Americans seem to be obsessed with ...

Les Américains semblent être obsédés par ...

baseball, football and large cars that guzzle up gas and money.

buying the newest, biggest thing on the market.

buying things, more money, and their own beliefs.

celebrities; it is very annoying

diet, war and politics.

fast food and material possessions.

food and money.

individual success.

money and appearances.

money and material goods.

money and power.

money, material things, eating too much and exercising too little.

money, power, and greed.


money. The want lots of money so they can buy that big house (with a mortgage they are never sure they will be able to pay off) and a fancy car they don't need even though they have massive, unpaid college loans.

power, wealth, materialistic things

religion, guns, military

slim fast diets.

sports, driving everywhere and material things.

the war, the economy, sustainable energy.

war and winning

weight control, the race or gender of high-ranking government officials, sex, and sports.

Ils sont eux.




l'argent - la réussite - la consommation

l'argent et le pouvoir

l'argent, la réussite, le pouvoir en général.


l'insécurité, les complots

l'obésité, la bouffe, le drapeau, la patrie

la conquête du monde.

le pétrole.


le terrorisme

le terrorisme

les armes.

les grosses voitures...

leur apparence et l'argent

par l'argent,le sexe et le prestige.


"Money" is the most commonly occurring word on both sides by a large margin, but on the American side there are many more phrases associated with money (like "buying things", "material goods", and "wealth"). Also, the MIT students thought that Americans were obsessed with food whereas the French students thought Americans were obsessed with political things like terrorism and power. I thought this was interesting because it didn't quite match up to what we thought of in the word association: the American students associated political words and phrases like "war on terror" and "patriotism" with the United States whereas the French students thought of hamburgers and Hollywood.

Is there a difference between what the American media is obsessed with and what the American people are obsessed with? Are people other than Americans obsessed with money? Is it more of a Western characteristic or a result of capitalism? Do you think all Americans are actually obsessed with money, or is this just a stereotype? If so, it seems that the American students believe the stereotype as much as the French students do.

The MIT students also mentioned a few times that Americans are obsessed with diets. Do the French ever hear about this obsession?

Also, the MIT students mentioned sports. Basketball, basebal, and football (not soccer) are all very popular here in the United States and are not as popular in many other countries. Are these sports not associated with the United States? Or are they less prevelent when thinking about the American stereotype?

I found that both the French and the American responses to this statement were quite similar. Both sides felt that both money and power are of the utmost importance to Americans. Americans seem to feel that we are additionally obsessed with buying things, that we are rather materialistic in nature The American side mentioned issues such as the economy, sustainable energy, sports, and religion, as well, while the French felt that Americans were also obsessed with terrorism, gasoline, patriotism, and conquering the world. I was sort of intrigued by the responses which mentioned gas and conquering the world. How do you feel about America’s War on Terrorism? How do you feel about President Bush’s claim of the existence of “weapons of mass destruction”, and his eventual push for the war in Iraq? What do you guys feel were the U.S.’s motivations? Oil?

An MIT student said that Americans are obsessed with sustainable energy while a Lille 3 student said oil. I feel like many Americans are interested in alternative fuel and the American media is definitley obsessed with it. Are people in France not informed of this through their news? Does the media in France only highlight our consumption of oil?

Someone said that the Americans are obsessed with obesity.  I agree that obesity is a big issue in the U.S., but then again, it is a much greater, more prevalent problem in the U.S., than in probably many other countries.  Why do you think Americans would be obessed with obesity?  Do you think that Americans are obessed with obesity for no reason?

I'm interested to know what is reported about the United States in France. Is the news focused on politics? Culture? Economics? Is the overall image a negative one or a positive one? Do you believe that it's accurate?

I thought it was interesting that none of the French responses included sports as being an obsession of the Americans. I would say that sports are very much an obsession for a large number of Americans.
This is quite evident in the way that team loyalties result in ridiculous brawls between opposing team supporters, how riots occur when a favored team wins, and how so many of our athletes make it into the news every time they sneeze. ha.
I guess all our sport related news wouldn't make it into French headlines, so maybe that's why none of the French students immediately thought about it. Do you guys ever hear about our big sporting events? Like maybe the Super Bowl or the World Series?

Also, I noticed that one French student wrote down that Americans are obsessed with "complots", which I think means plots. Could you explain what you mean?

Il y a beau coup de commentaires de votre part, je ne sais pa ssi nous réussirona à vous répondre mais ce qui me surprend c 'est que vous ne parlez pas du terrorisme, peut être que seul bush est obsédé par le terrorisme et que tout le monde s'en fiche. Je constate que nous sommes plutôt d'accord à propos de l'argent. mais je crois que beaucoup de gen ssont obsédés par l'argent notament notre président qui veut que nous travaillions plus pour gagner plus.

Je ne pensais pas que le sport avait une aussi grand importance pour les américains.


I think that many foreigners tend to think that the U.S. must be obsessed with terrorism, and I suppose it is a natural reaction, given the circumstances.  Perhaps there are Americans who have strong opinions on the issue, but I think that for the most part, it's more Bush than anyone else.

Americans are actually a lot more obsessed about sports than you might think. Sports like baseball and football (american football) are extremely popular. It is currently playoff season for baseball right now, and the Boston Red Sox, who many MIT students support, are in the playoffs. There are often major sports rivalries that carry over to the fans. For example, the Red Sox are rivals with the New York Yankees. Most Red Sox fans often have apparel with quotes like "Yankee's Suck" written on it.

I don't know that Americans aren't obsessed with terrorism. At least, airport security suggests otherwise! The way I see it, an act of terrorism against a person or a group of people is something over which an ordinary citizen has absolutely no control. It's easier to avoid thinking about the issue altogether than to dwell on it when there's nothing a person can do about it.

Je ne pensais pas que le sport était aussi important pour les américains. Cela concerne-t-il toutes les générations?

Oh yes, sports are definitely big for all generations. I have a grandpa who is a hardcore baseball fan, and he still loves to listen to games on his little radio, and I have a little cousin who does nothing but talk incessantly about his favorite football players. It's actually a little annoying..
I thought soccer was huge in France, why have none of the French students talked about it at all? Do soccer players like Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry have superstar status like the athletes of some other countries?

Les joueurs de foot dont tu parles sont célèbres en France, mais ce ne sont pas des idoles. Plutôt des personnalités françaises dont on est fier.

Je suis également étonnée de n'avoir pas vu le mot terrorisme du côté américain. S'il est vrai que le terrorisme vous importe peu, je me demande pourquoi les medias donnent une telle image d'un combat permanent contre le terrorisme. Et cette image n'est pas seulement donnée en France, mais dans le monde entier...

Concernant les sports, je ne suis aussi surprise que cela. Récemment, j'avais lu, dans un guide destiné aux étudiants étrangers qui voulaient faire des études aux Etats-Unis, qu'un bon moyen d'être accepté était d'avoir fini premier dans un tournoi ou une compétition sportive. Mythe ou réalité?

Reality! Sports are an excellent reflection of the competitive American nature.

Je ne suis pas d'accord, ces sportifs (et pas uniquement en football) sont de vraies idoles, des héros pour des enfants ayant le même vécu. Une possibilité de s'évader, de s'éloigner de la réalité vers un avenir onirique.

D'accord, ils n'ont peut être pas l'influence d'un sportif américain sur son propre terrain, mais ils sont quand même des icônes françaises, des célébrités au même titre que nos acteurs.

Si l'Américain a été fortement influencé par le sport, je pense que cette inclination surgit du ''Rêve américain'', qui est lié à son tour à l'argent et au prestige. L'Américain a une hantise, celle de se faire une honorable place au soleil, alors, quand on n'a plus autre possibilité, on se jette dans la musique ou le sport. C'est souvent à la limite de la folie, les gens osent. J'adore cette manière d'affronter la vie.