Point one: generalisations drive me nuts. To say something to the effect of "group X is Y" is to forget that group X is infinitely differentiated. Each member has something not in common with every member of that group. It's just bad logic. (Props to iain : clearly the rude ones are the ones that stand out. People who try to blend in are more likely just assumed to be fellow citizens.)

But, we tend to do this constantly as our way of understanding the world. It's easier to group and diminish in worth. Or on the flip side, it helps in group identification and increasing self-importance (Alone one tends to never be of much importance).

A Slovakian friend whom I met in Germany once told me as I scribbled on a 5 Mark coin that "Europeans don't do that." She identified herself with Europeans, noble people that they are, and made such an obviously absurd comment, well, for reasons of self-importance I assume. Which leads to:

Point two: A Theory on the Europeans/American Dichotomy by Freeborn
In response to the generalisation, "Americans are rude" I can only say, "So are Europeans". But differently so.

What's I've come to notice by spending much time in both societies is that Americans (to the extent that the generalisation has any relevance) are rude in a very young sort of way. We scribble on coins, we are loud, brash, laugh openly. We are like children.

Europeans, on the other hand, are stodgy, moldy, and reserved. They are rude in a very old sort of way.

Now, I'm making no comment on which is preferable, simply that our rudenesses are different and presuably based on the "age of culture". America is very young; Europe old. Naturally such ranking is only partially valid, but I think the comparison holds.

Just think about what the people of England are known for (in the way of rudeness): uppitiness, high-browedness, alooftness (1. I don't know if these are words, but you get the picture; 2. this is at least the picture presented in US media.) Germans are known for being retentive sticklers. The French, well, I won't even go there. But you see what I'm getting at?

It's true enough that Americans can be rude, but everyone can be rude. It's just a matter of realizing that what's rude to "us" is naturally normal for "them", and what we do in turn equally rude to them. It's all relative.