Who are foreigners thinking of/referring to when they address or reference the US?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Unspeaked, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #1
    It seems to me like most foreigners who post negatively about the United States (in reference to laws, obesity, crime, politics, etc) are often sharing the same point of view of many of the US residents on the forum.

    I realize we represent only a small fraction of Americans - probably middle to upper class if we're heavy computer/Mac users, mostly from metropolitan areas, and undoubtedly predominantly male. But still, we tend to share very similar viewpoints in general to the non-Americans here.

    So are they referring to our politicians? Our computer illiterate? Our republicans? All of the above (I'm looking at you, George W.)?
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    We're referring to the establishment, so that's the government and the rich and powerful. I don't actually know any Americans personally who are *******s.
     
  3. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I've been in some twenty countries outside the U.S. I spent lengthy periods in three (over a year) and a few others for a few days or weeks at a time.

    All I can do is generalize: Mostly, any hostility was toward government policies. I never found any notable hostility toward me as an American.

    I wandered into a waterfront bar in Marseilles, many years ago. Some guy grumbled, "Sales yanqui..." I responded, "Yankee, hell, I'm from Texas." "Ah! Texas! Jawn Wayne!" We all got drunker'n rats, me telling lies about cowboys and indians. My little dab of French, their broken English, and lots of hand-waving.

    I dunno. Most anywhere I go, I find somebody with whom to have a beer or two and bitch about guvmint. More recent times, it's been Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada and Germany.

    'Rat
     
  4. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #4
    Sounds like you've lived a pretty damn interesting life!
     
  5. remmy macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    When I say US I think it usually means the government and political elite. This can't be limited to just Bush, though he was the front man, but the whole organisation and un-elected members.

    Obama and Bush before him were just one part of the system.
     
  6. MacHipster macrumors 6502

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    #6
    While I may disagree with Destertrat's politics, he seems like a hell of a guy.
     
  7. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #7
    When I spent some time in Portugal (about 6 months in early 2001) it was mainly the policies of the government that people took issue with. Most people were very thrilled to speak with me, and took no issue with the fact that I was american.

    I remember one specific time when I was invited to have a meal with a middle aged man and his wife. The man gave me a lengthy lecture about how the US has too much money, and they spend too much of that money on bombs etc. He then went on to admit that without the USA he would possibly have starved to death, when he was a child there was a dictator in power in portugal, his parents were poor, but they were able to secure bread and cheese that was brought in and donated by the United States Military.

    So he concluded that he was appreciative of the USA, but that he had a problem with many of their governmental policies. I wonder how much of that comes from these countries which aren't in a place of world dominance like the USA is. Their nations don't deal with the same international issues that the USA deals with. Perhaps if they did, they would be able to appreciate where the United States is Coming from on many issues. It's always easy to judge from the outside looking in right?

    The Portuguese don't exactly have other countries knocking down the door looking for assistance like the USA does. As a result they don't have the same enemies and complicated alliances/treaties with other nations either.

    SLC
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    Maybe not, but they have a very old and extensive network of erstwhile colonial possessions, such as Brazil, Mozambique, Goa, Macao, Guinea, Timor, etc, in addition to the Azores and Cabo Verde. They are hardly ignorant in the ways of the world.
     
  9. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #9
    Believe me I know. I lived there for 6 months, mostly among the immigrants from the former african colonies. Moçambicanos, Angolanos, Cabo Verdiano's, Guinea's, Brasileiros. At one time I even roomed with two Cabo Verdiano's.

    I have nothing but respect for Portugal. I'd move back in a heartbeat if I could. But the fact remains that in this day and age, there are virtually no expectations placed on Portugal as a nation. There are no real international relations that serve as a means for the Portuguese being hated as a nation the same way Americans are. The same goes for virtually every other nation on earth (I'm just using Portugal as an example since I've lived there and know something about the nation), and I'm proposing that this is why people like to hate America.

    SLC
     
  10. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #10
    +1 Theres almost no one here that I don't feel would be a great person to know.
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    The years have seen lots of clouds, but a helluva lot of silver linings. My mother was one of the first-ever Fulbright Professors, so my junior year of highschool was in Manila, in 1949/1950. Met cousins who had been iimprisoned by the Japs in Santo Tomas--with little food and no medical care. Highschool classmates the same. Met some of those who had been guerillas. Google for Yay Marking and her husband, "just" known as Marking--which in the Philippines was sufficient. Came back to the states on a passenger-freighter, via many Filipino ports, Hong Kong and Japan. Two days out of Yokohama, the North Koreans invaded the South. I lost some friends, there.

    Four years later, I was in Korea for occupation duty. I later re-enlisted for the chance to get stationed in Paris. TS clearance and all that REMF stuff, as a lowly documents control clerk. Deux ans dans Paris. Saw multi-star generals quivering and pooping about ICBMs during the Hungarian Crisis, which seriously affected my attitude about a lot of things. Wandered all over the place, and discovered sportycar racing at LeMans and other venues.

    College at FSU and Gatorland, hanging out with the artsy crowd and the Jewish kids, as they could read and write and partied better than the engineering crowd. Then went to work for the Chevy Test Lab in Warren, Michigan, which gave me my distaste for the management--of the UAW, that is. (Ya gotta see to believe.) Got around central Canada, some.

    Got homesick and came back to Austintatious. Eventually into civil engineering and then environmental engineering. This was followed by political engineering, writing some environmental legislation. Business trips to Mexico and that other foreign country, WashDC. All that, along with owning folk music night clubs and doing the coinshow and gunshow thing and car-rebuilding for extra money. Worked the old family ranch all the while. Benchrest in the back yard, and deer hunting in the pastures. After 20 years, I decided that as far as city government was concerned, the inmates had taken over the asylum and voted with my feet and moved to Terlingua.

    Managed to "sell work" for my backhoe and dumbtruck (Not mis-spelled) and pay for them. And eat. Wandered up to Canada and over into Mexico. Itchy foot. Remarried in '89. She still puts up with me. I figured that if I were to be married to a decent woman, she oughta have a decent house, so I built it myself (but for the dried-in basic box) in '93. She did the staining. Still no major repairs have ever been needed.

    My son lives in Bavaria, as an ex-F1M type with a cycle repair business and beaucoup friends. He's president of the volunteer fire department and DIL is president of the motorcycle club. Helluva deal. Neat place, neat folks. Beautiful country.

    Serious cancer in '03 sorta slowed me down, and the years are sorta catching up with my body. I'll be 75 come July.

    Never any real regrets. My wrinkles come from grinning, so I must have been doing something right.

    My politics? Mostly derived from watching the world, and seeing the effects of governmental actions. They also come from my strong belief that only I am responsible for my own well-being and the consequences of my decisions and actions. If I screw up, it's my fault, and not society's. But if I do well, I can quietly feel a tad smug. And I never ask anybody else to do more than I do.

    So there you have it...

    Dunno what I'll do if I ever grow up. :)

    'Rat
     
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #12
    Damn, 'Rat, I always knew I liked you, but I guess I just figured you were closer to my age (40). I hope that when the day comes I can look back at my life and see a lot of the things you see in yours.

    What's your hurry? :cool:
     
  13. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #13
    I think when many foreigners envision America's "bad side" and reference the US negatively they're picturing some kind of willfully ignorant, overweight and wasteful people who elect a leadership of bullies to to protect them from irrational fears of the outside world.

    Clearly an over-the-top stereotype...though with grains of truth beyond the bull. ;)
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    When I wandered Paris, folks always thought I was German. Appearance, clothing style. My gal and I were sitting at a sidewalk cafe on the Champs Elysee one evening, trying not to guffaw at the conversation of a couple of American tourons* at an adjacent table. I kid you not, the woman was not joking when she commented, "The trouble with coming over here is all these foreigners."

    So, yeah, not all our citizen representatives show us in our best light.

    'Rat

    * Touron: Cross between a tourist and a moron.
     
  15. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #15
    Europe (and indeed most of the rest of the world) has a much longer history than the USA. We tend to look at things the US does and say we made that mistake 200 years ago and learned from it. Don't forget that Britain was the most powerful nation in the world less than 100 years ago.
     
  16. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #16
    the history in the US is just as long as the one in europe it's just for the fact that each conquerers were much more successful in eradicating former civilizations
     
  17. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

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    #17
    Ooohooh, you don't want to be mistaken for a German tourist. You gotta leave the Aloha shirt and that funny hat at home.
    Around here when people make references to the US, they always mean the government/republican party. Most of the negative references and mean jokes are directed at rednecks and conservative religious fundamentalists.
    Since I know a few Americans personally and like all of them very much I'm not prejudiced at all. But to be honest, that won't stop me from making unfair jokes about all the negative American clichés.
     
  18. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #18
    Oh.
    Commiserations…
    :eek:

    Alas, Germans are a Europe wide joke when it comes to dress sense and manners. Second only to… err… oh… sorry.
    ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #19
    I assume you are referring to native Americans? In which case you are correct, they do have a long history. How long is still a matter for historical debate, but Europe most certainly has an extremely long history dating back thousands of years before the birth of Christ.

    Little of native American culture remains in main stream America though unfortunately so one much take the start of American history as the date on which Columbus discovered it or possibly when the Norse populated a small part of Newfoundland in about 1000AD.
     
  20. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #20
    I'm not trying to give you grief about this, because you lived through WW2, but Jap isn't taken too kindly in the US anymore.
    You're going to have to elaborate on this! :D

    As in, FIM Suberbike? :eek:
     
  21. Delta608 macrumors regular

    Delta608

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    #21
    Who are foreigners thinking of/referring to when they address or reference the US?

    I could care less who or what a foreigner is thinking when they refer to or address the U.S. "We the people"...is ALL of us in the U.S.
     
  22. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #22
    Ah, the joy of Americanisms. What is that actually supposed to mean anyway (serious question)?
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    When I think of the US today, I think of Obama.

    Before? I don't know. Bush and Cheney.

    Before that? Probably some pop culture phenom like Britney, NSync, etc. I wasn't a fan, but you couldn't avoid them. Then again, when I thought of the UK, I thought "Spice Girls". :p

    It means he could care less, but he doesn't. Instead, he cares more. More than you. He cares a lot. He cared enough to post here and tell you this.
     
  24. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #24
    Usually, it's the stereotype of the loud, whining people, wearing bright white sneakers, who travel the world like they're entering different regions of Disneyland.

    I have been disturbed traveling through Asia, and among some of my wife's Japanese friends (she's Japanese), that 'American' is frequently interpreted racially: i.e. from the US and white.
     
  25. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #25
    It means we're a nation of rugged manly men who don't tart up our language with superfluous, flowery adverbs like "hardly." Mincing around and whining about, "lah-tee-dah leaving out that word makes you say the exact opposite of what you intended" is some sort of prissy Eurotrash crap. We didn't fight a revolution just so we could bow down to your fancy-pants Queen's notions of what words make sense when put next to what other words.
     

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