It's so odd listening to Israelis describe America, particularly when they are professors and they just keep throwing out random observations, composed of some equal mixture of tv, news stories, and academic studies, all equally detached from any real context. It's not that they're always wrong about things, it's just this weird skewed picture, literally like a caricature, in that some features are there and some are exaggerated and some are under-aggerated and the whole thing is just oddly out of proportional. The professor currently lecturing for example, sees America as a sweltering mass of racism where anybody driving a junky car in a nice neighborhood is going to be continually pulled over by the police. A place where sheriffs patrol the streets of fancy San Fransisco suburbs.
And yet, at the same time, you get this sort of impression that somewhere in the back of their minds, they truly do think that the streets are paved with gold and SUVs. It's distinctly odd. And don't get me started on how fascinated they are with Obama. I think because they think American is so very racist, the idea of those racists ever accepting a black president just blows their minds, so that he becomes even more mythological than he was to Americans.