The reputation of the "Ugly American" abroad is not… just some cruel stereotype, but—according to the American government itself—worryingly accurate. Now, the State Department in Washington has joined forces with American industry to plan an image make-over by issuing guides for Americans travelling overseas on how to behave.
Among the guide's helpful tips: "Ask people you're visiting about themselves," "Listen at least as much as you talk," "Most people in the world have little or no interest in the World Series or the Super Bowl," and "What we call 'soccer' is football everywhere else."
Are American tourists impolite relative to other tourists? That hasn't been my experience at all—quite the opposite. And yet, as Business for Diplomatic Action's Web site frets, "Americans are often perceived by others as arrogant, loud and unwilling to listen, and a threat to national cultures." A national program to clarify the multiple meanings of football should clear that right up.