Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A rant about Americans

Here’s a post about one Irishman’s view of the U.S. after visiting, living, loving and planning to live there again: what he likes, and what he loves about the American cultural experience – but mostly, let’s be frank, what he thought really, really sucked. Including:

  • oversensititivity
  • tipping (what’s that about?)
  • “awesome”!
  • phoney smiles
  • cheesy marketing
  • stupid drinking laws
  • bland chain stores
  • warped view of America’s place in the world
  • inability to be truly frank; and, of course
  • religious freaking Americans …

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.

Read: 17 Cultural Clashes this European Had in America – FLUENT IN 3 MONTHS

Naturally, I now wonder what an American would say about their cultural experience in EnZed?

[Hat tip Diana Hsieh]


  1. It was my father who first told me, that if I ever got to USA I would find Americans generally very warm and generous; at least on the surface . And so it was . However on my way down to Louisiana on Amtrak we had to go through the Bible belt. We used to sit in the dining table as appointed buy the Waiters, , and of course I always had wine. An old lady [ next to her husband ] saw me looking at the moon and the mountains, and said across the table " Is not the Lord wonderful in His makings". I said I wasn't so sure about the Lord, I thought it all had to do with something like nature.
    Her old eyes squinted with disgust . She said " You are sitting at the wrong table "
    I called the waiter I said ' these people don't like me, I am not a Christian. they want to be rid of me "
    The Waiter escorted the zealot Alabama wife and her man to another table..
    But generally USA people were great;, with reasonable caution I never experienced danger, and I saw much goodness. I sent my daughter there as soon as she graduated .

  2. Interesting post, though I think he's a bit off in some areas, though spot on in others. As a frequent visitor, and just back from another three week sojourn, I thought I'd offer a little commentary/rebuttal from my, admittedly limited, experience:

    Americans are way too sensitive

    Yes and no. They just have a built-in social filter, probably borne of population density in large cities. USians from smaller towns don’t seem to suffer from this so much. If you let them know they can be frank with you, they most certainly will!

    Everything is “Awesome”!

    Yes. This isn’t limited to USians though. Just ask our friend Mr. Perigo.

    Smiles mean nothing

    I disagree with this one. I find USians warm and genuine in their smiles. I find that is a reciprocal thing though. If you’re happy, smiling, and warm, so are they. This might be universal.


    Sure, it has issues. I love it though. There are many long debates on it. I don’t care to start another. Suffice it to say, I think service in NZ would be a hell of a lot better if we axed minimum wage and moved to a tipping culture. OK, now commence socialist trolling.

    False Prices on Everything

    Yes and no. I find it admirable that they take great pains (varying by state) to show you how much of what you’re paying is tax - ie. not the fault of the producer or retailer! I wish we did that more in NZ. It might start a rebellion! ;)

    Cheesy in-your-face marketing

    Yes. No disagreement. Except to say that they also create some of the best ads around.

    Wasteful Consumerism

    Respectfully disagree. This is everywhere, and not US-centric. And it’s in the eye of the beholder.

    American stereotypes of Other Countries

    No comment/Not properly qualified to comment. I had a different experience and was surprised at how much USians knew about NZ.


    No comment/not qualified to comment.

    ID Checks & Stupid Drinking Laws

    Yes. Myself (40 in June) and my 44 year old brother in law were repeatedly carded. Still, blame regulation. They’re fun about it. They don’t act like douchebags.

    Religious Americans

    Yes. Completely agree. But it’s their culture. I’d like it to go away, but it’s not my place to complain.

    Corporations win all the time, not small businesses

    He’s doing it wrong. I found plenty of excellent small business food places in Chicago (many suburbs), as well as almost every state I’ve been in (admittedly only 9). Also, he uses food as his argument for this point. Silly. Food is a HUGE thing there now. The big guys are losing (well, they’re doing fine, but the little guys are doing better) because everyone wants identity and authenticity. Perhaps he means “if you don’t want to leave the main drag”. Fair enough, but rents there are very high, and only the big guys can pay them. I’d say that’s true in most places.

    He might still be right, but certainly not with this argument.

    A country designed for cars, not humans


    Always in a hurry

    Maybe. Didn’t notice/never bothered me.

    Obsession with money

    Perhaps. No more than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

    Unhealthy portions

    Absolutely. No argument. Despite being a big guy, I don’t eat a lot, and my appetite is generally pretty low. As a result, I never order more than starters on most US menus. Everything else is too massive.

    Thinking America is the best

    Yep. But I love their optimism. ;)


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.