Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Shoe On The Other Foot

This might make some people mad but let us face it; in general, Americans are assholes. Whether it was a store in a small German village, a Mexican bar outside the normal tourist areas, or simply sitting next a young Japanese couple in the Atlanta airport, I have talked with people who are nearly unanimous in their agreement that while individual Americans can be very nice, taken as a group we tend to overwhelm everything.

Now the normal reactionary American response is to bring up our saving the world from both fascism and communism, inventing most of what created the modern world we live in, and being the cultural center of the planet. All of that is true and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would somehow want to take the United States out of that historical equation just to be free of obnoxious Americans. Still though, even a good thing can be overplayed to the point that the cure can grow stale and become its own issue.

We may have defeated Hitler and Brezhnev saving the world for democracy and capitalism only to have both dominated by huge corporations that somehow through a twisting of legal mumbo-jumbo magic are now consider “people” entitled to rights under the First Amendment. This being an idle rant here are two curious side notes to ponder. Since corporate-people are now entitled to First Amendment protections just wait until they start claiming Second Amendment rights, now that’s when the real fun will begin. The other curious note is that while we saved the world from godless communism, does anyone beside me find it hysterically funny that Red China is kicking our ass in free market capitalism?

We truly live in a fantastic age that Americans had a large part in creating, we may not be able to do weekend trips to the moon, which pisses me off to no end, but many other things are incredible. If Ben Franklin was pulled to 2010, I am sure that after chasing scores of hot babes the guy would freak over things like airplanes, high-definition television, and after being explained about the Internet would compare it to magic. Yes, we have uplifted the standard of living for ourselves and for many in the world but for all the good we have done there is a nasty reverse side to it. The Gulf oil spill all by itself, widespread pollution, exhaustion of global resources, destruction of entire ecosystems, exploitation and economic enslavement of native peoples are all the nasty side effects so the American rich and middle-class can sit comfy and warm in their McMansions. Anyone with a sliver of a conscious should be seriously disturbed over the damages we cause pursuing the "American Dream." Although far too many in this country seem to think our material happiness is guaranteed in the Constitution.

As for American culture, lets just say anyone who thinks it has had any redeeming value, beyond the rare exception, for last forty years isn’t paying much attention. From the people I have talked too outside the United States, if anything bugs them more than the America crusade to spread democracy at the point of a gun it is the insidious spread of American culture with Big Macs, pop music, and loud action movies overwhelming everything else. It’s not a question of them hating anything American, its just that we have a habit of smothering everything else to death, just ask the closest Native American you can find.

After stumbling over the video below and remembering the conversations I have had with other people over the years, especially one in that Mexican bar I mentioned, I thought it would be funny for Americans to see the other side of things.

Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out U.S. Assholes


lime said...

i can remember going back to trinidad a few years after returning to the US and being saddened to see the influx of cable tv on the island. it created a demand for the worst parts of american culture and channeled energy away from local production.

i do think our nation is capable of producing good literature, art, etc. the problem is it's not as profitable as the crap which makes multizillions of dollars and so we export our worst instead of our best. add to that a bunch of ugly americans as tourists and that moron dubya who utterly squandered the goodwill of the world when we had it and we all wind up looking like boors and buffoons. it grieves me that we so consistently put our worst foot forward.

Tim said...

I've come to the conclusion the only thing we're good at is making War.
Since the end of WWII we've been in over 42 Wars and conflicts. Nice record huh. No wonder the World hates us, I'm not to happy with us either.

Beach Bum said...

Lime: I agree, during one of my first trips to the Caribbean I was highly disappointed to see so many American fast food places and other aspects of American culture. Several locations were so Americanized I could have experienced more foreign culture at EPCOT for half the price.
Plus I had the "pleasure" of hearing a true Ugly American bitch about the nasty and smelly locals. He was a last minute addition to our St. Martin tour group, the bus driver kept giving him serious dirty looks and I was probably thinking the same thing he was about that guy.

Tim: Well, we as a nation have also developed quite the talent for whining, living in the past, and believing our shit does not stink. None of which will help us in the 21st century. Now Beck's talent for crying will, I predict, be the funniest thing since Jerry Lewis but that will still not help us.

I hope the Chinese will be kind and merciful masters.

TRUTH 101 said...

I figured if we "returned" to God as a Nation maybe we'd be nicer. Then I thought our (most uf us, not the athiests) just think our God given blessings make us more special also. Thus leading the Godly to act like bigger, smellier assholes.

"Saved their asses in two world wars?" I wasn't in either of them. I do by stuff that was made in Asian nations. For that they should kiss my ass.

I'm an American dammit! I have rights! The right to act like an asshole is one of them even though it's not specifically mentioned in The Constitution.

Randal Graves said...

We *helped* save the world from those things. If the meat grinder known as the Eastern Front hadn't come into play, Crazy Uncle Adolf would've traipsed all over Europe until he succumbed to Parkinson's or whatever the hell he had.

In our defense, we did create The Simpsons which alleviates some of the shitty music and awful blow-em-ups we export.

sunshine said...

Well, since I live in the "Uninhabited" area of your American world map, I can only speak from the perspective of a foreigner.

I think that many countries take exception to the fact that you think that you are the greatest country in the world AND are very vocal about it.
Believe me, the rest of us that live in other countries think that ours are pretty awesome too.
That's about all that kind of bugs me... Other than that, it's all good.


Pixel Peeper said...

What small German village???

What I found ironic: Americans tend to be big on "you live here, you learn our language" (and for those who live here long-term or permanently, that attempt should be made, to be sure). However, when an Army base in Germany was enlarged recently, what was one of the first steps the local German government took? They provided training in English language communication to their police force.

Agree with you that most people abroad think Americans are quite nice and friendly as individuals - it's just the collective whole that foreigners tend to be critical of.

When I went to school in Germany, I knew all the capitals to all the states in the U.S. Here I meet people who excitedly tell me a relative of theirs is stationed in Germany - but can't name the place of the town or the base. Probably couldn't point out Germany on a world map, either... grrr.

Rhiannon said...

Interesting and funny yet point taken video BB.

Yes, what you wrote in this's all a mixed bag my friend. Things are getting pretty wild and crazy...I know they are.

But what would people do without your and others effort and written thoughts? Your the pessimist and I'm the I said we are all a mixed's a big "wild and crazy world" but I shall never lose hope...don't forget what Martin Luther King said in one of his last speeches. "Dream and hope" my's never going to be a mistake to "not" give up and hope and dream and to try to make a difference.

Speaking of..I do appreciate you making a difference by your giving so many of us important things to think and ponder over...though often said in funny literate "sarcasm" you always make your very valid points.

Have a cool weekend. I know the Carolina's can get so darn humid and muggy in the summer...I remember when living in Myrtle Beach those little frogs would get into the air conditioner and get in the house and I actually stepped on one once...eeeeeuuuuuu!

It's so hot here in the last two weeks I could go outside and fry myself on the sidewalk...:(


Rhiannon said...

P.S. Also if I see one more thing stating "made in China" I will scream..enough of this made in china's mostly our fault though I feel..Many companies in the U.S. trying to find cheap labor, but hire no one here...we better wake up on that David Carradine always said on his Kung Fu exercise video's "Easy to figure out"..yes, I still do play one of his exercise videos and do my "Kung Fu" swan deal among other things. That way I will never miss him...:o)

Beach Bum said...

Truth: I've always heard that being the big dog on the international block always meant you never had to apologize for being an asshole. I figure we are good for another five to ten years until China takes over.

Randal: It creeps me out to no how many military advantages Hitler blew away, namely his peace treaty with that fellow inhuman monster Stalin.

Absolutely, the Simpsons are the best but I would have to add Futurama as well.

Sunshine: We Americans are huge legends in our own minds.

Pixel: It was a small village outside "small" Munster. That time I was talking to a nice lady carrying her baby. It was early September 1987 and I was in Germany on a REGORGER exericse.

Rhia: Yeah, I painted Americans with a pretty broad brush, I figure if any of the assholes get upset they can for a change just suck it up instead of whining. I'm talking the Fox News crowd.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I don't know about you, double b, but I'd trade DeMint, Brownback, Palin, McConnell, Bachman, and Inhofe for a half-dozen lettuce-pickers any day. I mean, at least they contribute SOMETHING......Probably believe in evolution, too.

Beach Bum said...

Will: Yeah, I painted with a broad brush but seeing a fat American sitting in a Mexican bar talking trash about Mexico in English thinking all the other Americans would agree with him and that done of the locals could understand him was embarrassing.

I'll give the locals credit, the Ugly American and his wife/girlfriend walked out not long after that unharmed. The old gentleman, father of the bartender, thought the fat bastard was the funniest thing in the world. The bartender, his buddies did not and the several other Americans and myself did all we could to apologize.

Liberality said...

I couldn't agree more with your post. Especially the comment:

Anyone with a sliver of a conscious should be seriously disturbed over the damages we cause pursuing the "American Dream." Although far too many in this country seem to think our material happiness is guaranteed in the Constitution.

We are living beyond our means; planetary means as well as financial.

tnlib said...

Great minds . . . I have been contemplating doing something along these lines but I would in no way be able to touch this. Funny and telling at the same time.

One thing - and it will probably make som folks mad. I have a lot of German friends. I love them one and all - separately.

MadMike said...

Americans can be assholes. I have not only witnessed it I have listened most patiently, and with some trepidation, to those who do not live in America express their desire to waste the Yankees.

Beach Bum said...

Liberality: Karma and a pissed off Gaia are mean bitchs and with belief that the world revolves us along with the materialistic attitude and payback, when it comes, is going to be bad.

Tnlib: Seriously, I am sure you could do better, this was just one of my idle rants. The video is funny though.

Mike: Well attitudes like that tend to develop when we bomb civilians and steal resources. Have a nice day.

Oso said...

Sometimes the well-meaning Americans can be really funny.My cousin Jesus and I worked for a boss, real nice White Christian guy who always spoke very slowly and precisely to the naturalized Mexican in his all-brown crew.Sal had an accent but was highly educated and spoke better English than the rest of us,even though we were all born here.

For the hell of it the rest of us gradually developed accents and started having trouble grasping basic English, so he began to speak very slowly and enunciate carefully everything he said to us.

He never did catch on.

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Since corporate-people are now entitled to First Amendment protections just wait until they start claiming Second Amendment rights, now that’s when the real fun will begin. The other curious note is that while we saved the world from godless communism, does anyone beside me find it hysterically funny that Red China is kicking our ass in free market capitalism?

You took the words right off my typing fingers. America is in a severe decline - and if we aren't really careful, we won't learn to deal with it like England did. We'll just keep right on declining until there's nowhere left to decline to. I'm so sick of all the "we're number 1!" crap, when we're not anymore, not at anything, really, except consuming resources, and that's a damned shame.

Beach Bum said...

Oso: White people are stupid, although I admit I had an issue with a neighbor at my old house. She was a very nice lady from Scotland and her accent was so bad I could only understand about one word in five.

Every time she came around the house I quickly ran inside to grab my wife since she had a better understanding of what the lady said. Other times when my wife wasn't around I just nodded and smiled.

Bee: Since corporations are now "people" I truly believe the game is just about over for America. Just today on NPR just after the report about how the Disclosure Act failed they read another report about how Target Corporation, even though it has a liberal policy toward employees, was supporting a hard-right candidate for governor in Minnesota. Long story short, if the fat lady ain’t singing already, she has at least walked on stage.

PENolan said...

Just saying "hi" and ditto to what Liberality said.
Love the image of you in the other post with a conch shell in one hand and beer in the other, looking for Jimmy Buffet. There's just about nothing I like better than a marina bar with conch fritters, cold beer and peel & eat shrimp.
Ooops - got a tear drop in my eye again for the Gulf, but for the time being, there's still the Atlantic. At least until the current takes all that invisible dispersed oil all the way to England.
Like you said, Gaia's a bitch.

gringo jack said...

I just copped your Onion video and emailed to everyone I know, Mexican and American (and a few others.) I think I've found a kindred spirit. America is not bad. It is smothering. That's the perfect term for it. It is part of my job to entertain visiting gringos. I can tell inside of 5 minutes whether or not "they get it." It runs about 4 to 1 against. It is true in my experience: the United States is the greatest nation on earth. Let's show some humility, people!

Beach Bum said...

PENolan: Stuck at the house for yet another weekend. But absolutely, one of my favorite places is a restaurant over the water in Florida that serves seafood and has live music.

Gringo Jack: I agree and welcome! Please come back often.