We All Live in America

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Kermit the Frog: And we've also got a big musical finale from Sam the Eagle. Sam, what's it about?

Sam the Eagle: It's called "A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America".

Every country and nation in the world has a different culture and set of traditions, and many have different traditions within a single country. However, you'd never realise that if you Did Not Do the Research.

Often, when writing a story set in another country, the writer simply takes their own country and adds foreign names, and might refer to some famous local festival if you're lucky. If you're not, it will be writers' own country half-turned into a Land of Hats with "local colour". If you find an author who truly understands the other culture, cherish them, for they have a gift.

The title is inspired by (but is not a direct quote of) a line in the Rammstein song "Amerika", which points out the spread of American values and culture across the globe.

Please note that, despite the Trope name, this is not an exclusively American phenomenon; writers from other countries will often project their own cultural mores, vernacular, and sense of geography onto countries other than their own, including the United States, as well (most common is the strange tendency to treat all the landmarks and major cities of a country that spans an entire continent as if they are within a couple hours' drive of each other).

Compare Creator Provincialism, in which nothing important happens outside the writer's home country. Politically-Correct History is the temporal version of this. Also compare Canada Does Not Exist, a weird mutation of We All Live in America that Canadian TV producers often impose upon themselves.

Contrast Eagleland Osmosis, where the influence of another country's media (chiefly the United States') causes people to do this to their own society. See also Values Dissonance, which is perhaps the most compelling reason why this Trope doesn't work.

Examples of We All Live in America include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Opening Monologue of Code Geass makes a big deal about how the Britannian Empire has suppressed Japanese culture. However, the school system we see has almost nothing in common with the British system; it's really just the Japanese system with funny uniforms.
  • Red Garden is set in New York and does a good job of reflecting that, but a few bits of Japanese society leak through: people bow to each other, students have access to the roof of their school, the metric system gets used casually, etc.
  • Kaleido Star does this a couple times. It takes place in America, but the characters who are supposed to be non-Japanese occasionally do Japanese things, like bowing. One of Sora's friends, Mia, uses the Japanese gesture for "come here" (the maneki neko paw gesture), in an episode of Kaleido Star New Wings, but it may not count since she was signaling Sora.
  • In FAKE, Ryo (who is half-Japanese, but was brought up in the USA) and Dee, two New York cops, celebrate Christmas the Japanese way, with a romantic date. This could happen in the USA as well, but it probably isn't popular.
  • Death Note has some of the most Japanese "Americans" ever seen. At least once, a member of a crime family bows to another member - his subordinate, no less. It should also be noted that most of the Americans' names are completely fake-sounding (though a few do manage to at least be similar to actual American names).
    • Not to mention that every mafia thug knows exactly what a Shinigami is. And half the FBI speaks Japanese.
  • Gunslinger Girl, though it's set in Italy, had many of the adult handlers be quite reserved towards their charges, probably causing Values Dissonance for any Italian viewers. They even bow sometimes. The girls don't act much like typical Italian girls, either.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Frequently in U.S.-centred comics of The Beano and The Dandy. For example, steering wheels are often portrayed on the right side of the car.
    • The Mayor of Cactusville in Desperate Dan dresses like the Lord Mayor of London, complete with gold chain of office and tricorn hat. Even British mayors don't really dress like that, except on special occasions.
  • Judge Dredd occasionally shows people driving on the left side of the road in America. Also, background text tends to use U.K. spellings.
  • Swamp Thing supposedly lives in a "County". Unfortunately, it is also set in Louisiana, which has Parishes, but not counties.[1]
  • In the comics, Superman, who ostensibly helps people all over the world and can fly anywhere on Earth with little trouble, is head of the Justice League of America. Despite their title, they don't seem to have a "jurisdiction" limited to America or even the planet Earth. The "of America" part is jettisoned in the Justice League animated series.
    • In the comics they were briefly Justice League International. Then JLI split into JLA and Justice League Europe, then JLE became JLI again. Then they abandoned the whole concept.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • This could just as easily be called "European Writers Have No Sense Of Scale In North America".
    • British Supernatural Fan Fiction often has the Winchesters speaking in British slang and claiming that their small Indiana town is 30 minutes away from the Canadian border. Problem is, Great Britain is much smaller than the United States -- "from Land's End to John o' Groats", the longest distance in the isle, means 874 miles, whereas "coast to coast" in the USA means at least 2500 miles depending on where one is measuring from.[2] In Real Life, anywhere in Indiana is at least three hours from Canada by car, and that's just going from the northern extremes of the state to Windsor, the closest Canadian city. From Indianapolis, it's closer to five hours, and from Evansville, seven and a half. For anywhere of note in Canada, tack at least a few more hours on to that.
    • RPG writer Graeme Davis once wrote a scenario for the Call of Chtulhu RPG set in the 1930s where an NPC starts in Los Angeles, drives over to San Francisco on an errand, drives back and "spends the rest of the afternoon in her hotel room". (From memory, some specifics may be off.) For reference, Los Angeles to San Francisco is roughly a 6-7 hour drive via modern highways in a modern car (not counting the frequent backups along that route); the drive would have likely been even longer in the '30s.
    • A pair of German Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans wrote a fic in which Xander and Faith drive from Boston to California in 8 hours...
    • And then there's the story set in rural northern Canada, where the protagonist keeps himself warm through the winter by raiding the local used book store for Harlequin romance novels and by digging through his neighbour's recycling for their old phone books. Putting aside the fact that books don't burn very well, rural northern Canada doesn't have used book stores, recycling, or large telephone books (some phone "books" up North are the size of magazines). Even if paper did burn, the number of books and other paper products you could scare up within 50 miles would probably keep you warm for two or three hours; you need cubic yards of wood to get through a winter where it gets down to -40 or lower for weeks on end. Did we mention that they were going to pick these books up via car, even though vast areas of northern Canada have no roads?
  • Reading an X-Files fic that has the very American FBI agents Mulder and Scully using such a high density of Britishisms that an American reader can barely figure out what they're saying is more than a little brain-bending.
    • It could arguably make sense in the case of Mulder, seeing as he went to college in England (though he never says anything in the show to give one the impression he adopted British culture to any degree). Scully, however, has no excuse.
      • Ironically, the opposite would be true of their actors. Gillian Anderson spent some of her formative years in England and slips into a British accent easily in real life, while David Duchovny has lived all his life in the States.
  • Eiga Sentai Scanranger sure likes to talk about its main character's love of Asian culture, but since he never actually demonstrates any knowledge of Asian culture (at one point the realization that people in Tokyo would speak Japanese falls on him like Dorothy's house on the Wicked Witch of the East) one kind of gets the feeling the author thinks of Asia as the same as America but with better TV shows, sushi and samurai.
  • This fanfic-rant. Who could think, and yet...

OP: Dear FFVIII fanthing: Balamb Garden does not celebrate the Fourth of July.
one of answers: Do they even have a July?

    • And another answer: 'I'm reminded of another fandom where the artist had drawn the main character with an American flag. His reasoning was that the canon had Christmas.' And it might not be a joke.
    • Another Final Fantasy VIII fic had them celebrating Easter. One reviewer: "Why do the FFVIII characters celebrate the traditional resurrection narrative of a religious figure from a different universe?"
  • We could list all the examples of this in the infamous Harry Potter fanfic/ripoff My Immortal, or we could read Order of the Phoenix. Which is quicker is up for debate.
    • The vast majority of British schools have uniforms. This includes Hogwarts. (though to be fair, the descriptions of the uniforms are very vague in the book and the characters seem to wear whatever they want underneath the robes. In most illustrations in the American versions at least, Harry is frequently depicted wearing jeans and a T-shirt.) Most American schools, especially public schools, don't bother with uniforms.
      • It should be noted that even though most American schools don't have uniforms, they do have dress codes, and Ebony's typical outfits would raise a hell of a lot of red flags under a typical dress code.
    • Hot Topic is unlikely to be brought up—there are vague equivalents, but most are local to one or two towns or cities. The closest thing to a national indie clothes shop would probably be an online store, which weren't that popular in the 90s.
      • Not to mention the problems inherent in wizards from the Potterverse trying to buy clothes online.
    • It's easy to get mad at My Immortal but this is rather common with Harry Potter fanfic written by American fans. The "American exchange student" (or Japanese, for otaku fans) in HP Self-Insert Fic could be a trope all its own. It's to the point where some HP roleplaying communities require that all characters be born in the UK or Ireland, not just to keep with the established canon but also to remove this tendency.
      • It's also common for the British students at Hogwarts to suddenly start speaking in American slang. Seriously guys, we don't normally say 'sweater', 'pantyhose' or 'French fries'. (In case you're interested, they would be jumper, tights and chips).
  • Sailor Nothing is supposedly set in Japan, but the characters constantly refer to American media and pop culture. Some of this is understandable, some not; Hunter S. Thompson is famous, but why would Shin compare something to an NBC sitcom?
  • In about every AU fanfiction where the characters go to the same school, the school is very American. They use lockers, which most countries only have for the gym class, they change classes and friends get to meet only in some subjects, in most countries all the students stay in the same class for all the time with the same people, they rarely carry books in their backpacks, they carry binders etc. It's not a big problem until it's mentioned that characters wear Sailor Fuku. Or they're students at Hogwarts.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia fanfiction, it is a very common mistake for personified nations to act like people from the nation the author is from. For example, Nordics having an Asian hot pot tradition in a Japanese doujinshi.
    • A rarer version of this trope occurs with the naming of the British Isles- for example Englands brothers calling him 'Britain' or UK when in fact these are names for various roups of these countries- occasionally you get people refer to England as 'the United Kingdom of England' which causes a great deal of facepalming. More common is the miss use of British slang and accents (note the plural). I imagine that this also occurs a lot with other countries- and certainly isn't a one way thing...
  • Most Degrassi fanfiction these days is written by American fans, whose grasp of Canadian geography and cities seems to be limited to stereotypes. Two particularly Egregious examples included one which depicted Toronto, Ontario as a small town of about 300 people only accessible by a long bridge over a lake from the United States, and a second which had a character drive from Edmonton, Alberta to Toronto in about eight hours, a trip which should take about a day and a half without stopping (as much time as a trip from New York to Salt Lake City) in real life.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Sky Blue: The future sure is Korean.
  • Vantage Point: It's set in Spain, yet the Secret Service (the U.S. President's bodyguards) are seen seizing cars from the locals, as well as chasing, arresting and shooting them, even cops. Plenty of wars have started over much less.
    • We could say the same thing about the behaviour of the Lt. Sosa in the German part of The a Team.
    • Such a policy was proposed in real life. See here.
  • Best Of The Best: The South-Korean Taek Kwon Do team cheered for their country as "Korea, Korea!" while it should've been "Hanguk, Hanguk!" "Daehan Minguk," being another possibility.
  • Despite being ostensibly an American film, Tim Burton's Batman (which was shot at London's Pinewood Studios) comes off as British. The Joker holds up a bottle of "moisturising" shampoo in one scene, and at the end of the film Alfred can be seen driving an automobile whose steering wheel is on the right side.
  • Ridiculously parodied in Bruno, when the Austrian protagonist appears on a talk show and talks about African-Americans... from Africa.

Audience: They're not African-American, you idiot! They're African!
Bruno: Zat is a racist word!

  • The Great Muppet Caper is pretty good about this. Yes, the take on London is a bit touristy, and all the Muppets who supposedly live there are still American (this also happens in A Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island). And then Beauregard shows up driving the only yellow cab in the city...
    • It gets to the point Sam the Eagle sometimes forgets he's no longer in America.

Sam the Eagle: Mm, you will love business. It is the AMERICAN WAY!
'Gonzo: [whispers] Sam...
[whispers in Sam's ear]
Sam the Eagle: Oh... It is the BRITISH WAY!

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Balance of Power: Aside of being actually Spexico, the Spain of the book has a government just like the US one, only with a king replacing the president. Spanish provinces are apparently as powerful as US states and have their own National Guards, and congressmen (read: deputies) have their own limos and drivers (in Real Life they don't).
    • No kidding. The Spanish translation is prefaced by a note from the translators basically saying "focus on the plot because if you look at the detail too much you'll go mad with rage", even taking to account that in the same note they confess they have made some changes to the text to make it readable. (i.e. they were afraid that if you read the original, unchanged text, your brain would shut down while you were reduced to a Flat What).
  • Japanocentric version: A Wind Named Amnesia takes place in the U.S., but in the novel Wataru refers to the fifteen-year-old Lisa as a junior high school student; fifteen is usually high school age under the American school system. (Wataru is speculated to be of Japanese origin, but that was before his memories were wiped—everything he knows now was taught to him by an American boy, so there is no in-story justification for the mistake.)
    • Bit of an border case - U.S. school structure is pretty consistent within a given state, but it is ultimately a decision made at the district level and there's a fair amount of variance state-to-state, plus a variety of experiments with different models. Until around the early 90's, junior high school ended at 9th grade (age 14) in quite a few places. So it was possible for someone to have a birthday during the school year and turn 15, though this may just be a case of Accidentally Accurate.
  • Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code has Chicago Police Officers referring to an elevator as a "lift." And earlier in the novel, Foaly talks about "Chicago State Law," which is nonsensical in that Chicago is a city, not a State.
  • The Alex Rider series of children's books subverts this this trope at one point. The British main character, who is undercover as an kid from the United States, uses language that is obviously not American and is chastised for breaking his cover. However, played straight for nearly every other scene set in the United States.
  • Dan Brown's Angels & Demons for some reason has a camerawoman for the British Broadcasting Corporation who is "African American".
    • Not to mention her partner, who is allegedly British but seems to think and speak using an awful lot of American terminology. The whole thing is so dastardly pointless, because the characters would have made just as much sense being from CNN instead of the BBC.
  • Older Than Steam: The Chinese Epic Journey to the West assumes that all countries have the same kind of governors and imperial courts as China and that all countries in the world recognise a monkey-faced being as looking like a thunder god (among many other We All Live In China examples).
  • Left Behind has references to "Captains" and "Lieutenants" at Scotland Yard—in the British police they would be "Chief Inspectors" and "Inspectors".
  • Likewise, the original Aladdin is often said to be set in China, as this was the most distant and magical land that most Arabs had heard of. The character's names, the genies and so forth all seem Arabian, however.
    • So much so that every movie adaptation and many fairy tale books change the setting to a real or fictional Arab country.
    • Unless you are watching Arabic movie adaptations, which usually set the story in China, or, for the more conservative channels, in an Asian Muslim country. One of the most popular Aladdin adaptations in the Middle East, Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum (Malayalam title), was created in Malaysia.
  • The British Saffy's Angel series has a recurring character who is a visiting American...and who speaks in distinctly British slang.
  • It's a minor point, but the American character in Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down refers to his apartment as a "bedsit," a very British term.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • British TV series, Britannia High, was very much in the mold of American high-school dramas. It wasn't even a typical school - it was a theatre school. Even the series logo has an American feel to it.
  • Somewhat justified in USA High as it's about a school for Americans in Paris, but even the non-American characters speak American English (in silly versions of their own accents).
  • Inspector Fowler, chief of a British Police station in The Thin Blue Line, attempts to teach his men the importance or political correctness, and at one point utters, "That would be the pot calling the kettle... errr, African-American."
    • Especially odd since the term "black" to describe someone of African descent has rarely ever had negative connotations in Britain. The term has only fallen out of favor in the US and parts of Canada.
  • In the first episode of Legends of Tomorrow (Filmed in Stargate City but the scene in question supposedly taking place in the United State) Jefferson Jackson notes he's a 20 year old automatic then Dr. Stein immediately gives him alcohol with no comments on his age.

Music[edit | hide]

  • As mentioned above, the subject of "Amerika" by Rammstein. It points out the ambivalence of American dominance in modern culture. On the one hand, many Americans expect the rest of the world to follow their example, but on the other hand almost every country in the world does incorporate a great deal of American culture. It also seems to hint at the hypocrisy of many people criticizing American culture and politics, while their own countries increasingly adopt American customs and participate in American business and military actions.


News[edit | hide]

  • Following Gordon Brown's calling an old lady "bigoted", which (obviously) hurt his popularity ratings, an American news station said something along the lines of "Liberal Democrat, Gordon Brown, is likely to be defeated in the polls by a Conservative Republican".[3]
  • As mentioned above, the idea that 'black' and 'African-American' are synonymous makes its way into a lot of news broadcasts.
    • There was a newscast where the person was talking about some African country and kept calling the citizens of that country (in Africa) "African-Americans". Clearly, someone was doing a realtime search-and-replace on the word "black".
    • This was also the case when news reports described the two people who were electrocuted while being chased by police in France, triggering all of the riots. News outlets kept referring to them as African-Americans, even though they were neither Africans nor Americans. The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto makes fun of this practice by deliberately using African-American to refer to actual Americans from Africa no matter what their color, including, for instance, John Kerry's very very white wife Teresa, who comes from South Africa.
      • According to the US Court of Appeals and van der Lught v. the United Negro College Fund, it is now legally appropriate to call white Americans from Africa "African-Americans".
    • One American journalist interviewing a black British Olympic athlete repeatedly asked how being "African-American" affected his outlook on his situation, despite his repeated (and, to the reporter, baffling) insistence that he's not American.
  • During the US healthcare debate, it was claimed that Stephen Hawking would not be alive under the UK's "socialist" healthcare system. This was slightly spoilt when Hawking pointed out that he was English and had spent most of his life in the UK, and the NHS was in fact responsible for him still being alive.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Grand Theft Auto series of games is, in theory, set in America, but is made by Scottish developer DMA Design/Rockstar North; Americans who play it can tell this is neither real America nor quite Hollywood America. A lot of place-names in San Andreas are thinly-disguised ones from Scottish cities. There's also an exact replica of the Forth Rail Bridge. Rockstar are based in Edinburgh and Dundee, and evidently like their in-jokes.
    • One of the trailers for The Ballad of Gay Tony, a DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV, is done in the style of a celebrity news program. The (American) announcer refers to television as "the telly."
    • One of the radio talk shows has a child refer to an actor as a "Paedo", which is a shortened slang for paedophile in the UK.
      • That's equally true in the US and Canada, though the North American spellings would be "Pedophile" and "Pedo".
  • Despite the Sega Mega Drive being named 'Mega Drive' pretty much everywhere except North America, the majority of games sites, American or not, as well as this very site, use 'Sega Genesis' as the default name. If the Mega Drive is mentioned, it's often described as the European version of the Genesis.
    • A common example of this is when Zero Wing is said to be a Genesis game. It was released in Japan and Europe on the Mega Drive, but wasn't released in North America. Which is truly ironic when you consider it's the poster boy for incorrect translation and is usually mentioned in that context.
    • Similarly, if a game has different names according to where it's released, the North American title will be the universal standard, whether the game was made there or not. As a result, attempting to discuss certain games (Final Fantasy, for example) on an international forum can be difficult.
      • It also makes it difficult to search for info from a game if it is called something simple (and popular in the English language) like Bully in America, and (the arguably more distinguishable) Canis Canem Edit in other countries...
  • As a general rule, games which go through America before they reach Europe are not translated into British English. What makes this a true example is when the 'English' option on the language selection screen is the Union Flag in all its colors colours.
  • SimCity does a very mild—and entirely justified (though not Justified)--version of this by having the police be run and funded by the city government. On one hand, this just isn't true in many places, where either the national (as in France) or state/provincial/what have you government (as in Germany) is responsible for the police. On the other hand, this is SimCity we're talking about. What national government?
    • Although an American city could be reasonably expected to have all three, and will definitely have some state police in addition to the local force.
    • SimCity also has the city responsible for power plants and many other things that would in most places be run by private companies.
      • Or are municipal services. Admittedly, big plants are mostly in private hands.
  • The official websites for some games ask for your country first, to take you to the appropriate version of the site with localized language and release dates. Some of these sites must assume that Canada is part of the United States, since the only English-language options tend to be the UK or the USA. It's even worse for French-Canadians, who can only choose the "France" option.
    • Even worse are websites which allow you to change language... and illustrate 'English' with an American flag.
      • Many websites choose to use diagonally bisected combination of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes as if those were the only places where English was spoken. But attempts at being complete and inclusive lead to such things as combined German/Austrian/Swiss flags for the German language option (They forget Liechtenstein). Languages and Flags don't really map 1 to 1 very well.
      • Of course if the makers of these language selection interfaces were to be really strict they should use the 'English Flag' for the English Language option, unfortunately a lot of English speakers would not recognize the St George's Cross as their option. Using a US or combined US/UK Flag for English can thus perhaps be classified as a justified case of Viewers are Morons and a Viewers Are Geniuses for all the other English-speakers in the world who they deem smart enough to figure out the correct option despite it not being represented by their own flag.
    • Similarly, if a site offers multiple languages and there's more than one variant of 'English', American English will usually be what's meant by the unmodified option. This is a bit like a Canadian site calling two variants of the same language French and French French, respectively.
  • Similar to the GTA example, Jade Empire features the occasional very English phrase like "buggers" to refer to a group of panicking rats, but as everyone in the game sounds Canadian save for Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fondlebottom The Magnificent Bastard, it comes off very odd.
    • "Buggers" isn't uncommon in Canada, or at least the easternnmost portions, so it doesn't come off very odd at all in reference to nasty little buggers like rats.
  • Fahrenheit (2005 video game) and Heavy Rain are set in New York and Philadelphia, respectively, but were made by a French company, and there are a bunch of telling details—for example, both games feature apartments with the bath/shower and toilet in separate rooms, which is not unheard of in Europe but is pretty much never seen in America.
  • Harvest Moon games are apparently set in Europe or America but the characters retain certain Japanese mannerisms such as bowing, a lot of the characters love Japanese foods, and some of the plants are native to Japan.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis's Raccoon City is a supposed to be a modern, Midwestern, American city, but the size of the streets and presence of extensive back-alleys and shopping arcades are clear evidence that Raccoon was based on a contemporary Japanese city. For reference, many of the streets are blocked by a single, longitudinal car across the road. When's the last time you [Americans] saw a road that narrow, especially in a city of over 100,000 residents? Further games in the series that revisit Raccoon, however, seem to retcon them to the proper width.
    • Another example from the series. A memo in Resident Evil 2 has the police weapons storage being broken up and scattered around the station to prevent terrorists from stealing it. A real US PD would find such an order highly suspicious, as US city police are not all that well armed outside of SWAT units, and firearms are quite easy to obtain (acknowledged by the large gun shop).
  • Almost all the games developed by DICE take place in America, even though the company is Swedish. Justified in Battlefield: Bad Company, as it is an Affectionate Parody of American action movies. However Mirrors Edge takes place in an unnamed city, in an unnamed country, at a nonspecified point in the future.
  • Having been made in the UK, all the cars in Time Splitters: Future Perfect have their steering wheels on the right side. However, one of the missions takes place in Russia, where cars should have their steering wheels on the left side.
  • Notable aversions include Max Payne and Mafia II.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Cracked.com is pretty bad about this when it comes to articles, even though Alexa says that almost half of their readers aren't from the US.
    • One memorable example comes from talking about the Australian Aboriginal concept of direction being in terms of compass points instead of relative directions, saying an Aboriginal would say something should go "two inches south". Australians wouldn't use the Imperial system.
    • Especially noticeable in all articles that mention sports. The greatest moments in sports usually happen in sports that are mostly unknown outside America.
      • Justified, in the sense they are based off an American magazine. Now that the title is an artifact, the justification comes from being based in the United States. Not like other countries' websites are immune.
  • Even TV Tropes is not immune. Many articles/examples/tropes are written from an implicitly "American" point of view. It's quite a bit better than some other examples, however.
    • Something similar happens on The Other Wiki. Some of their edit wars are over British vs American spellings.
  • Frequently parodied on The Bugle, a podcast hosted by two Brits, one an expatriate living in New York. And it sometimes gets inverted, with the large contingent of American listeners—familiar with John Oliver from The Daily Show—writing in at their confusion over many aspects of British culture, language, etc. that, obviously, go unnoticed by the hosts.
  • Satirized (possibly?) by The Nostalgia Chick. The very first thing she's ever said to us is "I, like most of the world, am an American."


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is about a real Japanese pop duo. Or so we're led to believe. The characters themselves say and do things easily identifiable with American culture as all the writers and animators are from North America. They attempt to remind the viewers that Ami and Yumi are from Japan by having them speak in Gratuitous Japanese, use chopsticks to eat, obsess over sushi, and spend yen (even though there doesn't seem to be any rate of conversion...), but it doesn't go much deeper than that surface veneer.
  • A minor example happens in Justice League Unlimited: the Injustice League attempts to rob a trainload of euros, but when we see some notes, they look more like American dollars.
  • Lampshaded in The Venture Brothers by the African-American vampire hunter Jefferson Twilight:

Jefferson Twilight: Yes, I only hunt blaculas.
Guild Candidate: Oh, so you only hunt African-American vampires?
Twilight: No, sometimes I hunt British vampires. They don't have "African-Americans" in England!
Candidate: Oh yeah, huh, good point.
Twilight: So I hunt blaculas.
Candidate: I was just trying to be...
Twilight: Man, I specialize in hunting black vampires, I don't know what the P.C. name for that is!

    • Another time, Hank and Dean are seen trying to find "African America" on a map.


Real life[edit | hide]

  • If you've been on the Internet long enough, you've come across someone who says that banning/deletion/suspension is a violation of the 'First Amendment'. Especially unfortunate because that's not true even in America. To clarify, the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with freedom of speech and the press, among other things. A private citizen can do whatever he wants with his own message board, and ToS for almost all of them will essentially give the owner/moderator absolute power over the content of the board.
    • To put it another way, as the old Net saying has it, the Internet is total anarchy composed of millions of absolute monarchies (or dictatorships).
    • If you ever get involved in a lengthy Internet flame war, expect at least one person to defend their actions with, "It's a free country!". Bonus points if the nationalities of each person involved in the fight have not been established.
  • If you come across an international forum where people celebrate the Fourth of July, expect someone to ask either whether Britain celebrates the fourth of July, or, if informed they don't, to ask why they don't.
  • (The Customer is) Not Always Right shows that in the worst of worst cases, the whole "borders" thing (or even those pesky "continents") becomes a bit vague -- We All Call In America.
  • If you used a spell-checking word processor in the late '90s and typed using a form of English other than American English, you can almost certainly recall an incident where the program flagged an acceptable word like colour or synchronise and questioned whether you meant the American spelling. Also know as PC LOAD LETTER
    • Microsoft Word seems to do this by default (in both Word 2003 and Word 2007). Despite Word being perfectly capable of checking the system language settings it will still default to 'English (US)', much to the annoyance of British users who will spell a word correctly and then have the spellchecker tell them it's wrong, and then suggest they miss-spell it. Particularly galling as the language will constantly revert to English (US) between documents until you get the settings right.
  • Discussing politics on an international forum can be difficult, as many people equate words like 'liberal' and 'conservative' or the colours of those parties with the title of the appropriate popular party in their country. The fact that those words suggest different things depending on country is also a confusing matter. Part of the problem lies in that the US has a two-party system, while other democracies are a bit more flexible.
    • And, of course, in the US the colour of the nominally right-wing party is red and the nominally left-wing party is blue... it's the other way round in most of the rest of the world. This is because during the age of color newsprint and television, the convention in America had been that blue represented the party to whom the sitting President belonged, and red represented the opposing party. The association of blue with Democrats and red with Republicans only began as of the 2000 election. The high visibility and drawn-out conclusion of the election led people to associate red with Republicans and blue with Democrats, a meme that has since been incorporated into signage, popular parlance, and even the names of political organizations. Elsewhere, red took on its connotations from the labor/socialist movement, which never gained much traction in the United States.
      • Part of this may be that members of labor unions are usually referred to as having blue collar jobs and voting Democratic, so in the US it would be counter-intuitive to associate red with a party that has a large base of blue collar workers. (But there is no such thing as a red collar job, to stretch the metaphor.)
  • If you happen be born outside of a country's borders but have a strong opinion on something that people from that country feel passionately about, try debating with them on the Internet. Sooner or later you're going to be accused of being "unpatriotic". Even if you were talking on a video where you CLEARLY have an accent. Bonus points if they think you should have no opinion on a war in which your troops are fighting WITH them. You could also try explaining to them that a certain cultural issue in their country is generally not known in your country. You'll soon be told that you're ignorant, because the invention of the Internet means that no one has the excuse of 'not knowing' everything about their culture.
  • Military topics often involve this trope. Criticise a country's methods in any war and someone might inform all opponents, regardless of country, that you should be thankful for what their forces did, because otherwise you'd be speaking the native language of whichever country was the designated enemy of their country.
  • Wales (one of the constituent countries of the UK, with a population of around three million) actually has this trope played straight and averted in equal measure. A lot of universities in Wales get a lot of students from the US who are confused that Wales isn't England (especially true in the more isolated universities). Conversely a lot of English people seem to believe that Wales is an utterly alien land barely out of the dark ages (to the extent that there are shortages of healthcare staff in west Wales as people believe you have to speak Welsh to work there (even in Pembroke, an area known in Wales as "Little England").
    • This last bit especially was lampshaded for laughs on UK sitcom Gavin and Stacey, in which the Essex-resident Cloudcuckoolander character does an 'intensive course' in Welsh as preparation for a visit and is thoroughly confused when he actually arrives and no-one can understand him. "But it says on the street signs..."
  • The next time you hear someone decrying or discussing US governmental policies, odds are, they'll wind up talking about it as though the Federal government were the only government, somehow forgetting that the United States is composed of fifty individual states, each with separate governments and often drastically different policies. Predictably, this applies to US citizens just as often as anyone else.
  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of the capital crime of treason against the US by Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck and others. You can only commit treason by betraying your own country. Assange is an Australian citizen. That isn't even going into the fact that treason is a well defined crime in the US, and Assange's actions couldn't fall under either.
  • The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton includes an entry about Łucjan Staniak, Polish serial killer allegedly arrested in 1967. He is, however, considered a fictional character as no other source supports Newton's entry. The book states that he was an interpreter and due to character of his job he travelled a lot, so the authorities had trouble linking the victims found in different cities to one perpetrator and when Staniak was finally apprehended, he was deemed insane and committed to the psychiatric hospital. The problem is that the latter procedure was almost unheard of in communist countries (at least not in common criminal cases) and someone who knew foreign languages and travelled around the country would have been put under close surveillance (i.e. followed) by Security Service as a possible spy.
  • This trope occurs in Canada as "We All Live in Ontario". Due to the concentration of media in Toronto in an otherwise enormous country, pretty much anything of a "national" nature in English Canada is "Ontario". This includes terminology, accents, products and stores, etc. CBC takes a lot of flak for this from non-Ontarians. There is even a degree of Canadian Eagleland Osmosis that goes with it, as many people from thousands of miles away in British Columbia, for instance, have internalized Canadian stereotypes as their own, even though they never were. Some examples from Vancouver in particular: ice hockey (not that common when you can't make outdoor rinks); anything wintery for that matter (hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics does not help that image, although as noted by many, it rained the whole time); Ontario pronunciation ("Canadian raising" is much less obvious in B.C.); Tim Hortons (almost entirely absent from the Vancouver area until the merger with Wendy's -- Vancouver is a first-rate coffee town with tons of local options).
  • Same goes for Sweden, where We All Live in the three big cities, Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö, and somtimes not even the last two are counted. The country has a population of 9 million, with around two milion living in these cities. For the rest of the country, a town of maybe a hundred thousand is considered very dense. Now, consider that most entertainment advertised, and lots of the brands as well can't be found in the smaller communities, and that going to a major city can take hours if not days...
  • On Twitter, "Happy Fathers Day" trended on the first Sunday of September, as Father's day in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, & Papua New Guinea falls on that day. Cue many confused tweets asking "Happy Fathers Day? Isn't that in June?"
  • In the wake of the 2011 terrorist attacks on Oslo and Utøya some pundits claimed that the death toll would have been much lower if the Norwegian government hadn't suppressed the people's right to bear arms. Two problems with that: one, there is no "Right to bear arms" in Norway,[4] and two, Norway lacks much of the US self defense/gun culture. So even if someone on Utøya owned a gun, bringing one to a summer camp would be unthinkable.
  • A common mistake, particularly on the Internet, is to assume that everywhere in the world runs on the same time, or at least to not include a reference to the time zone of the author.
    • And assuming that summer happens between June and September everywhere in the world.
    • Time zone issues happen within the US as well; Pacific Time (UTC-8) is the default setting for most of the internet since the industry is based in Silicon Valley and Seattle. Traditionally, everything else defaults to Eastern Time (UTC-5).
  • Labor Day. In the US, first Monday in September. In many other countries, it refers to May 1.
    • Labour Day in Australia can create a local variation of this trope. It is celebrated on the first Monday in October in ACT, NSW, and South Australia, the second Monday in March in Victoria and Tasmania, the first Monday in March in Western Australia, and the first Monday in May in Queensland and Northern Territory.
    • A similar effect occurs between Commonwealth nations regarding the Queen's Birthday holiday.
  • For the Netherlands, it often becomes "We all live in Amsterdam". Especially common among tourists. Related to Freestate Amsterdam.
    • Or at least, "We all live in the Randstad" even though about three fifths of the population lives in the remaining three quarters of the country. Even national politicians seem to frequently forget that things that work in the major cities, or requirements imposed on them, don't necessarily also apply to the rest of the country, especially the more rural areas.
  • Some websites participating in the anti-SOPA campaigns often encourages "everyone" to contact their local representatives and urge them to vote against it, forgetting that not all of us have representatives who are voting on SOPA or PIPA, both of which are American.
    • At least most have some sort of link for non-Americans to cast their opinion to their national representatives, since the American legislation threatens some worldwide online businesses, not just American ones, but the chances of non-American opinions getting widely listened in the matter are miniscule.
      • Similar approaches have been taken with British and EU bills similar in nature.
  • For Denmark, it's "We all live in Copenhagen or (maybe) Aarhus". Aalborg or Odense might be included, but it's rare. The rest is referred to as "Udkantsdanmark", meaning "outskirts of Denmark" - or what would be Flyover Country in the US.
  • For Italy, it's either "We all live in Rome\Naples" or "We all live in Tuscany". Italy has 60 million people and only less than 3 millions live in either Rome or Naples. While most of the peninsula is mediterranean in nature, lots of cities are located far from the sea and warm weather. And let's not mention how every single region is quite different from the others in culture and traditions.
  • In Russian internet, Moscow is often jockingly called "Default city" (in English) for exactly that. Everything outside Moscow is known as "Замкадье" ("Transmkadia"), referring to the MKAD highway encircling Moscow.
  • In pull down lists on websites "United States of America" is either the first entry on the list, or down at the bottom between Uganda and Uruguay.
  1. The purpose of parishes is to allow people who live in Louisiana to correct people who refer to counties. There's no legal difference.
  2. The drive from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles along Interstate 10, the shortest coast-to-coast highway, is 2,460 miles; the drive from Boston to Seattle on I-90, the longest, is 3,101 miles.
  3. The Liberal Democrats are actually a completely separate party to Brown's Labour party. While David Cameron is a Conservative, he is not a Republican in either title or beliefs. Not only that, but "Republican" has different meanings in the UK and the US; since the UK is a constitutional monarchy, to be a "republican" implies something borderline treasonous.
  4. It is legal to acquire arms in Norway, but it is subject to strict government regulations. In fact, the gunman's weapons were all acquired legally.