Here’s what our staunchest ally thinks of us.

July 3, 2006 | By | 5 Replies More

This new portrait of the United States by the British, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.  

People in Britain view the United States as a vulgar, crime-ridden society obsessed with money and led by an incompetent president whose Iraq policy is failing, according to a newspaper poll.

The United States is no longer a symbol of hope to Britain and the British no longer have confidence in their transatlantic cousins to lead global affairs, according to the poll published in The Daily Telegraph.

In that same article a spokesperson for the Amerian embassy explained that this image is undeserved, given “America’s extraordinary dynamism” and America’s efforts to combat terrorism.

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Category: American Culture, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    As regards "America's extraordinary dynamism," the current (July, '06) issue of Harper's magazine reports (on their 'Harper's Index' page) as follows:

    1) Estimated change since 2001 in the total number of U.S. private-sector jobs: +1,900,000.

    2) Estimated number of new private-sector jobs created by government spending during that time: 2,800,000.

    Thus, under Bush, "America's extraordinary dynamism" has been a facade driven entirely by massive government (deficit) spending. Bush's ludicrous policies have made America the ENRON of "extraordinary dynamism:" a dwindling shell being propped up with ever-increasing debt.

  2. Josh M. says:

    This is what corrupt politics is all about.

  3. Erika Price says:

    I can understand all of those painfully honest adjectives thrown at us by the Brits, save "vulgar". With a much more paranoid censoring body, and with a general fundamentalist Christian fever to hide everything "inappropriate" as far from view as possible, shouldn't we instead seem "holier-than-thou" to the British, or "anal" or "paranoid"? Europe-hating conservatives consider them vulgar because of the contrast between our country's approach to censorship and the differing concepts of appropriate and inappropriate.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Erika:

    As to the British perception that Americans are "vulgar," I think of Las Vegas as a representative image of the type of vulgarity associated with this definition: "crude or obscene, particularly with regard to sex or bodily functions." Using this definition, the British observation does seem to conflict with the efforts of the U.S. morality police.

    But, perhaps, the British are using another definition of "vulgar": "lacking in cultivation." Perhaps, then, the British are commenting that they see Americans as failing to strive to higher or more sophisticated learning.

  5. grumpypilgrim says:

    As regards "vulgar" Americans, "lacking in cultivation" is probably what is meant. Many Americans who travel abroad behave very badly. They talk too loudly, boss people around, complain far too much, glorify their own country while criticizing the country they are visiting…in sum, they're bad guests. They show little or no respect for local people or customs (which largely defeats the purpose of why they travel). Some even behave as though they are watching zoo animals instead of fellow humans. Not many Americans do these things, but enough do it that it gives the rest a bad reputation.

    There are probably many reasons why this happens. One, the deep-seated belief of many Americans that theirs is the greatest nation on earth; thus, they believe all other nations and people must be inferior (rather than merely different). Two, most Americans have virtually no exposure to other cultures, so they make big mistakes and fail to appreciate local practices. Three, most Americans have very limited vacation time, so they tend to rush ("If it's Tuesday, then we must be in Italy….") and they also tend to suffer jet lag throughout much of their journey, which cause them to be impatient and rude (and, by global standards, many Americans are impatient and rude to start with). Finally, since their reputation for rudeness precedes them, Americans are often treated badly, thus creating a vicious circle of rude behavior.

    Some advice when traveling: when you go off to see the world, remember that the world also sees you. Also remember that Americans are only 5% of the world's population; thus, no matter what you do in life, more than a billion people in China and another billion in India couldn't care less.

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