At some point in your expatriate career, you will feel comfortable enough with the local culture to start to remember the names of various people who show up regularly in local media.

You will wonder about these people, and it will occur to you that they aren’t all that great. In fact, these people might strike you as being completely fucking naff.

The nagging question will reside in the back of your mind, and you will find no repose from it. My advice to you, however, is not to bring this up with locals, or you will get a response similar to this:

“Look. We tolerate you in our country, are friendly to your ways, and even appreciate your point of view. But never, ever, will you say a bad thing about . He’s a National Fucking Treasure, get it?”

Every country has this kind of National Fucking Treasure. The Czechs have Karel Gott. The French have Johnny Hallyday. The English have Cliff Richard.

The Americans have so many of these people it’s not funny. Bob Hope be a good example. Dean Martin would be another good guess. Wayne Newton will inspire a similar response in certain circles.

While their artistic worth is questionable -especially to you, the expatriate – what is clear is this: throughout their careers they have done just enough to make it into the ranks of National Fucking Treasures.

But my advice to you would be to leave this question as the Zen koan that it is. The sooner you stop trying to understand the significance of the National Fucking Treasure, the sooner it will come to you.

Advertisements