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What aspects of American culture are often misunderstood?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Baranyi, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. David Baranyi

    David Baranyi Well-Known Member

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    Note: keep international politics and nation-bashing out of this thread!

    People around the world get an idea of American culture through popular entertainment, such as television shows and movies. Through such programs, foreign viewers get a positive or negative of Americans, their culture and of the United States.

    Since American culture sometime is not self-explanatory, what aspects of it are often misunderstood by non-Americans?
     
  2. Vincent Matis

    Vincent Matis Well-Known Member

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    Very hard to answer without going into forbidden territories (politics, religion,...).
    However, I often heard the reason the Americans don't like soccer (the biggest sport in the rest of the world) is because they find soccer to be a slow, boring sport where nothinh ever happens.
    Yet you love baseball and US football, both sports that are either slower (BB) or more often interrupted (US foot: 20 sec of "team meeting", 5 sec to get into formation, , 15 sec of shouted instructions, and 2 sec of running. Then 20 sec before the 5 players who jumped on top of the runner finnally get up... then time-out, then 20 sec of "team meeting",...)
    Don't get me wrong I prefer baseball and US foot over soccer, but I gave up trying to explain both sports to my familly/friends...

    - The obsession with lawsuits and PC, we get the impression that no matter what you do or say, you might get hit by a lawsuit anytime, anyplace...

    Cheers,

    Vincent
     
  3. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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  4. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Well-Known Member

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    Is there really a "the third date is the sex date" "rule" as propounded in Ally McBeal, or any number of TV shows portraying the dating life of singles?

    Obviously it wouldn't be hard and fast, but roughly speaking is there any basis for this at all?
     
  5. Mark Schermerhorn

    Mark Schermerhorn Well-Known Member

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    Yee-Ming: there is no rule but it's fairly common, IMO. I couldn't put any kind of numbers to it though.
     
  6. Mark Schermerhorn

    Mark Schermerhorn Well-Known Member

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    David Baranyi: I think you've answered your own question. TV shows show Americans as being violent, shallow, oversexed, etc. Given no other information, I think people assume that TV shows give an accurate portrayal of America.
     
  7. Paul M.Kuziel

    Paul M.Kuziel Active Member

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    Well at the risk of getting political, GUNS we Americans love our guns, we love to shoot them, clean them etc. That is one part of our culture that Europe will NEVER understand.
     
  8. Vincent Matis

    Vincent Matis Well-Known Member

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  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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    Oh God, please don't use our TV shows as an idea of how dating is in New York, much less the US. Sex and the City and Ally McBeal, what little I've seen of them, take place in some fictional facsimile of NY, which I'm glad I don't live near.
     
  10. Bill_D

    Bill_D Well-Known Member

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    I just returned from the UK and was quite amused to see quite a bit of "full frontal" and "back" for that matter of men and women on regular television without any censorship. The was no "action" but people in their splendor doing normal stuff not normally associated with be naked and on film. I would never make an assumption of the UK based on a couple shows that was able to take in. "Kirsty's Videos", a show quite similiar to our AFHV, was funny and also strange since the show interrupts the videos with staged naked people bouncing around. I dined every night with the natives and not once did they get up strip down and start bouncing around.

    I would say that UK television is free to portray and script what US television insinuates.
     
  11. Dan D.

    Dan D. Well-Known Member

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    On a lighter note, one of my favorite movies about how Americans are viewed by Eurpoeans is "Barcelona". There's one scene where a character is tying the Eurpoean view to hamburgers. The idea being that Eurpeans know Americans love hamburgers, but the burgers normally found in Europe are pretty horrible, therefore Eurpoeans think we are insane. I won't spoil the ending of the movie, but it's amusing if you've never seen it before.

    That said, I've had some pretty good burgers in Europe so the concept may be outdated.
     
  12. AllanN

    AllanN Well-Known Member

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  13. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Well-Known Member

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    I would say that Americans tend to be much more religious than popular entertainment indicates.
     
  14. David Baranyi

    David Baranyi Well-Known Member

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    Not to bring up religion, but I do remember that Europeans had an issue with President Bush's open religious beliefs. As I understand, in Europe political leaders often do not reveal their reveal their religious beliefs for fear of being "politically incorrect." I will say no more on the issue.
     
  15. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is pretty warped. I just saw on the news the Emmey statues getting unloaded, with cameras clicking away. Who cares about them get unloaded from the back of a van?

    No wonder we're all screwed up. [​IMG]

    Three's Company was another one, even when it was first aired. They had trouble scraping up their $300/mon in rent a few times, but then it sort of didn't become a problem anymore, and money seemed to be coming out of their ears. They really didn't show how a lot of us have trouble eating before that next check showes up.

    And the violence too. One real case can become 10 or 20 episodes of different TV shows, all slightly different. They really need to understand that entertainment and our real life are two totally diffent things.

    Glenn
     
  16. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    The American-Jewish experience.
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Well-Known Member

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  18. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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  19. Vincent Matis

    Vincent Matis Well-Known Member

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  20. Steven K

    Steven K Well-Known Member

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