This article was written off the cuff in just a few minutes for a comparison to another article, amongst myself and a peer. I just needed a place to post it. I know I could've eked out two more reasons, provided better examples, and created a more polished article, but the entire point was throwing something together in five to ten minutes without having had the time to brainstorm. Enjoy.
8. The Weight of Our Culture
In other countries, some things are sacred. Not in America. Our "entertainment" runs the gamut from condoning infidelity, alcoholism, and drug use (reality television, Perez Hilton, etc) to making a mockery of anything and everything possible, from our own national intelligence (Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?) to the hardships of life outside the comfort of our borders (Survivor). That wouldn't be quite so bad if Western culture was not forced down the throats of citizens of every other nation across the globe. It is impossible to ignore the influence of American culture in reality television, musicians, and shock material which all seems to originate on our two coasts.
7. The Culture of Our Weight
There is a lobbyist group airing an ad right now in this country (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEbRxTOyGf0 ) that actually states, without a snicker, that high-fructose corn syrup is "just corn." The commercial states that it is technically no different from sugar. If that were true, the Corn Refiners' Association wouldn't be spending millions on that campaign and millions more lobbying the federal government to raise tariffs on sugar while subsidizing the corporate corn farms, forcing food makers to use the chemical in place of natural sugar. Instead of hiding our sloth from society, we are fighting for "fat acceptance!" (http://www.naafa.org/) These people should be embarrassed at their several-thousand calorie meals and complete lack of exercise, but instead, they think the healthy people are the issue, highlighting the American way: blame others.
6. Our Ignorance of Their Culture
When someone leaves Europe for America, they tend to speak their own language amongst their own group, naturally. This draws rude comments and stares from Americans, one-time supporters of freedom who now believe you should "Speak English or Get Out." However, when your typical European traveler interacts with an American, they tend to have a very decent grasp of our language, even if it is the fourth or fifth in their repertoire. Americans still eyeball everyone culturally unlike them with suspicion. Reverse the roles, though, and an American in Paris will speak loudly, out of turn, and in English. They will become upset when a shopkeeper doesn't "understand normal words." Some will speak French, but with absolutely no attempt to pronounce anything right. We have no respect for the culture of others whether they are our guests here, or we are in their homeland.
5. Our Inability to Walk or Use Public Transportation
Americans view the city bus as a dirty, diseased carrier of the homeless and other unsavory people. They view a bicycle as a children's toy and consider the walk to the mailbox as a rigorous use of their leg muscles. If an American lives two blocks from a convenience store, that American hops in their SUV and drives to it, parks in the handicap spot, and leaves the engine running. Rush hour is rough around the world because most are not able to telecommute, but traffic is bad in our cities at noon because we can't walk across the street for lunch. Our overcomplication and wasteful nature when it comes to transportation is not lost on the light-rail and bus riders of Europe, who tend to care about things like the smell of too much exhaust downtown and the eventual end of fossil fuels.
4. Our Lack of Conviction
Atheism and Agnosticism are alive and well throughout the world, that is a fact. However, we consider ourselves a Christian nation in the way many Mideast countries consider themselves Muslim nations. We balk at their burkas, but they shudder at our sexuality. In India, cows are sacred so they don't eat hamburger. In America, we are to "Keep holy the Sabbath." I don't know anyone who doesn't work on Sunday except doctors and school teachers. And that's work! Imagine if God came down from Heaven and said, "don't eat the meat of a pig." Do you think bacon would be in abundance? Our habits would not change, because Americans do it all halfway… even their religious conviction.
3. Our Mockery of Peace and Goodwill
As most people know but refuse to acknowledge, America is credited with two things that no others can claim: creating nukes and using nukes. We have a long culture of violence, from the Japanese concentration camps of the first World War to the first recorded use of Napalm in the second, from the killing of women and children in Vietnam and Iraq to the abuses of Abu Ghraib. Americans have a "kill 'em all" reputation, in part, because of the Americans who shout and wear hats and t-shirts which say "kill 'em all." Tactless as it may seem to the rest of the world, many gun-collecting and war movie aficionado Americans will forever tie the killing of any foreigner with patriotism.
2. Our Conspicuous Consumerism
Rappers call it bling or "making it rain." MTV calls it your crib or your Super Sweet 16. The rest of the world calls it embarrassing. "He who dies with the most toys wins." In most cultures, he who dies with the most toys obviously didn't care much for his toy-less brother. Waving your money or material purchases around so the world can see them is considered poor form, a tacky faux pas that Americans commit all too often. Kids wanted to be rock stars a few decades ago because it seemed like rock stars didn't have a care in the world… living on a bus, not answering to anyone, playing their favorite music every night. Now, Nickelback sings a song about the life of luxury that comes from being a rock star, and kids aspire to the huge mansion and several exotic cars that come with the territory. Our materialism is out of control.
1. Our Self-Righteous Lifestyle
A CEO has a private jet while his bottom rung of subordinates work two to three jobs and still can't pay the mortgage. This is not how the Land of the Free should operate. When everyone began losing their homes and jobs, the government's answer was to provide hundreds of millions of dollars… to the rich CEO's who laid them off. Americans screamed "socialism," but in a true socialist-leaning area like Europe, the people realize that, once again, America got it wrong. Take care of the people, for it is the people who you are elected to represent. A country who makes a mockery of a "free" market and only rewards those who are not in need of reward will not win the hearts and minds of an altruistic world.