I was browsing through the comment section on a debate on CNN revolving around whether or not “President Obama [has] lived up to his Nobel Peace Prize?“, when I suddenly remembered one trait that I have come to discover in a lot of Americans (not all, but too many) that I really cannot stand. And that is the fact that they without hesitation;
a) think that all Europeans are one homogenous group who’s beliefs and political systems are identical, and
b) think they can use Europeans to underline their arguments without anyone noticing the inaccuracy of the statement (like this woman who stated that: “Obama can say he’s changing the world all he wants, but in London and in Holland he’s a joke. The conversation in the pubs are that we put up a black president that was doomed to fail by his policies so that.. cont.”).
I am fully aware of the fact that it works the other way around, a lot of people in Europe generalize Americans to the point of stupidity, but since I am not American (and tend to think that I am less judgemental towards Americans as one identical group of people) I will focus on the American side of this problem.
The worst kind are the ones who’ve been on vacation to Europe and thinks that that automatically grants them a diploma in Understanding the European Culture and Ideology. They act like the worst Bezzerwizzer, throwing around sentences starting with things like “When I was in Barcelona…” and “If you talk to the people at the coffee shops in Copenhagen like I did..”, followed by their own presumptions about how these Europeans might think and feel about a topic.
It’s embarrassing to listen to, and the way European countries are presented (even in serious media) makes me wonder why we aren’t more offended, and why the people pretend to take us seriously at all. Hippies, communists, damned socialists, Then again, I find comfort in the fact that not all Americans think like this, that there are thousands of well-read, well-educated or just plain smart people that know better.
And by the way, woman-at-CNN-forum: While you might have met some person in a bar somewhere that talked about how Obama is a joke, Obama has traditionally met more support in Europe than he has in the US.