I mean, suppose someone wrote a book called The American.
And the author decided to use one regional accent to portray all the Americans in the novel, like a thick southern accent peppered with southern vernacular. And the writer included everything they “knew” about Americans, especially what they learned living around them when they were sixteen. Many of the things Americans said and did were “shocking” to the author, yet the author admits they really hadn’t been around many Americans, except for the ones that worked for her parents. You see, they had an older American who was just like part of the family, and publically states the book is inspired by her.
Only the depiction of the Americans are all stereotypical. And most Americans get mad because they’ve got boys fighting overseas and the book portrays them in a bad light. Only the world loves the book, even praising the author and writing reviews like “This is an authentic portrayal of Americans.” “Pitch perfect depiction of Americans” and “I know some Americans and that’s how they behave.”
And then you find out the author didn’t even research the very Americans she depicted in the book, and you even find out she listened to an American at a party and decided one American could be the prototype for ALL the americans in the book. And now you know why everyone who’s American in the novel are making jokes and having a good old time, even though the book is set during 9/11, only the “Americans” in the book act as if 9/11 doesn’t affect them.
And only the “Americans” in the book are wife beaters, no account, absentee husbands, unable to hold a job, can’t comprehend or speak a decent sentence, loud, or basically ignorant in many passages. In short, they’re truly the “Ugly American” stereotype.
But the non-Americans in the book sound as if they have a good command of the English language, all because the non-american author claims she never heard her family’s accent since they all spoke “so beautifully.” And all the non-american characters have jobs, and are faithful to their wives/husbands, and behave quite decently.
There’s only one “villain” and that’s the non-American who bullies all the other characters to punish the American characters, concocting silly reasons in the process.
And after you finish the book, you feel really sorry for those poor, uneducated and overweight “Americans.” Especially after you read some of the five star reviews, where people write, “Americans aren’t known for their good educational system. They lag behind the rest of the world so its no wonder they speak like they do in the novel, but I find them to be the best characters in the book” or “Americans have a very violent culture so their behavior in the book is real” or “What are Americans complaining about? I found the book very entertaining. The book was not intended to be a history lesson on all Americans, but I at least know a bit more about them now” and “I think Lindsay Lohan would be perfect for the role as the admirable American, Aibileen.”
Now take a real good look at The Help