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World Association of International Studies

Post Solvang, California: Denmark of the West
Created by John Eipper on 02/28/21 12:00 PM

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Solvang, California: Denmark of the West (Francisco Ramirez, USA, 02/28/21 12:00 pm)

John E asked about "faux" European hamlets in the US. How about Solvang in Southern California for the "Danish look"?

Also for the film Sideways and the rise of Pinot Noir in the American wine market.

JE comments:  Solvang (Danish for "sunny plain") fits the bill.  It was indeed founded by Danes, but the city consciously embraced the architecture in the late 1940s.

How about the following for the WAIS Effect?  Eugenio Battaglia forwarded this 2017 article from Spain's La Vanguardia, "Little pieces of Europe in America," and Solvang is featured among other examples such as New Orleans, St Augustine (Florida), and Boston (?).  I don't get that one.  And Montpelier, Vermont?  It's the quintessential New England town, albeit with a name borrowed from the French.



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  • Bariloche, Argentina: Bavaria in the Andes (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 03/01/21 3:25 AM)
    A few decades ago I visited Bariloche, in the foothills of the Argentine Andes, a charmingly ersatz Bavarian village that had an influx of "Austrians" after WWII.

    I had a friendly conversation with an elderly shopkeeper (the emporium actually sold Lederhosen) with a thick German accent who told me that he had lived in Argentina since emigrating from "Austria" after the War. Upon asking how he liked living in Argentina, he leaned close and replied "Good country but there are too many Italians here."  I had the impression that he somehow blamed Italy for letting down his side in "Der Krieg."

    JE comments:  Hitler was Austrian but called himself German.  But as Tim Ashby shows, the opposite scenario became commonplace after the war.

    I've never been to Bariloche, the Aspen of Argentina--or St Moritz if you prefer.  I must be either too proletarian or not "Austrian" enough!  It was on a small island in the adjacent lake Nahuel Huapi that the Austrian (really) charlatan-"scientist" Ronald Richter promised to deliver a nuclear reactor to Juan Domingo Perón.  The facilities can still be visited today.

    I just learned that Richter inspired a full-blown opera, Richter, ópera documental de cámara.  I'd love to see it.


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    • Richter, Lysenko: A Pseudo-Science Hall of Fame? (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 03/02/21 3:23 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      To Timothy Ashby's interesting travelogue on the "Austrian" sanctuary of Bariloche, Argentina, John E appended a rich aside that opens worlds. John reminded of Ronald Richter, the 1950s scientific wonder of Argentina's Perón years, who was promising Perón that he could make miracles with nuclear fusion, but never quite did.

      The comment glows because Richter rounds out a genre, consisting of pseudo-science as a supposed tool for authoritarian paradise, in hopes of leaping over mere reality into a validating promised land.

      Lenin's euphoria about electrification creating the worker's paradise was not exactly pseudo-scientific, but captures the delusional aspect. More on-point were "race science" in Nazism and the people's (fake) agricultural genetics pushed by Stalin via Lysenkoism. I think WAIS may also have discussed some examples from Mao's China. Richter in Argentina implies that the genre may be wide. Any other nominations for the Trofim Lysenko Authoritarian Pseudo-Science Hall Of Fame?

      (And a belated thanks for that evocative review of Wild West mythology from Patrick Mears. Lots of resonance in that genre, too. John E has an echo in his Michigan backyard, pairing Pat's discussion of the Olympian Apache-Buddy Winnetou in German page-turners with Tonto--since the word "kimosabe" got lifted by the radio gnomes in about the 1930s from the name of a Michigan summer camp.)

      JE comments:  "Pseudo-science as tool for authoritarian paradise":  Gary, this distills the phenomenon to its basic elements.  We must populate your Hall of Fame.  Lysenko was probably the most nefarious of all, or at least the deadliest, as his agricultural mandates killed millions in famines in the USSR and later China, which copied his methods.  One wonders why the authorities never once asked for a "pilot" project to validate his agricultural theories.

      To this list we should add the "scientists" and engineers who promised the Germans a miracle weapon or two to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      Kamp Kee-Mo Sah-Bee on Mullett Lake in Northern (Lower) Michigan closed around 1940.  Until today I was unaware of its existence or its connection to the Lone Ranger.  Few remote regions can claim two iconic etymologies:  note the emergence of the "Mullett" hairdo in the late 1980s, with its trademark "business in the front and party in the back."

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