NFL: The International Series—London, Sunday 10-31-2010—Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers – BOO!

The Ugly Americans

Why am I so harsh? The people who planned this visit to take the U.S. football game to a foreign country as a showcase for our brand failed — FAILED! — to adapt to the foreign nature of that venue. The program should have been approached with a cross-cultural frame of mind. An intercultural experience. Blind! Blind producers. Deaf! Deaf producers and commentators. Because there is in the American mind abroad the ugly American who has no view of the host culture, at least in so far as this program was an example. I am sure that the producers omission of a cross-cultural view was a natural oversight because they had no consciousness of any cross-cultural possibility, for that is the nature of ethnocentrism; that is, centered only in its own culture, even though surrounded by everything foreign. It equals the nature of racism still operating in the U.S. For one example, the treatment of the U.S. President.

There was in London a showcase of American ignorance, a gross insensitivity toward the British view of American football. In the telecast booth, it was business as usual. The American commentators could and should have included a Brit point of view. Creative thinking should have told them that. The selection of a guitar rendition of the national anthem of Britain was inappropriate. They wanted to sing their national theme, as we do ours, but the focus was on a “virtuoso” guitar performance. (Good as it was.) It would have been refreshing to hear the “other footballers”, Brit soccer players’ reactions to our game. What do their football players have to say about the comparisons and contrasts with American football? Where was the Brit voice? What did our teams do except to get off transportation, play football, and get back on transportation? What’s the use of going abroad?

What is the point of the whole program of international games? The producers did not produce! Just like the team I was rooting for! (Bad call there, ref.)

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us -“
(Robert Burns in a poem “To a Louse”)

My cross-cultural viewpoint really suffered the anguish of a missing cross-cultural experience; I felt that not so much for me but for the many viewers at home in America, who missed having an important experience, not available in most arenas on Sunday afternoons, an experience that might have stretched some learning for the understanding of different cultures interacting. Otherwise, why go abroad?


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