A Question for all you Non-Americans

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 2:55 PM By Simon

A line from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, my new love, got me thinking. When Julie Powers or that other guy who's name I forget, one of them is telling Scott about Ramona Flowers, and mentiones 'She's American.' Scott, all gooey eyed and shit, says, "Wow. American." Because I suck at vocal cues, I couldn't tell if this was more in reverence to her (probably) or the fact that she was American (unlikely). Also, that Canada doesn't have subspace travel, which we yankees totally fucking do, alright?

So I ask you: assuming for a minute that Scott meant the second infliction, how is America viewed in the eyes of you, Everyone Else? Yes, yes, I know, we're flaming assholes and whatnot, but let's put aside fury for a second. How is our overall reputation?

(I know what I'm inviting here, okay, but it's either here or a message board somewhere, because I don't know anyone of a not-majority-of-life-spent-in-US persuasion)


Tom Brown said...

Obviously, I can only speak for me and for the stereotype.
Same as you have the stereotype for British people (like me) being top-hats and crumpets, Americans carry the stereotype of burgers and obesity. Yet neither of those stereotypes are true on the whole.

But then again, this is only a stereotype, and not actually viewed by most people. As I said before, I can only speak for myself. My personal views of Americans is that they are friendly, having visited the USA twice.

Overall, I would say the overall British view of Americans is highly mixed though, including, arrogance, friendliness, obesity and funny. Then again, most views are taken from what we see on TV or in movies...

August 18, 2010 at 4:28 PM
Mike Lippert said...

I donno, the obesity thing seems to be pretty true, at least everywhere I've been in the U.S.

August 18, 2010 at 6:15 PM
SugaryCynic said...

I've just always assumed the rest of the world thinks we're dicks (can't really blame them for a lot of that...) Which is why when traveling abroad the responsible and well-traveled American pretends to be Canadian!

August 18, 2010 at 7:14 PM
Vancetastic said...

What I do is actually tell people I'm American, and then I am super-awesome to them, so they realize that not all Americans are stupid bible-thumpers.

It can be hard to win, however. When I was in France, I assumed that although they hated George Bush, they must like someone like Bill Clinton, right? Nope. "Aucun" - none of them. They hadn't liked any U.S. presidents, ever. But at least they liked me.

August 20, 2010 at 2:56 PM
Simon said...

Tom: That hat-and-crumpets thing has been done away with, mostly because nobody can figure out what the hell crumpets are. Now, I think, it's between upper-class snob, skinhead, mod, or Michael Caine.

Oh, don't judge us by TV. Anything but that.

Mike: Yes. Yes it is.

SugaryCynic: Just don't go to Bruges, is all I can say.

Vance: I'd imagine they wouldn't have a working knowledge of American presidents if they weren't overtly political...I mean, I only know France's president because his wife is going to be in that Woody Allen movie.

Be super nice, and also, I'm learning how to say "I'm American, sorry" in every Latin language and most Slavic ones. Just, y'know, in case.

August 21, 2010 at 1:29 AM
Yojimbo_5 said...

I've been to Canada, Scotland (Edinburgh, actually), Spain, and Austria (right after 9-11--when I'd say I was American, everyone had sorrow in their eyes. Sad.) I've found that taken individually, the shit-heads are harder to spot. And if you attempt the language, folks are touched and will even complete your sentences for you. People are swell, generally, but can't vote worth shit. Hence, the problems.

I've never hid being American, but I could move.

August 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM