In a new episode of the wonderfully animated lost interview series Blank on Blank, the late great Marlene Dietrich spoke about getting older, being a sex symbol, her love for Texans and the difference between American and Europe in terms of lifestyle and success in a 1969 interview with Houston radio host Jay Kent Hackleman.
You see in our language, in German or in French, there is no such word as relax. This is an American invention. We don’t have a feeling like the American has, now it’s 07:00 or something and I have to have a drink and relax. It’s not a necessity in Europe. He drinks because he likes to drink. Success in America means a lot to a man and it means a lot to his wife and family. There is a general belief that success is synonymous with happiness. Well, it doesn’t, as you know, they don’t go together at all. The American is striving for success and works much too hard in order to get, whatever, a little more money or a raise or something. He loses out on all the pleasures of life because of that. In Europe they have a car, they have it 15 years and they polish it and they wash it and they love it but here people don’t love their cars because they know next year they are going to get another one. And then everything is on credit. They don’t own it and then you buy many more things than you need because it’s on credit and it doesn’t bring them happiness. It just doesn’t. Possessions do not make you happy.