Why Americans Get A Bad Rap
by Mad Dog
People in other countries have a bad
attitude when it comes to Americans. For some reason were pegged as ill-informed,
loud, boorish, demanding, and arrogant. Right, like we dont have a good reason to
be. Lets not forget who it was that came up with the light bulb, the transistor, the
computer chip, and the Talking Nanny Doll, a 12"-tall Barbie replacement that comes
with two outfits, a hairbrush, and spouts three Fran Drescherisms in the most obnoxious,
whiny voice this side of Flatbush Brooklyn.
Lets face it, we have a lot to be
proud of. Were America, after all. Weve been around for 221 years, which while
not as long as Greece or Romewhere they were proudly wearing dresses, I mean, togas,
since a few years before the Earth was formedis still better than many African
countries, which are preparing to celebrate their 2nd anniversary this year. If they last
All kidding aside, the thing were
proudest about is that were a democracy. True, theres a contingency of
Republicans who are trying to change that since they claim it prejudices people to vote
for the other party, but theyre just being sore losers since theyre stuck with
Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, and Jesse Helms and no one will take them off their hands.
But for a nation that thinks it has the
best governing system in the world, we sure dont seem to care much about it. So far
in the 90s an average of 44.1% of the population who is of voting age has bothered
casting a ballot in national legislative elections. There are many possible reasons for
this. It might be because the candidates are the lamest bunch of chowderheads to come down
the pike in years. It could be because the elitist and corrupt political system which
favors wealthy candidates has disenfranchised voters across a wide cross-section of
socio-political strata. The truth is, though, most of them just forgot.
Contrast this with other countries. In
Malta 96% of the voters turned out. In Sweden 83% did. As a matter of fact, out of 163
countries surveyed by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
(motto: "The only organization in existence without an acronym."), the United
States ranked 139th. Who ranked lower? Dont even ask, you never heard of any of them
It may be a cultural difference. You know,
like preferring different foods. After all, the English eat kidneys, the Scottish eat
haggis, and the Swedish eat lutefisk, which may explain why so many of them use the
election as an opportunity to get out of the house and pick up a hot dog on the sly. In
Salerno, Italy theres an ice cream maker who churns out gelato flavored with salt
cod, seafood risotto, pasta and beans, salmon, fennel, celery, and popcorn. For real. And
people turn their noses up at good old American chitlins.
Even McDonalds is different in other
countries. Thanks to Pulp Fiction we all know about the Royale with Cheese, but
thats just a fancy name for a Big Mac. While McDonalds varies their menu to
suit different cultures, theyve hit a new high in Bolivia. Literally. When they
recently opened their first restaurant there, customers were pleasantly surprised to find
the usual drink selection expanded to include tea made from coca leaves, which
coincidentally are the same leaves used to make cocaine. I suspect if they were to release
this New Coke over here it would catch on much better than the last one. Like it could do
But none of this really explains why
Americans are the way we are. I strongly suspect its because were tired and
cranky. Studies show that were a sleep-deprived nation, which authorities say can be
blamed on our go-go attitude, our always striving to better our lives, our having to
juggle family and work obligations, and the compelling personality of Conan OBrien
forcing us to stay up until all hours of the night.
Maybe we should all take a vacation.
Unfortunately we dont get enough of them. Besides the well-known vacation syndrome
of working hard to clear things up before leaving, hustling through our vacation to make
sure we have as much of a good time as possible, then returning to find our desks piled
higher with work than ever, the truth is we dont get enough time off. In the United
States the average employee gets 10 days of vacation in his or her first year on the job.
In Switzerland they get twenty. In Finland they get twenty-five. And in Austria they get a
whopping 30, but thats because they need the extra time off to try to forget that
Kurt Waldheim was, uh, in the army in World War II.
So whats the point here? That in
spite of being sleep-deprived, having very little vacation time, not voting, and eating
chitlins, we as Americans have a lot to be proud of. After all, while the French are rude,
the Italians sex-crazed, the Mexicans lazy, and the Germans too loud and boisterous, we
are all of those things rolled up in one. Kind of makes you warm and tingly, now
©1997 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
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