Ever read the well known book, The Ugly American?
A short quote from an essay written about the book, by Michael Meyer of the NYTimes,
In the annals of misunderstood titles, a special place belongs to William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick’s novel “The Ugly American.” Today, the phrase is shorthand for our compatriots who wear tube tops to the Vatican or shout for Big Macs in Beijing. But as summer vacation season begins, it’s worth recalling that the travelers in “The Ugly American” aren’t drunken backpackers or seniors sporting black socks, but the so-called educated elite, whose insensitivity to local language and customs prompts observations like this (*quoted from the book):
“The simple fact is, Mr. Ambassador, that average Americans, in their natural state, if you will excuse the phrase, are the best ambassadors a country can have,” a Filipino minister tells an American official. “They are not suspicious, they are eager to share their skills, they are generous. But something happens to most Americans when they go abroad. Many of them are not average . . . they are second-raters.”
The novel is a series of linked sketches of real people that Lederer, a Navy captain who served as special assistant to the commander in chief of United States forces in the Pacific and Asian theater, and Burdick, a political scientist, encountered overseas during the buildup to Vietnam. The book was originally commissioned by W. W. Norton as nonfiction, but an editor suggested it might be more effective as a novel.
“What we have written is not just an angry dream,” the authors note in the introduction, “but rather the rendering of fact into fiction.”
Yet the book’s enduring resonance may say less about its literary merits than about its failure to change American attitudes.
Today, as the battle for hearts and minds has shifted to the Middle East, we still can’t speak Sarkhanese….
It’s also a fact that the most vocal of America’s Christians, have forgotten how to speak as Christians,
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas GOP governor-turned-Fox News host and radio personality, tore into Islam earlier this week, using a recent terror threat that put United States embassies on high alert to suggest that the Muslims were “uncorked animals”…
“Can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days,’” Huckabee said. “You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday. So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals… ” – Continued Here, Mike Huckabee: Muslims Depart Mosques Like ‘Uncorked Animals’
I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this man was once a Baptist minister/pastor.
And we wonder why our ability, as followers of Christ, to touch the hearts and minds of the lost has become so difficult…