Although I’m not American, i liked this blog that i have stolen from elsewhere.
if you own this blog please feel free to comment that its yours so i can give credit to you.
10 THINGS MOST AMERICANS DON’T KNOW ABOUT AMERICA
You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? As it turns out, stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it.
So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I’ve spent the past three years living almost entirely outside of the United States. I’ve lived in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and South America.
1. FEW PEOPLE ARE IMPRESSED BY US
Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely), then most people around the world are simply not going to care. As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you.
2. FEW PEOPLE HATE US
Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us. I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Kind of like we don’t care about them.
3. WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD
For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese were more concerned with independence (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by the Soviet Union (not us), there is evidence that Native Americans were wiped out largely by disease and plague BEFORE Europeans arrived and not just after, and the American Revolution was partly “won” because the British invested more of their resources in fighting France (not us). Notice a running theme here? We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created a government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us. Trust me, they are not.
4. WE ARE POOR AT EXPRESSING GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION
IN OUR CULTURE, APPRECIATION AND AFFECTION ARE IMPLIED RATHER THAN SPOKEN OUTRIGHT. TWO GUY FRIENDS CALL EACH OTHER NAMES TO REINFORCE THEIR FRIENDSHIP; MEN AND WOMEN TEASE AND MAKE FUN OF EACH OTHER TO IMPLY INTEREST. FEELINGS ARE ALMOST NEVER SHARED OPENLY AND FREELY. CONSUMER CULTURE HAS CHEAPENED OUR LANGUAGE OF GRATITUDE. SOMETHING LIKE, “IT’S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU” IS EMPTY NOW BECAUSE IT’S EXPECTED AND HEARD FROM EVERYBODY.
5. THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS NOT GREAT
The US system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly. The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries.
Having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), our overall quality of life suffers. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.
6. THE REST OF THE WORLD IS NOT A SLUM-RIDDEN SHITHOLE COMPARED TO US
As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They are not. If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb, Berlin makes L.A. look like a dump. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer and cheaper than the one I lived in Boston.
Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians — along with Swedes, Luxembourgers, the Dutch and Finns — have better schools, more holidays and make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. Switzerland has the best government and the highest standard of living. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai (and soon to be Saudi Arabia). Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
7. WE’RE PARANOID
Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have nearly as many guns as people. We are living in fear because of our media (out for ratings) and our politics (out for support). In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty.
I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so honest and open with me, it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a barbeque with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.
We’re crazy paranoid.
8. WE’RE STATUS-OBSESSED AND SEEK ATTENTION
I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).
This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “amazing, fantastic, the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you. People outside of the U.S are actually feeling sorry for us, being so status-obsessed.
9. WE ARE VERY UNHEALTHY
The health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin. The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us.
My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.
But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch). In terms of life expectancy, despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 35th — tied with Costa Rica and right behind Slovenia, and slightly ahead of Chile. Enjoy your Big Mac.
10. WE ARE CORRUPTED BY OUR OWN SYSTEM
Our media, our politics, our police forces, our school system… yes, they are not the worst. But by far, they are not the best. We usually believe that countries like Romania, Italy or Russia have a corrupt systems and we are not aware that – compared to countries like Germany, Denmark or England – we have a legally corrupted system, enforced by lobbying, media and big corporations. Money makes our world go round.
The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances. Socialist countries like Sweden, Germany or France have a hard time understanding how Americans are still fighting against the government, the social state – for “freedom”. Europeans have learned many years ago that being part of a social group is better then trying to survive on your own.
My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.
I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a few times a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.
I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funny cat pictures to look at.
*** Wow. frontpage. If this post made you think – then I’m good.
I have been lucky enough to have been all over the world and find there’s truth in all your statements but none are as sweeping as you imply
I can agree on some points, however I don’t think ALL Americans suffer from these exaggerated expectations
Take your exp with a grain of salt. I’m an immigrant from Poland and many people see the US as a land of opportunity, and rightfully so
I think travelling / living abroad is great, it opens you’re eyes to the flaws in your culture, returning home opens them to the positives
I’ve also traveled a lot, and let me tell you that you got lucky never being robbed or attacked.
Load More Comments
Real Heroes are not on Netflix..
I didn’t recognize you
This is totally my grandfather reincarnated as a Japanese business man. Bad. Ass.
What is this from?
Lol crazy ol codger. Leslie Neilson ability to keep a straight face while he gave him the business and everyone else laughing about it
This is a light form of flattery because even him talkin to u is honor enough. In Korea in any business if ur boss is still at work. So r u
this is great
Load More Comments