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Quotes / National Stereotypes

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"The happiest man on earth lives in a British house, gets an American salary, has a Chinese wife, and eats Japanese food.
The saddest man on earth lives in a Japanese house, gets a Chinese salary, has an American wife, and eats British food."
Traditional joke

"The whole world is filled up with unhappy folks. The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch. And I don't like anyone very much."
Kingston Trio

"Each nation's spirit found it's signature expression in the duel. The French took a festive and larky view and served champagne; the Russians unbosomed their tortured souls; the Irish punched each other out; the English calibrated the social castes and sportsmanship involved; the Americans played bare-knuckle politics. The Germans treated it as if it was basic training for war."
Gentlemen's Blood: A History of Dueling by Barbara Holland

"There have been many definitions of hell, but for the English the best definition is that it is the place where the Germans are the police, the Swedish are the comedians, the Italians are the defense force, Frenchmen dig the roads, the Belgians are the pop singers, the Spanish run the railways, the Turks cook the food, the Irish are the waiters, the Greeks run the government, and the common language is Dutch."
David Frost and Anthony Jay

"You know what they say about the average Common Market offical, he has the organizing ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans, and the modesty of the French. And that's topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch, and the intelligence of the Irish."
— James Hacker, PM., Yes, Minister, "The Devil You Know"

There’s no question Claudio Castagnoli is a truly gifted professional wrestler. In fact, I dare say he’s one of the best in WWE today. But the powers that be thought he was missing something…just a pinch of personality. So they gave him one by having him yodel on his way to the ring. You know, because he’s SWISS and that’s what they do! Eh, better than him showing up in lederhosen and pig tails offering folks hot chocolate I guess. (Note to self: stop giving WWE ideas!)

Thank heavens for one nation we can still be racist about without anyone minding.
Steve Punt, The Now Show (about the French)

We can afford to insult Pacific island nations! Our stance on greenhouse gases means most of them will be underwater soon anyway!
Paul McDermott, after an Australian government briefing document containing unflattering descriptions of foreign dignitaries was left on a restaurant table at an APEC conference.

Fabriqué en France! It was gratifying to own a piece of anything not made badly by the Soviets, but instead made well and romantically by the French; for who was more romantic than the French? The French were masters of love. All nations were different. The Russians were unparalleled in their suffering, the English in their reserve, the Americans in their love of life, the Italians in their love of Christ, and the French in their hope of love. So when they made the dress for Tatiana, they made it full of promise. They made it as if to tell her, put it on, chérie, and in this dress you, too, shall be loved as we have loved; put it on and love shall be yours. And so Tatiana never despaired in her white dress with red roses. Had the Americans made it, she would have been happy. Had the Italians made it, she would have started praying, had the British made it, she would have squared her shoulders, but because the French had made it, she never lost hope.
The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons


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