An Englishman In America

Sukerkin

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jks9199

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Looks interesting.

He catches one point that's often overlooked: The USA is 50 different states, several of which are larger than many European countries. Each region, and each state (and sometimes each region within the state) has it's own culture and ways. On top of that -- we value individuality more than anywhere else in the world that I'm aware of (one possible exception or competitor: Australia), and I don't think there's any other country that's as culturally, socially, and even racially diverse as the US. Without understanding that -- it's impossible to understand the US.
 

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Sukerin,

You really should get outta my head! I was just thinking of posting a new thread about why the British are so cool, or something along those lines. Simon Pegg (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) wrote a great article about British Irony last year which I had just googled this morning and which I wish I had saved the link to. Maybe I'll come back to this thread and post it later.

I think for the most part that even the most xenophobic Americans tend to like the British, or at least hold them somewhat in awe. Good evidence of this is in that quintissential of American mediums, the movies: when a director wants to portray ignorance, racism, or small mindedness he invariably chooses a Southern accent, but when he wants to hint at intelligence and sophistication he finds an actor who can do a good British accent. Something about it just sounds smart, no matter the speaker or the subject. It can even be a little intimidating, speaking for myself of course. Naturally any female with a British accent is instantly "hot" according to casting directors, my dh, and I am sure probably most red-blooded American males. As for us American ladies, well, that movie "Love, Actually" told the absolute truth of it!

In college, all of my friends and I avidly watched reruns of Monty Python's Flying Circus on vhs and could easily quote half of Holy Grail. "Everybody knew" that the best comedy was from England, the smartest and coolest musicians and artists also. We were all a bit infatuated with England and secretly envious too.

It would surprise me to hear that any of that was returned from the other side of the pond. (is there any such a thing as an "Americanophile"?) Sometimes I cringe in dismay at how braggadocious and tacky we must seem to you all over there. But it is nice to know that Americans are not as universally hated around the world as I sometimes suppose. Thank you for that :).
 

Makalakumu

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I'd love to see this series. I wonder if it'll make any of the video websites? If it does, post it here please!
 

jarrod

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interesting, i would love to read more about that. i'm always interested in outside perceptions of the US, as well as coastal perceptions of the midwest within my own country. funny thing is i ***** & moan plenty about the dear old U S of A, but when i hear a non-american complain about us (however justified it might be) it really ruffles my feathers. it's kind of like somebody making fun of my brother; only family is allowed to do that. in fact, i think i got a little angry with you sukerkin over a misunderstanding when i first started posting here!

On top of that -- we value individuality more than anywhere else in the world that I'm aware of

odd thing is that we value conformity almost as much, maybe even more in recent years. it's as if the ideal is to be a rugged individualist...but only in the mold of the individualists who have gone before you. i think the current national security craze has further contributed to this fear of standing out.


jf
 

Archangel M

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Opinions about our country are as varied between us citizens as they are by foriegners. But I agree with Jarrod. Its like being in the service, a guy in my platoon my be a worthless piece of ****, but nobody better mess with him because hes MY PLATOON MATE.
 
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Sukerkin

Sukerkin

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Andrea, I thank you for your fine opinion of my countrymen :courtly bow:. I should caution, however, that we are not all well educated and possessed of effortlessly good manners.

I like to think that the best of us do embody those characteristics tho' and I am proud when I see someone like Stephen Fry carrying that quintessential Britishness abroad (just as I am ashamed when I see the hedonistic hooliganism that takes place at far too many Spanish holiday resorts).

Likewise, the general reaction to things and people 'American' is complicated. We seem able to soak up so many bad (IMO) aspects of American culture, winding them into the fabric of our own society and yet simultaneously hold those things in disdain :confused:.

Even when it comes to my own individual opinions, I can hold dichotomous and contradictory views. I consider several people on this board to be friends and know full well that the stereotypes and cliches are just that. Yet I can still be caught, on occasion, after seeing something heinously tacky, stupid or gauche on TV for example, raising my eyes to the heavens and muttering "American's!" :eek:.

I am undoubtably Old World to my core when it comes to many matters, especially art, food and attitudes to money (plucking a few things from the air so to speak). But still, there is much I find to admire about the New World too. Most particularly that ever-present feeling in the national soul that "We can do that!" when faced with a daunting project or problem. The ability to draw in the best and brightest from other nations and work towards a common goal is a great boon and should be suitably feted. You chaps go into something expecting to succeed; that optimism is night and day to our way because we go in expecting to make the best of a bad job and maybe not mess it up too badly :blush:
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Hey Sukerkin that was a cool read. I definitely enjoyed it.
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MA-Caver

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Bloody hell and blimey and all that wot wot. Another British invasion. Ya'll just haven't forgiven us for succeeding you chaps 'ave you? :lol:

Ah lak what ole' jks had to say about how thangs are kulturallee dy-verse 'round da cuntry. :idunno: He's right. Go to some place like ohh, Cordele Georgia (the U.S. not Russian state) stay there for a few days hob-nobbing with folks and then fly up to say... St. Cloud Minnesota then down to Flagstaff Arizona and that right there is enough to prove the man's point.
Steve could be here for the next three or four years and still not see everything that there is to know about our country.

Still, he and anyone else from over your side of the pond are welcome.
 

jks9199

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Bloody hell and blimey and all that wot wot. Another British invasion. Ya'll just haven't forgiven us for succeeding you chaps 'ave you? :lol:

Ah lak what ole' jks had to say about how thangs are kulturallee dy-verse 'round da cuntry. :idunno: He's right. Go to some place like ohh, Cordele Georgia (the U.S. not Russian state) stay there for a few days hob-nobbing with folks and then fly up to say... St. Cloud Minnesota then down to Flagstaff Arizona and that right there is enough to prove the man's point.
Steve could be here for the next three or four years and still not see everything that there is to know about our country.

Still, he and anyone else from over your side of the pond are welcome.
Hell, he could spend years in Virginia alone and find that! Northern Virginia where I live is radically different than Southern Virginia... The Eastern Shore bears little resemblance to Appalachia... and so on.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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No doubt the same thing would apply here in Michigan. Even though we all have alot of similarities there are quite a few differences from north to south and east to west. (heck we in the middle are our own special people :rofl:)
 

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Very interesting, and one I'd like to watch... There are cultural differences, even in the state where I live. There are even some differences in climate. The closer you are to D.C., the more humid it gets in the summer. Closer to Ohio, the cooler it gets. Also, being close to D.C., you'll have "transplants" from Maryland and Virginia, who want a quieter and less expensive place to live- like in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

Yes, I'm afraid it'll take a long time to get the full and accurate picture of what American's are really about.
 
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Sukerkin

Sukerkin

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I quite agree.

We are all individuals, allbeit shaped by where we are born and who is around us.

That absolute truth is why I take myself to task whenever I start along a path that ends with "Tsk! Americans" or "Tsk! {Any nationality}".

We are undoubtably wrought from the fabric of our country but people transcend that cradle, given half a chance, by the very complexity of what dwells inside our heads.
 

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I spent a number of years as a road musician, and a lot of that work was in the U.S., particularly the northwest. My own experience with Americans has been overwhelmingly positive. A more generous, friendly people I've never encountered. In fact, were I to have the choice to perform for Canadians or Americans, I would pick Americans every time.

Best regards,

-Mark
 

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