Jim Geraghty (in Turkey) let's it rip about the 'ugly American' myth.
I lived overseas for seven years; every nationality I've dealt with has its uglies, and the US is not the worst of them by far.
Part of the reason "the world" is down on Americans, instead of just our government, is the re-election of Bush. That's just the way it is, folks. Being nice isn't going to help because, frankly, most of them don't really care about Americans (we were stupid before, now we're stupid and evil), and if we were all killed by bovine flu or mad chicken disease tomorrow, there would be a collective snort and a 'well, it's a tragedy, but certainly if any nation deserved it ...' Followed, of course, by a mad scramble to see who could get what of our stuff.