June 17, 2003

why do americans...

Why is it that Americans do almost everything backwards from the rest of the world? What is it about the way we do things that makes us think that it is better than the way the whole world does it?

For example:

We use inches and feet, the whole rest of the world uses cm and m
we use fareinheit (sp) and the rest of the world uses celsius
we drive on the right side of the road, and the rest of the world uses the left


Posted by GodzScout at June 17, 2003 12:26 AM

As far as the rest of the world driving on the other side of the road... that's not true. There are some countries in Europe and the rest of the world that drive on the right side of the road. (France, I think?)

Most of the examples you site are just measuring systems. Yes, we do it different. It's a cultural thing. Most scientists, even Americans, use the metric system. But our regular people know inches, feet, and miles from the time we're children. It's hard to change that.

I think your idea is more profound when you consider things beyond measuring. Why do the Japanese and other cultures have a stereotype of an "ugly American" (rude, arrogant, etc.)? A lot of the impression people seem to get of Americans comes from the cultural products they see in their countries, such as movies and Television. Let's just say in Japan they're not importing shows like "Touched by an Angel."

But, as far as your basic premise goes, most citizens in other countries will all see their own countries view as correct. This is the problem of culture communication: being humble enough to acknowledge another culture and try to communicate without crushing it with your own opinions, but actually trying to learn.

Anyway. Interesting thought. Just thought I'd share. I went to Japan last summer, so that's where some of this knowledge stems from.

Posted by: Cal at June 17, 2003 01:33 PM

Canada drives on the right side of the road...

Posted by: Jon M. at June 26, 2003 01:44 PM