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17 cultural reasons why this European never wants to live in America

I love this .. so true!

by And I'm American..reply 6112/27/2012

Yes, very true.

by And I'm American..reply 112/27/2012

He dislikes America as being "too religious" ... which is rich coming from a nation where the Roman catholic Church is the *OFFICIAL* state religion.

I offer the story of a friend who was interested in buying an iPod in Belgium. She had to make a specific appointment to come and look at the selection at the shop. Meanwhile, I had just come from Best Buy where at least two workers asked if they could help me.

The article writer extrapolates a few ignorant people into "most" Americans. How convenient.

by And I'm American..reply 212/27/2012

Funny that he criticizes even the East Coast/NYers for one thing that they accuse the rest of the country of being: being too sensitive and not straightforward enough.

by And I'm American..reply 312/27/2012

Can you please post the list inside so we can not have to keep going back to the link?

by And I'm American..reply 412/27/2012

[quote]Idiotic American stereotypes of other countries

Hmmmm...

by And I'm American..reply 512/27/2012

1. Americans are way too sensitive

Sometimes I wonder if political correctness is in your constitution. I found out very quickly in my first visit that I had to bite my tongue pretty much all the time, and (more annoyingly) that nobody was ever straight with me.

It seems that speaking your mind to individuals is a major taboo. You can’t tell a friend straight when he has fucked up, nobody will ever tell you that you look fat (oversensitivity with not telling obese people to get their act together is a major contributor in my opinion to why there are so many of them in the states), and there’s way too much euphemism to avoid the hard truth.

To a certain extent, I can understand it – America generally does a great job of preventing people from singling out ethnic groups and toning down hate speech. But it waters it down far too much at the individual level.

A lot of Americans I met feel very lonely, and I feel this is a major reason. You may never find a boy/girlfriend if a friend who knows you well and supposedly cares about you, doesn’t tell you the hard facts of what makes you so damn annoying… so that you can change it! Being insulting for the sake of it is needless aggression. But constructive criticism is what friends are for.

The one time in my entire last three months that someone was straight with me was when my friend Karol Gajda gave me some tips to improve my presentation in future after I gave a TEDx talk, while everyone else was doing nothing but massaging my ego. It was really useful advice but it caught me off guard because I was used to months of… 2. Everything is “awesome”!

I really hate the word awesome. It used to mean “that which inspires awe”, but in the states it means nothing! It doesn’t even mean good - it’s just a word – a filler, like “um” or “y’know”.

This is the stereotypical American cheesy word, and I heard it until my ears started to bleed. Too many over-the-top positive adjectives like this get thrown around so much that they really mean nothing.

And when you ask someone “How are you?” the answer will inevitably be “great!” even if they are far from it.

When you start using excessive positivity it waters down the meaning, and those words become neutral. Then what do you do when you need to express true positivity? Of course, when someone says they are “OK, I guess” then you know things are pear shaped! I don’t think “bad” is in America’s vocabulary.

But nothing beats America’s over-positivity more than this: 3. Smiles mean NOTHING

When I meet Americans abroad, one of their biggest complaints are along the lines of “nobody smiles on Prague’s trams!” “That waitress was so rude to me! She didn’t even smile!”

Goddamnit America – I have the opposite complaint for you. You guys smile way too much. It’s fucking annoying! How can you tell when someone means it? And why the hell would a stranger doing a crossword puzzle on public transport want to look giddy?

When people smile in Europe it means something. For example, because Germans don’t go around looking like an American toothpaste commercial when I was with them and they smiled, it lit up the room – you know it’s genuine and you can’t help but smile back, because you are genuinely happy. You’ve shared a joke, or a funny story or you are in love etc.

But all the time? When you smile all the time in public it means nothing. Apparently a smile releases endorphins, but if your face is stuck that way I’m sure your dreams of a natural high will fade soon. I’d rather focus on trying to make my life better and have reasons to smile than lie to myself and the world.

Despite how surly I sound in this post, because complaining is the theme of the article, the fact that I vent when I mean it, means that when you see me happy you know I’m truly happy. And that is indeed a lot of the time :) But not all of it!

by And I'm American..reply 612/27/2012

But this dickhead is oh so happy to take our money. Get lost.

by And I'm American..reply 712/27/2012

[bold]1. Americans are way too sensitive[/bold]

Sometimes I wonder if political correctness is in your constitution. I found out very quickly in my first visit that I had to bite my tongue pretty much all the time, and (more annoyingly) that nobody was ever straight with me.

It seems that speaking your mind to individuals is a major taboo. You can’t tell a friend straight when he has fucked up, nobody will ever tell you that you look fat (oversensitivity with not telling obese people to get their act together is a major contributor in my opinion to why there are so many of them in the states), and there’s way too much euphemism to avoid the hard truth.

To a certain extent, I can understand it – America generally does a great job of preventing people from singling out ethnic groups and toning down hate speech. But it waters it down far too much at the individual level.

A lot of Americans I met feel very lonely, and I feel this is a major reason. You may never find a boy/girlfriend if a friend who knows you well and supposedly cares about you, doesn’t tell you the hard facts of what makes you so damn annoying… so that you can change it! Being insulting for the sake of it is needless aggression. But constructive criticism is what friends are for.

The one time in my entire last three months that someone was straight with me was when my friend Karol Gajda gave me some tips to improve my presentation in future after I gave a TEDx talk, while everyone else was doing nothing but massaging my ego. It was really useful advice but it caught me off guard because I was used to months of…

[bold]2. Everything is “awesome”![/bold]

I really hate the word awesome. It used to mean “that which inspires awe”, but in the states it means nothing! It doesn’t even mean good - it’s just a word – a filler, like “um” or “y’know”.

This is the stereotypical American cheesy word, and I heard it until my ears started to bleed. Too many over-the-top positive adjectives like this get thrown around so much that they really mean nothing.

And when you ask someone “How are you?” the answer will inevitably be “great!” even if they are far from it.

When you start using excessive positivity it waters down the meaning, and those words become neutral. Then what do you do when you need to express true positivity? Of course, when someone says they are “OK, I guess” then you know things are pear shaped! I don’t think “bad” is in America’s vocabulary.

But nothing beats America’s over-positivity more than this:

by And I'm American..reply 812/27/2012

[bold]3. Smiles mean NOTHING[/bold]

When I meet Americans abroad, one of their biggest complaints are along the lines of “nobody smiles on Prague’s trams!” “That waitress was so rude to me! She didn’t even smile!”

Goddamnit America – I have the opposite complaint for you. You guys smile way too much. It’s fucking annoying! How can you tell when someone means it? And why the hell would a stranger doing a crossword puzzle on public transport want to look giddy?

When people smile in Europe it means something. For example, because Germans don’t go around looking like an American toothpaste commercial when I was with them and they smiled, it lit up the room – you know it’s genuine and you can’t help but smile back, because you are genuinely happy. You’ve shared a joke, or a funny story or you are in love etc.

But all the time? When you smile all the time in public it means nothing. Apparently a smile releases endorphins, but if your face is stuck that way I’m sure your dreams of a natural high will fade soon. I’d rather focus on trying to make my life better and have reasons to smile than lie to myself and the world.

Despite how surly I sound in this post, because complaining is the theme of the article, the fact that I vent when I mean it, means that when you see me happy you know I’m truly happy. And that is indeed a lot of the time :) But not all of it!

by And I'm American..reply 912/27/2012

[bold]4. Tipping [/bold]

While it’s a perk for most of you, for me it was terribly annoying to be in restaurants and having a waitress interrupt me every 3 minutes asking me if everything is OK. I’d have to feign a smile and thumbs up to make her go away since my mouth was always full. I really don’t see the point – if you’ve given me the wrong order or if I suddenly realise I’m dying from an allergic reaction to your food, you’ll know it long before those 3 minutes are up.

Eating out is always an annoying experience because of this. In the rest of the world we call the server over when we need something. If this was genuine interest, or if the person was trying to be friendly that would be cool, but that’s not what it’s about. In fact, it’s all down to “subtle” reminders that this person wants you to tip them.

This drove me crazy – I really think tipping as a means of waitresses and others earning the vast majority of their living is ridiculous. If I have to pay, say 15% anyway, then include it in the bill! It’s not a bloody tip if it’s mandatory!!!

Once again, one huge complaint I hear in other countries is how rude waitresses are, and Americans claim it’s because they aren’t tipped. Instead of getting tipped they earn a wage like everyone else, and do their job and if they do it bad enough they’ll get fired. But apparently not pestering you every minute and not smiling like you are in a Ms. World competition means you are “rude”.

I think the basic concept of tipping is nice – if someone does a top-notch job, sure, throw them an extra few cents or a dollar – but I just see it as a complex system of tax evasion for both restaurants and workers in the states. Some people ludicrously suggest that it makes it cheaper that the restaurant doesn’t have to charge more, but you’re paying the difference anyway. What it does contribute to is clear though:

by And I'm American..reply 1012/27/2012

[bold]5. False prices on everything [/bold]

Tipping is just the peak of the iceberg.

It’s all one big marketing scam to make people feel like they are paying less. The price you see on a menu is nothing compared to what you’ll actually pay. Apart from tipping, you have to of course pay taxes.

Now taxes are things that you simply have to pay on items you purchase – it’s how governments work all around the world. So why hide it from us? It boggles my mind that places refuse to include the tax in prices. The price they state is pretty much useless. It’s just saying “this is how much we get from what you pay, but you’ll actually pay more”.

I don’t give a flying toss how much YOU get, I want to know how much I have to pay! How much money… do you want me… to hand to you? Do I really have to spell this out?

The most laughable of all of these is the “dollar store”. We have this thing in Ireland called the €2 shop. You can walk in with a single €2 coin and walk out with something. If you have a single dollar, you will be turned away from a “dollar” store though. It’s a dollar… that they earn not that you pay. Do you follow? The only thing that matters is the business’s perspective.

Airlines are the worst of all though. While in Europe some airlines are pretty bad with added fees, at least you’ll see them when it’s time to pay. The crazy thing for me flying in the states (since I have check-in luggage) was that I would pay… and then I’d pay again later.

It’s nothing but a large scale marketing scam. Make the price seem cheaper, which is lying to people. One great way to get people in more debt is to make them feel like they are spending less, but add the rest when it comes time to hand over the cash. This is one big part of….

by And I'm American..reply 1112/27/2012

[bold]6. Cheesy in-your-face marketing [/bold]

I feel like scraping out my eyes with toothpicks when I’m forced to endure advertising in America. Make it stop.

Most Americans aren’t even aware of it – it’s on all the time so much that it becomes nothing more than background noise. And this means that advertisers have to be even louder to get through to people. It’s a vicious circle that drives any non-American not used to it bonkers.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

I decided to watch an episode of House one evening on TV. Up until then I had only really seen American shows online with advertising removed or back in Europe with European advertising inserted.

Holy shit.

Every few minutes you get torn out of the show and bombarded with irrelevant spam, and “awesome” images of people who practically experience orgasms as soon as they buy product X, that is (of course) on special offer just right now. And if it’s anything medical you get a super fast voice spur every kind of medical complaint you can imagine that his product will create as a side-effect. But at least the cheesy model is still happy, so it’s probably not so important.

Some of my American blogger friends apply this to the online world and cover their site with flashing or aggressive banners, and a writing style that is psychologically very effective to make a sale, but damn is it annoying. One online pet-peeve of mine is email pop-up sign-up forms, which you can justify with marketing stats, as long as you ignore how much you piss off people you don’t “convert”. I’d recommend you install Randy‘s Stoppity plugin for Firefox or Chrome to turn those off.

And here’s the thing: Americans are marketing geniuses. This can never be disputed. Every time I went to buy just a carton of milk, something about the supermarket that’s different to what I’m used to gravitated me towards some expensive garbage I didn’t need and I almost bought it, or did buy it, feeling very stupid as I walked out.

If you are in Las Vegas you’ll see how skilled they are at this manipulation by how they design the casinos. No windows, no clocks, impossible to find exits, no way to get where you want to go without walking through slot machines, the slot machines themselves have lots of shiny lights and bouncy music to entice you. You feel like you are being hypnotised. They know exactly what they are doing and have the billions of dollars to prove it.

But it’s still manipulation, and to those of us not used to the loudness it’s plain cheesy. Every corner of America is plastered with some kind of advertising or sponsorship, and I feel so at peace now that I’ve left. No more random phonecalls on any landline (including hotels I was paying for) with a recorded voice to try to pitch me something and no more spam promotional brochures taking over my physical mailbox.

by And I'm American..reply 1212/27/2012

[bold]7. Wasteful consumerism[/bold]

Some of the consumerism is difficult to avoid when you are flooded with advertising, but some of it really is entirely the person’s own fault for being so wasteful.

The best example I can think of by far is Apple fanboyism. So many Americans waste so much cash to have the latest iteration of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, or Macbook. When you buy one that’s fine – I personally don’t like Apple products (I find the operating system too restrictive), but there are many good arguments for why it could be better. I also like to have a good smartphone and laptop for example, and I’m as much a consumer as you if you happen to have an Apple equivalent.

The problem is when you replace your iPhone 4 with an iPhone 4S, and do it along with an army of millions of other sheep for no good reason. It’s pointless and wasteful consumerism at its best.

I actually took advantage of this when I was in Austin this year. I waited until the day the iPad 2 was announced and as I predicted there were 20 new ads per minute on Craigslist in that city alone from desperate fanboys trying to sell their iPad 1. Since my laptop is so big (I consider it a portable desktop), it was worth my while to invest in a tablet and I convinced one idiot to sell me his with a bluetooth keyboard case for $250. (I’ve written a few blog posts on it in cafés so it was worth my investment) He was so desperate to have the latest version that was ever so slightly thinner and faster, and with a camera that makes you look like an idiot when you point your iPad at something, but otherwise basically exactly the same.

Personally I only replace my smartphone when I break the other one from travel stress or dropping it in an ocean etc. I’m also a consumer though, and will occasionally buy stuff that I don’t need, but replacing something I have for something marginally better for a large price is something I can never understand.

What makes it worse is that these people sometimes claim to not have much money and Apple products are added to their “necessities” list. The gobshite I bought my iPad from sighed when I told him what I do, and he said that he wished he had the money to travel. I wish he had the common sense to realise that if he stopped wasting his money he’d have plenty left over.

by And I'm American..reply 1312/27/2012

[bold]8. Idiotic American stereotypes of other countries [/bold]

Many of us have seen videos online of Americans arsing up basic questions of international geography. I went out of my way to avoid people that stupid – my beef is with the supposedly educated ones.

Luckily, Americans you meet abroad tend to be much cleverer, but meeting those who haven’t travelled made my head hurt with the amount of facepalms I’d have to do.

Now, I know there are 300 million of you, but I have had this exact same conversation on both the east and west coast, and in the mid-west and south:

“Hi, I’m Benny”

“Awesome! I’m X. Where are you from?”

“Ireland”

“Wow! You guys certainly know how to drink!”

“Actually, I don’t drink”

“Oh, you’re not really Irish then, are you!”

Again, and again and again… and again. The same idiotic script – I knew it was coming every time. They demanded to see my passport, said that I’m the only Irish guy they’ve ever met who doesn’t drink (and very stupidly then admitted that I was the ONLY Irish guy they ever met!!) or had visited Ireland and spent all their time in Temple Bar (not even leaving Dublin), confirming that all Irish people are drunkards.

This is just one of the many idiotic things they would say, which of course annoyed me the most.

A few others I’ve gotten include:

How was the boat ride over here? [Surprised that we have airports in Ireland - I must have arrived in rags in New York harbour of course] Too many people insisting that Ireland was part of the UK. They actually argued it with me!! Did I have to check my car for IRA bombs when I was growing up? (there were so many things wrong with this) Surprised that I knew more about technology than they did. Aren’t we all potato farmers in Ireland?

Whenever someone said anything about Ireland I’d always try to change the subject immediately or they’d quickly find out how blunt I can be.

Edit: If you think this is hypocritical, I’d argue that this post is NOT filled with stereotypes because it’s based on my actual experience in hanging out with thousands of you. Americans who stereotype us Irish (and other nationalities) have generally never been there, or at best “seen” (not spent time with) a couple of tourists. Stereotyping is based on hearsay and misinformation, and almost always from total lack of contact, or only superficial contact with the people you stereotype.

I’m not talking about Americans being all loud and war mongers and only eating at McDonald’s and all being stupid etc. (typical American stereotypes), because these just aren’t true for many people. I’m talking about what I’ve actually experienced from normal people in every day situations after an entire year of living and working in America.

by And I'm American..reply 1412/27/2012

[bold]9. Heritage[/bold]

Every American you meet is not actually American. They are a fourth Polish, 3/17 Italian, ten other random countries, and then of course half Irish. Since Ireland is more homogenous, it’s hard for me to appreciate this, so honestly I don’t really care if your great grandfather’s dog walker’s best friend’s roommate was Irish. I really don’t.

The amount of “Oh my gaaawwwd, me too!!” retorts I heard when I said I was Irish is quite silly. I use country adjectives more restrictively than Americans do, so this was quite the pet peeve of mine. I finally learned that “I’m from Ireland” means what I wanted to say to them better than “I’m Irish” does.

I don’t want to say I don’t respect people’s rich heritage (a nice mixture makes a country more interesting; the melting pot of cultures and skin colours is one reason why Brazil is my favourite country for example), but when people start talking about it as if it were genetics and their Italian part makes them more passionate and their Irish part makes them good drinkers I really do have to roll my eyes.

Edit: Commenters keep pointing out that it’s a language difference, so “Irish” actually means “Irish American” as I’d understand it. That’s fine, but I’m trying to convey that foreigners find this annoying. There is no right or wrong, but it’s important to realise that rephrasing it or saying “I have Irish/Italian heritage” may be more appropriate if you are talking to someone from that country. This is especially true if speaking other languages.

[bold]10. ID checks & stupid drinking laws[/bold]

Seriously, I promise I’m not 12. Please let me into the nightclub!

I’ve even seen 60 year olds get IDed. Nowhere else in the world do they ID me now that I’m clearly in my late 20s. A few times I haven’t had my passport (the most important document I own that I really don’t want to get beer spilled over) in my jeans pocket and have simply been refused entry.

I find it incredible that drinking age is 21, but you give 16 year olds licenses to drive cars and you can buy a rifle at age 18. And you can’t walk around outside with an open drink in most states (but apparently putting it in a brown bag while you drink it makes it OK). I don’t even drink, and I find these laws nonsensical.

by And I'm American..reply 1512/27/2012

[bold]11. Religious Americans[/bold]

Look – I grew up in a religious town in Ireland, went to an all boys Catholic school, and some of my friends in Europe are religious. Even if I’m not religious myself, it’s up to everyone to decide what they believe in. I find religious people in Europe to be NORMAL – it’s a spiritual thing, or something they tend to keep to themselves, and are very modern people with a great balance of religion and modernism.

But I can’t stand certain Christian affiliations of religious Americans. It’s Jesus this and Jesus that all the bloody time. You really can’t have a normal conversation with them. It’s in your face religion, and they replace hard science with scripture in the classroom. They really need to tone it down.

[bold]12. Corporations win all the time, not small businesses [/bold]

While there are many arguments against everything working towards there simply being a bunch of large corporations competing with one another, my biggest problem is in terms of availability.

When you get your food from Walmart or Wholefoods, and nowhere else, these places grow and will be separated by a reasonable driving distance for greatest scope. But between them? It’s a wasteland.

I was in downtown Chicago one day and wanted to simply get a bite to eat, but after walking around for an hour the only affordable option I could find was Dunkin Donuts. There are plenty of excellent cheap places to eat in Chicago, but you need to drive to them, or be in a specific part of the city with lots of restaurants. There’s too much competition between the big guys for a large number of little guys to sprinkle themselves conveniently throughout cities.

If you plonk me in any major city in Europe, I’ll find food in minutes. If you do the same in America, even downtown and presuming it isn’t a specific restaurant district, and don’t give me a cell phone or a car, I could starve to death.

And this is a major contributor to what I feel is one of the biggest problems in America:

by And I'm American..reply 1612/27/2012

[bold]13. A country designed for cars, not humans [/bold]

One of my biggest issues in the states has been how terrible a place it is for pedestrians. It’s the worst place in the entire world to live in if you don’t own a car.

On previous trips to the states I’ve had it rough – relying on sub-par public transport (which is at least workable in certain major cities, but almost never first world standard in my opinion), or relying on a friend the entire time. You can’t do anything without a car in most cases. With rare exceptions (like San Francisco), all shops, affordable restaurants, supermarkets, electronics etc. are miles away. You rarely have corner shops (and if you do they are way more expensive than supermarkets).

I find it laughable that Austin is rated as among the most “walkable” cities in the states. Living just outside the centre, but within walking distance, meant that I had a stretch of my path with no pavement, and a little further out I had to walk on grass to get to a bus stop.

What struck me as the most eerie thing of all is that I felt very much alone when walking in any American city. In many cases I’d be the only pedestrian in the entire block, even if it was in the middle of the week downtown! The country is really designed to get in your car, drive to your destination and get out there. No walk-abouts.

Going for a walk to find food serendipitously (as I would in any European city) was a terrible idea every time without checking Yelp.com in advance.

For this last trip, I did actually rent a car for most of my stay (I didn’t even have a driving license before this trip, which most Americans find hard to grasp), and everything was so much more convenient, but I really did feel like I was only ever using my feet to work the gas pedal, and I will not miss it at all.

[bold]14. Always in a hurry[/bold]

So many things in America are rushed far too much my liking. Fast food is something we have all around the world now (thanks America…) but even in a posh sit-down restaurant your food will usually come out in less than five minutes after ordering! There are also obsessions with get-rich-quick and lose-fat-quick schemes, pills that solve all your problems after a single swallow, people cutting to the chase in casual conversations far too quickly (after the customary empty “How are you? Great!”)

People don’t seem to have the patience to invest time to slowly improve things, unless it involves some kind of monetary investment.

Americans are also very punctual, because of course time is money. So many of them could do with stopping to smell the roses, and arriving late because they took their time.

Despite all the false positivity, I find Americans to be generally the most stressed out and unhappiest people on the planet. Despite all the resources, and all the money they have, they are sadder than people I know who can barely make ends meet in other countries, but still know how to live in the moment.

This rush to the finish line, to have your book published, or to have a million dollars in your bank account or to get that promotion, and to have that consume your life is something I find really sad.

by And I'm American..reply 1712/27/2012

Fucking tosser. To deconstruct his list:

5. "False" prices on everything. WTF? This is coming from a European where, until recently, the airlines were NOTORIOUS for deliberately leaving off taxes on airline prices? easyJet and Ryanair CREATED this whole marketing sham! I also really have no fucking idea what he means here in general; aside from travel costs, there's a basic sales tax in most states, and it doesn't vary much within a given state. Europe, in contrast, has a much HIGHER 17.5% VAT on nearly everything.

6. Cheesy in-your-face marketing. Again, WTF? Is he basing this merely on watching late-night infomercials? European Web sites don't have "cheesy" banner ads as well?

7. Wasteful consumerism. Ha! As if Europeans AREN'T consumerists!

8. Idiotic stereotypes of other countries ... you mean, kinda like the ones he's claiming exist in the U.S. Uh-huh.

12. Corporations win all the time ... this coming from someone in a country where CORPORATIONS have taken over all the local pubs, and massive CORPORATE stores like Tesco run everything down to even the smallest elements of small-town life.

by And I'm American..reply 1812/27/2012

[bold]15. Obsession with money[/bold]

I met far too many people who were more interested in their bank balance than their quality of life. People richer than I can possibly imagine, who are depressed. More money seems to be the only way they understand of solving problems. They don’t travel because they think they need tens of thousands of dollars, and they don’t enjoy their day because they may miss out on a business opportunity.

by And I'm American..reply 1912/27/2012

[bold]16. Unhealthy portions [/bold]

Apart from people not being frank with those who are overweight, the biggest problem is that portions in restaurants are grossly overgenerous. Any time I ordered even a small portion I’d be totally full. Small means something completely different to me than it does to Americans. If you sit down in most places and order anything but an appetiser or a salad, you will eat more than you should.

I was brought up being reminded of starving children in Africa, so I feel guilty if I don’t clear my plate. This has been disastrous over the last few months and I’ve put on weight because of it! I should have asked for a “doggy bag” nearly all the time.

I’ve learned to stop ordering a soda entirely, because when places give you free refills, I feel like I should drink more… it’s free after all! Ugh.

[bold]17. Thinking America is the best[/bold]

Finally, one thing I find annoying is the warped view of America’s situation in the world.

Americans ask me all the time if I’m scared to be travelling in South America. I found it way scarier to walk around certain parts of downtown San Francisco or Chicago at night than I did even in downtown Recife (apparently one of the most dangerous cities in South America) – because at least there are people there. And I find it pretty scary to be in a country where pretty much anyone can legally buy a revolver.

I also keep hearing about America being the land of the free – it certainly was… 200 years ago. Most of western Europe is as free or more free, with opportunities for people at all levels. America is indeed a better place with a higher standard of living than most of the world, but free speech and tolerance for all is the norm in the western world as a rule, not just in America.

There is no best country. But those who go on about how America is number one, tend to be those who have never travelled or lightly travelled.

How about saying America is great or “awesome”? I think patriotism is an excellent quality to have, and we should all be proud of where we were born. But nationalism (believing other countries are inferior) is a terrible quality.

by And I'm American..reply 2012/27/2012

Hate to admit it but he is right on the money.

Although, I disagree about Apple.

by And I'm American..reply 2112/27/2012

LOL enjoy your Muslims!!

by And I'm American..reply 2212/27/2012

Totally true. Really, who gives a shit that you're 1/20th Navajo, you special little snowflake you?

by And I'm American..reply 2312/27/2012

This is over a year old. Why post it now?

by And I'm American..reply 2412/27/2012

Fucking Mick! He probably grew up eating boiled rocks.

The smarts ones got out Ireland in 1848!

by And I'm American..reply 2512/27/2012

Yep, he's pretty much right about everything.

by And I'm American..reply 2612/27/2012

If you agree with him, then why are you here? Move to Europe. I would suggest avoiding the cities with a high Muslim population due to them not liking gays to much

by And I'm American..reply 2712/27/2012

No fat people, no gang bangers!

by And I'm American..reply 2812/27/2012

He's spot on regarding ID checks and the ridiculous drinking age of 21 (seriously...you're old enough to be shipped off To kill people in the Middle East, but God forbid an 18 year-old have a beer?!?). But the rest of this diatribe is nonsensical.

[quote]Corporations win all the time ... this coming from someone in a country where CORPORATIONS have taken over all the local pubs, and massive CORPORATE stores like Tesco run everything down to even the smallest elements of small-town life.

Holy shit, seriously!! Like, are there ANY independent pubs left in Britain?? They're ALL owned by the major (and foreign) brewers. Shit, I can walk two blocks from my home in Toronto and find a pub serving a wider selection of English ales than probably ANY pub in England carries!

And LOL @ the author's whining about the Irish "drunkard" stereotype. Sorry but it's true.

Americans certainly don't have to stand for this B.S. coming from the citizen of a country where doctors put the Catholic Church and the "life" of a foetus ahead of that of the mother.

by And I'm American..reply 2912/27/2012

[quote]Sometimes I wonder if political correctness is in your constitution. I found out very quickly in my first visit that I had to bite my tongue pretty much all the time, and (more annoyingly) that nobody was ever straight with me.

Oh yes, how lovely to be able to attend a soccer/football match and join in on the Nazi salutes and monkey chants targeting the black players.

The average European exudes sophistication.

by And I'm American..reply 3012/27/2012

[quote] to much

Spoken like a real 'merican!

by And I'm American..reply 3112/27/2012

As opposed to the trash like you, R22?

The "Muslims" are a convenient excuse for people like you. Yes, I'm sure that's why Merkel has stated she is anti-gay marriage.

by And I'm American..reply 3212/27/2012

The piece has some good points, but it would have been better if the writer weren't so boring and had some style. Where's Evelyn Waugh when you need him?

by And I'm American..reply 3312/27/2012

And as far as the image of the drunken Irishman - having met a number of Irish citizens, I can say they can drink my ass under a table and I'm no lightweight drinker myself.

by And I'm American..reply 3412/27/2012

I happy that he likes it on his side of the ocean. May he live long and prosper, right where he is, but I am happy for him to stay away from here.

by And I'm American..reply 3512/27/2012

Every point he makes has some merit.

by And I'm American..reply 3612/27/2012

I wish the author of that bs good luck when the muslims try to impose sharia law in his country and the whole of Europe soon.

by And I'm American..reply 3712/27/2012

[quote]I wish the author of that bs good luck when the muslims try to impose sharia law in his country and the whole of Europe soon.

Muslims are looking to do the same to America, and are already trying to take over, so what's the difference?

by And I'm American..reply 3812/27/2012

r37 exactly! but PC blinds them to the truth!

by And I'm American..reply 3912/27/2012

R37 = Oily Taint

by And I'm American..reply 4012/27/2012

Link, R38?

by And I'm American..reply 4112/27/2012

I love living in NYC, but I wish people would stop thinking that sitting in a coffee shop shooting shit is somehow not a productive way of spending time, and that they should be "doing" something. Spending time with people IS an experience I put above work. And I think most Europeans would agree with me.

Also, I cannot stand when people use the word "nice" to describe every person they know. There is no meaning left to the word if everybody is "nice."

by And I'm American..reply 4412/27/2012

He does makes some good points. But he's deluded if he thinks people should answer "I'm doing bad" or "I'm okay, I guess" when asked how one is doing. No one wants to really hear how you're doing. It's just a greeting.

by And I'm American..reply 4512/27/2012

[quote]Muslims are looking to do the same to America, and are already trying to take over, so what's the difference?

We'll gun them down.

by And I'm American..reply 4612/27/2012

I love it how gays defend Muzzies!

by And I'm American..reply 4712/27/2012

[quote]Muslims are looking to do the same to America, and are already trying to take over, so what's the difference?

Jesus Christ, what a fucking liar. Do you even live in the US? I live in NYC and know a lot of Muslims. You're an incredibly uneducated buffoon with this hysterical bullshit. Quit embarrassing yourself.

by And I'm American..reply 4812/27/2012

I've traveled extensively through Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East (where there are few American tourists but hordes of European ones), and I can honestly say that I don't find European tourists at least to be any more enlightened, mannered, or sophisticated than "blue" America. Especially the British and Germans.

by And I'm American..reply 4912/27/2012

Way to troll, OP. Good job.

by And I'm American..reply 5012/27/2012

As a liwi who has lived all over the world (including two years in the States) he is right on the money. But people from other countries have their own annoying quirks.

There are the same types everywhere.

The problem I think, is that most Americans haven't had to do much critical thinking as they have controlled the media from their own bias for so long. Because my country is so small we were (and still are) culturally influenced by outsiders. When I went to the States I knew much more about American history than most Americans my age that I met.

by And I'm American..reply 5112/27/2012

I've seen this article before and while the author makes some interesting points, I think he tends to exaggerate and "overgeneralize". I'm American and most of my family on both sides has lived here for 3 centuries; I don't go to McDonald's, I smile only when I feel like it, which may not be too often but that is my business, I never say awesome as it is or has become an over-used buzzword, I never stand up with the rest of "standing ovations" as they have become way, way too common for some reason to mean anything "special". I'm not religious, if I feel like voting for a Socialist, I do and don't feel as though my vote has been wasted although I have always been registered Democratic. In short, I think this guy might be on the right track but just as much may be full of shit too, and I'm not impressed by the "variety" of places he's lived although he would want me to be; many things may be known without leaving your door to paraphrase something from Taoism.

by And I'm American..reply 5212/27/2012

[quote]He does makes some good points. But he's deluded if he thinks people should answer "I'm doing bad" or "I'm okay, I guess" when asked how one is doing. No one wants to really hear how you're doing. It's just a greeting.

In Europe is normal to say what's really going on with you. There is no shame in saying you're depressed or have problems. It's a big "no, no" in the US to say how you feel on any given day, especially in work environment. I do believe this is why so many people go ballistic and start shooting strangers.

by And I'm American..reply 5312/27/2012

The big one the link hit on is the USA#1 craziness.

by And I'm American..reply 5412/27/2012

I agree r53, I have heard it said that if you ask a German, for example "how are you doing" he or she might give you a somewhat detailed answer and if they aren't doing very well, they will tell you so--they aren't going to lie about it. To them it can be more than just a superficial "greeting". Besides, even if you just greet someone it should be sort of heartfelt I should think, not "meaning nothing" as r45 seems to be saying. I'm an American and if someone lays a "how are you doing" on me, he or she might very well get a "terrible" right back, which always seems to confuse them.

by And I'm American..reply 5512/27/2012

This guy is so retarded....a "5 Hour Work Week" Ferris wannabe that can't fucking speak a language other than English despite his claims to the contrary. I'm not surprised he's so anti-American. Every country has things about it that sucks and things that are good.

by And I'm American..reply 5612/27/2012

A non-drinking Irishman?

Do. Not. Trust.

by And I'm American..reply 5712/27/2012

It's never a good idea to generalise about people based on national origin, you'll inevitably end up just sounding like an uneducated idiot. People are people, and in any country you'll find the kind and the cruel, the smart and the stupid.

by And I'm American..reply 5812/27/2012

[quote]It's never a good idea to generalise about people based on national origin, you'll inevitably end up just sounding like an uneducated idiot.

His point was that people in the US do this themselves (1/8th Irish and 3/17ths Italian, etc).

by And I'm American..reply 5912/27/2012

If he doesn't drink why's he always having problems with ID and why's how worried about getting beer spilled on his passport?

He seems to totally lack a sense of humo(u)r or a sense of fun and America can be great fun/funny and light hearted, which is part of why people love going there. But this seems to have passed him by.

I didn't understand the thing about not being able to find places to eat, but I've never been to Austin or Chicago.

Over attentiveness in coffee shops seems to be bug him. Most foreigners are impressed with the restaurant service in America. I, personally, think the tipping systems works.

'Awesome' wasn't a word used when I lived there. I lived there in the era of 'whatever'...so I don't know what to say about that.

by And I'm American..reply 6012/27/2012

I think he came to America seeking to confirm his prejudices.

And he succeeded.

by And I'm American..reply 6112/27/2012
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