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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Phrase "Ugly American"
was used as a book title

Many here are my age. I remember hearing the term "Ugly American" as a boy in the late 1950s/early 60s - before Vietnam. I really didn't understand it. I'm not sure anyone ever has.

Europeans have long disdained Americans. We've been viewed as bumpkins ever since we proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence that our rights were endowed by a Creator, not a Parliament, nor by social contract with a monarch. Few believed our experiment in democracy would work, yet we have persevered for over two centuries now. Many now complain about how Americans must give up their Constitution for the good of the world, citing the Kyoto Treaty and the proposed ban on private ownership of small arms, among others.

Has anyone else noticed how obsessed the foreign media and foreign governments are with the US? Compare the media of Britain, France, Germany, or Canada and see how many front page articles they run about ... US! Today's London Times has a front page article entitled, "Condoleeza Rice The Potential President." It's rare that we have front page articles about foreign or domestic policies, or cabinet-level appointments of foreign countries. I can't remember an article comparable to the Daily Mirror headline which complained, "HOW CAN 59 MILLION AMERICANS BE SO DUMB?"


Is it really
their concern?

I recently visited a couple of Canadian Discussion Boards. There are some fantastic pro-Americans there, and they take much flack from other Canadians. I was warned there were many there who disagreed with our administration. Jeez, I wondered. What business is it of theirs? One warned me that America's economy was on the verge of collapse, and the US would soon plunge into another Great Depression. I asked him for his sources. Thought someone should share them with the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Forbes! So far, I've yet to receive anything back from him.

Few people around the world find it politically correct to favor America. If you want to get along, complain about the Ugly American - even in many places in the United States.

I doubt they will understand their error. There was no Ugly American, any more than an Ugly Duckling. They were just too ignorant to recognize a magnificent Swan.
 

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Do you think it is jealousy??? America has a unique way of life that most ppl only dream about. They didn't frown on America too much during the late 1800's when THOUSANDS of Europeans immagrated here. Perhaps the socialites did...? Who cares, we saved their butts twice. If not for us lowly Americans Brits would be eating brats and sauerkruat(sp?).
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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I think the Ugly American label was coined to express the resentment felt by many countries when Americans travelled or lived abroad.

We apparently came off as if all aspects of US culture and politics were superior to eveything found locally. Worse, we did not bother to learn much about anything outside our borders.

As one example, I doubt over 1 in 10 Americans could name the Canadian PM.
 

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Custer said:
I think the Ugly American label was coined to express the resentment felt by many countries when Americans travelled or lived abroad.

We apparently came off as if all aspects of US culture and politics were superior to eveything found locally. Worse, we did not bother to learn much about anything outside our borders.

As one example, I doubt over 1 in 10 Americans could name the Canadian PM.
BINGO!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Custer said:
As one example, I doubt over 1 in 10 Americans could name the Canadian PM.
I could name him, but it would probably get :censored:! LOL!
 

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Custer said:
I think the Ugly American label was coined to express the resentment felt by many countries when Americans travelled or lived abroad.

We apparently came off as if all aspects of US culture and politics were superior to eveything found locally. Worse, we did not bother to learn much about anything outside our borders.

As one example, I doubt over 1 in 10 Americans could name the Canadian PM.
Absolutely Correct! :thumbup1: :thumbup1:

People in other countries know far more about America than we do about them. Often better informed about history and events here than we are.

The problem is that everything they "know" about our current events gets there through the filter of American mass media!

Needless to say,they are not getting a very accurate picture.

"The Ugly American" was about the usually crass and ignorant behavior of American Tourists. And about the State Dept. continually fielding Ambassadors and employees with zero knowledge about the countries they were stationed to. This stupidity at the "management" level was a contributing factor to some major problems in S.E. Asia. The book overstated the case but there was a large kernal of truth to it.

The book was loosely based on some occurrences in Indo-China (VN) and neighboring countries, in the '50's, before the tourist rush started. It really only made sense to people with some experience or knowledge of the real events. It came across as just a jumbled criticizm of American foreign policy with a not very intertesting "adventure" element to everyone else.

The truly awful movie of the same name, made no sense at all and essentially had no point or focus.

Neither is worth bothering with today!

Just my opinion of course!
:biggrin:
 

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5knives and Custer have summed that one up quite nicely, I concur 100%. GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You guys are probably right anou how the phrase came into being, but that doesn't justify it, nor excuse how unAmericans throughout the world bash us and our country. They see an Ugly Duckling, instead of the Swan.

If I understand it correctly, an "Ugly American" is unconcerned that he knows little about other countries, but foreigners who think they know more about the US aren't "ugly?" Why do we get the label?

Are there "Ugly Brits" who think their superior knowledge of America's interests proved 60 million Americans who voted to re-elect President Bush are "dumb?" Somehow, it always seems to be Americans, specifically, conservative Americans who are labeled as ugly, dumb, extremist, ultra-right, etc., and it always seems to be conservatives who are branded as "Hitler" or Nazis.

Foreigners think Americans are dumb, because we know little about their countries? Why should we? Which other countries are relevant? I wonder how much foreigners know about their own governments, since so much of their media is spent on US! My 2 cents and rant.
 

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AClay47 said:
I wonder how much foreigners know about their own governments, since so much of their media is spent on US!
In of a lot of countries, what do they need to know?

Do what your told or be killed pretty much sums it up for a lot of places!
 

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AClay,

I have been to a good many countries and they see a lot of tourists that are very wealthy and treat everybody like servants. I've seen a few Americans in other countries I wanted to spank. Most Americans think everybody should speak english. I lived in France for two years, as a guest in their country I learned to speak French.
I worked at the American embassy and most of my fellow workers never tried.

Our view of life is way different than most of the world. We count on the Easter bunny to make everything OK. Most people I've met in other countries are more in touch with reality.That might make some mad at me but I call em like I see em.
 

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AClay,
Re-reading your first post, in light of your second, tells me I didn't completely understand your point. Sorry about that!

Truth is I think everyone here basically agrees with you. Are there "ugly Brits" yep,
"Ugly Frogs"? Yep. Some of the ugliest are the recent eastern European immigrants, With Russians and Ukranians just about on top of the list!

They know "all about" the U.S.A.. The problem is that 99% of what they know is totally wrong. Probably more noticeable in their case because their old information comes from a formerly hostile government and their new source is a totally anti-American mass media.

Ever here a new arrival complain about "too much freedom" in the U.S ?
I sure have!

I understand it, but I don't condone it! I have been known to correct their thinking on occasion, sometimes loudly. Thanks to my years in the Marine Corps, my LOUD voice can be easily understood well over 1/2 mile away. I usually succeed in getting their attention at least.

I agree with Lupelpff also. I would have hoped the situation he reports would have changed by now, but I'm sure his experience is more recent than my own. I guess some things never really change.

Any use of the "Ugly American" phrase in a critical sense today just causes me to classify the user as another anti-American pseudo-intelluctial nit-wit, and therefore ignore them from there on out. As I do with every single member of the "big 3" TV "reporters" and "commentators".

Goebbels would be proud of them!

It's still irritating , but then the existence of these scum is irritating also!

:biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Yep, I understand about rude American tourists, but at least they contribute to the their host's economy! My sister-in-law embarrassed the hell out of me when we went on a tour in the Yucatan. Our guide drove us through a small Mayan village. The street was small, homes right up on it - close - the windows were just feet away from the vehicle. She started flashing her camera into their homes as they ate dinner, did housekeeping - whatever, as if she were going through an animal exhibit! I've never gone on any outing with my in-laws since. I was embarrassed and disgusted to say the least.

One thing about us "Ugly Americans," when times are tough, they call us. Kuwaitis despised Americans until Saddam invaded them. Muslims in Kosovo reviled us, until Serbs began slaughtering them. Watch BBC or other foreign news media and see who they demand to solve the ancient problems of the Middle East. When was the last time anyone demanded that France or Russia solve the Israel/Palestinian conflict? I guess everyone knows not to call upon Britain.

Our nothern neighbors ridicule us, insult our government, while enjoying nearly 200 years of uninterrupted peace and prosperity with a country many times their size and power. Doubt they would have faired so well if their southern neighbor had been Germany or France. They read articles by people such as Barry Swigger, who claims that 911 was done by President Bush to gather support for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq for oil and hedgemony. He calls himself a "friend" of America, while comparing the tragedy of 911 to the Reichstad Fire which justified Adolph Hitler's consolidation of dictatorial power. Canada's Press is so anti-American that a 2004 poll of Canadian teens found that 41% of them agreed that America was an evil force in the world!

Results don't matter to the rest of the world. Would the Taliban have been removed if not for the US? Obviously, not. If the "enlightened" nations wisdom had prevailed, Saddam's regime would still be in power. Where were those countries during the Rwandan genocide, and where are they now that much of Africa is embroiled in war? France is in the Ivory Coast, a "former" colony, fighting their government with support of the UN! Where has the UN been when African Christians were being eradicated by Arabs in oil-rich Somalia? America is criticized when ever she fulfills the role of the world's policeman, by people who sit idly by, as if tyranny and murder were sporting events.

French people gobble up conspiracy theories from people like Terry Masson, author of "The Big Lie." He says 911 was done by Bin Ladin as an agent of the United States! He denies an airliner crashed into the Pentagon, claiming it was a drone. French people require no evidence from him. His theory is based on conspiracy theories arising from an endless string of questions. When asked about where are the missing planes and passengers, her replies, "Bush has a lot of explaining to do."

With such seething hatred of the United States, how long will it be before we are attacked again, by someone other than Al Queda?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Fox news is running an program on this issue right now on "Breaking Point." It is titled, "Hating America."

One French editor was fired for writing about anti-US reporting. He says their media is controlled by the government, so only one voice is heard. Thus, after 911, Frenchmen sang America's national anthem, but when there came a need to oppose America's decision to dethrone Saddam and protect the Oil for Food Scam, the government fed daily doses of Hate America. Frenchmen changed their tune and gobbled up a book called, "The Big Lie," which denied 911 was an outside attack, despite Usama bin Ladin's own admissions. The popular French author claims that Bin Ladin works for the US. He has sold 200,000 copies of the book in Arabic! French businesses are shying away from American products, because many customers resent our country.

The BBC ran a Program, "What the world thinks of America." BBC coverage was so one sided, that British troops simply stopped watching it. One BBC spokesman defended the slant as "aggressive" journalism. He says their "skeptical" coverage could be seen as "cynical" by some. He denied their coverage was anti-American.

Many "experts" see anti-Americanism as something relatively new. The author "Of Paradise and Power" suggests anti-Americanism began with the end of the Cold War, when Western Europe no longer needed protection from the USSR. Nancy Snow, an Assistant Professor at Cal State Fullerton, says the US is resented and feared because of its power, especially when it exercises that power as it did in Iraq.

I see anti-Americanism as being much older. Henry Kissinger says the anti-American trend began long ago, but he is talking 7-8 administrations. My first thought was about how Prime Minister Clemenceau publicly ridiculed President Wilson for proposing a Fourteen Point peace plan to prevent another European conflict. Maybe, they should have listened to the bumpkin President of "dumb" Americans who sacrificed over 180,000 lives in the "War to End All Wars?" Has anyone seen the movie "Master and Commander?" The film shows a British warship battling a mightier American-made French frigate, but the actual book pitted Brits against American sailors on an American ship, not French. In the 1920s, Great Britain conducted war games in which their enemy was the United States Navy. Some historians believe there could have been a "Great Anglo-American War" in the 1920s, if not for the Washington Conference Treaty which ended the battleship arms race.

America is finally offering counter media, at least in the Middle East. Maybe, we need to redirect radio Free Europe westwards to Germany, France, and England? Just do it in a language they'll understand - bul:censored:hit

I'm understanding Americass' 1940 isolationist view more and more ever day.
 

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AClay47,

Really great posts, thanks for the information, I'd wanted to catch the Fox program but got tied up elsewhere. Thanks for summarrizing it.

Canada always cracks me up, a population about like California, and 98% of that population within 100 miles of the U.S border. (Because they couldn't survive without us) and their 6,000 man "Army. And they like to present themselves as a "world power".

Only if you've never been there!

"I'm understanding Americass' 1940 isolationist view more and more ever day."

Me too, even during the height of WWII, there was a strong thread of ... "Okay, this time, but after this let's just be about our business and let Europe live or die on their own."

The bit about anti-Americanism surfacing at the end of the cold war? I agree, but only that it surfaced. I had the impression as a young kid in Europe in the late '40's that what people really liked best about us was our money. Nothing later ever changed that opinion.

Very interesting about "Master and Commander", I enjoyed it and my wife loves that movie, she used to do a great deal of sailing on the great lakes,
(40 footer) and she says it's one of the most authentic sailing movies she's ever seen. Sounds like I'll have to get the book.

Thanks again!
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Brando starred in the movie version.


The Ugly American

The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad.

First published in 1958, The Ugly American became a runaway national bestseller for its slashing expos? of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. Based on fact, the book's eye-opening stories and sketches drew a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia. Combining gripping storytelling with an urgent call to action, the book prompted President Eisenhower to launch a study of our military aid program that led the way to much-needed reform.

"Powerful and absorbing. . . . Should be required reading in Washington."?Kirkus Reviews

"Not only important but consistently entertaining. . . . The attack on American policy in Asia this book makes is clothed in sharp characterizations, frequently humorous incident, and perceptive descriptions of the countries and people where the action occurs."-Robert Trumbull, former chief correspondent for the New York Times in China and Southeast Asia

"Seldom has a deadly warning been more entertainingly or convincingly given."?Washington Star



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
William J. Lederer is the author of The Mirages of Marriage (with Don D. Jackson) and other books. Eugene Burdick's other books include Fail-Safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Forgive the long posts. I know a lot of people really don't like reading multi-paragraph replies. Still, I needed to vent, but wanted to do it with information, not raw emotion. It seems to me that nothing the United States does will ever be free from criticism and cheap remarks by those who pretend friendship.

I'm proud to be an American.

So what if the United States made mistakes in the global fight against Communism in the 1950s? We were a country of 150 million standing practically alone against a superpower (USSR) and giant (Red China). In my opinion, others who did little or nothing were far uglier than us. If we were to talk about blunders in IndoChina, then why don't we hear about France, which wanted to re-exert control over its colonies there (shades of Ivory Coast!)? Even after WWII, Great Britain still grappled with her colony - India - and Palestine. If we were ugly, they were downright butt-faced ugly, to say the least.

Okay, here is a pic of AClay47 typing this post:
:rant:​
 

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AClay47 said:
It seems to me that nothing the United States does will ever be free from criticism and cheap remarks by those who pretend friendship.
Because all other countries envy us, period.

Everybody hates Americans, but they all want to come here. Can you explain?
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Americans are the same. We honor and admire great success but we also enjoy when a celebrity gets his comeuppance.

We also tend to root for the underdog.
 
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