The “Stupid American” Incident

Of course, ignorant people exist all over the world, but we Americans have a special reputation for being ignorant and opinionated at the same time. (ignorant + opinionated = stupid.) I just wonder what percentage of “stupid Americans” are just joking around. Has to be at least some. I played one this past weekend:

If the question or the person asking annoys me, sometimes I reply with an equally stupid answer. So I was standing around talking to Niklas outside the rice processing plant, when the Australian guy (machinist from this video) came up and – I don’t recall the exact subject – jokingly interjected, “…until YOU Americans put the world into this financial crisis.”

Of course, I love being addressed as if I’m a group of people. So I just blinked at him and asked, “What financial crisis?” I cut my eyes at Niklas and gave him a look as if to say, let’s see where this goes. Well, the Aussie couldn’t believe it! Someone doesn’t know about the world financial crisis?! (Especially someone who can explain a CDO. Haha.) “Don’t you know about the huge economic crisis from like, the past two years?!” Actually, it’s more like the past 5 years. But no. No, I don’t. Blink, blink. 

He: Don’t you read newspapers?

Me: I don’t like how the ink gets all over my fingers.

Right about now, Niklas is about to lose it from stifling his laughter. Somehow the Aussie doesn’t notice Niklas, or maybe he thinks Niklas is laughing at me.

He: You don’t know about when all the banks collapsed?! People lost their homes?

Me: Oh! You mean last Friday, 12/21/12? Did something really happen?

He: No!! Not last week. Like 2 years ago. Moms and Pops lost their homes!

Me: I don’t know of anyone losing their homes. My parents have their home…

And so he went on for awhile, doing a pretty bad job of describing the ’08/’09 thing as if it were an ’10 thing, ever incredulous that I had no idea what he was talking about. At this point it was too late to change tunes. If I came clean that I’d obviously been joking, he would be embarrassed and blame me in some way. There had to be an idiot, so I just let it stay me.

Later, I asked Niklas if I was being that subtle. “No, I thought it was pretty obvious you were joking. But you’re American and Americans have a reputation for being really stupid. If you were English or something, I think he would have gotten it. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t.”

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