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Are Americans Polite Because They Feel Superior?

Over the weekend, the English writer Geoffrey Dyer wrote a wonderful essay in The New York Times magazine entitled “My American Friends”...

Over the weekend, the English writer Geoffrey Dyer wrote a wonderful essay in The New York Times magazine entitled “My American Friends” in which he argues that Americans are actually remarkably…polite. To which one’s natural instinct is to reply: “What?????” (Or rather…”Pardon???”)

Today I’m over on PoliticsDaily.com talking about his thesis and adding my own two…pence.

Have a look

Image: Smiley American Girl by cproppe via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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  1. daryl boylan January 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    If Americans are thought politer by Mr. Dyer, he clearly has had a somewhat narrow (happily for him) experience of our nationals. True, many Americans are (why else do we have mothers?) but too many are anything but. I confess to a regional bias: I grew up in the midwest, where most folks, like most southeners, tend to be courteous. It was a rude shock to come to New York. Took me years to realize that what I heard as extreme rudeness was just custom & that underneath NooYawkahs could be as kind as my Chicago neighbors.

  2. Colin July 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Daryl, if you actually read the article he mentions his friends are from California and mostly did not support Bush, thus I doubt the impression of politeness came from the South or the Midwest. Honestly, why do people from middle America think they are polite? My black friend was called a “nigger” in the South as if that were the normal way to address someone of his color. Middle America is filled with anachronisms like that, it’s more stagnant and hardly a place I would call more polite and civilized than the coastal regions.

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