Originally posted by adidasman:
I would never say all Americans - or even most - are that tacky, but, given the vast number of people this country holds, there are lots of them. Look at the guy burning Korans down in Florida, or at Charlie Sheen and the idiots paying good money to listen to him spew stupidity, and tell me you don't understand why the world sees us as they do...
I live in Madison, which is a very progressive, well-educated college town, so I actually am not exposed to any of that stuff (except, admittedly, at Walmart).
BUT what you are describing is not even unique to the US. Any time you venture into a country's rural areas, you find fundamentalism and ignorance. It's a socioeconomic fact wherever you go. This is why a place like Kabul would be relatively sane, if not for the desert-dwellers trying to blow it up.
I think what's more to blame is that a country tends to be defined by its loudest voices, whether or not they are representative. Yes, we have our fair share of ignorant buffoons, maybe even more than other places, but it's still not fair that they represent everyone. America is a cultural trend-setter (for better or worse) so these things get amplified beyond what is reality.
Although I'm maybe more optimistic than you are, I'm afraid I'm leaning in your direction more and more. We just elected a bunch of ridiculous governors who are doing terrible things in several states - none of them would win the election if it were held today, according to polls, but the Republicans/Tea Party are able to really tap into people's inherent suckerdom (I made up that word). This is how they've convinced millions upon millions that they should vote for a party whose policies are uniformly designed to help the richest 2% of the country, and do nothing at all for the average person.
Also, what holds America's collective fascination these days, according to the media? Yup, Charlie Sheen, escaped zoo cobras, terrible teen pop songs (Rebecca Black) and 'Snookie' (why does anyone even know who this person is?). My belief, or hope, is that this is more reflective of the media machine than reality. But it also may be why China is winning.