Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 16, 1998)
. . . Dawn Dietrich/DN
CECIL HOWELL, a senior international business and computer-science major, contributed to the book of essays called “The Outsiders:
Living in an Alien Culture.”
to American way of life
When Julia Ann Champoux moved to
Lincoln from the Philippines, programs
such as “The Jerry Springer Show”
“Why would people want to share
such personal things on television?”
The sick displays of “Springer” were
just one aspect of American culture to which she had to adjust.
C hampoux. who already knew English, struggled to understand the
American version and its colloquialisms. She also had to overcome
her dissatisfaction with the structure of American families.
Champoux s experience is one of many told in a new book titled
“The Outsiders: Living in an Alien Culture.”
The book was compiled by Mourtazo Chadyev, an exchange stu
dent at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Richard
Kimbrough, a part-time professor at UNL.
Composed of interviews and observations, the compilation of
essays draws upon 33 interviews detailing people’s experiences as
“outsiders” in American culture.
The majority of the interviews involve immigrants who have set
tled in Nebraska, but a few describe the experiences of blacks,
American Indians and people from the blind and deaf communities.
Chadyev and Kimbrough wrote the book, which is available at
the Nebraska and University bookstores, in order to give people real
life examples of the obstacles others encounter when entering a new
And although each interview details a unique and personal expe
rience, a few consistent themes dominate the book.
Many of the interviewees address the differences in American
family structures and those of other countries. Of all the aspects of
American culture, a number of the contributors felt the American
family lacked the most meaning m people’s day-to-day lives.“In the
Philippines, family get-togethers are loud and rowdy,” Champoux
said. “In America, when you get together with your family, you can’t
just act silly. It’s much more serious and awkward."
Chadyev felt the same way when he came to the United States.
“Family relationships looked very cold to me,” Chadyev said.
“Parents and children just didn’t seem to communicate.”
In Chadyev’s and Champoux s countries, family members lived
close to one another and frequently spent extended amounts of time
together. In the United States, children visited their parents only on
holidays, Chadyev said.
Interview subjects also commented on the materialistic nature of
“They felt Americans are people who are too much concerned
with their financial well-being and their financial future,” Chadyev
Family relationships looked
very cold to me. Parents
and children just didn’t
seem to communicate
UNL exchange student
But while many lamented Americans’ misplaced focus
on economic success, mosVappreciated the United States as
a land of opportunity.
They felt this opportunity began in the classroom.
Kimbrough commented on the experience of Mila Saskova
Pierce, an associate professor of modem languages and lit
erature at UNL.
“She said that in Czechoslovakia, she was so fearful of
making mistakes in the classroom. If she missed one, they
would say, ‘Why didn’t you study harder?’ In America, you
miss one, and they say you did well. She felt the praise was
better than the condemnation,” Kimbrough said.
Many felt the education system in America also provid
ed more choices.
“In America, people could take any subject they’re inter
ested in,” Chadyev said. “Where I come from, we had six
classes we had to take. Even people who had no interest in it
still had to take it.”
This rigidity carried over into the freedom to choose
one’s profession. During a trip to Moscow, Kimbrough sat
on the airplane with a man who wanted to be an artist.
However, under the communist regime of the time, this pro
fession was not an option.
“Essentially, they like the freedom here,” Kimbrough
said. “Some think that America is a bit chaotic because it’s too free.
But many of them see this opportunity better than Americans see it.”
Kimbrough and Chadyev hope the book will help U.S. citizens
appreciate their own culture while opening their eyes to the strengths
The two first met in Chadyev’s home country ofTajikistan, locat
ed in central Asia, while Kimbrough was teaching there.
The two became friends when Chadyev came to America to go
to school. While attending a picnic of a mutual friend, Kimbrough
and Chadyev began discussing the difficulties people encountered in
a world where global connections were ever-increasing.
They thought it would be interesting to compile the stories of
immigrants living in Nebraska.
Work on the book began in June 1997. Chadyev found the inter
view subjects using his connections in the international community
and got the book printed locally at MKR Printing Inc. in Crete.
Kimbrough and Chadyev asked the interview subjects 80 to 100
questions about their view s on their new culture: What did they like
and dislike about it? How did they perceive their new culture’s edu
cation system, food, marriage customs and sports as compared to
their own? What kind of obstacles did they encounter during their
Chadyev and Kimbrough plan to market the book to Nebraska
schools, which recently have received a legislative mandate to incor
porate multicultural topics into their curriculum.
But they believe the book would be of interest to anyone who has
contact with people from other cultures.
“I always tell my students, ‘One thing you need to understand is:
It doesn’t matter whom you meet, that person knows something you
don’t,”’ Kimbrough said.
Pitt embodies death in ‘Meet Joe Black’
By Jason Hardy
Senior staff writer
Human mortality has long been a
cinematic theme, but few big-screen
embodiments of death and the afterlife
are as stylish and sexy as “Meet Joe
Black” star Brad Pitt.
With the possible exception of
George Bums, of course.
Universal Pictures’ latest release,
“Meet Joe Black,” a remake of the 1934
film “Death Takes a Holiday,” is the
story of a man called upon by death for
a lesson in life. Bill Parrish (Anthony
Hopkins) is a wealthy businessman who
meets Joe Black (Brad Pitt), the physi
cal embodiment of death. Black makes
a deal with Parrish and prolongs his life
in exchange for a tour of emotions and
Sounds like a ripping good time,
Unfortunately, the two do little more
than attend board meetings and family
dinners. Nothing flashy or exotic really
takes place until Death gets homy.
Despite being relatively slow-mov
ing, “Meet Joe Black” offers an interest
ing view of the nature of death and its
relationship to mortal man. There are a
lot of nice moments and humorous
twists throughout the three-hour dura
tion of the film, but ultimately the end
ing is completely drawn out, and the
film would have been more focused and
enjoyable had it been condensed to
about two hours.
Pitt does a good job as the inexperi
enced Joe Black. Having spent all of
eternity killing people, Death is a little
lacking in social graces, and Pitt’s pierc
ing eyes and blank stares convey com
pletely his character’s naivete. Black
stumbles through his time on earth with
a childlike astonishment and finds plea
sure in a lot of life’s little things. Pitt also
does a fine job exploring death’s more
greedy and spoiled side by acting stub
born and unemotional.
RlarV’c pvpnhial lnvp intprpct turns
out to be Parrish’s daughter, Susan
(Claire Forlani), who is wooed by
Black’s mysterious appearance and
charm. Unfortunately, Forlani’s acting
job isn’t quite as appealing. Her char
acter is vague, and the bewildered con
fusion she carries throughout the film
only makes it more frustrating and
Despite a weak leading lady and a
drawn-out conclusion, “Meet Joe
Black” does have numerous side plots
and characters who make the film worth
watching. Unfortunately, the film’s
strongest character, Bill Parrish, isn’t
developed nearly enough. His eventual
enlightenment is never really explored,
and the audience is left to just accept his
7ect far life without seeino him live it
Title: “Meet Joe Black”
Stare: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Martin Brest
Five Words: Death gets some time off
Hopkins does deliver a quality rep
resentation of his character’s inherent
goodness, and the film as a whole has a
lot of creative shots and cinematogra
phy.Unfortunately, because of its
lengthy running time, by the end of
‘Meet Joe Black,” death seems fitting
and somewhat appealing.
But that’s to be expected when death
k ae mtp ae Rrad Pitt
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