15
   

As A Wise Man, Umm, Guy, Once Said

 
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 08:50 am
@glitterbag,
But of course, you're parents weren't among the ranks of the "ugly Americans."

Did they ever run across "Ugly Italians," "Ugly Poles," or "Ugly Japanese" in their travels abroad?

I was never "stationed" in a foreign country but I've traveled fairly extensively, and while I've come upon a few fellow Americans who probably could be described as "Ugly," (some good looking ones too) they been far more the exception than the rule.

I've also run across a few "Ugly Chinese" in Vegas and "Ugly Germans" at Disneyland, but that's to be expected. The world is filled with jack-asses of all nationalities.

True "Ugly Americans" are embarrassing to us better looking ones, but I suspect (or at least would hope) that "Ugly French" and "Ugly Russians" are embarrassing to their more handsome countrymen as well. No one wants the locals to take these clowns as an accurate representation of their nation's population, but if they are, then the locals are demonstrating a certain degree of narrow-mindedness (notwithstanding the support they received from folks like your parents).

There is a legitimate basis to all stereo-types in the sense that some members of the group have displayed the characteristics that are being attributed to the whole, but, obviously, these characteristics are not reflective of the majority of the members of the group or they wouldn't be considered stereo-typical. Having black colored skin is not an African stereo-type. Being a member of the Islamic faith is not a Saudi Arabian stereo-type. Stereo-typical characteristics tend to be unpleasant (rude American tourists) or amusing (Japanese tourist taking photos of everything that moves or doesn't), and therefore they are noticeable. It's a common mistake to extrapolate that, that which is noticeable about the few is common to all. It's part of our inherited pattern recognition skills and is not going away.

Few people enjoy being stereotyped, and when the stereotype is ugly or foolish, we can see why, but stereo-types can lead to essentially harmless kidding too, so people shouldn't have too thin a skin about them. Whether or not the Japanese are born with cameras attached to their necks, it's a harmlessly amusing stereo-type upon which to comment.

What chaps my ass though is when Americans reinforce or validate noxious American stereo-types by attesting to them as if they, from the authoritative position of being an American, can provide the inside dope on their countrymen. Not surprisingly, these people never lay claim to sharing the stereo-type and are always quick to add that it bothers them as much or more than it does the locals. They are, disingenuously sad to say, just able to see what the locals see and grand enough to admit that it's true. My distaste, of course, must be due to my hyper-nationalistic nature, because I'm sure Danes, Portuguese and Chileans would never find this behavior to be irritating.

It’s not often though that I see it exhibited on a second hand basis though.


JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 09:15 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
The truly Ugly Americans are the ones who commit the heinous war crimes, the constant acts of terrorism. Those vicious actions that you fully support and defend, Finn.

Now that's ugly.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 09:19 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
You'll take on any defense of the USA and USians, often at great length, but you never touch on the long history of USA war crimes and terrorism.

Why? Because you are deathly afraid of what it entails, all that it says about a country that you were led to believe was special.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 09:43 am
@Olivier5,
I offered my thoughts on Setanta's bias or lack thereof and am I not going to get further involved in that debate. If you feel you have a legitimate gripe, I'm not going to tell you that you don't. I just offered my observation for what it was worth.

Not to flog a dead horse, but my point wasn't that American have a general view of all monarchs being morons because I definitely do not think that is the case. The current, widespread perception may be that they are all vapid and silly, and, if so, this is due the antics of a few of the members of the House of Windsor. However I sense that Prince William and even Prince Harry are doing a fine job of turning that perception around. Harry is likeable and Americans appreciate a rogue. Assuming Harry becomes less involved in youthful indiscretions as he matures, he may end up an American favorite. (Probably a tall order for a Royal who will likely never be king, but he could emulate his Great Uncle Edward, but with a bit more personality)

As for the European monarchs of old, the American perception is a mixed bag. Because of the popular accounts of the French Revolution, there may be a basic perception of French monarchs being silly and out of touch. I just don't think enough are familiar with Louis XIV to allow his reign to color their perception, and even as respects the educated American (meaning simply that they have secured a college degree whether it be in history or basket weaving) I doubt many are familiar with any French monarch, other than The Sun King, beyond Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and possibly Louis Philippe I. What they do know is that all the damned French kings were named Louis!

There may be some degree of widespread knowledge about "German" monarchs beyond Wilhelm II, but it's not likely to be deep.

Beyond that the only other monarchs to inform American perception are likely to foremost be Ferdinand II and Isabella and we were all taught in grade school that she was of great intelligence and wisdom and is something of the mother of America.

I would not be surprised if many Americans also had a passing familiarity with Ivan The Terrible, the Greats, Catherine and Peter and Nicholas II. Ivan's name says it all about what is thought of him. Peter we are taught was Great because he Europeanized Russia (he gets high marks in the intelligence area), Nicholas, depending upon one's politics was either a cruel oppressor of the Russian peasants, or a generally hapless tzar, and very little is taught about Catherine, although quite a few people seem to associate her with an amorous equine encounter.

Of the older monarchs we've been taught about Charlemagne and Cnut and they both received favorable treatment.

The Popes are not considered as monarchs, although they should be, and so none of them would be likely to inform American perception.

Ultimately, it is probably the British monarchs that any widespread American perception is based on, and since so many were actually German, any negatives can be diverted to that nation or its original components.

All this is to say, in a long winded way with no insult or criticism intended towards my fellow Americans, that there isn't widespread knowledge or interest in European monarchs, but the perception of them is as likely to be favorable as not.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 09:45 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
See what I mean.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 10:16 am
@JTT,
Not true. I have addressed the past and present sins of this country, but just not to your satisfaction.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 10:23 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
That's a lie. "Sins", Jesus h Christ. That in itself tells all.

You have taken every opportunity to divert away from them, to obfuscate their seriousness, to try to explain away the impossible, to justify the unjustifiable.

0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 03:15 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
That's more than I know about European monarchs... :-)

The French tend to have a negative view of monarchy in general but funnily enough, many French, especially women perhaps, follow the gossips on the Windsors and Felipe of Spain and the Danish and the Belgium kings and what not...

I realized soon enough that democracy is never a guarantee that good leaders will consistently be elected... It's pretty much a lottery too, like for monarchs. But republics can get rid of very bad presidents sooner than monarchies can change their monarchs.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 03:31 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
There may be some degree of widespread knowledge about "German" monarchs beyond Wilhelm II, but it's not likely to be deep.
At least, you named two others:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Beyond that the only other monarchs to inform American perception are likely to foremost be Ferdinand II ... about Charlemagne ...
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 03:37 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
My first experience in Mexico City, circa 1967, re other americans, was a group of very loud entitled types, who I remember hearing were from Texas. Very embarrassing for us across the room. I can guess that happens at some hotel lobbies around the world, by different visitors with high self worth, maybe high blood alcohol, and little sensitivity, but on my travels since, I haven't seen so much of it. That's probably from my lack of going out at night much by myself, being night blind, but also with others, since we were all tired by then - after the Mexico years.

I do remember that in my time in Italy, if I saw or read about drunks on the street, they were americans or germans, since being drunk in Italy is brutto figura, or was as a concept, not likely a uniform concept at all times, or is it still? It still held power when I knew about Italy.
Of course there are italian addicts of this and that, and certainly purveyors of this and that, cultural squash.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 03:45 pm
@ossobuco,
When I was in Mexico I met some Americans whose attitude towards the hotel staff was appalling. I've not many like that this side of the pond.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 03:51 pm
@izzythepush,
My later surmise was that they were guys going to conferences, there for the first time.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 05:15 pm
When it comes to goofball monarchs, you'd be hard pressed to top Charles le bien aimé, Charles the beloved, King Charles VI of France. That boy was mad, barking mad, just as crazy as a pet raccoon. At one point, he decided he was made of glass, and had himself strapped up so that he wouldn't shatter if he bumped into anything.

It can all sound like a joke, but he was the king for 40 years, and those years were tragic for France. In his youth, his four uncles ruled and they looted the treasury. Later, his borther, the Duke of Orléans managed the government, but his cousin, Jean sans peur (John the Fearless), Duke of Burgundy, wanted to rule through the mad kind, so he arranged the murder the Duke of Orléans, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to march on Paris and take over the government. France broke into competing factions, chiefly Amangac and the Burgundians. France was as destabilized by the king's madness and the competing factions as it was by the English invasions. As has been pointed out, in a monarchy, if your king is an idiot or a madman, you stuck with him. Of course, murdering monarchs works, and both the English and Russians have been fond of that method. That does not mean, though, that you'll get someone better.

The best monarchical system of which i know was that of the West Saxons in 8th, 9th and 10th centuries. Certainly no system is perfect, and a thousand years ago, with high rates of illiteracy even among the nobility, democracy would have been as hag-ridden by fear, superstition and ignorance as monarchy was.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 09:56 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Ferdinand II of Spain was German? I did not know that. I guess those Germans were able to infest more royal lines than I thought.

Some of us Americans know about Frederick II of Prussia and Ludwig II of Bavaria

Frederick is generally considered in high regard as a man of considerable intelligence and talent. I think more people are aware of Ludwig's fairy-tale castles than the monarch himself

My favorite, like most people's, is Neushwanstein

http://ashlijewelers.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/neuschwanstein_castle81.png
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 10:30 pm
@ossobuco,
Like I said, they're out there.

When I time worked for a company that was headquartered in NYC. About twice a year we would bring in groups of trainees from around the country for a couple of weeks of (what else?) training. As one of the instructors I would usually take the group out one night.

Most of these kids had never been to NYC before and a lot of them were from relatively small towns or cities. One night while we were walking to the restaurant, a kid from Indiana was staring up at the skyscrapers, marveling at their sheer height. I warned him that was a good way to mark himself as likely target for a mugger, and to avoid the practice if he was alone. This got the crowd talking about how impressive and sort of scary the City was and how it was a whole lot different than back home.

With us that night was a kid from Texas who was one of the sharpest of the bunch, but he had never been to NY either and lived in Waco. Never-the-less, he gave a quick look round at the buildings and announced "It's no ******* big deal. I like Austin better." Most of the other kids gave him **** about it, but I have to tell you that it didn't sound like bluster. I think he meant it.

The kid didn't act like a jerk while we were out or during any of the training sessions. He was smart, likeable, and confident.

I didn't run across a lot of Texans before I moved here, but the few I did meet were like this kid. Confident, not shy about saying what was on their mind, and very proud of Texas.

After living in NC for 20 years and spending a lot of time in SC and GA, I found that Southerners (at least on the East coast) were a lot less brash and a lot more concerned with getting along with everyone than either New Yorkers or Texans, Having spent 30 year in NY, I liked the change.

Moving to Texas confirmed what I had begun to believe based on my few encounters. Texans are the New Yorkers of the South. There really are a lot more similarities than either group would ever admit to.

I like New Yorkers and I like Texans, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that they were disproportionately represented in the Ugly American pool. I don't believe that persona is typical of either group though.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2014 11:58 pm
@izzythepush,
If you come to the U S of A and stay in a hotel in almost any large U S city you'll find those same pricks there.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2014 12:03 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

Ferdinand II of Spain was German? I did not know that. I guess those Germans were able to infest more royal lines than I thought.
No. My bad - if you refer to Ferdinand II. (Aragón).
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2014 12:08 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
And perhaps some know at least one the Georges of Great Britain. (The elector of Hannover was King George III .)
And quite a few others were involved in the American Revolution as well - on the "wrong side".
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2014 03:21 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
And quite a few others were involved in the American Revolution as well - on the "wrong side".


Naw, they ran off to Canada . . .
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2014 03:34 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

Ultimately, it is probably the British monarchs that any widespread American perception is based on, and since so many were actually German, any negatives can be diverted to that nation or its original components.
Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg aka Yekaterina Alexeevna or Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great ...
0 Replies
 
 

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