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PostWestern civilization (Joe Listo, Brazil) (John Eipper, USA, 05/21/06 10:23 am)
From Brazil, Joe Listo writes: A Greek and an Italian were drinking coffee one day discussing who had the superior culture. Over triple lattes the Greek guy says, "Well, we have the Parthenon". Arching his eyebrows the Italian replies, "We have the Coliseum." The Greek retorts, "We Greeks gave birth to advanced mathematics."
The Italian, nodding in agreement, says, "But we built the Roman Empire." And so on and so until the Greek comes up with what he thinks will end the discussion. With a flourish of finality he says, "We invented sex!"
The Italian replies, "That is true, but it was the Italians who introduced it to women."
RH: This brings up the whole question of Western Civilization, which by its critics is called simply the Western tradition, the Western world, or just the West. I do not know who first used the expression "Western civilization", but it suggests the 19th century when Europe was regarded as the focal point of world culture. In a recent posting I pointed out that Germany, once the great land of poets and thinkers, has now become a nation of soccer fans. More serious is the European song festival, held in Greece. I saw some of it on TV. It was a sorry display of crude vulgarity. The more religious said that it was an expression of Satanism. IT was pop culture at its worst, and America cannot be blamed: it was a European festival. Does it mark the end of Western civilization?