Traveling to western Europe here is some help....
The Ugly American Handbook
Europeans hate us? Next time you’re overseas keeping their second-rate economies afloat with good ol’ U.S. greenbacks, give ’em something to whine about.
Condescending Frogs; scheming Krauts; bottle-wielding, snaggle-toothed Brits. For some reason our “allies” in Western Europe see fit to perceive us as arrogant, self-indulgent, and hypocritical. Losers! We’re sick of their inferiority complex—why can’t they just accept their inferiority? Evidently, somebody’s forgotten who gave the world Baywatch. To try to smooth things over, the White House has created the Office of Global Communications to shine up our image with our fair-weather foreign friends. But who needs bureaucrats handling our PR when we can put our own best foot forward…and step right in their kidney pie? We’ve come up with a code of conduct for Americans overseas, designed to enhance mutual understanding, backed by devastating nuclear firepower. Enjoy your trip!
A great place to visit—if you like berets and body odor.
Country overview: The tune-up fight for any invading army bent on continental conquest. The French army has had a long and distinguished record of surrender throughout military history. Just one more good reason to question their superior attitude. Then there’s their personal hygiene. No…wait a minute! There actually isn’t!
How to win them over: The French have plenty to be embarrassed about, so put them at ease by letting them know “anybody can make mistakes.” For example, “The Louisiana Purchase wasn’t a bad deal, given the real estate market at the time.” Or, “That whole Maginot line thingy would’ve worked if those Nazis just played by the rules.” When traveling, let the locals know you’re a connoisseur of the local cuisine they’re all so proud of. Invite one to join you at a sidewalk café for a box of wine and some fries.
“Thanks for the statue! You’re welcome for your continued existence as a free and independent nation.”
“Don’t you guys have any Wonder Bread?”
“I didn’t know Notre Dame had a cathedral over here!”
“Sorry. Americans only accept surrenders on Mondays and Thursdays.”
Nice people once you get past the language barrier.
Country profile: Can you blame the Brits for being bitter after spending the past 50 years pissing away an empire? So join in the fun and hit the pubs to lament “the good old days when we enslaved the wogs for their own bloody good.” Indeed, the U.K. seems to be a place delightfully mired in the past—with palace guards and oral hygiene straight out of the Dark Ages. Come for the blood pudding, stay for a thrashing from violent soccer hooligans!
How to win them over: It’s hard to overstate the importance of setting a good example in the U.K. So sidle up to the bar in one of the charming old locals, tell them to put a lid on all that 10W40 they have on tap, and buy the house a nice, cold Bud.
“Help me settle a bet. You’re not all gay, right?”
“Love your little kingdom! Sorta like America’s Mini-Me.”
“Why don’t you just call it soccer like everybody else?”
“You talk just like the bad guys in Gladiator.”
“You guys are hilarious. I love that Paul Hogan.”
Sure they like to stir things up, but the strudel’s fantastic.
Country profile: Europe’s “child who plays poorly with others” had built an entire culture based on military invasion and looting until our B-17s bombed the bastards back into the 19th century. These days ethnic hatred is confined to freelance organizations, but the rank-and-file fascist is still slow to embrace American initiatives overseas. They do have McDonald’s now—we recommend the Sausage McBratwurst.
How to win them over: Last fall Germany’s justice minister compared our president to Adolf Hitler. It was obviously a wistful remembrance of nastier times, so encourage their view that Bush is indeed der Führer in a pair of Levi’s. In no time a crowd of goose-stepping skinheads will materialize to do your bidding (they’ll get your laundry whiter than white!). The Germans also love talking about local architecture, so ask why all the buildings seem to have a vintage of around 1946.
“I already paid for this lunch, pal. It’s called the Marshall Plan.”
“What? No Coors Light? You call this a beer hall?”
“Is this pig brain kosher?”
“Sorry about your Beemer—you try parallel parking a tank.”
Home of plush Corinthian leather!
Country profile: It’s hard to believe this nation of lisping pretty boys sporting ruffled shirts and spit curls once controlled half our hemisphere. They may be effete, but they also have balls. Last fall the highlight of Madrid’s Fashion Week was a show featuring models clad in bullet-riddled outfits, strutting to The Star Spangled Banner and the sound of exploding bombs. Charming!
How to win them over: Nothing says buenos días to the Spanish like alcohol-induced unconsciousness and animal cruelty. These people blow out of work every day at one to sleep off their nightly sangria-paloozas—just so they can do it again that night. The nation’s most popular “sport” involves shoving four-foot shivs into a confused bull to the delight of a packed house of sadists. Sort of like Celebrity Boxing but easier to pick winners. Show up at a local’s house with a dead house pet and a six-pack of wine coolers and take a nice long siesta on the couch; they’ll think you’ve been to Spanish finishing school.
“It’s funny how Barcelona sounds like My Sharona.”
“Do all bullfighters dress like Elton John?”
“You Mexicans sure are friendly.”
“Give me 20 on the bull to win.”
“Drop the chalupa.”