Walking around the streets of Paris with my family, I see Coca Cola, Danon Yogurt, Lay's barbecue potato chips and Snickers on the shelves of every grocery store and deli, the movies Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, Hangover Part 2 (charmingly retitled Very Bad Trip Part 2) and Mr. Popper's Penguins playing in the theaters, and a McDonald's or a Starbucks on every block.
I understand the idea of exporting culture, but I have a hard time thinking of a single French product, movie or restaurant that I might see casually walking down the streets in New York. Is France accommodating us? Surrendering to us? The other day, a couple came up to me while I was on my way home and, told me they were from out of town and asked me if there was a nice place to eat nearby. I suggested a place I thought had good food and was distinctive. "No," the woman looked at me with clear confusion, "I meant something likes McDonald's or Wendy's." Seems like traveling is becoming more a matter of feeling at home wherever you go these days than really plunging into another culture.
We're all closer now than we've ever been, we all "know" each other with a cultural intimacy we never have before. That's a good thing, right?