the line between facts and promises in German ads is very narrow. Maybe I will catch up one day, but for now this SNL sketch is so funny and really summarizes the exaggerations of many US commercials.

Now, I’d like to close my March 2017 review with a French answer to the “America first” principle from President Trump’s inauguration speech. It’s all in English and very… French. I’m sure my French compatriots will love it. Americans may be offended by a few graphic images—sorry for that!

Photo credit: shot in La Havana, Cuba, by Catherine Rochereul
More pictures from Cuba are posted on my Instagram @rochereul


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