On a more positive note.
Momus has some comments on typefaces which are worth your while.
Apparently, Helvetica turns fifty this year. And there's a documentary about it.
Momus's comment about the ubiquity of the font in Berlin, where he lives makes me think. Yes, it is probably one of the most European of typefaces. It's certainly popular in Germany.
(This is maybe a good opportunity to link to an early post of mine--also inspired by Momus--on the dreadfulness of Bush-administration typography.)
For an interesting discussion about that 'parasite' typeface Arial, see this piece by Mark Simonson.