Hardcore Cultural Diplomacy

It’s hard out there for a Norwegian. At least, I guess that’s the conclusion it makes sense to draw from the amazing news that the country’s overseas missions get so many inquiries about Black Metal that they’re training diplomats in how to explain it. Maybe they just should keep the Bones episode “Mayhem on a Cross” (which I’m partial to, given my weakness for anything that treats fandoms as legitimate subcultures) looping in embassy waiting rooms? I’d love to know the most common questions American diplomats have to field about our cultural exports, the most popular of which don’t have the misfortune to be publicly associated with church-burnings or pretty intense murders no matter how far they’ve come in gaining mainstream acceptance.