Americans have been losing big international-relations points in South America lately. First there was the story of a simpering Cameron Diaz wearing a Maoist messenger bag while visiting Peru's historic Machu Picchu, oblivious to the fact that tens of thousands of Peruvians had died at the hands of the wicked Maoist Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") guerillas. Now we find out that members of the United States Olympic Committee have been perpetuating the "Ugly American" stereotype yet again while visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Pan-American Games.
One of the USOC workers wrote "Welcome to the Congo!" on a dry-erase board in the Pan-American Games media Center. USOC media employee Kevin Neuendorf claimed that the words were written because "it’s really hot in Rio." Of course, anyone with an inkling of a notion about world travel would know that July is wintertime in the Southern Hemisphere, so the excuse he gave is dubious at best. Once we discover that the temperature that day in Rio was in the lower 80's, hardly unmanageable when we consider that some cities in the United States registered a temperature of 116 degrees this weekend, we realize that Neuendorf's excuse was merely a lame attempt at covering up the fact that self-centeredness and an American passport are an ugly, potentially-disastrous combination. In this climate of increasing hatred toward the United States in just about every corner of the world, the USOC should screen its ambassadors more carefully and leave the morons and bigots at home.
Oh, did I mention the fact that we have a pretty decent track and field team representing the USA in Rio? It's too bad that this fact had to be overshadowed by such despicable, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless behavior as exhibited by the USOC worker.