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misconception Europeans have about Americans...

misconception Europeans have about Americans...

Aug 5th, 2001, 08:44 AM
  #41  
dan woodlief
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Well, let's help Keith out a bit. How many Americans know the often much larger provinces and territories of Canada? How many can name more than a couple or find even one on a map? I don't think Keith was making an unfair distinction at all. Many of these areas of European countries were historically self-governing, and remember that the U.S. has 50 states. That's a lot of places to learn. Think about how hard it is to learn all the countries of Africa. Some are in the news all the time (California and Egypt for example), so they may be easier for a foreigner to locate on a map. Some are not (Idaho and Niger for example).
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 08:54 AM
  #42  
Lara
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I can't believe we're all somehow making excuses for not knowing anything about other countries' geography. The original point was that Europeans think Americans are woefully ignorant of European geography -- which they are. But Europeans are in a glass house here, in that they think knowing where NYC, Orlando, and San Francisco are is enough to know about the US. And as for knowing anything about Canadian geography, are you really saying the "average" German knows where Regina is?
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 08:59 AM
  #43  
Laura
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Dan, don't you see, Keith said asking Europeans to find A WHOLE STATE is equal to asking Americans to find a SECTION of a european country!!! Come on, let's compare apples to apples here. He said that it is asking too much for Europeans to try to find an itty bitty state....and that neither Americans nor Brits can find a whole country?!!! Keith is way underestimating and making fun of the British, Europeans, and Americans, for heaven's sake. HE IS A TROLL!!!!!!
But, Dan, I do think you are right about Canada. My state, Michigan, borders Canada, but I know much, much more about England and Scotland than I do Canada.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 09:30 AM
  #44  
tcc
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Surlok:

It just seemed weird to pick me out of all the people that basically said the same thing I did (which was written on a thread asking OPINIONS) and on top of that you're essentially agreeing with me. We're saying the same thing, Europeans tend to think that Americans are rich, whether it's because of the media or movies or because it used to be that you had to be rich in order to travel abroad and now so many of us are showing up in their backyards. I was taken aback because of the tone you used (I can only go by the tone in your writing since I don't know you and can't see you face to face as I would if we were speaking to each other in person) - as if I was a child that needed to be talked down to, which you're still actually using, even when apologizing. This topic, which comes up every other month or so on here, always gets a bit prickly because people start getting personal and before you push the "post" button, Surlok, perhaps you should see if your tone of voice in your writing could be misconstrued as a bit condescending, even if you're not trying to be, because as I said, I can't see you to make the judgment that you're probably not trying to be that way.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 09:55 AM
  #45  
Surlok
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Sorry, I'm doing my best to be clear, however, since I'm not an English native speaking person, but a Brazilian, or Portuguese native speaking, not always I say ( or write) what I mean, and with the tone I would use, were I writing in my own language.

So, please take this in consideration ( not just you, tcc, but all here) when reading my posts.

And, tcc, you might be right. I wouldn't say I am condescending, but I always try to understand, to figure out what is lying beneath the surface of things, and I try not to judge things just by the way they look. This can be taken, or heard, or read as I'm condescending, when I'm only trying to understand.

Surlok
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 11:18 AM
  #46  
kanga
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Well Laura:
I've visited Massachusetts
Maine
Vermont
New Hampshire
New York State
Rhode Island
Wyoming
South Dakota
Virginia
California
New Mexico
Ohio
Idaho
Colorado
Nevada
Missouri
Kansas

I may have forgotten the odd one. Have you visited more states than I have? Have you visited Australia. In case you're interested, Australia is about as big as the USA if you cut off Alaska and Hawaii
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #47  
Felicia
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1. Our streets are too wide.
2. We don't have family dinners
3. We spend too much time shopping (otherwise, our stores wouldn't be open on Sundays.)
4. We all eat McDonald's everyday!
5. We're all fat and don't exercise like we should. (true in a lot of cases.)
6. We take way too many pictures of things, thus proving their belief that we are too wasteful.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 12:03 PM
  #48  
Caitlin
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Here is another misconception, as experienced many times by my SO, who is Chinese-American and has done plenty of traveling in Europe: many Europeans are unaware of the level of ethnic diversity in the US. Numeous times, my SO has found that Europeans he's spoken with just can't believe that he, his parents, and even his grandparents are native-born Americans. They would persist, "No, where are you originally from?" and it was clear they weren't just asking about his ancestry. Mostly, I blame the US media in all its forms, which is widely seen by Europeans (movies, TV shows), but generally portrays the US as literally black and white, ethnically. Perhaps also that mass immigration to Europe from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East is a more recent phenomenon than in North America.

Keith--look, most Americans do not eat those huge breakfasts, period. Most Americans either skip breakfast, or eat cereeal or toast or grab something on the way to work. Most Americans are in a major rush in the morning, and don't have or take time to eat big sit-down breakfasts. Yes, an alarmong percentage of US residents are overweight, but regularly eating large breakfasts is hardly a prerequisite for being overweight. There is the rest of the day for people to eat too much, eat unhealthfully, and exercise too little. One of our problems, as a (mostly) sprawled, suburban car culture is that for most people, exercise is an activity that must be fit into one's schedule--go to the gym, go for a jog, etc.--rather than an integral part of everyday life as n walking for transportation.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 12:05 PM
  #49  
Caitlin
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Here is another misconception, as experienced many times by my SO, who is Chinese-American and has done plenty of traveling in Europe: many Europeans are unaware of the level of ethnic diversity in the US. Numeous times, my SO has found that Europeans he's spoken with just can't believe that he, his parents, and even his grandparents are native-born Americans. They would persist, "No, where are you originally from?" and it was clear they weren't just asking about his ancestry. Mostly, I blame the US media in all its forms, which is widely seen by Europeans (movies, TV shows), but generally portrays the US as literally black and white, ethnically. Perhaps also that mass immigration to Europe from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East is a more recent phenomenon than in North America.

Keith--look, most Americans do not eat those huge breakfasts, period. Most Americans either skip breakfast, or eat cereeal or toast or grab something on the way to work. Most Americans are in a major rush in the morning, and don't have or take time to eat big sit-down breakfasts. Yes, an alarmong percentage of US residents are overweight, but regularly eating large breakfasts is hardly a prerequisite for being overweight. There is the rest of the day for people to eat too much, eat unhealthfully, and exercise too little. One of our problems, as a (mostly) sprawled, suburban car culture is that for most people, exercise is an activity that must be fit into one's schedule--go to the gym, go for a jog, etc.--rather than an integral part of everyday life as n walking for transportation.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 12:18 PM
  #50  
Laura
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Hi Kanga,

Yep, been to Australia, specifically Melbourne and Sydney and traveled the coastline southwest of Sydney.....loved your country, especially the people...so open and friendly....very much like Americans. I would have loved to see the North, but, as you say, your country is huge and we had just a couple of weeks to spend there.

I've been in all of the states except Mass., Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, Montana, Oregon and New Mexico...Why do you ask?


 
Aug 5th, 2001, 04:49 PM
  #51  
topper
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any more?
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 07:16 PM
  #52  
Erlsegaard
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Yeah, as lot as we're at it--Americans (despite being immensely fat) are also lightweights when it comes to drinking alcohol and are unable to keep up with the rest of the world. Some Canadians try to spread stories that at the "party" spots in Greece, etc, international drinking contests pit the American men versus Australian or Canadian women--and we are routinely humiliated. Also of course if you are an American you assumed to consider Coors Light and Budweiser to be the pinnacles of bibulation and utterly incapable of handling or appreciating a Bohemian Pilsener, a Weissbier, etc.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 08:21 AM
  #53  
Max
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Rooben, you weak little fellow, no damned government is going to tell me I can't own a gun. I own a handgun and a shotgun. I'm free and you're not. Europeans tend to be subjects; Americans tend to be free citizens. Laura's attitudes towards guns tend to be that of the suburbanites of several generations, totally divorced from rural traditions and rural life. These suburban sorts, who number the tens of millions in America, couldn't get along one week in the countryside. They couldn't get along without Walmart, Kmart, McDonalds, Cable Television, Day Care warehousing for their "children", supermarkets, Sam's Clubs, car phones, cell phones, DVDs, CDs, monster digital televisions, microwave ovens---all the deleterious inventions of the modern suburban world. That said, let me agree with Laura that Europeans aren't so smart about geography. With the coming of the European Union, states like Tennessee, Vermont, Oregon or Texas may be more independent than Norway, Belgium, Germany, France etc., etc.. If the average American doesn't know that Brittany is part of France and is of Celtic heritage or that Italy is truly ten or so nations that was forced into a unitary state in the 1860s, the average European doesn't know where the UP is in Michigan, where the eastern shore is in Maryland, where "Little Dixie" is in Missouri, where "Little Texas" is in New Mexico or where the "Cow Counties" are in Nevada.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 08:34 AM
  #54  
Em
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I've asked my German cousin this question....she said that Americans smile too often about nothing...that it seemed insincere.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 09:13 AM
  #55  
Laura
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Um, Max? I see that you are upset with Rooben.....but you are wrong about me. I live in an area that until the last couple of years was fairly rural here in Michigan, lots of dirt roads everywhere, K Mart too far away to go, my kids are grown and have never been in day-care, huge garden to supply our own vegetables, make my own dinners from scratch (every night), including bread, can my own fruit and jams, etc. (See..you just can't assume you know someone!) My attitude about guns and my kids reflects my position that guns kill and accidents happen and I did not want my kids in an unsafe environment. My husband did used to hunt when we first married, but rethought the issue and got rid of his rifle.

ALSO, I never said that "Europeans are not so smart about geography". In fact, I have been upset with Keith because he is ridiculing Americans and Europeans and trying to bolster his argument with an inadequate comparison regarding abilities to find states and sections of countries.

to Em...I have heard that myself from a group of people from England while we were having dinner on a cruise ship. I think they are right in that, from what I have seen, Americans as a rule DO smile more. I am sure some smiles are not sincere, but I think Americans, like the Australians, just are not so reserved as other nationalities are. I won't go so far as to say we are happier, because how would I know? But we sure look like we are
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 01:38 PM
  #56  
Rising
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Here we go
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 02:07 PM
  #57  
European
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I have a perception that Americans prefer violence to sex in their movies. Is this true?
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 02:24 PM
  #58  
Two Cents In
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My opinion as an American (USA) is that we smile as a way of a greeting without words. In some countries in Europe people seem to scowl first then say "good day" or whatever, as a way of formality.
Also when visitors see us eating breakfast we are in a public restaurant, not at home, so like another poster said, we are living it up on that occasion. At home health-minded Americans eat smaller portions of a balanced breakfast, which isn't a hard roll and coffee, like a continental breakfast.
As to guns, I don't own one, but I want the right to own one. I don't want only criminally minded people to have them. If guns were outlawed they wouldn't follow the laws anyway by defination.
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 03:00 PM
  #59  
Lo
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A big misconception: that a bachelor's degree from an American college or university is a) the same as one from a European university and b)the same all over the nation. There is a vast range of difference between what students must do to get the BA or BS depending on the institution. Some are institutions whose degrees reflect mainly vocational training and others are rigorously academic preparing students more for grad. school than any immediately gainful employment. Both have their place, but Europeans do not normally understand the difference -- so when they meet a college grad. who has not had the traditional, ivory-tower liberal arts educ. comparable to, say, Oxford or the Sorbonne, they think Americans are poorly educated. It's apples and oranges, sometimes.

Also: I think some Europeans have the misconception that most Americans think like Rex/Two Cents re:guns. They do not. People like Rex/Two Cents, despite all the enormous expenditure by the National Rifle Association to convince us otherwise, are marginal. I do not consider myself free just because a lot of borderline fanatics love their guns more than anything else and have managed to have a hammerlock on the legislature. Public opinion, contrary to NRA ballyhoo, favors control of handguns and registration, at the very least, of other guns. Where we fall down is in finding a way to organize and fund adequately sophisticated responses to the NRA.

Re:violence instead of sex in movies? It's at least as much what Hollywood wants to give us as what we might prefer -- they don't want to take on the religious Right Wing but don't have to worry about them re:guns and violence. But Hollywood doesn't give us much of a choice in the first place -- if we don't want violence OR sex, Time-Warner and Murdoch say that's just too bad "it won't sell" to the 18-35 yr. old male who rules the market research stats.

Erlsgaard: that's just plain silly. Who cares who can drink whom under the table? It's a misconception to think most Americans who are over 21 and out of college think that is some great goal, unlike (apparently) some Europeans. Preferring to drink in moderation is not the same as being "unable to hold it." I'd love to see the comparative alcoholism statistics -- how many chapters of AA are their in, for instance, Scandinavia?
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 03:35 PM
  #60  
Caitlin
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Who prefers violence to sex in movies is the MPAA rating board, which assigns the American movie ratings G (general audience), PG (parental guidance suggested but no restriction), PG-13 (parental guidance strongly advised for those under 13, but no restriction), R (restricted, in theory under-17 can't enter without an adult, widely ignored by theaters), and NC-17 (no one under 17 admitted, replaced X, which was hijacked by porn, but many newspapers won't run ads for this rating, major theater and video chains won't carry it, i.e., it is commercial death). There's almost no level of graphic violence the MPAA will not allow in an R-rated film, but they are very strict about sex scenes and routinely require multiple cuts from directors to get the R-rating. There have been all sorts of articles about the double standard with complaints by film critics, etc. If you've ever seen an R-rated film and then seen the uncut video cersion, you know how nit-picky and ridiculous the cuts can become. This is one issue that proves the view many foreigners have that the US is mired in a wierdly contradictory puritanical yet lsscivious attitude about sexuality that's not particularly healthy, IMO.
 

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