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10 Things Americans don't know about America

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Postby Winston » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:23 am

I read more of the guy's blog. He has some good points, but most of it is just plain common sense. His PUA tips only apply to guys that women consider to be in their league or dating material. But none of it applies if girls don't think you are their type. Here are some of his interesting articles. ... -and-clubs
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Postby Andrewww » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:56 am

PUA blogs are about as useful as toilet paper. You wipe your ass once and you never see them again.
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Postby Killhoffa » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:11 am

Most Americans don't even know that the very Interstates we drive all came from Europe (Germany). President Eisenhower signed the Federal highway act of 1956 after an extensive visit in Germany to see their roadways were all military accessible. I don't knock the US for its man power being able to build such a pass way across such a mass piece of land! Its the idea and no originality but gauck at the rest of the world as if it originated from the loins of the USA!
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Re: 10 things Americans don't know about America

Postby Ghost » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:30 am

1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a hoe, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely) then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-f***ing-doo.

Figures. With globalization, Americans have been de-mysticized, so to speak. The illusions are being drawn back. But I figure being kind is a good "universal language" to speak to instantly counteract the "ugly American" perception. I know when I go abroad I am going to be kind, humble, and seek to learn about the places I go and people I meet.

2. Few People Hate Us

Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush, people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.

Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us. Remember that immature girl in high school, who every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.

Good news, lending credence to what I said above. I hope this really does mean that an individuals behavior will determine how he is viewed in a foreign land.

3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.â€￾ They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese believe the Vietnam War was about China (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by Russia (not us), Native Americans were wiped out largely disease and plague (not us), and the American Revolution was “wonâ€￾ because the British cared more about beating France (not us). Notice a running theme here?
(Hint: It’s not all about us.)

We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

I'd add to that, that most Americans simply do not care either. Mere ignorance could be fixed. But it is as if most Americans don't want to know anything outside of their small bubble. And many, when they do, it's only a few tidbits on current events about some violent act in some other country. It's usually nothing good when Americans talk about other countries.

4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go f**k yourself,â€￾ when we really mean “I like you,â€￾ and we say “I like you,â€￾ when we really mean “Go f**k yourself.â€￾

Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!â€￾, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “coldâ€￾ and “passionlessâ€￾ and for good reason. In our social lives we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see youâ€￾ is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.

In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.â€￾

Agreed. The superficiality is one of the hardest things to get over for me, and why I feel neurotic in my own land. It's consumer culture and paranoia, and also a side effect of technology. I think the consumer culture may be the biggest influence here, though, because every place in the world has phones and internet, but in the West, it cuts people off from each other. I think the corporations are in on that. They profit by making products for Americans to fill the void with. And cutting people off from each other helps the corporations have soulless beings to fill the soulless jobs.

5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great

If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.

The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.â€￾ It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.

In my guide to wealth, I defined being wealthy as, “Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.â€￾ In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.

Uh...this doesn't ring true to me at all. Talented, intelligent people can rise to the top, but it's far from typical. Sociopaths, backstabbers, and cutthroats fill in much of the middle management of the country. Sinister, malevolent, and often stupid (but well connected) people tend to rise to the top. The system thrives on it. And innovation? Don't see much of that. It's status-quo most of the time. I don't consider a new junk product or alteration or enhancement of a phone to be innovation.

6. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us

In 2010, I got into a taxi in Bangkok to take me to a new six-story cineplex. It was accessible by metro, but I chose a taxi instead. On the seat in front of me was a sign with a wifi password. Wait, what? I asked the driver if he had wifi in his taxi. He flashed a huge smile. The squat Thai man, with his pidgin English, explained that he had installed it himself. He then turned on his new sound system and disco lights. His taxi instantly became a cheesy nightclub on wheels… with free wifi.

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

What’s so surprising about the world is how unsurprising most of it is. I spent a week with some local guys in Cambodia. You know what their biggest concerns were? Paying for school, getting to work on time, and what their friends were saying about them. In Brazil, people have debt problems, hate getting stuck in traffic and complain about their overbearing mothers. Every country thinks they have the worst drivers. Every country thinks their weather is unpredictable. The world becomes, err… predictable.

This is something most Americans would not acknowledge even if shown directly. To admit this would be to acknowledge that the U.S. is a third world country itself. It would be the ultimate blow to the ego.

7. We’re Paranoid

Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.

In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid. I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so friendly it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a bar-b-que with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,â€￾ but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.

You know a culture is doomed when everyone assumes everyone else is a killer, rapist, creep, pedophile, stalker, or bad in some other way. Every interaction with a stranger is a practice in melting shields of ice and MAYBE developing something friendly. It's mostly noticeable in the male-female dynamic.

8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).

This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,â€￾ and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!â€￾ It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well. Who can slam the most beers first? Who can get reservations at the best restaurant? Who knows the promoter to the club? Who dated a girl on the cheerleading squad? Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.

I've pretty much felt small and insignificant most of my life. Everything has been done. Every thrill has been felt. Every experience has been had. By someone else. And they did it first. And they want to rub it in. Add in things like facebook, and it's a constant 1-upping contest to see who can be more awesome. But it is shallow and boring. People don't care about important things and they elevate the trivial to the level of awesome. The trivial becomes some facebook saga that's actually boring as hell. I guess it's theater so that people can distract themselves from their shitty lives for a little longer.

9. We Are Very Unhealthy

Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us.

A routine STD test that can run you over $200 in the US is free in many countries to anyone, citizen or not. My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.

But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).

In terms of life expectancy, despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 38th. Right behind Cuba, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and slightly ahead of Slovenia, Kuwait and Uruguay. Enjoy your Big Mac.

If America would take care of its obesity epidemic, then it could save tons on health care and take care of all the nasty health problems that occur naturally. Even set up a good safety net for that. But with obesity problems added on, there's no way America can survive the weight (heh) of its own healthcare issues. But the corporations have that possibility sealed up. No chance we'll get healthy. That would hurt profits.

10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Comfort sells easier than happiness. Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requiresbeing proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.

Comfort equals sales. We’ve been sold comfort for generations and for generations we bought: bigger houses, separated further and further out into the suburbs; bigger TV’s, more movies, and take-out. The American public is becoming docile and complacent. We’re obese and entitled. When we travel, we look for giant hotels that will insulate us and pamper us rather than for legitimate cultural experiences that may challenge our perspectives or help us grow as individuals.

Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring within the US. Our inability to confront anything unpleasant around us has not only created a national sense of entitlement, but it’s disconnected us from what actually drives happiness: relationships, unique experiences, feeling self-validated, achieving personal goals. It’s easier to watch a NASCAR race on television and tweet about it than to actually get out and try something new with a friend.

Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it becameTOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.

There are things I love about my country. I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a fewtimes a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.

So this is my lecture to my alcoholic brother — my own flavor of arrogance and self-absorption, even if slightly more informed — in hopes he’ll give up his wayward ways. I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funny cat pictures to look at.

And in the end, it isn't even comfortable. It is endlessly painful and exasperating, and any comfort gained is merely a very brief respite before having to re-enter the rat race, where you are always a rat and always losing. And yet, the "comfort" that is so deadly here is being comfortable in knowing what you've got. Even if it's a shitty life, job, and prospects. But at least it is known. That comfort leads to fear of the unknown. And that fear can lead to a wasted life. Indeed, it has led to the country's downfall.
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Postby golgi » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:55 am

While I appreciate the effort it took to write all of that, most of these generalizations just pander to American stereotypes. Personally, I couldn't find a single point of argument that applied to me. While I can think of a couple of people that I know that might have a couple of these misconceptions or qualities, I cannot think of anyone that has more than a few at best. Generalizing about a country of 300+ million will always fall flat. There are countless incredibly dynamic, intelligent, well traveled and well educated people here. Although, I do know that certain groups are foreigners do get riled about the USA, and do think that all of these things are true about Americans. And it's usually my 'uncultured' and 'unmannered' ass shaking my head in polite silence as the 'cultured' and supposedly better-mannered Brit that I just met rants pointlessly about American stereotypes in front of me.
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