In answer to other questions, a majority of the Britons questions described Americans as uncaring, divided by class, awash in violent crime, vulgar, preoccupied with money, ignorant of the outside world, racially divided, uncultured and in the most overwhelming result (90 percent of respondents) dominated by big business.
Uncaring? I have no idea where that comes from. Oh, wait:
A massive 83 percent of those questioned said that the United States doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks.
Methinks, in some ways, this is a strength. But I think it reflects more on the government. There is certainly a good portion of the people who are very concerned about what the rest of the world thinks, for some reason. And frankly, if it is about government, the fact that it isn't being driven by popularity in the polls is comforting.
Divided by class? Umm ... Britons are saying that? Heh ...
Awash in violent crime. Our prison statistics would certainly indicate some truth to this belief, but, crime, especially violent crime, has been trending down in the past decade. Awash? Nah, hardly.
Vulgar. Who has the world's best known soccer hooligans?
Preoccupied with money. To a point. But no more than Brits I would suggest. This may go back to more of that dearth of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe than any real "preoccupation" per se. More of a perception problem than a problem in reality.
Ignorant of the outside world. Probably the one truth in the entire litany. For many Americans there just doesn't seem to be the curiosity about the rest of the world found in, well, the rest of the world. Sometimes I think that is a function of the size of the country and the fact that relatively few ever travel extensively outside its borders. It also explains why so many Americans buy into the claim that we have millions of "poor" in this country. They've never been exposed to real poverty. But that's a subject for a different day.
Divided by race. Yes and no. It is still an ongoing project and because of our past it is much more likely to be something discussed here, but if you think that the UK is some giant and benevolent melting pot of racial harmony, well, hardly. Us? We're doing much better and, at least, we'll talk about the subject.
Uncultured? Please. Compared to what? Britain? Culture is now. It's what we live. And anyone who doesn't realize that American culture is the most emulated in the world isn't paying attention. Now you may disagree as to what constitutes good cultural influences and bad ones, but that's not the same as "uncultured".
Dominated by big business? See the remark about entrepreneurial risk taking, etc.
As expected, George Bush and his administration got savaged, but, otoh, Brits on the whole love Americans, on the whole:
With much of the worst criticism aimed at the US administration, the poll showed that 70 percent of Britons like Americans a lot or a little.
Can't help but feel the conclusions I shared with you first may be more about GW and the boys than about America as a whole. But given the war in Iraq and the strong feelings it has engendered in Europe, they're hardly surprising results.
I guess we can start the countdown for the spate of anguished articles sure to follow wanting to know why they "hate us".
Heh ... frankly, my dear, I don't care. See above.
Americanophobia, plain and simple. If I were a Briton, I would be afraid of expressing such hateful and discriminatory ideas. Americans, out of a combination of alienation, frustration and our love of guns, may be prone to a violent "backlash" and fall into the hands of extremists, such as the NRA or George Bush.
On checking out of a first-class hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, I happened across the manager, who was Australian. He knew who I was (like: who I was with) and he came over to say good-bye. We chatted, briefly.
I remarked generally on the quality of his operation, saying that he had a staff to be really proud of. I especially complimented the housekeeping guy who took care of my floor. He was really terrific. We’d gotten to be pals, and actually greeted each other by name the next time I was there. (I gave him a U.S. Silver Eagle to commemorate the birth of his son.) I used to stand there looking out the window of my room and wonder all day long about that country, where Indonesian presidential security had warned us not to do too much walking about on our own. This housekeeping guy was extremely friendly and eager to answer all kinds of questions, but we also talked about America.
Saying good-bye to the hotel manager, I complimented this young man, and said at one point, "It was really remarkable: he knew far more about my country than I did about his."
The man’s eyes glazed over just a bit as he reached for the best put-down that he thought he could get away with:
"Yes. It’s amazing, isn’t it?"
I got the drift right away.
"Well," I said, "No, it’s not ’amazing’ if one thinks about it. When that guy he looks around the world, the brightest thing he sees is America. If you don’t think so, then go ask him. It really is quite natural that people around the world are interested to learn things about my country, and a lot of them actually manage to do it. On the other hand, an American has a very different problem. We looked around the world and if we want to learn details of other places, there are more of them than can fill up a whole lifetime. We have a far more difficult job in that aspect."
"I’ll see ya."
Walked off. He was very quiet. On my next visit, I was impressed that he’d gotten the point, at least a little bit.