Watching the Golden Globes one can surmise what the rest of the world thinks of we Americans. First America’s greatest assets are its movies and so we amuse all the world. On the other hand we also frighten the world with our trillion dollar military, fundamentalist Christians, heavily armed citizenry and violent street crime.
To foreigners we can make the world laugh or blow it up on any given day. Don’t believe me? Just visit Europe and you will see an American tank at the foot of the Eifel Tower and at Tate Modern in London pop art showing an American jet fighter blowing something up.
When I go overseas I have to take on two personas in fact to please the different perspectives foreigners have of us. To some I must be the regal tough guy representing the world’s superpower and to others the bumbling American looking for someone who can speak English.
On one trip a woman from southeast Asia did not want me to abandon our tour of the back streets of Granada by jumping in cab because they felt safe having me around while in Paris the woman in the ticket booth laughed so hard she almost passed out watching me fumble with my phrase book trying to buy two boat tickets. She ended up speaking perfect English to me.
And as a Jeffersonian and as a strict egalitarian I don’t want to be treated any different than any other national. So please just let me be myself and allow me to photograph your Mono Lisas and Forums and Big Bens in peace so that we may all live in peace together.