Top Ten Things Well Known in the U.S. that are Virtually Unknown in German Speaking Countries

Martin_Canine
In the past 70 years, American culture has left its mark in German speaking countries, and almost everything that is a part of the American culture has its name over here as well. Sure, in the last 20 years, trends have differed more and more significantly, but still, we do know what is part of recent American pop culture.
But still, there are some things that are absolutely obscure in German speaking territory that are taken for granted in the US.

The Top Ten

1 The Sound of Music

Yes, the movie 99% of the world immediately associates with Austria is completely obscure over here. It barely gets aired and wasn't a commercial success in its initial release, and if you are Austrian or German and know of the existence of this Oscar winning movie, you are probably a film fan who is interested in movie history. While I have read articles trying to figure out why this internationally famous movie never made it big here that assume Austrians are offended by the portrayal, that is simply not true. Austrians, especially older ones, love when their country is depicted as good and innocent, and this is the case here. Also, most of us will see this movie as a biography of the Trapp family rather than a film about Austria, as it focuses on a very specific region (this is Salzburg, Vienna for example is a modern city and already was back then). The real reason it is so little known is that when it was initially released, it simply failed to attract many people, maybe due to ...more - Martin_Canine

This is strange and I was really surprised. Nice list. - Metal_Treasure

2 Mountain Dew Mountain Dew

We have all sorts of Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Mezzo Mix, and probably some other drinks from this company, but I think most people haven't even heard of this one, except for younger ones due to a few songs mentioning it. According to Wikipedia, the drink is available over here, but I have never seen it in any store of any kind, I never tasted it and have no idea what to expect of it, but I would definitely like to try. - Martin_Canine

Whenever I think of Mountain Dew, I think of a hardcore game from the USA, so this makes sense - djpenquin999

That must be great, because I hate the taste of it. - Swellow

3 Peanut Butter Peanut Butter

Now, in more recent years, peanut butter becomes more and more available in some supermarkets, but there is no guarantee you will find this item in a store in German language Europe. The only reason why it became available at all is because it is so often seen in American movies, and we love American movies much more than our own ones (a generalization, I think we also have great movies, but America rightfully dominates the market - we have more quality art movies, but America has much better entertainment). Many wanted to try peanut butter because it is so often mentioned in movies, but if it wasn't for that, no one would know of its existence. - Martin_Canine

4 MySpace MySpace

I may need to add we had another social network around that time called Netlog that everyone used, but it heavily decreased when Facebook and Twitter became so essential and was ultimately shut down. - Martin_Canine

I know that MySpace long lost its relevance in the US as well, and usually in German language countries trends last much longer and are much remembered in years to come, but somehow MySpace failed to become a thing. In other words, scene never became a thing. In other words, the hate for scene never became a thing. But some artists can nevertheless be stumbled across in completely different circles. BOTDF are absolutely unknown in Germany, but if you know them, you are propably a hardcore anime fan. And Brokencyde were at one point featured on the German-French art channel Arte in a series introducing and analyzing the voices of the Generation Y (the "millennials"), next to artists like Kendrick Lamar.

PS: Other big social media websites, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more, are all big over here as well. - Martin_Canine

5 The hate for Nickelback

Nickelback is an internationally famous rock band from Canada and their songs have been successful all over the world, including here, where you can be sure to hear songs like "Gotta Be Somebody", "Rockstar" or "If Today Was Your Last Day" when you turn on any regular radio channel. But I didn't know they were hated until I stumbled upon this site. They are seen as a normal rock band, such as System of a Down, Green Day or Blink 182. While they never got massive praise, they also never got panned. There was a bit of a backlash when "All The Right Reasons" dropped due to the change in style, but it was quickly accepted, and "No Fixed Address" rightfully received negative reviews, but it never went harsher than being called underwhelming or disappointing. Most of their music received solid reviews between 3 and 4 stars on a scale of 5, and they don't have much of a reputation over here, positive or negative. - Martin_Canine

They're certainly a lot of Nickelback haters here, in Minnesota anyway. I'm indifferent, I don't think they're particularly good, or bad. A popular local radio station spreads the hate somewhat, they really rip on them, and rarely play them - Ned964

If you were around the mid-2000s, then you could remember how this band was all over U.S. rock radio. It's just like we couldn't escape it. You know how when you first hear a pop song on the radio, it isn't really that bad and you kind of enjoy it but eventually it starts to get ridiculously overplayed, then it ends up just getting sickening to hear all the time. This was essentially the problem with Nickelback, for most people. They were overplayed so much that people eventually just grew sick of hearing the band. Thus the whole hate bandwagon for the band started, most prominently by the American folks who suffered from it the worst.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the band. I think they're bands who do it way better. They're about as average as an average radio rock band could get. I do believe the hate was blown a bit out of proportion, although it's now basically a dead meme at this point. Just understand, that if you weren't a fan and had to suffer from hearing Photograph almost ...more - cjWriter1997

It does not matter if I like the band or not. I can't understand the hate. I am also a fan of Insane Clown Posse, but I can see why they might be hated, even though I more often disagree than agree. I can see many people don't like gimmicks, I can see they have a very limited flow and that their comic songs have a kind of immature humor. Even though in my opinion these are only minor flaws compared to the delivery, production and often even social commentary, I understand what people have against them, and as long as it doesn't go into territories where it gets personal and mean-spirited, it is fine to express your opinion. But with Nickelback, all I got so far was that other artists are better yet they get all the success, and to me, that goes for many other artists as well that do not get this universal hate. Why was it exactly Nickelback out of all these pop rock bands? - Martin_Canine

I didn't know they were hated so much until I joined this site in the end of 2014. They aren't the greatest band ever but they aren't bad. And they are nowhere near "the worst band ever" as many people on this site claim. - Metal_Treasure

I thought it was a site specific thing but after research I figured that this is a widely popular opinion in the US. I have no idea why. Nothing about them stands out negatively. There are bands I like where I can perfectly understand why people would hate them, but I really don't see the major flaw of Nickelback. They are just like any other rock band, and I have never stumbled across a detailed negative review explaining what is wrong with the music. - Martin_Canine

6 American national holidays

This should come to no surprise, but I still mention it as "What date is the Independence Day? " was on TTT's list of easiest questions to answer. While we know that there are holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving or Lincoln's Birthday from movies, we have no clue when they are, and since we don't celebrate our own national holidays other than staying at home instead of working or going to school, we also don't get the fuss about it. Holidays other than Christmas, Easter and New Year's Eve are nothing more than days off from work to us - Martin_Canine

7 Liquor stores

Believe it or not: a variety of alcohol can be legally bought in every regular supermarket, discount store, gas station or any other kind of market you happen to come across as long as you are 18. Some individual liquors such as beer can be bought at age 16. - Martin_Canine

We have Liquor stores in Canada, too. There are also beer stores - only for beer. But beer is available in many other types of stores - regular supermarkets, convenience stores, open 24/7, etc.
In some more expensive supermarkets there is wine. But if you want to buy vodka, whiskey, gin, etc., you have to go to a Liquor store. - Metal_Treasure

Nice. - Ned964

8 Garth Brooks Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks is an American singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and roll elements into the country genre has earned him immense popularity in the United States.

As far as I'm aware, Billy Ray Cyrus is a one hit wonder here as well, for the same song... But Brooks is, or at least was, huge. I didn't know that Brooks sold more records than Elvis, so that is interesting. But I can tell you it seemed like where ever I went for like 3-4 years, Garth Brooks was playing - Ned964

I am not so sure how Americans see Garth Brooks, as he is barely mentioned on TTT, but from what I know, he has sold more records than Elvis in the US and received critical acclaim. But like all other country musicians that are not Johnny Cash, Billy Ray Cyrus or Taylor Swift, nobody ever heard of him or his music over here. Like, not even knowing he exists. - Martin_Canine

9 It's a Wonderful Life

In more recent years this movie gets aired during Christmas holidays from time to time, but it has absolutely no tradition over here and most people wouldn't know it at all, only some parodies seen on series like "iCarly" or "Hannah Montana".
However, in film fan circles, it is a must see that you need to know, and is much acclaimed. - Martin_Canine

10 Sexual prudery

I know this sounds cliché, but let me tell you a few things that are perfectly normal and never questioned in German speaking countries:
-Nudity on T.V., also during the day, and in newspapers
-Having detailed sex education in class sometime around the age of 8, preparing them for issues such as safe sex or equality of sexual preferences
-Prostitution being legal
-Age of consent being 14 (except in Switzerland, where it's 16)
-Movies rated R only for sexual content being rated 12, sometimes wer.
-Ads for phone sex on every T.V. channel at night
-The teen magazine Bravo, usually read by readers between 10 and 16 and focusing mostly on trends and celebs - a magazine which has been around for many generations - also including pages where the readers can ask questions about sex, with live action pictures coming along showing everything
-Not waiting until marriage to have sex (or not marrying at all)
-Sex shops in shopping malls

Compare that to a flashing ...more - Martin_Canine

This one is tough. I know there are a number of studies that show that Europeans being more open about sex actually promotes a better and safer atmosphere, and I believe that, especially when it is such a taboo subject among many groups here I view as flakes, starting with the so called "Moral Majority". Still, above all I want children to be safe, so I'm confused by the whole debate - Ned964

The Contenders

11 The entire fuss about schools

Something I feel I need to add about my example:
I used the goth girl and the sportsman just to give you an impression Americans can understand. In fact, these people aren't as stereotyped. There are several students who do or don't do sports, none of them are reduced to their hobby. As for the goths, if you look around in Austria, you will find some goths, but most of them are adults. This is because there were two waves of goth in German speaking countries: the original wave in the 80s, and a mid-2000s revival (that was probably partly responsible for why emo wasn't as big over here, isn't quite as edgy when goth is around and pretty accepted). What I meant with this example was this: our "clique" had mixed lifestyles, religion and genders. And we all had individual diverse interests, we embraced different subcultures, had varied tastes in arts and all had a certain intellect. My best friend was interested in chemistry, punk rock, Northern mythology and video games, another ...more - Martin_Canine

Jocks, cheer leaders, school sports treated like big sports event, prom, the "popular crowd" and other cliques, in general this whole "school spirit" thing, fraternities, rivalry between universities,... - all not present in our schools. Although the school systems in the three German speaking European countries are different in what they expect from you - for example, in Austria the first four of the five grades, 1 to 5, have no meaning at all (a 5 means you are negative, the other 4 that you are positive), while in Germany your university career can depend on them, on the other hand Austria has stricter rules in how to grade tests while in Germany it's up to the teacher - but what they all have in common is that schools are places where different young individuals get their (sometimes unnecessary) education, and meet others in the same situation. Students' popularity is mostly based on their character, and sports is nothing that will make you cool. The goth girl and the sportsman ...more - Martin_Canine

12 Bastille Day

Ironically the Bastille prison is closer to Germany than the USA (Paris, France to be exact). But unsurprisingly it's not well known in German speaking nations (other than possibly Austria due to Austrian aristocrat Marie Antoinette being beheaded by the French)

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