bIGMOUTHERY

bIGMOUTHERY

Monday, 6 October 2008

"Do you think 43% of Americans are ignorant?"

This is reprinted from an answer I gave to the above question on Yahoo Answers recently:

I know Americans. Quite a few. The Americans I know are smart, wise, well-travelled, inclusive and really engaged.

However, there is a definite impression of Americans as insular.

Y'know how Middle Eastern types have been stereotyped as terrorists, the English as weak-willed snobs, the French as garlic-smelling surrender monkey (thanks Groundskeeper Willie) the Germans as humourless automatons, the Italians as passionate gangsters, the Irish as tragic wordsmithing drunks, the Australians as boisterous but laidback beer-swillers, the Chinese as 'inscrutable', the Indians as call centre jockeys...and so on?

Americans are stereotyped as boorish, ignorant, insular, greedy, dumb, backwards culture-raping hicks with low standards and high expectations.

It's not very fair is it? And in most cases, not in the least bit true. My argument to people who make these claims is two fold, and quite simple:

1) You generally don't become the pre-eminent power in the world by being boorish, ignorant, insular, greedy, dumb, backwards culture-raping hicks with low standards and high expectations;

2) The people who claim foul against Americans are the ones who eat McDonalds, wear Nikes, dunk Oreos, listen to Jay-Z and watch (cringe) Ghost Whisperer.But...to every stereotype there is some truth. A lot of Americans seem to think we all hate you...and that we are all socialists and terrorists...this gives rise to maps such as:

http://www.dodgyspace.com/uploads/americ...
http://vevmo.com/f142/american-view-of-t...
http://www.welfarestate.com/map/

A lot of answerers here display the height of ignorance when they say that foreigners should shut up about your election. Well, sorry kids, what you do affects me. I want in, and I have the right to free speech as well...to suggest otherwise makes a bit of a mockery of the whole free speech thing. In short, there are ignorant people all over. I meet 'em every day...and they ain't American. There are also kind, smart, thoughtful people all over too.