I’ve never particularly liked the stereotype of the ‘Ugly American‘ – the stereotype of Americans as loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless, ignorant, and ethnocentric. However, over the last few years, I’ve come to think that there is a certain subset of the US that does, indeed, fall into that stereotype of being loud, arrogant bullies who think that the US gets to tell the rest of the world what to do.
The example that springs to mind here would be PZ Myers. Specifically he praises the American Astronomical Society’s ruling on Matt Taylor’s shirt. He takes the line that if you object to the childish hysteria that’s been going around the last few days, you’re wrong because the American Astronomical society has pronounced on it.
Except there’s this little detail that he seems to miss: The Philae lander is a project of the European Space agency, and Matt Taylor is a British subject. Got that? The American Astronomical Society doesn’t have jurisdiction over here. In fact, as a friend of mine pointed out, this ludicrous hysteria has come almost exclusively from American feminists, as Europeans have something better to do.
So both pontiff Myers and the AAS really living up to the worst stereotype of their nation.
I think I speak for a lot of Europeans when I say this:
Incidentally, this makes complete and utter nonsense of the standard excuse that US feminists won’t criticize anything outside their own societies, not because they’re gutless, but because they don’t want to interfere. Or they think they’ll be ineffective.