All that is wrong with the world…

April 21, 2010

Stupid things Americans do

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 2:53 am

This post is to point out some of the stupid things that Americans tend to do. As with every country the US has its own culture and customs, however I feel the US differs in some ways from many other countries. Primarily because the American influence has been so pervasive in western countries and to a lesser extent in the rest of the world. When I go to Australia or Canada, I notice just how similar the culture is. There are obviously some key differences, but I feel there are more similarities than not – at least on the surface.

What is interesting however is that while I can feel quite at home in the US, Australia, NZ, Canada, the UK etc…, I have only ever observed certain behaviors in the US. The thing about these particular behaviors is that well, they’re just retarded. They also tend to be quite annoying. I think it is interesting that I can not even think of any behaviors that are similar and specific to any other country or culture, as opposed to a random subset of people in general. Without further ado…

  • Clapping – Americans clap at the movies whenever something good happens, and on planes whenever the plane lands. WHY! Thousands of planes land every day without incident, and given the idiocy of airport security, lines, delays and all the other crap that makes flying a more frustrating experience than it would otherwise have to be, what is there to clap about? If disaster were averted or someone gave birth or something I could understand it, but just for landing? So what about at the cinemas? I get being engaged in the film, but why feel the need to clap everytime a superhero beats down a villain or a criminal is found and brought to justice? Why stand up and clap at the end of the movie? Who do they think is listening? Is it to let other people in the cinema know? It doesn’t make any sense, and it can be quite annoying if you are not one of the movie clappers and are engrossed in the movie, only to have your concentration disrupted by idiotic clapping. Case in point I saw Avatar yesterday and was quite enjoying it, however some college aged girl decided to clap every time the humans took a hit. I instinctively looked each time to see what was going on, and it is quite annoying being taken out of the moment like that. At least it wasn’t the whole cinema.
  • Claiming a false nationality – I talk of course of the tendency some Americans have to claim to be Irish or Greek or Russian just because their uncle had a friend whose dog who lived in a different country for a short amount of time. It’s a pretty simple thing, if you have never been to a country, if your parents or grandparents are not from that country, then you are clearly not from that country. I have no problem with people claiming heritage…but to actually identify as a dual nationality? It was hilarious to see the reactions of people in Ireland to the Americans that came over and said they were Irish and it was good to be home (to a place they had never been). Yoi.
  • Thinking all of the US is like a particular state – Far too many Americans think that their state is representative of the entire US. As someone who has traveled quite a bit around the US, this just gets annoying. The US is a diverse place, with the south, east and west coasts all being quite distinct and having unique charms and customs. Surely growing up in the US people would realize this at least from TV, but apparently not. Examples might be arguing that a particular word or phrase is not common in the US at all, when it may be quite common in a different region. Another example may be thinking that all states have the same type of Government, such as thinking all judges and state attorneys are directly elected whereas in some states they are appointed. It’s worse when they take it to the next level, saying that because America is a democracy all judges and state attorneys are required to be directly elected. Yoi.
  • Another stupid thing Americans do, and this is actually the most annoying so far. I met an American guy in Costa Rica who was convinced that Americans do not have accents, and that the rest of the world just speaks differently or incorrectly. Really? The fact that Americans sound distinctly different from other countries means that they have an accent, regardless. Whether or not is an accent that tends to enunciate clearly on a regular basis is a different subject altogether.
  • Continuing on with the accent thing, while in Las Vegas I met a few people who consider a non US accent to be incorrect, as simple as that. Despite the fact that a west coast accent does not pronounce many words correctly, these people consider any other accent…British, South African, Dutch, Australian etc to be incorrect. I can’t get over such ignorance and flawed reasoning. The US has quite a bit of regional variation in accents, so I don’t understand how anyone can just consider the “American” accent correct. Would these people really consider a very clearly spoken British accent, that enunciates everything clearly to be more incorrect than a thick redneck southern accent?
  • One thing Americans do is try to explain to me things about the US. I don’t know if this is stupid, so much as arrogant. I understand when someone visits a country, the locals may try to tell them things about their country. It is only in the US where I feel this is done in a (unintentionally) patronizing way. I’ve been in the US probably 2 years in total, and seen quite a bit of the country. It isn’t that different from other western countries, at least not drastically. Yet many Americans I meet are surprised to learn we get American movies overseas, or feel the need to explain the idea behinds states, or feel the need to explain Mexican food as though it’s only eaten in the US. I know they are trying to be helpful, but good god it’s annoying.
  • This one is really minor, and hardly applies to Americans in any significant number, still I thought it was interesting. I’ve heard quite a few people reject the term “Native Americans” on the basis that “America did not exist until 1776″, so they should be called simply natives or whatever term they prefer. Do these guys really not know the difference between the Americas and the United States of America? Sheesh.

This concludes my list of stupid things Americans do. At least until I think of things to add. I should point out I have nothing against the US or Americans at all, I just noted these particular behaviors to be quite annoying, and interesting because they seemed quite unique. I would be interested if people would share any equivalent stupid things from other countries.

Update 1 – August 27th 2010

Ok, updated to add the last two points about accents

Update 2 – October 10th 2010

Updated to add the point about the US educating people

Update 3 – October 13th 2010

Updated to add the point about Native Americans

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69 Comments »

  1. lol you should have posted this on failblog.org not here

    Comment by h — June 26, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  2. What’s up!
    thanks for the rant on clapping and stuff!
    Like you, i cannot stand that as well, i just got back from the middle east and everyone clapped..
    it gets annoying, or maybe it’s just a personal problem.
    Also, i have stopped blessing people when they sneeze! this ancient folklore has gone on too long and i am no longer taking part.
    Now, it’s expected for a blessing just to aknowledge our fellow man or woman.. in the street, at work..why do we still do this? our hearts don’t stop, our souls don’t go to the devil! this has been proven!!!

    thanks for listening:)

    Comment by Innocent Bystander — September 25, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

    • just saying but when u do sneeze, your heart does stop for a split second….

      Comment by online watcher — September 19, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  3. Hey!
    I agree they behave rather curiously… I’m mexican living in the UK and still find the “americans” quite hilarious… amongst other things, that I think you may have omitted is their name! Americans??????
    Good grief! Mexico is in America, Belice and Guatemala is in America, we ALL are american people, although they decided to be americans and think Mexico is in another continent (and sometimes even another planet).

    Also, have you seen “north-american” people in european countries that don’t speak english? They get very angry because the people doesn’t speak english!! (e.g. being in Spain, they speak spanish, a north-american couple walks down the bar and requests a beer… the bartender has never heard english before… though, the guy keeps trying to tell him in english (even in slow-mo as the bartender was an idiot…)
    They expect everyone to speak english and follow their customs, they don’t even try to learn phrases in other languages!

    I must admit, there are some of them very nice and decent but well, its the minority

    Cheers and…
    Viva Mexico!
    =)

    Comment by Rock — December 26, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    • Hey Rock,

      Kind of disagree with you on two accounts here.

      1. Americans is a fine name for citizens of the USA, as it is the only country with ‘America’ in its name. When needing to talk about people from the continent, North Americans can be used.

      2. There are rude Americans who expect English to be spoken, just as there are rude French who resent English becoming the dominant language or Mexicans who will laugh at Gringos who try to speak Spanish.

      Blanket generalizations for such large numbers of people don’t tend to do much good.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 29, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    • I totally agree on the arrogant non-english speaking tourists and arrogant tourists in general. I’ll always remember my time in Split, Croatia, due to the loud woman from the USA demanding to know why she wasn’t given change in “American Dollars”….Uhh Zdravo, you’re in CROATIA… NOT the USA…The currency is the Kuna, NOT the USD! There, rant complete.

      Comment by Kitty — January 22, 2012 @ 9:16 am

  4. Clapping in a movie theater? What? I’ve never been to a movie where that happened, except maybe some little kids expressing glee.

    Thinking the rest of the country is just like my state? C’mon, I’m from West Virginia. We are acutely aware that we are “different.” I think folks from states such as Vermont, Texas, or New Jersey would feel the same.

    Claiming a false nationality? Only by foreigners have I been accused of being a Brit, because of my grandparents.

    Claiming foreign accents are “incorrect?” Once again, I’m from WV.

    Trying to “educate” foreigners about the US? I usually will harrass foreigners by asking too many questions about where they are from.

    You are painfully naive.

    Comment by Dixon Marshall — February 5, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    • At the start of my posts I clearly point out that these are things I have witnessed several times and that are unique to Americans.

      No where do I state or imply that it is something that all Americans do.

      Your reply seems to imply that you think your own personal experiences are representative of all Americans, and yet you call me naive?

      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 7, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

      • It’s kind of sad that while you offered a disclaimer several times (that your list doesn’t apply to all Americans), the title of your post is “Stupid Things Americans Do.” I believe, just by the article alone, it’s safe to say that you did, indeed, you group all Americans with a broad and ignorant brush. Oh! You’ve spent two whole years in the U.S.!! You must be sooooo freaking knowledgeable then! Hate to break it to you, sir, but you;re article here is an example of Stupid Things That Idiots Do; AKA, taking an entire group of people, and branding them with ridiculous generalizations. I typically ask curious questions of tourists or foreigners, if the subject even comes up, as there are an enormous amount of immigrants and travelers here all the time, so their accents go unnoticed. To call you naive is an understatement, Dixon Marshall was being kind. Try reading what you wrote next time, and come to terms with the facts before you post it. If you don’t want to be called out about your almost bigoted generalizations, don’t write them.

        Comment by NYRose — February 23, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

        • It’s a title. Used to get attention, and it isn’t inaccurate. Again, I explain that it isn’t grouping Americans together, it’s just pointing out some things some Americans do, that other people from other countries don’t do, that I consider stupid.

          I also hate to break it to you, but I traveled for 7 years, I’ve been to about 40 countries, I’ve spent a lot of time in the US. Yes, I’m pretty freaking knowledgeable.

          You’re showing your idiocy here by not reading the article, arguing against strawmen and making baseless assumptions. I did read what I wrote, and I stand by it. I suggest you try re-reading it, and get out of the state of mind where you think you need to defend yourself. I’m not attacking you, or your people.

          Comment by allthatiswrong — March 3, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

          • *You’re,” or better yet, “You are showing your idiocy…”

            “Your” is possessive.

            Comment by Dixon Marshall — March 3, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

          • Way to pat yourself on the back, traveling in and of itself doesn’t make you knowledgeable, especially when paired with the fact that you seem to carry around an ever-expanding list of baseless judgments. I did, in fact, read your article, and I’m sorry, but I couldn’t stomach reading it a second time. I’ve seen enough, and I simply replied in the comments section because you seem eager to defend your positions (however ignorant) while at the same time denying the very foundation of your post (that you label groups with simple characteristics), and to top it off, you attempt to sneak not so cleverly disguised insults into your empty defenses. No, you may not be attacking me personally, but by writing and posting content such as the above, you are propagating the idea that judgments of large groups of people by any classification (race, gender, nationality, religion, etc.) is acceptable. And that, my friend, is a far cry from the persona of ‘knowledgeable traveler’ that you are apparently seeking to identify yourself with.

            Comment by NYRose — March 3, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

            • It’s not so much that I’m eager to defend my positions…I just feel that if someone leaves a comment it’s basic decency to reply. Especially since my blog isn’t exactly large.

              You most certainly do gain knowledge just from traveling. What a silly thing to say, that you don’t. As soon as you enter a different culture, you start learning. If you don’t, something’s wrong with you.

              I’m not making judgements against classifications of people, not at all. I think it’s a shame I have to spell this out for you again, but here it goes. There are *some* Americans who do/think the things I listed in the post. I have not seen other people from other countries do these things. I find these things stupid and unique to Americans. It has nothing to do with Americans as a group. It’s probably a minority of Americans. Nevertheless, it’s still Americans doing these things. I’ve lived in the US for a while and I’ve covered a lot of states.

              I think I have a pretty good understanding of the people and the culture. I don’t think Americans are stupid, and often argue against that tired stereotype when I hear it brought up. That doesn’t mean that Americans don’t do stupid things unique to Americans, which is what this post is about.

              Unfortunately, most of the comments on this post are not doing Americans any favors. The arguments seem to be that I’m lying or wrong, despite other people affirming what I have said, or that not all Americans do the things I listed so my list is irrelevant. Which not only misses the point of my post (comprehension fail) but is also a fallacy.

              Comment by allthatiswrong — March 4, 2013 @ 2:21 am

              • I said that your growing mental list of stereotypes would preclude you from gaining actual knowledge, not that traveling doesn’t provide you with knowledgeable experiences. I really couldn’t care whether you’re right or wrong. The very nature of a generalizing statement is that it will always be more wrong than right. My issue was with that, and that alone. I think you’re a fine writer, (we all have typos; there are several in my first comment) but when you write any post such as the above, you should be aware that people will be offended. The offense is not the fault of the reader, it is the content of the article which, despite your efforts, I guess, offered up a generally negative characterization. My comments were simply addressing this. Many people may not read your writing now, but I stumbled upon it, and many more may in the future. “World traveler” and “bigoted, pretentious tool who’s traveled” are differing descriptors, and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d think you wouldn’t like to be known as the latter. That’s all I’m saying. And, please, spare me the repeated “explanations” of the difference between “some Americans” and “all Americans.” Rest assured, I can read, and your condescending language does you no favors. I’m unsure if your ego prevents you from reflecting on your post, and acknowledging where you went wrong, or if you are so defensive because you legitimately believe that the anemic disclaimers you’ve offered should suffice. Either way, the “comprehension fail,” is surely not on my end.

                Comment by NYRose — March 4, 2013 @ 11:47 am

                • Actually, what you said was “traveling in and of itself doesn’t make you knowledgeable,”. You said it was especially so if I have baseless judgements, but the way you worded it means you asserted it to be true even if someone didn’t have baseless judgements.

                  I really don’t get your argument. I make it clear that my post is about *some* Americans. Unlike some of the other commenters, you assure me you understand the difference, yet still take me to take for making generalizing statements. Yet, no where is that what I am doing. At all. In any form.

                  The *only* reason I mention Americans at all, is because from what I have seen, these behaviors are *unique* to Americans. It’s not about generality, but about exclusivity.

                  Comment by allthatiswrong — March 5, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

  5. americans are really stupid

    Comment by me — February 8, 2011 @ 7:09 am

    • thats not wat ur mom said last night lmao jk jk

      Comment by bob — July 14, 2012 @ 6:59 am

  6. I’m an American born to Mexican parents so I’ve looked at both cultures with a critical eye.
    The clapping in theaters thing? I do that. Everyone I know does that. We all know that there’s really no point in doing it, but it’s just something we do to show that we liked the movie even if no one else cares. It’s an automatic response for some of us, I guess. It does get annoying in the middle of the movie, though, so we reserve it only for the end. (In the airplanes, maybe they’re celebrating that the flight is finally over. I know I do.)
    Also, I’m from Las Vegas. People come here from all over the world and I like hearing their accents. I feel that we have a neutral one, or at least I do, because everywhere else they seem to have a lilt to their vowels. When I speak, I feel like my voice is monotonous.
    When you wrote this, you should have emphasized SOME. You were generalizing many things and I have to say that out of the things you listed, I’ve only found two of them to be somewhat true. I’ve been around the US and Mexico a lot and I can make some pretty general accusations too, such as: Americans are rude and loud or Mexicans are dirty drunks. Notice how I did not put ALL, but it is implied that the stereotypes apply to all of them.
    Anyway, I think you should do one for Stupid Things Australians Do and Stupid Things Brits Do. I like learning about other cultures and it would be fun to see what you think of them as well.

    Comment by Chavez — May 11, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    • Hi Chavez,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I thought it was obvious that I was not saying that all Americans do the things I listed above. I did say as much, and the list of things I listed were things not that all Americans do, but things that only Americans do.

      The clapping thing is annoying, and again mentioned because it seems unique to Americans. Who exactly are they clapping for? The projectionist? The problem is it isn’t reserved for the end…quite often people will clap during the movie, not just a few people but the majority of the audience.

      Same with planes….do you clap when a bus or subway reaches its destination successfully? No? Why with planes? If it were a long delayed flight or there were problems that would make sense, and people from any country would clap. But clapping at the end of a 2 hour domestic flight that had no delays or was not remarkable in any way? Sheesh.

      As for the accent, all Americans have an accent. Every single one. Even people in Las Vegas. It may be neutral compared to other US accents, but compared to other accents in the world it is without a doubt American.

      I am actually writing a long in depth article about Australian culture….but at the moment can’t really think of behaviors that annoy me and are unique to either of those cultures.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — May 16, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  7. I live in Canada and have been travelling in the U.S. since I was a child in the 1960′s so have some experience as to some of the quirks. Most are totally innocuous. That said every country has citizens that although well meaning come across as extremely ignorant. I have met people in The Netherlands who felt that they should should me what a nice shop was, since in their mind Canada was a frozen wasteland, and the local trading post wouldn’t carry much except beaver pelts. I have had to explain to many Europeans that Canada was truly a separate country with it’s own laws and liberal viewpoints. The assumption made by many is that Canada is exactly like the U.S. People in the U.K. sometimes treat us like colonials who still look admiringly to the motherland when most Canadians have no personal connection to the U.K. It is because I share a common language with them and have easy access to the U.S. and it’s media ( we get many more U.S. T.V. stations than other countries with local news etc than elsewhere) that I see more ignorance that elswhere. It used to bother me but now I take in stride ( the less they know about us the better ) and when someone can’t picture going to the beach in Canada or that we have airports ( true story ) I just smile and point them in the direction of the internet.

    Comment by Nat Nasci — June 6, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  8. I think little quirks like when a group of Americans clap at the end of a great movie is an endearing thing. In other countries they do different things, one example would be the Japanese. After they see an awesome kick ass movie they show respect with complete silence. This worried George Lucas at the showing of the first star wars in japan before he was told what it meant. People should embrace these quirks as very special things and study them if you are a foreigner.
    It is natural for a superpower to act the way that we do. Think of how the speakers of the pure Russian language treated anybody else who did not want to speak it in the former CCCP. They forced their values and heritage onto people who could care less, they expected Kazakhs to act like they were from Moscow. The iron curtain went up and all the sudden ethnic Georgians must then automatically be great and proud Russians. If you were a Kievite, you’d be like: oh boy, here comes a Moskvich…
    The English must have done it during the height of their power when the sun never set on their empire. We do it as the sun never sets on sovereign U.S. jurisdictions (military bases and embassies). I bet the Romans did it too. It’s the human condition.
    I myself am an american by birth but I have very strong heritage and emotional connection with Canada. In not too much time i’ll have a dual citizenship. But i’d refrain from singing their anthem. The american anthem is too hard to sing (we need a new one) and the Canadian anthem is kind of boring.
    I think that it is totally ok for any member of a state to say that they represent america. New yorkers are our heart, tough sons of bitches that don’t take shit from anybody. rednecks from dixie are also our heart, good ole’ boys who hunt and fish and listen to country, if it hit the fan i’d count on them to shoot goons dispatched from capitol hill. It’s just what’s expected to happen. I don’t know how effective they’d be though against an organized and modern equipped military. There are the farmers from the center who keep us fed, there’s nothing wrong with them claiming ownership and valid representation. and so on and so forth..
    Do you think an american cares about whether the German in front of him who is educating him about their culture is from the Rheur vs. from Berlin? or that the Frenchman he speaks to is from Normandie vs. Paris? I don’t think so. If I went to Russia and I had some cultural fact explained to me by a national, and it was in a condescending tone. I might find it a bit irritating (some of them do it too), but its something you have to get used to, suck it up traveler. If you go there and respect them by speaking the language, you should not mind it, because you are sincerely trying to learn their ways and understand them. Personally I as an american feel very lonely when I think that we are the only power, and so I feel comfy around somebody who is like old money in the superpower league – former Russians. In that light I would want them to do their human nature thing, things wouldn’t be right otherwise.
    The more and more general you make a statement, the less and less accurate the statement becomes. Do you feel this is correct?: It is sooo obvious that every french person likes croissants, it’s true 100% of the time, you cant fight the facts… or that all french people are stuck up and rude and hate Americans? that may be true with some big group of Parisians, but I’ll tell you that it is much more likely that an american will receive a warm welcome in Normandie than in central France. You might find lesser hostility in the non tourist sections. Not all Americans embrace the ugly american image. Many many of us respect other cultures and at least try to speak the language and follow the laws of the land when we travel. Lumping people into large groups and giving them all one label regardless of their beliefs is an infirm and unsound way to approach things. It leaks and falls apart over time and really does nothing but sew resentment and disharmony. I’m not calling you ignorant or rude, in person you might be reasonable and agreeable; it’s just that I think that building arguments with harsh and polarized views is like building a house with a foundation made of bubbles.

    Comment by spencer — September 13, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    • Hi Spencer,

      Thanks for your reply.

      The few things I have noted are things I found to be unique to the US and that I also, personally, think are stupid. Not just different or quirky…but actually stupid..at least quite a few things such as the claiming not to have accents. I find the clapping at the end of a movie baffling, but not nearly as stupid as clapping simply because a plane landed on time.

      I also wanted to point out….you guys are not really a superpower, not unless you want to redefine the term for modern day politics. Even if you were a superpower under the strict definition of the term, I don’t see how that would relate to it being natural to act in some of the ways I describe in my post.

      I have no problem with any person from one state saying they represent America. Of course they do! I have a problem with them stereotyping all of America to be like their state when they have never left their state.

      Not sure what point you are making when you ask if an American cares where a German is from. The point I was making is that it is frustrating and potentially arrogant to explain to someone who has lived in and/or visit a country a lot basic things about that country. Especially if they don’t even have their facts straight. If had known someone who had frequently visited Australia (which is where I grew up in part), then I would not feel the need to educate them about my country. Indeed, unless playing host or you know the person is curious, sprouting off random culture lesson is not appreciated. Especially when it is a persons personal quirks disguised as general cultural traits.

      I agree that generalizations for citizens off a country are useless when based on anecdotal evidence. It frustrates me greatly the amount of people I see who extrapolate a subjective truth from their few days in a country, then going on to tell people how what they saw is the case for that country, when it isn’t the case at all.

      The above post is not about lumping all Americans together, not at all. Perhaps you should read the post I wrote called a defense of Americans overseas? Which agrees with the straw man argument you make above. This post was about identifying behaviors that I feel are unique to Americans having been to some 30 countries and having been to a large part of the US, that I have seen occur multiple times. I’m well aware that the behave is not common to all Americans, but a lot of the behaviors I think are common *only* to Americans, such as claiming to have no accent. That is what I found interesting, there isn’t really a parallel to a behavior in other cultures like most behaviors seem to have.

      This was not an attack on Americans and it did not need defending. It was simply a list of some stupid behaviors that some Americans tend to partake in. In future perhaps read the whole post before jumping the gun and assuming an attack?

      Comment by allthatiswrong — September 19, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  9. one more tings americans do (and its spread everywhere) they call Indian spiced tea CHAI which means TEA in hindi.
    Its annoying.I’m indian and met an American women abroad,and i was explaining how I drink my tea lol,and she’s like isn’t that CHAI? I’m like no,its masala tea-
    I assumed people would know that chai means tea! Why do Americans try to Americanise everything for a buck?appropriate it,and think they made it first.

    Comment by kayleigh — October 31, 2011 @ 2:00 am

    • They call it that in Japan too. So if it is so wrong, why do they list CHAI on the menu at Indian restauraunts, run by Indians? THEY (the Indians) put it there!

      Comment by Sir John White — October 2, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  10. I just wanted to say that I agree with most of what you say and I do not believe that most of what you say is an attack on americans. You very clearly said that the things you have noticed are not representative of all Americans. I would just like to say that I disagree with you on a couple minor things. First of all is the clapping one. You say that clapping at the end of a movie makes no since because you don’t know who it is for, but that’s just it, it’s not for anyone. Unlike your other posts peeves that are based off of faulty logic, clapping at the end of a movie is not a logical choice at all. It is simply a tradition. Nobody in America thinks that the director is there or that it will make anyone feel better, it’s simply a reaction to a good movie. I personally don’t usually clap after movies, unless everyone around me is standing up and clapping. It’s not really for anyone, it’s just a celebration that the movie was good. I have also never noticed that people clap during the movie, and that would probably annoy the crap out of me, but I’m guessing it’s a regional thing. I know that I went to a movie in New York once and some people were actually yelling at the movie and saying stuff like “DON’T GO IN THERE.” This ruins the movie for me and I agree that it’s stupid.

    Something else is that I noticed in one of your replies that you said America was not a super power. That may be true financially, but it is true that we are a cultural superpower. Our media such as TV shows and movies are more widely spread across the world than any other cultures. For example, the entire world knows who Darth Vader is, star wars has been seen almost internationally, but I can’t name the last movie I saw from France or Germany. Not to say that we dominate the world culture, as the whole world has also seen Harry Potter, it’s just that it’s very easy for Americans to have almost no exposure to other cultures where as people in other countries can’t really avoid America. I think that’s part of the reason there are so many people in America who are ignorant of other cultures. Not that it’s not annoying, just try to be patient with them.

    I actually did enjoy your article though, and a lot of those things bother me too.

    Comment by Sean — April 26, 2012 @ 2:31 am

  11. For planes, it is common thing in the US to have a fear that the plane will crash and everyone is so tired of being on the plane that people clap out of relief and happiness. And it’s been even more popular to clap after landing since 9/11. With movies, it is also a way to express joy. Besides, people will also interact with each other in the theaters and this is something that has been around since movies were first made and introduced to the US. When silent films were created, it was a loud event in the US, with many people making noise during the film and with nuts being the popular snack instead of today’s modern popcorn. So I guess we just have held on to that tradition in our own way. Maybe it seems stupid for you, but for many of us (not all, some take your stance on it), it’s just a way to communicate with each other and share feelings of happiness or disappointment. Clapping after the film shows respect, just like you would clap at the concert at the end of the song. And we probably also kept that from the early days of film when the general audience was used for blind screening and a company would gauge whether or not a movie needed more work/editing based on the audience’s reaction.

    I have never heard of people claiming nationality the way you are describing it! That IS weird. But plenty of Americans wish they could live in this country or that country because they relate to it really well/think it is cool. And we do have that saying “Home is where the heart is”, so when you find the place that has your heart, you would express “Ah, it feels good to be home” or “I am home”. Maybe. I don’t know. I’ve never heard of anyone doing what you described, so this is new to me (and sorry, but actually kind of funny in a sad, sad way)!

    Also, we’re REALLY BAD with stereotyping. And in the US, many folks have never had the chance to travel like you have, some have never been outside their county, so their view of what all US citizens are like is very limited. Each state has its own culture and most people here only know about that one culture. Like, I live on the West coast, but I have no idea what people are like in the South. I just don’t. I don’t really talk to many people from there and if I went to the South, their customs would be very different from what I am used to, even the common courtesy/the way we speak is different. Seriously. And not many people are very educated on their own system of government because they simply don’t care about it. Many comedy shows from the US, if you notice, will point it out and make jokes about it. We also had that celebrity campaign over here addressing that because it is such a problem that people are not involved in their own government.Which is sad, but true. Where I live it is not uncommon to not know your own representatives. Our education system here is known worldwide now as not the best (I even get a lot of foreigners who like to remind me of this very same thing with comments like “You guys are so behind here, we teach this stuff to little kids!” lol ^_^’), just beneficial because pretty much anyone can have one if they have a birth certificate.

    As for accent, yes, we do have different ones. But Americans can be…special sometimes. And again, we’re bad with the whole assumption/stereotyping/generalizing thing. There’s even a meme about it on the internet because it is just common knowledge that one American stereotype is that we think that the “American way” is always the one and only “right” way. But I know people from other countries who are also like this, so…*shrug*. And again, as culturally diverse as we are, not many are exposed to a lot of cultural knowledge outside of our state. So there’s a lot of ignorance.

    For your second to last point, just remember: Americans can be…special. Very…special. XD But even in the states, I have met people from all over the states who hate it when our own citizens pull stupid stuff like that because it has created a lot of problems for us with foreigners and within our own country as well. That is one reason why I was always told to never get my part-time in retail or food services because there are just so many special Americans (especially since my general district area is a popular one for people to travel to during the holidays). I mean, some people think my brother doesn’t even speak English because he’s not white. And he was born in the United States. He has also never lived anywhere else haha. Just a bunch of very special Americans. Have you also ever heard on the internet “Don’t fight with an internet troll because that means it wins”? Well, some of us you are just going to have to keep approaching like that. Don’t fight an intellectual battle with people like that because you will never get anywhere with them. Ever.

    And yes, many of us still have to be educated about the difference between the United States of Americans and the Americas. It’s true. When I was in high school there were plenty of my classmates who did not know the difference and so my teacher decided to provide a lecture on it every year because the problem is just that bad.

    By the way, I’m not trying to be defensive or rude and I am sorry if I come off that way. I just find some of this stuff just as annoying (and maybe unlike you, sadly funny). Like, I’m laughing, but I’m crying/dying on the inside because it’s all true! So true. OTL

    Comment by liz agna — May 9, 2012 @ 2:23 am

  12. Americans clap at the movies whenever something good happens, and on planes whenever the plane lands.

    Stopped reading right there, this is pointless and the author is an idiot.

    Comment by fartnigger — June 29, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    • i wish i read that sooner because you were correct my friend…..-_-

      Comment by bob — July 14, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    • Yes, your countless trolling posts full of insults have much more value.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:52 am

    • It’s stupid, why do they clap? It’s pointless, annoying, that’s why it’s on the list. Clapping at things that goes good, that’s meant to go good is stupid.

      Comment by You'rePointless. — January 24, 2013 @ 5:03 am

  13. wow u sound like an American hater….i pity you.

    Comment by bob — July 14, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    • I love, live in and greatly admire the US. No need to e so defensive, perhaps if you actually read the post, even the opening sentence, you might understand this is not an anti US piece.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:51 am

  14. I’m a south african girl living the in US and some of the people I have met have really tarnished my image of Americans. I speak perfect English, I’m educated to a postgraduate level, yet I find myself having to repeat myself constantly so that Americans can understand me. Simple words like can’t, dark, guard, bottle. Seriously it’s pathetic. On top of that some people are so ignorant and unaware, it’s disheartening. I come from a third world country, and our education system is not the best but I have never in my life had to ask someone where their country is. But Americans, brought up in a 1st world country with access to education etc still say they have never heard of south africa and can’t comprehend how it’s possible because I’m neither black or white. All in all a very disappointing experience, but it truly made me appreciate my country and the manners and values we are brought it up with.

    Comment by Shash — August 1, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  15. Yeah because all Americans are like that. Fuck you too, buddy

    Comment by JohnSon — August 5, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    • Defensive much? I specifically note in the post that these behaviors only apply to some and by no means all Americans. There is no stereotyping at play.Are you that sensitive you can’t handle the slightest bit of criticism leveled at your peers?

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:54 am

  16. I agree with the author. Americans are the most retarded people on earth.

    Comment by JR — August 17, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    • Not my point, at all. If it were my point I might make it about Australians.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:55 am

  17. I’m American and I don’t do alot of these things, but thank you for sharing what bothers you about us. Wherever you are from must be perfect.

    Comment by daniel — September 7, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    • It’s more that I found a lot of the behaviors odd, not all of them bother me. I’m not implying other people from other countries don’t do strange things, these are simply the things I noticed Americans doing.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  18. I have never heard one person clap during movie, or when landing in an airplane. I’ve been on numerous flights and watched numerous movies. Accents, there’s a reason America is a melting pot, and that’s why there’s no real accent. I have never thought or heard of other people calling accents ‘incorrect’ as well. Having no accent doesn’t mean it’s right. Honestly, you say you’ve been around the US, but maybe that’s just a little white lie.

    Comment by Eric — October 1, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    • Oh, well. If you have never heard one person clap in a movie or when landing in an airplane, then it certainly has never happened and I made the entire thing up.

      While there is not one US accent for all of America, there is certainly enough similarity between them all that people will recognize it as an American accent.

      It isn’t a white lie that I’ve been around the US, I’d wager I’ve seen more of it than you have.

      Have a nice day.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 1:59 am

  19. The things that annoy me about America have more to do with the imperial measurement system and a complete disdain amongst the general public for free thought. But yes, in my time in America I saw a lot of applauding of inanimate objects and it confused me to no end. The main thing though that really confuses and annoys me is that the vast majority of Americans do not separate criticism, even friendly criticism, from grave insult. Especially when it comes to talking about the United States and any facet in which it operates. It’s rather intimidating when you come from a country where it really doesn’t matter what you’re talking about and then suddenly you have to be on guard in every conversation in case you say something that might make them fly into a fit of frenzy.
    Of course not everyone is like this, it is just my experience that the majority of the people I spoke to in my time in the states were very much like this.

    Comment by GP — October 1, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

    • Well yeah, Just look at the crazy responses people are giving in this discussion. Although I will say the disdain for critical thinking is as bad in Europe and other countries as it is in the US. America is not special in that regard.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 2:01 am

  20. Stupid things foreigners do: Generalize all Americans by noting what the stupid ones do. 99% of Americans don’t do these things, but since you noticed the stupid ones doing it, it stuck out to you.

    Comment by Mike — October 1, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  21. I have literally never seen anyone do this stuff. Nobody claps at movies or when planes land, nobody thinks Americans don’t have accents.

    Comment by No — October 2, 2012 @ 12:24 am

    • I haven’t noticed the clapping at movies thing happening a lot, so that isn’t as common but it still happens. The plane thing definitely happens fairly often, and yes, plenty of ignorant Americans working at hostels around the world are convinced everyone else has an accent except them and other Americans.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 2:05 am

  22. I have travelled extensively since 1995, both domestically and international, and have never seen or heard Americans clapping when a plane lands.

    Comment by Sir John White — October 2, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

  23. RE: 19. Stupid things americans do: Covered in previous post.

    Comment by James — October 3, 2012 @ 1:20 am

  24. No eagle, no opinion. There’s a lot of things I could say about any other country, but I won’t, because I’m obviously more polite than you. God bless America.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 18, 2012 @ 6:03 am

    • Your reply doesn’t really make sense. Only Americans should have an opinion about America? You don’t have opinions about other countries because you’re not from there, and that makes you polite? So to extrapolate, it is impolite for any person to have an opinion about a country they are not a citizen of?

      Comment by allthatiswrong — December 12, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  25. I’ve recently been to the US and many people DO clap when their plane lands. At least people in the planes I was in did. And many Americans don’t accept any kind of criticism about their country, manners or culture. That knid of behaviour show lack of manners and culture in their country. Sorry if that bothers you.

    Comment by Tergen — November 30, 2012 @ 6:16 am

  26. I became a multimillionaire in America – something that would have never happened any other place on Earth with me being a non-white woman. So Americans may do “stupid things,” but I’m a fan. Clap all you want America, I’ve got your back!

    PS – I find it interesting you use the term stupid since by definition your whole diatribe was the utter definition of the word stupid. The irony is lost on you isn’t it? As they say in the South “Aren’t you precious?” LOL!

    Comment by Lolly — February 14, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

    • So you couldn’t have made your fortune in Canada or Australia or the UK? Really? Huh. If anything you probably would have had an easier time of it. But that’s neither here nor there. What is interesting, is that they apparently don’t teach the definition of irony in the south.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — March 3, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  27. You didn’t really state that there is a British accent, did you?

    Comment by newtestleper — May 27, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  28. I agree with everything on this list, and I live in Chicago, Illinois. I hate this place . . .

    Comment by Kyle — July 17, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  29. Your article made me laugh so hard! I love it. A lot of the things you describe struck me too when I first moved to the US 20 years ago. I had completely forgotten about them. How about French people? I’m French. I’d love to read about Stupid Things that French People Do.

    Comment by Ardnaxelaoupas — October 15, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  30. i’ve never clapped in a movie. i don’t know where you go to see movies. I’d hardly call it american though. Also the plane landing.. I have never ever seen this. Like why the fuck would i clap when the plane landed? And Americans don’t have accent, its a dialect.A Frenchman that speaks English as his second language would have a accent. But yeah i get your point. The claiming false nationality thing is weird and haven’t ever really seen it.

    Comment by nick — December 4, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  31. Sure, I don’t mind.

    Comment by allthatiswrong — January 5, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  32. allthatiswrong, I am convinced that you are the ultimate internet troll. Anyone that could perpetuate the same line of BS for this long, I nominate for King of the Trolls. Congratulations, sir.

    Comment by Dixon — January 5, 2014 @ 11:55 am

  33. Ya know what, screw you, america is awesome! If you’re a foreigner, go rot in hell. If you’re an American dissing your own country, again, kiss my butt and go to hell!

    Comment by bob — March 25, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

  34. There really is no point trying to explain our ways to you since you shouldn’t be here in the first place. And we are Americans while Mexicans are not because fuck you that’s why. Hooyah!

    Comment by Texas Red — April 5, 2014 @ 7:22 am

    • Foolish Texans are my favorite type of Stupid American. Have fun with banning evolution and the death penalty.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — April 11, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

  35. Texans isn’t foolish you moron. And what do you mean I shouldn’t be here?

    Comment by bob — April 15, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  36. Screw you if you dis America, that’s my summary.

    Comment by bob — April 15, 2014 @ 7:07 pm


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