|Role-playing in the United States|
While others have attempted to categorise a particular regional mannerism or outlooks, I'll be attempting to give a general overview of the American mindset. I hope this will help dispel some of the misconceptions and stereotypes.
You might think that since America is a country thousands of miles wide, with over 270 million people, encompassing many nationalities and ethnicities, this is impossible. But the fact that our society is highly mobile, generally speaks the same language and watches the same TV, gives us more uniformity then you'd initially expect.
If I had to put it in a nutshell, America is the land of contradictions. Here are just a few examples:
We're probably one of the most fitness and health conscious people on the planet, but at the same time we have the most over weight persons per capita.
Though we're constantly advocating peace throughout the world, we're also the largest exporter of arms in the world with the largest military budget to boot.
And even though most Americans are pro guns, death penalty, abortion and physician assisted suicide, we'd better not take a single casualty on any of our numerous peacekeeping missions.
One of the first things that sets Americans apart from your average citizen of the developed world is a certain cockiness, though not outright arrogance. Most of us have a kinda unspoken belief that we're number one, king of the hill, biggest and the badest. No doubt this comes from the fact that our country has been a super power for the last 55 years and the sole super power for the last nine, which is something we love to lord over the Russkies. I guess the best comparison would be a British worldview of say a hundred years ago during the height of the colonial era. In fact the very thought that one-day we might fall from our perch as the leading hegemony is either completely alien to us or greatly feared.
Due to the fact that our public educational system isn't one of our top priorities, your average American has a rather poor understanding of such topics as history, geography and world politics. So don't expect your average Joe to know where Great Britain is on the map, when the American Civil War took place (1860-65) or who's the leader of Russia or China. It's just not one of our strong points.
In fact, generally Americans tend to ignore most affairs taking place outside of our borders. Isolationism never really died out here. Most of the time we don't know who you are and couldn't give a rats ass about it either. Obviously there are exceptions. Some countries elicit a general sense of good will if not out-right admiration, while others are routinely vilified. In the case of the former, most countries in Western Europe, Australia, Israel and Japan fall into this category, while Iran, Serbia, Iraq and North Korea land in the latter group. In fact I've known some people that have come from some of these latter countries who don't even want to admit this fact.
On a more down to earth level here are some things Americans generally eat and don't eat. Fast food is really popular here and it falls into three main categories: Italian (pizza), Mexican (tacos & burritos) and good old Americana (hamburgers & hotdogs).
Chinese and French cuisine is popular at sit-down restaurants, but if you're into Indian or African cooking you're out of luck pal. When it comes to portions there's no such thing as too much, which no doubt contributes to our general level of obesity. Remember this is the country that came-up with the concept of super-sizing it.
On the topic of big, we like to do things in a large, titanic or if not, gigantic manner. We don't go to grocery stores we go to super markets, which in the last decade have evolved into massive warehouses of everything you can imagine in 20 pound bags or five gallon tubs. We drive in large trucks and massive SUVs, even though it's murder at the pump. If it's big that's great, if it's bigger even better. I live in the high desert of Southern California in what we locals consider a small town area (around a quarter of a million people) and we have a 22-screen movie theatre, a minor league baseball team and our own regional airport.
Guns, Geography and Taboos...
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Copyright © 2001 Rey