Ugly Americans & Beautiful Immigrants?

by Tim Kane The Ugly American started as a novel and ended as a catchphrase. It’s used offhand today to describe callous superpower tourists who don’t make any attempt to speak the language. Ugly Americans aren’t there to conquer, that’s so last century. It’s imperialism by credit card, an ignorance of culture beyond what Hollywood appropriates. The label entered the vernacular of global elites and never left. New money, no class. The eponymous novel was more sophisticated, and a surprise sensation upon its publication in 1958. The first draft of the manuscript was a non-fiction analysis about diplomacy in Southeast Asia, but was converted to fiction at the urging of its publisher. John Kennedy was so impressed that he sent a copy of The Ugly American to each of his fellow Senators. He was inspired by its message to shake up American foreign policy. Upon winning the presidency, Kennedy established

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