Cultural differences abounding. From Claire Berlinski at Ricochet:
. . . You’d wait to smile until the customer, also known as the patient, took the lead. If the customer’s expression suggested terror, grief, pain or fury, you would not smile: That would not be understood as an empathic response. In fact, it would be seen as a reaction somewhere between inappropriate and insane.
The photos I’ve posted are of our Secretary of State, who two days ago was in Turkey to discuss, among other things, strategic cooperation on terrorism. This was in the wake of a devastating attack that claimed the lives of 13 Turkish conscripts.
I’m looking at those photos and I know that what our highest public ambassador thinks she’s conveying is, “friendship, unwavering solidarity, support, strength and optimism.”
And I also know that many Turks, looking at this, will feel, even if they can’t quite say why, “Americans are phony and they don’t care about us. I don’t trust them.” They’ll feel this no matter what she actually says, because the facial expression will look so odd to them.
I don’t have a solution or even a recommendation. I’m just noticing.