When a tourist ventures to a foreign country, she may find herself surrounded by unfamiliar things. All around her, people are wearing clothes she has never seen, laughing at jokes she does not understand, and saying things in a tongue she does not speak. The poor confused tourist is baffled by the natives' culture—their way of life. Even in different regions of the same country, there are cultural differences, most notably in dialect. What a Marylander calls soda, a person from Michigan calls pop. While Oregonians drink water, residents of New Jersey are sipping glasses of wudder. And, as comedian Bill Cosby puts it, "Up in New England, a man can die from a hat attack," rather than the cardiac arrest that endangers the rest of us. These differences set different countries, regions, religions, and other groups apart from one another, making them unique.
Culture can be anything from the highbrow to the mundane. Part of French culture, for example, is their refusal to use air conditioning, even when the weather becomes so unbearably hot that people are collapsing from heat stroke after merely crossing the street. This is not an artistic or architectural innovation, but it is still a defining feature of the French.
The problem with culture is that many people cling fiercely to their own cultures and refuse to consider anyone else's. One notable example of this cultural closed-mindedness is Robert C. Solomon's assertion that "television culture is no culture at all" (Solomon). Unfortunately for Mr. Solomon, televisions have been around for more than half a century, and have formed numerous bonds across generations. Baby boomers recall with pleasure the days of "Howdy Doody;" many of today's teenagers can still name all of the Power Rangers. Bonds created by television have become a part of American culture, whether or not Solomon wants to admit it.
Solomon is of the opinion that the