There’s an interesting thing that I noticed among a small number of other travelers while I was in Europe. A number of young Americans seemed desperate to be accepted by the Europeans. Usually this took the form of taking the opportunity to make fun of America and various aspects of American society and then to talk about how much smarter and better Europe is. Any person from any country can of course find grounds for joking about their country or pointing out its flaws, but these particular young Americans were going out of their way to demean their own nation and society. If you took them seriously, you’d come away with the impression that America was some sort of dysfunctional society comprised only of idiots (except for them, of course) and that Europe was a modern utopia. While I was a little dismayed by the level of ignorance and absurdity being spoken by these “enlightened” Americans, more than that I was saddened that they felt the need to berate and disown their own country in order to make friends. It would have been incredibly rude for me walk over to them and interrupt, and it’s also possible their talk was merely the result of an inner need to be accepted by others, but part of me just wanted to pull these other Americans aside and let them know that it was ok to be American.