Often depicted as if its one large continent, similar to Antarctica, while in reality the Arctic, or "North Pole" is the name for several regions comprised of Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland and even Scandinavia and Northern Russia.
Eskimo Land: The Arctic will mostly be inhabitated by the Inuit people, still nicknamed by the politically incorrect name "Eskimo" in many countries. Usually they will still be portrayed as if modern age and technology never set in. They will all wear parkas, carve trinkets and permanently live in igloos, while in reality igloos were temporary shelters, not actual houses. When they travel they use a sled, pulled by huskies, and go fishing in a canoo while trying to harpoon every animal in their vicinity. When not eating fish, they will consume whale blubber or cod-liver oil.
The Arctic itself will often be simply one blank white landscape, full of ice and snow. No plant life is to be seen, while in reality the Arctic has lots of vegetation.
Various polar animals will have a cameo: huskies, polar bears, polar foxes, lemmings, seals, walruses, whales, orcas, belugas, narwhals,... and inaccurately penguins. Penguins only live on the South Pole and not on the North Pole. Sometimes Eskimos themselves are depicted living on the South Pole, which is again wrong for the same reason.
Expect a reference to the fact that there is no sun for months, yet "aurora borealis" ("northern lights") can be seen in the sky, no matter what time of the year it is. As a result, the Inuit will go to sleep "for several months" in their igloo, as if they are physically able to have a winter sleep like animals do.
And, of course, the Arctic is Santa Claus' permanent residence!
See Canada, Eh? for the main page about stereotypical portrayals of Canada.
Outside North America people often confuse Canadians with Americans, or when they speak French, with Frenchmen. To be fair, even Americans sometimes forget that Canada also has a large French speaking population.
Canadians are often depicted as Mounties, hockey players, lumberjacks or wildlife hunters.
In many countries frequented by American tourists, the advice "pretend you're Canadian" is often given.
Canadians also tend to be portrayed as a lot less jingoistic than Americans. Quebec separatism may be mentioned, but Western separatism might as well not exist.
Québécois, on the other hand, tend to be portrayed by English speakers as being a bunch of separatist French Jerks, and are portrayed in France as being backward colonialists that aren't True Frenchmen. That is, of course, when English speaking foreigners remember that Canada also has a large French speaking population.
Ontario is best known for the Niagara Falls, which also covers a part of New York, USA. The waterfall is generally known in popular culture for having daredevils crawl inside barrels and jump of the fall afterwards.
Almost inevitably the Canadian will be white, and if they aren't French will have English or Scottish family name.
Interestingly enough, Canada is often portrayed as being more primitive and close to nature than the "modern" United States. Yet, most of their laws (secularism, gay marriage, universal healthcare, mosaic culture etc.) are far more progressive and liberal than those of the United States.
To many people (and not only Americans themselves) the United States are seen as the most important place in the world. Whenever the continent "America" is mentioned people are usually solely referring to the United States. If you can become rich and famous in the U.S. then you have really made it. For many Americans the idea of becoming rich, famous and successful is almost an obsession. From becoming the "prom king and queen", to making it big in Hollywood, over becoming a billionaire to even entering the White House. Americans always see everything "big!", are in constant competition with others and feel that "time is money". It comes to no surprise that fast food was invented in the U.S.A.
After Russia,Canada and China the U.S.A. is the largest country in the world in terms of geographic area. This is already something that's difficult to imagine when you're living in a smaller country. Americans think "big" because they can! There is so much space in the U.S.A., compared to the more crowded and suburbanized countries in, for instance, Europe. Taking a plane to visit another town or state within the same country is very normal.
Americans are generally painted as completely ignorant of the rest of the world. American tourists may visit other countries, but are more interested in shopping and souvenirs than authentic culture, and are always rude and condescending to "the natives".
A well known European joke has a European guide show some American tourists around in the city. One American isn't particularly impressed, though. He keeps complaining about the small size of all the monuments compared to those in the U.S.A. Near the end of the tour the European guide really gets fed up with this. Then the American notices another building and once again boasts: "Look at that! In the U.S.A. that pathetic small building would be much bigger!" To which the guide replies: "That wouldn't surprise me, because that's a mental institution."
American patriotism is also something that raises eyebrows in other countries: school children being forced to salute the American flag every morning and memorize the pledge of allegiance, people rising in unison to sing along with the national anthem whenever it's played, controversy over burning flags,... Though other countries are not immune to nationalistic pride American patriotism feels very creepy in foreign eyes. Also, sarcasm and self-depreciating comedy don't seem to be as common as in the United Kingdom, for instance.
Positive stereotypes about the United States are generally that people see it as a "land of opportunities". The pioneer spirit is still strong and people have the feeling that even "an average guy or gal" can make it there. Foreigners also have the impression that, because of this, everybody in the U.S.A. is incredibly wealthy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
This also explains why white Americans are often depicted as filthy rich cigar-smoking business men with too much money to spend. If you have to believe a lot of foreign fiction all American business people work in skyscrapers! Stories about Hollywood stars living in mansions with a swimming pool and a private jet also contribute to this idea. As do American TV soaps, sitcoms and films where the characters usually live in very spacious houses with many modern vicinities.
Another positive image about the U.S.A. is that other countries (used to) look up to it. The United States was the first colony to become independent and introduce the first foundation of a modern democratic constitution. This was an inspiration for many other countries who became independent in the centuries after. The American constitution guarantees liberties and freedom of speech that go further than most other countries, even democratic ones. Thus the U.S.A. became "the land of the free", symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, which welcomed all immigrants who fled from persecution in their home country.
Still, many foreigners have the impression that Americans don't care enough about their national politics, mostly because - in contrast to other modern democracies - they only have two significant parties to vote into presidency. As a result most Americans don't bother to vote, which wouldn't be such a problem if it weren't for the fact that the entire world is affected by their voting decisions. Since World War II America's influence on world politics and economy has been so dominant that many people across the world always hope that the American people vote wisely instead of going for the most superficial or politically extreme candidate.
Americans are often seen as people who vocally try to defend their own rights, according to what they claim is in the constitution. This is also in part where the idea of both their stereotypical cocksure machoism and arrogance hail from.
America is infamous for its many frivolous lawsuits. A common stereotype is that Americans will seize every opportunity to sue a company or other person for a ridiculous amount of money, because "the law is the law".
The Grim Reaper complains in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: "Shut up! Shut up, you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say 'Let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say this'".
Another image many foreigners have of Americans is that they are extremely extrovert, yet appear to be very genteel. They will act very friendly and enthusiastic, smile, say hello and goodbye ("Oh, hiiiiiii!", "Have a nice day!",...), show involvement in what you say ("Oh rrrrrreallly?", "Oh my goooooood!"), but it comes across as if they don't mean it half of the time.
A stereotype about Americans that has gotten under a lot of strain since the second half of the 20th century is that of the "heroic American". During the 19th and early 20th century Americans were depicted as cowboys who save the day, a stereotype fed by Buffalo Bill, John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Clint Eastwood. Powerful comic book superheroes like Superman, Batman, Popeye and Spider-man also fueled this image, fighting for "truth, justice and the American way." Especially older generations tend to see Americans as noble, self-reliant individuals who take no nonsense, grab matters into their own hands, act quick and efficient and save everyone. This is also the idea most Americans (like to) have about themselves.
Thanks to the numerous Wild West legends and movie westerns the country is still seen as Americans Are Cowboys. If a character in foreign fiction is depicted as being American, he is either a cowboy or at least wearing a cowboy hat.
Even though the U.S. isn't the only country where carrying firearms is legal, the image of the "gun-obsessed American" is more common than with other nationalities. As the documentary Bowling for Columbine suggested many American TV shows and films scare their viewers so much that they will buy and do anything to feel safe. Though fear of violent threats is understandable some Americans are so paranoid that they carry a gun everywhere they go. Even when nothing dangerous is likely to happen. This "gun obsession" may have also been popularized by numerous violent Hollywood action movies where the cool ones always have large guns. Similar to a typical Hollywood scenario American real life crime fighting is often presented as if you just have to hunt and shoot down "the bad guy" and every problem is solved.
Foreign media sometimes gives the wrong impression that all American gun owners are mostly conservative Republican rednecks, while in reality even liberal minded and otherwise not that macho people may own a gun or more for self defense.
In other countries people see Americans as having very odd, almost contradictive repressive attitudes towards children, youngsters and even adults. Letting them watch extremely bloody and gory violent films is OK. Owning guns is O.K. But the very sight of a bare breast of genitalia is enough to drive them berserk. Despite the fact that gun violence is more harmful than human nudity. And all the while American media desperately tries to suggest sexualisation, but always just shy away from actually showing it. It's almost tempting fate. Another example of this is the legal drinking age in the U.S.A. 21 years old compared to 16 years old in European countries. And again while being one of the biggest beer drinkers in the world who promote 'having a beer with your buddies' constantly in the media!
From the South Park episode "I'm A Little Bit Country": "Imagine an entire country founded on saying one thing and then doing the other."
In foreign fiction an American will always talk in a Texan brawl.
Americans helped Europe win two world wars, but people usually forget that the U.S collaborated with other countries to defeat the Axis. Many war movies and documentaries paint the wrong impression that America won these wars singlehandedly. After World War II the United States were generally seen as liberators by all the countries that had been suppressed by the Nazis or Japanese: America Saves the Day. This led to an internationally positive view of the U.S. where many people across the world gladly embraced American products like Coca Cola, chewing gum, large cars and Hollywood films. As the Truman doctrine was introduced the American government started sending troops to every major international conflict, thus coining the nickname "the policeman of the world." However, during the 1960s at the height of the Vietnam War American's foreign policy was criticized by other countries. In later decades America's involvement in many wars, rebellions and other conflicts became controversial, usually because it seemed to be a greater benefit to their own government and multinationals than the actual countries themselves. To this day America's heroic image has remained polarized. Many people across the globe hate the U.S.A., solely based on the actions of their government, their powerful multinationals and their aggressive marketing campaigns. (See America Saves the Day, America Takes Over the World, Yanks with Tanks and America Wins the War).
Outside the USA many people have the impression that all Americans are devoutly obsessed with God and Jesus and will do anything to force their conservative ideals on others. Many foreign news casts and documentaries often focus on the most extreme pious and God fearing fundamentalists. Of course, since the U.S.A. didn't have a health care system like many other democratic nations had, being part of a religious community often used to be the only way to get aid from your local neighborhood during sour times.
John Lennon's famous and very controversial "More popular than Jesus" comment became a significant part of his band's enormous cultural legacy, and Beatles documentaries often show the now cringeworthy film clips of panicking Americans destroying and burning their records in protest and fear.
Outside the U.S. a stereotypical image of the dumb, fat, lazy, ignorant, self-important, decadent, prudish, and clueless white American exists. Most of these images are based on American fast food culture which has spawned a lot of morbidly fat people. Of course, in foreign countries sitcom characters like Archie Bunker, Al Bundy, Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are also often seen as representative of the typical American.
Americans eat nothing else besides very unhealthy food, including (but not limited to) hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, burritos, deep pan pizzas, barbecue ribs, potato chips and similar crunchy snacks, fried chicken, turkey, chilli, chocolate bars, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, apple pie and drink either soda, cola or beer.
It really doesn't help that Adam Richman's Man v. Food is widely screened outside the USA and serves to confirm the widely-held notion that a majority of Americans are obese waddling gutbuckets. Even the standard portion of whatever foodstuff Adam is sampling is vastly spilling-off-the-plate larger than a comparable eatery in, say, Britain, would serve. And Adam himself visibly gains a lot of weight over the course of the series...
Thanks to Hollywood and American TV shows many people across the globe who never visited the U.S.A. in their entire life are familiar with many aspects of America's culture, including slang expressions like "yeah", "o.k.", "howdy", "cool", "wow", "hi there, neighbor", "awesome", "gross" or "...and I'm like..." The global dominance of the U.S.A's mass consumer imperialism is often criticized by other countries, because according to them American corporations destroy many of their own picturesque and authentic national traditions. This is also the reason why snobbish people see the United States as a place where camp, kitsch and decadence are more prominent than actual art or sophistication. Disneyland, Hollywood blockbuster films, fast food, soft drinks, the stereotypical American nasal brawl accent, dumb TV shows, Las Vegas, their poor public school system and American's aggressive merchandising also contribute to this idea.
From the Simpsons episode "30 Minutes Over Tokyo", when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan
Waiter:: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
Foreign audiences associate American media with big budget spectacle. Consider the fact that Hollywood is the only place in the world where millions of dollars are used to make films and TV shows about braindead sensational or otherwise banal topics. And mostly because they can export it to the rest of the world, even if fails to make a profit in the U.S. During the first half of the 20th century westerns seemed to be their most succesful international export product. Since the second half of that century it's mostly blockbuster action movies with long fight sequences, spectacular explosions and gratuitous bullet rains.
Similarly, the tendency towards Americanization also irks many people across the world. Stories of foreign origin are often changed to appeal to an American audience. This in itself isn't that strange - other countries may do it too- but when the United States does it it usually goes too far. The setting of a foreign story is completely changed to a typical American town so that American audiences won't feel too alienated. Characters will be replaced by typical American everyday men and women who speak in hip slang. If some of the foreign elements are kept they are often reduced to being stereotypes, like, for instance, a Funny Foreigner whose English and strange, exotic manners are obviously out of place compared to our all-American protagonists. In general, the entire tone of the adaptation feels very dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Subtle touches, authentic atmosphere, meaningful dialogue, controversial elements, political, cultural and historical references are all removed, because producers assume that most Americans will be unable to understand or handle it. A complex plot will be simplified and the trailers for American audiences will focus more on low-brow comedy, explosions and violent action sequences. What non-Americans tend to oversee is that not all American audiences are in favor of these "Americanized" watered down versions.
Many American sitcoms appear to be bland, safe, formulaic and cheesy family shows only aiming for the lowest and least offended common denominator. The jokes are predictable and center mostly around pop culture references - American pop culture that is. A laugh track will try to make clear that many of the awful jokes were meant to be funny. Expect a random appearance of a celebrity star at some point, always accompanied by huge audience applause, even if the actor is only famous in the USA itself. As always the series will be milked for what it's worth, long after having jumped the shark five seasons ago.
Though most people in the world watch a lot of television Americans tend to be stereotyped as obsessive TV watchers more often than other countries. Possibly because so many TV series are made in the U.S.A., but also because there are so many different channels. It seems as if there's so many airtime to fill that producers just throw in any crappy soap opera, drama series, comedy program, talk show, TV movie, reality show, animated cartoon series or religious show they can cobble together. Only to have them interrupted by long commercial breaks every seven minutes.
American news programs also come across as very biased and sensationalistic propaganda tools for either the government or the political party in the opposition. No neutral political news network seems to exist.
Type 2 examples are more numerous, the most obvious being Rufus of Street Fighter fame, who is morbidly obese, arrogant, very dim, chats absolute crap and has moves with sci-fi names (Galactic Tornado, Space Opera Symphony). Poison, also of Street Fighter (originally Final Fight) fame is very much Type 2, and is presented as overtly sexual, sleazy, sassy, and obsessed with money. In Rival Schools, one of the teams is made up of three American exchange students who sum up Type 2 almost completely; There's Roy, an arrogant, xenophobicJerkass, Tiffany an outrageously costumed, ditzycheerleader complete with Valley Girl expressions and pneumatic boobs, and finally Boman - a preacher in training. A good Mixed Flavour Type example is Ken Masters of Street Fighter fame, who is definitely cocky and brash, but is also an honourable person and shown to deeply care about his friends and family.
Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Outside the US, particularly from a UK/AUS point of view, there are names that are thought of as being quintessentially American-esque. Suitably macho, jock names likes "Chad", "Todd", "Brad" etc for boys, and cutesy names like "Tiffany", "Candy", "Britney" for girls are great examples, and if Americans are spoofed in media produced outside the US, you can bet a name like the above will be selected. Americans are also known for sometimes having rather an ''interesting'' taste in names, often striving for something "unique" rather than traditional — one only has to watch American talk-shows to see guests with names like "Jaxxon", "Sharpay" and "Sharadiant". Even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist conservatives like Sarah Palin exhibit a penchant for rather strange names, with her children - Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow and Trig...
In foreign fiction all American men will be called Joe, Hank, Al, Barney, Chuck, Lou, Jim, Bob, Tex, Donald or Jack.
American children mainly come in two flavours: Good-as-gold angels that can do no wrong and love their country as much as their proud parents, or rude, mischievous brats who overindulge in video games and candy, play practical jokes on authority and hate going to school, doing chores and visiting relatives.
In some European countries, American women are thought of as extremely easy to hit on, because they always want foreign boyfriends.
When playing sports: all Americans will be playing baseball, American football or basketball, usually with some cheerleaders jumping on the side. All these sports originated in the United States and remain far more popular than soccer, which is universally beloved in every country, except in the U.S. Apart from Pelé most Americans won't be able to name one famous soccer player, while in the rest of the world several iconic soccer players are household names. In fact, soccer is only popular in the U.S.A as sport activity among school students.
If you have to emphasize that you're in the United States, don't forget to reference the following clichés: the bald eagle, apple pie, baseball, basketball, American football, a ticker-tape parade, corn, (Thanksgiving) turkeys, skyscrapers, prairies, coyotes, canyons, the Star Spangled Banner, Mount Rushmore, The White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign, jazz music, country music, blues music, rap music, a fast food chain (preferably McDonald's), Coca Cola, large cars driving over deserted roads, hamburgers, hot dogs, cowboys, Native Americans and Mickey Mouse.
Old stereotypes show them as slaves, working in cotton fields and singing bluesy songs. If they are a bit better off they are portrayed as servants, butlers, cooks, shoe shiners or maids ("Mammy"s). They enjoy eating watermelons and/or chickens or playing dice games. Typical for those times they are depicted as being lazy, dumb, superstitious, primitive or overly submissive ("Yes suh, no ma'm") to their white superiors and scared of ghosts. If a black character is joyful he is usually an Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus type of character.
Modern stereotypes depict them as either being jazz musicians, gospel choir singers, baptists with loud and punctuated speech (see Preacherbot on Futurama), basketball players, dancers, stand-up comics, rappers, soul singers with large Afro-hair, gang members, pimps and prostitutes. They always talk in jive and are usually cool and sassy.
Historically, they have been called "Indians", a word that is still used outside the U.S.A. In the United States themselves the word is no longer considered politically correct and they are referred to as "Native Americans."
In previous centuries The Savage Indian was a common stereotype, fed by the 18th and 19th century Western idea that they were basically violent and primitive savages who just needed to be wiped from the country they lived in for centuries. Buffalo Bill 's Wild West shows and countless westerns have also cemented this image inside people's heads. The standard script depicts them as follows. When The Natives Are Restless they will start pounding a large drum and dig up their tomahawks. After mounting their mustangs they attack every stagecoach, covered wagon or fortress in the neighborhood. They shoot arrows or throw tomahawks at their victims all while ululating by putting one hand in front of their mouth (something real life Native American tribes never did, but was introduced by Buffalo Bill's shows). When they capture "palefaces" they either scalp them right away or take them to their Tipis And Totempoles village first. There they will tie them up against their totem pole and dance around the pole afterwards. When that is over and done with they will take turns in throwing tomahawks at their tied up prisoner to test his courage. After that they will scalp him of flay him alive.
However, most of the time they are shown being far more incompetent. They have a tendency to drive to close to the white settlers only to be easily shot off their horses or fortress walls to die in dramatic poses. Even when they sneak up an unsuspecting victim they will still blow it by ululating loudly before they can actually kill him. Usually the white men will hand them some "firewater", which the Natives will consume in great quantities, rendering them drunk afterwards.
Brown Face: Another racist stereotype is the image of the "redskin". In comics, cartoons and illustrations Native Americans will all have a dark red skin. In the years before political correctness came in even Caucasian actors have portrayed Native Americans by painting their own skin red.
All Native Americans speak Tonto Talk in a deep voice, while mentioning words and phrases like "How", "Ugh", "Um", "white men", "pale face", "brother", "ancestors", "many moons ago", "Big Chief", "pale face speak double talk",...at least once a sentence. They all have names where a state of character is combined with the name of an animal, plant of something other nature-related. For instance: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse,... The only tribes that seem to exist in popular culture are Apache, Cherokee, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Blackfoot and Sioux.
A more positive depiction of Native Americans that became the norm since the 1960s is the Noble Savage or Magical Nativeamerican, all of them badass. They will be Perfect Pacifist People who prefer smoking the Peace Pipe and signing peace treaties with white men. Unfortunately they are usually the victim of the white man's greed and colonialism. Often they live in such harmony with nature that they only kill as many buffaloes they need and not a single one more. Usually will provide the foolish white man with a Green Aesop about nature and the danger of destroying the environment. This image has become so strong that they are often used in environmental messages, like the Crying Indian.
Other stereotypical images are Indian women carrying their papoose ("child") in a bag on their back, indian maidens and The Chief's Daughter falling in love with a white prisoner thus saving his life. When Native Americans make friends they perform a Blood Brothers act. All communication is done by sending smoke signals to one another. When they travel it's usually by horse or by canoe.
In popular culture Native Americans are virtually a historical artefact. Stories set in the modern age hardly show them, except as proprietors of Native American Casinos. Those who aren't are poor, live in reservations, and are either alcoholics, diabetics, or both.
Native American characters also show up a good deal in beat 'em ups, and are almost without exception presented as being nature-loving, spiritual, calm, and dressed in the archetypal attire. Examples include the towering Thunder Hawk of Street Fighter, Michelle and Julia from Tekken and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat.
Hawaii: Pretty girls with long black hair, coconut bras and grass skirts who enjoy hula dancing and put flower garlands ("leis") over every tourist's shoulders. The island has a very relaxed atmosphere with parties ("luaus") and people drinking soft drinks while wearing Hawaiian shirts, surfing and playing the ukelele. There are also a lot of pineapples, Tiki statues and pigs roasted at the beaches. And of course, the word "Aloha" most be mentioned or sung at least once!.
California: A state where liberal thinking people live in the sun, near the beach. California also has a strange universal attraction for people outside the state to either visit or move to the place. In the 19th century the "gold rush" motivated many fortune seekers to move here. During the 1960s all hippies wanted to travel to San Francisco. Every child in the world wants to visit Anaheim because of Disneyland and every aspiring actor of director dreams of making it big in Hollywood.
San Francisco is best known for its streetcars, Golden Gate Bridge, earthquakes, homosexuals and hippies.
The San Fernando Valley is best known as a heaven for surfers. It's full of dumb bikini-clad blondes (Valley Girl) or equally brainless surfer dudes who all speak a specific slang ("Whoa, that's like, totally radical, dude!") made universally popular by MTV's Spring Breaks.
Oregon has an Unknown Rival relationship with California. Apart from the standard Californian stereotypes, Oregonians stereotype Californians as rich, snobby carpetbaggers who can't drive properly and raise property taxes. Interestingly, the two states have roughly the same values politically, both being reliable blue states in any presidential election. Oregon would probably argue that it has the real environmentalists while California only has the slick poseur versions. Splitters!
When the rest of the country remembers the Pacific Northwest, they they usually associate it with never-ending rainfall, hippies, environmentalism, hipsters, and (in the case of Seattle) grunge.
New Mexico is lucky to be considered part of the Union at all, most of the time it's kind of off to the side and gets awkward looks from everyone else. Also well known for the 1947 Roswell UFO conspiracies.
Truth in Television: The state's tourist magazine runs a monthly column called "One of Our Fifty Is Missing," for readers to report real-world encounters with others who honestly don't know that New Mexico is a state, leading for example to requests to show a New Mexico passport, etc. One of these was an experience recounted by a former governor of New Mexico.
Utah: See Mormonism, because nobody knows or mentions anything else about this state besides its Salt Lake or, for older people, the Osmonds. Basically, Utah is stereotyped as some kind of weird Mormon theocracy and a de facto foreign country on U.S. soil. Polygamy, which the Mormon church endorsed until 1890, is a case of Never Live It Down.
30 Rock's Jack Donaghy: I thought by now you'd be someplace that U.S. law couldn't touch you, like Bali or Utah.
Colorado has something of a duality. On the one hand, there's Colorado Springs, aka the Vatican City of Protestant fundamentalism where everyone owns a gun and lives in the mountains. On the other, there's Boulder and the ski towns, home of the Granola Girl, the New-Age Retro Hippie and, for the latter, rich celebrities making a second home, all of them snowboarding and getting high. And if you're from Denver or (especially) its suburbs, you're either a Badass Longcoat who's thinking about shooting up the school or the movie theater, or ducking and covering to get away. Eastern Colorado, of course, does not exist.
Nevada: Best known for Las Vegas and all the degenerate and decadent stuff that can be found there: gamblers, hookersnote prostitution in Nevada is not illegal at the state level, but it is in Clark country, which is the one Las Vegas is in ... of course the next two items are also illegal, mobsters, drug dealers, cheap and quick weddings, Elvis impersonators and washed-up former stars who perform there for nostalgic audiences before they finally croak. The rest of Nevada, apart from the Poor Man's Vegas in Reno, may as well be labeled "Here There Be Aliens."
Everyone in Idaho lives in a potato field, Boise, or Deliverance country (where everyone is part of the Klan or the Aryan Nation).
Montana is generally portrayed as having nothing but vegetarians/vegans, survivalists, libertarian psychos and militia nuts. Geography includes nothing but mountains, forests and national parks, with towns and cities all isolated as a result. Within Montana, people from Missoula are pot-smoking pansexual hippies, people from Bozeman just moved there from California/Colorado/Washington and are trying to subvert Montana's tradition of Rugged Individualism, and eastern Montana is a frozen wasteland full of Norwegian Lutherans (in other words, North Dakota). Oh yeah, and Hannah Montana lives here, as well.
There are, of course, no stereotypes of people from Wyoming since no one lives there. Well, maybe there are cowboys in the mountains but that's about it.
Apparently a lot of people think that North Dakota is a frozen wasteland with less than five people and not one of them has seen an ATM before. At least our banks aren't failing.
South Dakota is famous for Mount Rushmore... and features nothing else. It doesn't matter how you drive into the state; it'll always be the first thing you come across. The rest of it is pine trees, highways and wasteland. (In truth, eastern South Dakota has the overflow crowd of Norwegian Lutherans, for a lot of it.)
Kansas is apparently where rationality, science and fun all go to be burned alive for witchcraft. It used to be just that big flat area people hurried through to get to the Rockies.
Missouri... actually, no one cares about Missouri. Except for every few years in October. Or if you're a meth addict. Frowning is a state sport and no one ever wants to come back here. It's mostly remembered for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. If you live in an adjacent state (other than possibly Arkansas), you think the southern part (south of I-44 if you're generous, south of I-70 if you're not) is populated mainly by hillbillies; if you're from further away, you probably think that about the whole state.
Minnesota are seen either as hicks with snow instead of rusted-out cars, or pleasant, blonde suburbanites always willing to help you, if you don't want to (see Minnesota Nice). Either way, likely to be depicted as socially conservative but politically liberal, closer to earth Good Old Boy types, all of whom are Lutheran and Swedish. See Ole and Lena.
Des Moines, Iowa: the reason why Bill Bryson left town and came to England, making a rep as a famous travel writer, journalist, and occassional TV presenter. Without actually saying so, he implies the cloying crushing boredom of his home town and native state was the biggest single prompt to him to get up and go as far away as possible.
Nebraskans still drive covered wagons, live on farms, and raise corn and cows. They are also rabid Cornhusker fans, loving the team even more than their own families.
Depending on what part of Michigan you're from, you're either a crazy black mugger (Detroit/Flint/Pontiac area), a tree hugger (Grand Rapids), a rich snobby Jew (West Bloomfield), a rich snobby WASP (the rest of Oakland County, save Pontiac, which see above, plus Grosse Pointe) a rich snobby foodie tree hugger (Ann Arbor), a stern Calvinist fundamentalist (Holland and the rest of West Michigan), an Archie Bunker-type white Reagan Democrat who lost your job on the line (Monroe County, Downriver, much of Lansing area), or a hick who does nothing other than hunt (anywhere north of the Saginaw-Muskegon line). And don't forget da Yoopers: still a hunting hick, but with a cool accent and pasties, ya?
Illinois people are apparently either stuck-up, hypocritical, politically corrupt snobs with a Chicaaagaa drawl, or they're murderous gangsters ('20s or modern, take your pick). And they'll advertise the fact that they Abraham Lincoln lived there before his presidency constantly...
Let us not forget the Three Kinds of Indiana: hicks who could've been from Alabama if they weren't wearing snowboots and a winter coat; whitebread Everytown, America-ish suburbanites (particularly around Indianapolis and the Chicagoland region); and Inner City Indiana, for which the exemplar is Gary, Indiana, AKA the Armpit of America, where the chemical factories and steel mills release a putrid perfume for all to smell and where the cops will beat the crap out of you, cite you for marijuana possession... and proceed to smoke it right in your face. But to the rest of the world Indiana is associated with Indiana Jones' first name.
Wisconsin: Beer, cheese, beer cheese, bratwursts, cows, beer, cranberries, beer, the Brewers, the Badgers, the Packers (treated as a publicly-owned state religion), and (if you're really with it) Summerfestnote The largest music festival in the entire world. That's it. Oh, and Germans. LOTS of Germans. And beer. Oh yaaah, and all dose women who come from Wisconsin in the media will always be a middle-aged housewife who speaks with a Scandahoovian accent, don'chaknow? Oh You'betcha!
Everyone still flies the Confederate flag, especially from public buildings, Governors' residences, etc. The memory of coming second in The American Civil War is still lamented, as are multiple atrocities and indignities perpetuated by those damnyankees on the way South in sixty-five. EIGHTEEN sixty-five, that is.
Anyone from the South is an uneducated redneck/trailer trash, everyone has double names (Billy Bob, Mary Lou, etc.) or Biblical names (Jebediah, Ezekiel), is super religious, inbreeding is rampant, people enjoy shooting at anything that moves, drinking alcohol from a jug while sitting in a rocking chair and the Civil Rights Movement never happened. Also see the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where most of the ancient clichés are thrown together: black jazz and blues artists, country singers, goofy yokels, the Ku Klux Klan, cotton fields, chain gangs, bank robbers on the run, baptisms, the Mississippi floods,...
Louisiana is a subset of the Georgia/Alabama/Mississippi Deliverance country, except everybody speaks French patois. And there's New Orleans. New Orleans is drunk and debauched (or was destroyed by hurricane Katrina) and will mostly be filled with jazz bands and sleazy people. Occasionally a traditional Mississippi river boat will pass by. Expect hurricanes or floods to regularly destroy everything in its vicinity. Alligators inhabit every lake.
People from Tennessee are either hillbillies who play banjos and sleep with their cousins, typical fat Deep South rednecks, or murderous inner-city thugs who will beat you up, steal your wallet, and shank you with a knife if they think you might have more than $5 on you. The hillbillies are all on meth, the rednecks are all drunk, and the gangstas guzzle codeine cough syrup by the quart. The exceptions are Nashville, which is populated entirely with country musicians, and Graceland, which is filled with Elvis freaks.
West Virginia is considered an acceptable target even by the most politically correct people out there. According to the rest of America, West Virginians are all uneducated, white trash, racist, dirt poor, toothless, shoeless, gun toting hillbillies who eat raccoons and have moonshine running through their veins. The state pastimes include hunting squirrels and having sex with their cousins, then letting their inbred offspring drive when they're two years old.
Especially Texas. Howdy Y'all! Everyone in Texas is a gun-toting, horse-riding cowboy who eats nothing but gigantic steaks and huge bowls of chilli, drinks nothing but gigantic servings of beer (Shiner, Lone Star, or Budweiser if you have it), whiskey, and tequila, and drives a gigantic pickup truck. They all wear big cowboy hats, carry lassoos and attend rodeos every evening.
Everyone who lives in Mississippi is poor, morbidly obese with a heart condition and lives in an old-fashioned one-floor house next to the Mississippi River.
Everyone who lives in Oklahoma is either a proud Native American living in a teepee, or a dumb-as-rocks hillbilly living in a trailer wondering why the "ternaders" always blow his house away.
Florida. 98% of Americans think Florida's history began with the invention of air conditioning, the Panhandle is the only part of the state that is possibly south of the Mason-Dixon line, Miami-Dade is part of Cuba, not the United States, and the state's population doubles the day the first snowflake falls north of the Mason-Dixon line. Also, ask more than 99% of Americans what the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in North America is, and the answer will not be St. Augustine. In fact, the only things Florida is known for worldwide are Disney World, Cape Canaveral, MTV Spring Breaks, drunk & half nude college students, beach babes in bikini, The Everglades and alligators. And admit it: we've all noticed porn movies from companies like Brazzers, Bang Bros., Reality Kings and Girls Gone Wild are all based in Miami, Florida (what else would you be watching in these films?)
Kentucky is known for bluegrass musicians, tobacco, horse racing, bourbon, college basketball, Fort Knox and of course, its famous fried chicken.
Virginia overall is seen (by those who are even aware that Virginia and West Virginia are separate states) as the reddest of the red states, inhabited solely by Pat Robertson, George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, and Eugene Delgaudio. This also plays into the divide between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
Georgia will always be treated as a backwards hicktown that is extremely white and extremely intolerant (see the 30 Rock episode "Stone Mountain"). This is despite the fact that its capital, Atlanta, is 54% black and actually has the 3rd highest population of LGBT people in the U.S. (behind San Francisco and Seattle). But at least since Ray Charles it is "always on our mind".
Alabama is best known for being the state where cowboys ride "with a banjo on their knee", the song "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the homeplace of Forrest Gump. On a more negative note it's also the home state of the Ku Klux Klan and many furious race riots in the past.
New Yorkers: Rude, loud, thieves, gangsters, snobbish, empty headed, any stereotype you can fit with Italians/Jews/*enter other classic New York immigrant here*, and at worst, liberal demons. And yes, this accounts for those who live in Upstate New York as well. Even the Amish.
Don't go to Harlem either, 'cause Afro-American gangs will either threaten you, mug you, shoot you or just show off their rapping and break dancing skills.
When in New York, make sure that you show the Statue Of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway, Wall Street, The New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, the UN headquarters, Brooklyn Bridge or Woody Allen. Play "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra on the soundtrack. Mention at least once it's "the city that never sleeps." Whenever the Statue of Liberty is shown it's often in a historical setting with immigrants arriving by ship in the harbour.
Irish-Americans are also thought of with much suspicion in Great Britain, as a bunch of ignorant dolts with a chip on their shoulder about The Irish Question whose dollars in donation to Northern Irish "charities" subsidized the most murderous Irish terrorist groups for nearly thirty years and kept them in bombs and bullets.
Although after 9/11, when the USA was itself the victim of a terrorist attack, donations to Irish terrorists from North American sources dried up overnight — the penny had finally dropped about what terrorism does and people were less willing to inflict this on others, even on the Brits.
Rhode Island has the worst drivers in America, coffee addicts (Dunkin' Donuts to be exact), cannot give directions, think a 45-minute drive is a daylong trip, and have the most corrupt government that you'd ever see... it'd make Tony Soprano stand in awe. They also have an inferiority complex with Massachusetts, especially pertaining to their big colleges (RI's Brown and MA's Harvard). Too bad Massachusetts already has its own inferiority complex for New York and hasn't really noticed.
Pennsylvania has three, and only three types of people. In Pittsburgh, everyone is a dopey and unemployed Pole that worships the Steelers like a religion. In Philadelphia, everyone is a perpetually-raging meathead (thanks to a constant diet of cheesesteaks) who will kill Santa Claus just to make your child cry (and worships the Eagles like a religion). Everyone else lives in "Pennsyltucky", and worships Penn State like a religion. For their stereotypes, see Kentucky directly above.
Maine: We have lobsters, lighthouses, and beaches. For the most part, Maine exists as one big tourist attraction, and the idea that it still exists in the winter is an idea limited solely to skiers and natives. For the rest of New England, Maine is Yankee redneck country. And if you see even the slightest thing out of the ordinary... run. Run as far away as quickly as your legs can take you.
There's also trees. Lots and lots and lots of trees. It's called the "Pine Tree State" for a reason. The state flower is even the pine cone, which isn't even a flower.
Massachusetts: full of rich, pretentious WASPHarvard graduates who hate Yale, or loud, obnoxious, drunken Irish-Americans... and sometimes both. Have a bit of an inferiority complex with New York, especially pertaining to sports teams. Dislikes EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE LIST (except the Irish or British, depending on social class), occasionally giving an exception to other New Englanders. The MIT nerd is sometimes seen. The Boston Brahmins are often seen as being socially liberal, as they crusaded against slavery, drinking, and segregation, in addition to being the first state to legalize gay marriage. This is seen as genuine care, while California is thought of holding these views superficially (along with everything else).
Massachusetts is also well known for its historical events. From the Mayflower landing near Plymouth Rock in 1620, to the Salem witch burnings and the Boston Tea Party.
Vermont: Either ice cream and maple syrup or the Oregon of the east. Take your pick. Also, apparently the "moonlight in/on Vermont" is quite a sight, according to some songs.
Connecticut: Had you actually bothered to learn that Connecticut is a real place on the map, you would probably think of its people as rich, snobby Rockefeller Republican Yalies who hate Harvard. Preppy style clothing is frighteningly common, especially among the baby boomer generation. The only entertainment available here is the local library and college sports.
New Hampshire: Libertarians who sell alcohol at highway rest stops (in stores operated by the state, no less) and don't require you to wear your seat belt while in a car. Live free or die, indeed.