So, USA Today has an article about how Americans travelling abroad at the moment can avoid being...
Avoid American fast-food restaurants and chains.
Keep discussions of politics to private places, not rowdy bars.
Take a rain check on wearing clothes featuring American flags or sports team logos.
Keep your passport out of sight.
Keep cameras, video equipment and maps tucked away.
Soften your speech; Americans typically overshadow their hosts in the volume department.
Now, a few things strike me about these tips: firstly, is this stuff really non-obvious? Before this article, were Americans under the impression that going into rowdy bars, talking loudly about bombing Iraq while wearing a stars and stripes t-shirt with a camera slung around their neck and their passport poking out their breast pocket was okay? (Thinking about London in July, this may actually be the case). Maybe if they followed these tips all the time we wouldn't find them so annoying in the first place? And finally, doesn't this advice apply to all sane people, not just americans? Especially the bit about not wearing flag-based clothing: newsflash guys, it was sort of cute on September 12th, but immediately after that it went back to being just bad taste.
Even more interesting from the article is that quote that "a declining number of Americans (54% today vs. 79% a year ago) believes that the USA enjoys a favorable image abroad". What? Some of you still believe the world isn't pissed off with you? Hellooo-ooo! Europe is pissed off with you! The middle east is pissed off with you! All of Asia is pissed off with you for a variety of generally good reasons! That's like 90% of the world population!
But now, the clincher, from Vince Vaughn (I've never heard of him either...):
"Man, it was bad," says the Rat Pack-y star of Swingers. "These girls saw us and were kind of flirting, and they kept asking us if we were American. Finally we said, 'Yes,' and they just took off.
"One girl turns and says, 'We were hoping you were Canadian.' Canadian? Since when was it cooler to be Canadian?"