Down with the Yanks!

By Gary Kamiya



Salon Staff
September 30, 2000 3:30AM (UTC)

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Your article very much hit the nail on the head. We don't care much for American egos. Just in the past 24 hours I witnessed:

1. Americans talking extremely loudly on their mobile phones in crowded trains -- an extreme annoyance.
2. Americans pushing into queues for tickets that were hours long.
3. Americans shouting "KOREA SUCKS!" really loudly at the Korea vs. U.S.A. baseball game. Very unsportsmanly.

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U.S. foreign policy is laughable, and exemplifies the arrogance that Americans carry around as they strut around on Sydney streets looking for any store that sells bagels. (Don't even try to convince them to try our wide range of food from every corner of the globe.) We also don't care very much for American ignorance, which has continued jingoistic Australian stereotypes.

Yes, a lot of it has to do with the "tall poppy syndrome." Often the only way to be truly successful in Australia is to keep a low profile. This is in total contradiction to America's boorishness. Australians also love to root for the underdog, the lesser-matched teams. We just hope that the "anti-American" fever that has ripped through the Olympics alerts the general American tourist/public that they should be less proud, rather than go home thinking that a thread of vilification exists perennially in our cultural fabric.

We have a Spanish Quarter, but no American Quarter. And a lot more Australians would know what a tapas bar serves rather than know the actors starring in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

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-- Andy Moore

You guys just don't get it, do you? When the Soviet Union and East Germany were winning medals hand over fist, a good portion of the free world still chose to cheer for them instead of the Americans. Why? Humility. It is what has been the mark of a civilized, gentle human beings for a couple of millennia at least. And American athletes just don't have it in their genetic makeup. Don't blame them, mind you. When was the last time humility was promoted as a positive attribute in any public medium in the U.S.? Thump the chest, let out a roar, get in their face and let 'em know who's in charge!

Just fucking charming.

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-- Mark Kelly

Gary Kamiya wants to know why the rest of the world is annoyed with American arrogance. Perhaps he should look at why he wrote an article so obviously tailored towards an American audience, for a Web site which has a global readership.

-- Derek McGann

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As an American living in Sydney who has also been attending Olympic events, I've been reading Gary Kamiya's coverage with interest.

The anti-American sentiment he has noticed is often justified. We have overheard many Americans here for the games who made us cringe and hide our flag in shame. Bragging about our teams (loudly), our strong dollar (loudly) and our general superiority (loudly). While complimenting the Aussies on what good hosts they are in the most patronizing of ways.

While it is hard as an American to listen to your country being maligned, we look at it as a great eye-opener -- maybe we Americans should pay a bit more attention to what the rest of the world thinks.

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Also, since the word "root" is the equivalent of "fuck" here, he probably shouldn't use it in conversation with Aussies!

-- Karen Meyer

As a Sydney-sider born and bred, I was truly sorry to read about Gary Kamiya's subjection to anti-American prejudice at the Games. Unfortunately there is a small minority here who indulge in anti-American sentiment: a kind of racism for the politically correct. With apologies,

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-- C.Norton-Smith

Why do we Americans whine when the whole world fails to think the USA is as great as some think it is? You'd think it'd be enough that every school kid on the globe craves Nike shoes and idolizes Michael Jordan; that you can get a bottle of Coke in the smallest African village; that we always (yawn) win the most gold medals at the Olympics and then make sure every knows it.

Could it be that we are embarrassed by our culture? Could it be that we hate it that "90210" and "Baywatch" and Britney Spears define us?

We are supposedly the most free nation in the world with a superlative higher education system and access to the latest technology. Why can't we marshal the resources (personal and political) to do something about the cultural imperialism that makes us so despised? Maybe it's because we don't want to give up the stunning (and destructive) array of privileges that come with being on top. We, as a nation, consume a huge percentage of the world's resources, support a government that bosses other countries around and pour money into companies that flood the globe with the worst of our pop culture. Are we surprised that we are resented?

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Want to change our reputation? We have to work to change ourselves first. In the meantime, it will just take a little more conversation (like Gary Kamiya's discussion with the Aussies) to show others that we're not all like Donald Trump.

-- Rachel Roberson

Gary Kamiya's coverage of the Olympics has been superb, "right on the money" as you guys would probably say. And Gary, if you ever wander out Balmain way (a Sydney suburb), I'd be more than happy to buy you a beer, sit in front of a big TV in a pub, and join in a resounding chorus of "Go U.S.A." just for the hell of it. I'll bring my running shoes and a couple of mouthguards.

-- Ross Sharp

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With all due respect to Australians, they really have to stop calling the American kettle black. Look in the mirror, mates, and realize that we (Americans and Australians) are far more similar than you'd like to admit. The difference lies in the fact that Americans (or at least American athletes) are just more successful, and therefore "seem" to be bigger braggarts. Given the chance (Lleyton Hewitt ring a bell?), Aussies will swagger, spit and chest pump with the best of them. Americans may not be better than Australians, but we most certainly are no worse than our brethren down under, and it's time they just accept that. And time we Americans stop apologizing.

-- Dina del Valle


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