Monday, December 18, 2006

Americana: Fat, Dumb and Rich

So, how do you make Americans look stupid?

The simple answer seems to be you just give them an opportunity and they do the rest for you.

This is illustrated daily on news reports from the Whitehouse and Pentagon or in more stark relief in Sasha Baron Cohen's recent film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".

Where to start?

The frat boys from the University of South Carolina who, after a few drinks complained about foreigners taking American jobs and various other ill advised racial ranks.

What about the old rodeo guy, who was able to illustrate his homophobia, racism, stupidity and violent streak within a few short minutes.

But is this really how Americans behave? Probably not. Just like Steve Irwin wasn't the average Australian, bin Laden isn't an average Saudi, Hitler wasn't an average German (he was Austrian anyway), etc.

The problem is that much of the world, including many European countries, Asia (except India and the Philippines), Africa and Australasia, perceive America as brash, unilateral, unworldly, ignorant and arrogant.

"Borat" is not a sophisticated analysis, unlike Jonathan Ross' 1992 Channel 4 UK series "Americana: Fat, Dumb and Rich" which went into great detail about the obsessions of Americans and their naiveté about the world they control and are slowly destroying.

From 1992 to today American's seem to have changed little. That's what happens in ultra-conservative, nationalistic, authoritarian, fundamentalist countries. Social and Cultural development is put on pause. Sound familiar? Look at the Middle East.

But this insularity makes them more out of touch as years go by, and comparatively more stupid as the world hurtles towards a new crossroad - Unite as Humans and not just as little national groups, or fight it out for world dominance.

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