Tuesday, September 20, 2005

At a blogloss

...This hasn't happened in a while. My muse has other things to deal with and hasn't yet learned how to multitask.

Ooh! Just turned on the TV and here is something I have often discussed since returning to the UK. Paraphrasing the presenter:

  • Americans have such a genuine love of England, so when they come here, why do they get such a frosty reception?
  • It has become de rigeur to hate Americans.
  • An American walking into a bar in Glasgow vs a Brit walking into a bar in Des Moines.

I've always called the British contempt of America as envy of their success as a nation - and bingo! He said it. Jealousy of their success and national pride.

  • Indeed many Americans may be overweight. But America also invented "working out".

  • Re: American stupidity: sending a man to the moon and winning the most Nobel Prizes requires some intelligence.
So how much do Brits know about America? No one on the street could name the year it gained independence (1776), the first president (George Washington), or the year the USA entered WWII (1941).
Just after stating that most Americans are stupid, one gentleman claimed he knew more about America than the average Brit. His wife piped up thinking independence was won in the 1750s. He tried to correct her, saying it was earlier.

So, no laughing next time you encounter a Yank wandering around the West End asking for Lysester Square.

I've tried my best to keep politics out of this, and in fact deleted my last two paragraphs. My blog is not a forum, rather an oasis and a refuge from the daily grind. I have made the mistake of discussing politics here once before and ended up gritting my teeth over the responses.

Don't make me grit my teeth


Jia Li said...

Ièm Canadian, Everyone loves us!

Randis said...

Aw, no way, they'd love me.

Anonymous said...

Americans do everything at extremes. Over eat so that they can work out......what a concept!!!!
We lack moderation.

Rebecca said...

No teeth grinding, just: cheers!!

It's typical to hate "The Man", nothing new there. But as your PM himself once said (not verbatim): you can pretty much judge the success of a country by how many people want to get out vs. how many people want to get in.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you make the comparison


Anonymous said...

I think it's a land thing...

You know how you get small men who act like small dogs who are like "RRRRRR" to all the bigger dogs/men... Well, that's England - you'd get about 40 Englands out of 1 North America. We're all "Grrr" about it...

English stereotypes of America/Americans.

1) Everyone acts like those [insert appropriate phrase] from the Jerry Springer show... [well... Jerry's in England now and surprise surprise we have those sorts of people too]

2) Fat!

3) Cameras! [apparently we see more Americans with cameras than the Japanese who were previously the camera stereotype]

4) NO dress sense. [ but have you seen English men on holiday? ]

5) The phrases "Aint it quaint!", "Oh ours is bigger", "We haulled your asses out of the fire in WWII" - mostly perpetuated by the media... well... the 80's and 90's media

6) Them saying "Oh, you're from England - I've a cousin in London - do you know them" [ like we don't do the same thing - "You're from New York? Cool! I have an Aunt in IOWA - have you seen her" Duh!]

7) always at the beach on holidays. [like we aren't ]

8) Loud and obnoxious [Like we aren't]

9) Bush... and the fact he got re-elected for a second term = lots of stupid people [ politics - lesser of two evils? Better the devil you know? rigged voting machines? ]

10) oh sod this - you get the point...

Teah. We have stereotypes. We have irrational reasons of disliking Americans. Although, as a nation we are xenophobic. Small land thing. I think we hate the French the most [too close]

[We as a country - I, myself take each person I meet as I see them - if they're a jerk I tell them to you-know-what and leave me alone, if they're nice I (and happen to think I'm nice) we tend to get along... ]

Olivia said...

Anonymous - thanks for your amusing comparisons. I can think of an instance in Texas, when a very colonial Englishman in khaki bermudas and knee-high socks strode into a garden centre demanding with asperity if this was a "proper shop"?

Jaws dropped. Including mine, because I'd just seen a relic from PG Wodehouse.

Anonymous said...

awesome comparison. I guess we tend to criticize others but never ourselves about the exact same thing we did.