The 5 Most Statistically Full of Shit National Stereotypes

Stereotypes exist for a reason: They help us form opinions about people without all the hassle of getting to know them. Why waste time talking to, say, a Frenchman, when everybody knows they are a bunch of baguette-gobbling, beret-wearing cowards? Russians? Furious, bear-fighting drunkards. Dutch? A nation of burn-out potheads. Canadians? Like Americans, but polite. There! We just saved you years of pointless interaction with foreigners.

...or did we?

#5. The French are Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys

Where We've Seen It:

The image of the "cowardly Frenchman" has appeared in virtually every media possible, from movies to children's shows and video games, right down to the personal sentiments of Captain America (and he wouldn't lie to you; dishonesty makes Captain America vomit in rage).

Why it's All Bullshit:

Ask Rudyard Kipling, who once famously said about the French: "Their business is war, and they do their business." And boy howdy, a quick glance at France's history shows business is booming:

Since 387 BC, France has fought 168 major wars against such badasses as the Roman Empire, the British Army and the Turkish forces. Their track record isn't too shabby, either: They've won 109, lost 49 and drawn (or as close as you can "draw" a war) 10 times. Professional boxers have been crowned world champions on shittier records than that.

And while it is true that France surrendered to Germany relatively early in WWII, that was only because they hadn't picked themselves up after WWI yet. And WWI (despite being an entire "I" lower) wasn't exactly an anemic playground chickenfight--the French suffered about 5.7 million casualties (the war killed or wounded an incredible 37 million people worldwide).

So yes, the next time around they let the Germans take over officially, but they never actually stopped fighting: the French resistance was one of the most enduring symbols of Nazi opposition in Europe. The resistance was the originator of the archetypal trench coat wearing merchants of bloody death you see in countless action movies and video games today. They blew up bridges, staged daring night raids, slit German throats while generally looking fantastic (if a little ennui-stricken) while doing it.

And not a damn thing's changed since then: France is the most underestimated military force in the world, with the third highest military spending on the planet and an estimated 300 nuclear warheads at their disposal. So basically... we might want to knock off the "coward" talk now, lest we find the impeccably-styled death squads smoking their thin cigarettes on our doorstep.

#4. Polish People are Idiots

Where We've Seen It:

Countless variations of the "dumb Polack" joke expose the Poles' inability to change a light bulb in a hilarious fashion; the ease with which you can remove one from a tree; and their many tragic screen-door related underwater transport disasters.

Why it's All Bullshit:

IQ tests aren't perfect, but if independent IQ studies repeatedly determine that a country has one of the highest average intelligence quotients in Europe, and if you average a bunch of different national IQ tests together and that country does better than your own, it might be time to scale back all the submarine screen door jokes. Yes, Poland handed America its ass in the IQ department, and if Europe was a high school, Poland would be the resident nerd (which might explain why Germany and Russia made such a habit of taking their lunch money).

But if Poland is so smart, where are all their contributions to humanity--like a better mouse trap, a cure for cancer or maybe a better mousetrap that gives mice cancer? What did they ever do for the scientific community?

Well, in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus formulated a comprehensive theory that the Sun, not our planet, is in the center of the universe, thus starting the scientific revolution (and giving Earth a self-esteem complex). In the 19th century, they had piano virtuoso Frederic Chopin. Finally, the 20th century saw Marie Curie (a pioneer in the field of radioactivity and the first person in history honored with two Nobel Prizes) born in Poland's capitol of Warsaw.

If that's not enough, without the Poles we probably couldn't have ended WWII when we did: The three smarty-pants mathematicians who broke the Enigma code--a cipher used to code Nazi messages with an estimated 500 trillion combinations--all hailed from Poland. If it wasn't for them, WWII could've easily dragged on for years longer, thereby costing countless lives, ruining even more countries and causing everybody in your precious Call of Duty games to don bell-bottoms.

#3. The British Have Horrible Teeth

Where We've Seen It:

The Brits get slapped with the horrible mouth-hygiene joke on any number of TV shows: from The Simpsons, to South Park; Family Guy to Austin Powers. The stereotype would have us believe that most Brits, upon being confronted by a toothbrush, respond with polite puzzlement at first, quickly lapsing into mindless panic followed by murderous rage.

Why it's All Bullshit:

We hate to ruin anybody's joke material (especially if you're desperate enough to be hanging onto that cutting edge "British teeth" material) but recent studies suggest that we should retire the bad teeth as Britain's national stereotype of choice (we can probably replace it with much funnier jokes about their oppressive Orwellian state anyway. Your life is not your own; that shit's hilarious!)

A study performed by OECD, an international economic organization, on the state of dental hygiene in developed countries has concluded that the British have the very best teeth in the entire world, with an average of just 0.6 of a tooth decaying per citizen. Not just "not the worst"--the absolute fucking best! That's like routinely mocking the feminine lisp of a guy-pal and finding out he's boned every single girl you know, including your mother (especially your mother). But sadly, because national stereotypes are apparently a zero sum, it turns out Poland has the worst teeth, with an average of almost four rotted teeth per ingenious Polack.

So why does this admittedly lame stereotype even exist? Well, because the idea of "good" teeth differs slightly between the UK and the U.S.--most Brits simply don't find slightly crooked or off-white teeth all that unappealing. They probably fancy you a bit of a poof, actually, wasting perfectly good dosh on teeth whitening 'stead of a warm pint and a hot pigeon pasty. For all you non-British: We think they just called you a pussy, but we can't be sure (we half-suspect they make up good bit of their adorable-sounding slang on the spot).

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

2,216 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!