Each week, we get a quick round up of what’s happening across the Atlantic from our girl Maeve Higgins in NYC...
Listen to Maeve's latest Letter From America below, or read it after the audio:
On Monday night in the green room just before a show, a lady gave me a vibrator necklace. It was packaged in a beautiful gift box and she showed me the one she was wearing. It's just like this one, she told me, and pressed the little vibrator onto the back of my hand and switched it on, saying sweetly. Powerful, no? I said Yeah. Absolutely. New York City is wild like that, it takes me to wonderful places and introduces me to cool people I'd never get to meet otherwise. The lady was Ti Chang, an industrial designer with a line of luxury sex toys, and we were both guests on a live taping of the podcast 'Mash Up Americans'.
I thanked Ti for the gift, popped it into my bag and we clinked champagne cans. I was suspicious of this champagne in a little can, if I'm honest. It came from Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard, but it can't be called champagne unless it's from Champagne, right? I didn't want to be that pedantic one splitting hairs with the cool kids. But naturally, I was. If you look closely, I said to Ti the sex toy designer, you'll see it says non-vintage sparkling wine from Monterey.
Mash Up Americans is a show hosted by two women who embody the term 'mash up' - which means having a hyphenated identity. Amy is Korean American and Rebecca is a Salvadoran Jewish American – and this is how they describe their show 'This is what America looks like: a wedding with mehndi and a chuppah, a kitchen where heirloom chopsticks and grandma's cornbread recipe sit side-by-side, a meeting of parents who don't speak the same language, a baby whose name contains multitudes, a date where you find yourself explaining that what you look like is only part of who you are.'
In fact, the theme of last night's show was love and dating. Amy and Rebecca talked about the many apps and dating sites that exist today to allow you to look for people that share your own ethnic or cultural heritage, should you be so inclined. Online spots like J-Swipe, Asian Match and Farmers Only. I mean, that last one isn't an ethnic or cultural heritage, but farmers are bound to love other farmers, right? They can merge their livestock and land and hearts! There is no 'Irish immigrant' specific dating app over here, but there are plenty of GAA clubs, Irish pubs and Aer Lingus flights full of J1s, should you be so inclined, which I'm not.
The US is set to be a 'minority majority' country by 2040, the US Census explains that's what it's called when "no group will have a majority share of the total and the United States will become a 'plurality' of racial and ethnic groups." That blending and that plurality is exactly what fundamentalists hate and fear. Nazis hate and fear that. ISIS hates and fears that, and the attack on the West Side bike path this week definitely brought that home to us here in New York. It's a horrible thing, when your home town, or anybody's home town, is targeted by terrorists. But one of the US's strongest points is it's multiculturalism - I love that and am not about to give up it, and neither is New York.
Faves this week
• My friend Sara became a Shutterstock model for a day, portraying a woman laughing alone with pizza. She is a serious journalist, but makes sure she has a laugh sometimes, which is very important.