I thought this joke was pretty darn funny, at least with regards to how you can convince an American to do something.
It is related that when the ship was in deep but not obvious distress the captain could not persuade the passengers to man the life boats, so he resulted to cultural remedy.
To the Germans he said, "It is an order."
To the English he said, "It is a game."
To the French he said, "It is sinful."
To the Italians he said, "It is forbidden."
And to the Americans he said, "It is new."