What is the Rest of the World's View of Britain and the British?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by UKnjb, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. UKnjb macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #1
    A recent thread from Peyton asked the question of how the rest of the world viewed America/Americans. Perhaps through a degree of negative postings about what has/is been happening in the USA, iGary today has also asked the question "Americans - Have you considered leaving the country?"

    Following on from the Macrumors meet in London recently, with the many posts from non-UK residents, I am interested in finding out what the rest of the world thinks of us Brits (and the country we live in). As well as the people who know us from first-hand experience, I am interested in the views from people who have never visited this country, yet have a stereotyped picture. All criticisms welcome!
     
  2. calculus Guest

    calculus

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  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    Perhaps, I see the British in a most unusual way.

    I see a lot of the influence in Japan's current governmental infrastructure and the history of the auto industry. I see it in the educational infrastructure of countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

    I think of Britain as a heroic country and a people searching for their future while desperately grasping their past. Deep in conflict, the people struggle to integrate people from their former colonies. I see a people of deep emotion but willing to keep it hidden, as necessary, to continue unnoticed and yet, unable to keep it hidden, let it out in an extreme outburst.

    I think that Britian is much like most western countries, but with a bit stronger compassion than most. Maybe, it's the food. :)
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #4
    I spent a semester (spring 2000) studying in London through my university's study aboard program. I absolutely loved it. I didn't make any life long friends, but I had a good time meeting people in pubs and clubs. I think young Brit's, in general, have a better knowledge of history than young Americans. I'm an armchair history buff so I loved taking in all the historical stuff England has to offer (I was seriously giddy when I went to see the Rosette Stone).

    We (the US and England) share so much culture and history that I really don't find Brits that different from Americans. Almost everyone met I liked, although there were a couple of "bad apples" (like the guy who robbed my friend at knife point and the bum that slashed another friend's face w/a broken bottle). But that's to be expected in a city the size of London.


    Lethal
     
  5. celebrian23 macrumors 65816

    celebrian23

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    #5
    Well besides this obsession over how all brits are incredibly hot and have sexy accents...


    I perceive the British to not be too different from Americans. Care more about politics, in some ways more isolated (besides physically thought that probably causes some of it) than the rest of europe. They just don't seem that different from me.
     
  6. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #6
    This won't be a completly fair look at Britain, my dad was born in Scotland, and raised in England, and I have visited the UK 4 times during my lifetime. I think the UK is kind of a magical place, I feel like I have stepped back in time in some respects, while at other points I feel like I am a kid again riding the mini railways at Gorse Blossom. I love the UK for its history, I am history buff so I love visiting castles, the cabinet war rooms, and the other sites in London. I love the food, tea time is the best invention ever, I love English cars and driving stick. I think its cool the UK has a monarchy, while at the same time having a Parliament. I would love to see our elected leaders in the US face the barrage of yelling that they would in the UK. I find the election process in the UK to make no sense whatsoever. I love the BBC, and I love England's soccer team. I root for Manchester United more then I do for baseball.

    I curse my British dental genes, yet my Dad has perfect teeth. I love the transit system in London, I like how things are within a walkable distance. I love the Tube, I wish there was one in my town. I am suspect of British medicine, I have heard some horror stories. I love having British relatives, and my Uncle is almost incomprehensible to the average American. I feel like most people in the UK are tight with their money, however that could really be rubbing off from my Dad. I love the Cats in England, and I think the police in America should get British uniforms. Sirens sound really different.

    Yep thats about it.
     
  7. iGary Guest

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  8. srobert macrumors 68020

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  9. calculus Guest

    calculus

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    #9
    You just had to mention all the bad things!
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    eh? top gear is awesome!

    nearly as good as The Office.
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    i've been to the UK (mostly england) 4 times. i love it. most of my time has been spent in london, and i would gladly live there.

    i happened to be in london (staying in hackney) last summer on 7 july. actually, i was trying to get a no. 55 bus, but that was a no-go. what impressed me most that day and the days after were how calm and reasonable the londoners were. a real contrast to the days after 9/11, when i had friends and family, nowhere near the attack sites, absolutely wigging.

    i also find interesting the pride brits have, especially in this age of post-colonization. i see the UK as what the US will be in a few decades in terms of a world power. but i don't see in americans what i see in the brits: national pride, some humility, good character, and a proper sense of history.

    on the minus side, i do get the impression that racial and class warfare is a huge problem. however, london seems much more racially integrated than chicago.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #12
    Umm- I almost hate to say this. Though I love all our British MR members, I must say that whenever I've met Brits overseas, they've been quite nasty once they hear my accent and realize I'm American. It's puzzling because I don't think I'm loud, obnoxious or demanding when I travel. Mostly I'm just gawking and I try my best to be as polite and unassuming as possible.

    Also here in the US, my experiences with the British have been quite bad. I worked in the restauarant biz for twenty years and trust me, if I heard a British accent (lots of British Airways employees) I would cringe, because it automatically meant no tip and a lot of work- not to mention plenty of rudeness.

    That said- I'm sure that it was just the particular people I met, because everyone here is great. Maybe I need to visit London. :)
     
  13. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #13
    Bloody Pommy bastards!

    Please don't say that they're not to different from Americans they are(mostly) and that's why I love them.With the rest of the Anglo-saxon world becoming more like the US every day it's a bolt hole of sanity.Mind you Thatcher ripped the guts of the infrastructure out.
     
  14. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

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    #14
    *don't mention the teeth, don't mention the teeth*
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    Funny, this question coming when it did for me. I just got done re-watching the fabulous BBC version of the John Le Carre novel "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." In the final episode the apprehended mole in the service confesses his reasons for becoming a traitor to his country. Paraphrasing, he says that England has become pathetic and irrelevant, and worst of all, slaves to the Americans, whom he hates with a passion. I suspect there's a lot of this self-loathing going on in the British national personality, not to mention, a generalized distaste of Americans for reasons that most Britons probably can't quite grasp. I've detected no small amount of this trait in my many visits to Britain, the first of which was in 1972 and the last time a couple of years ago.

    That being said, I obviously like the people and the place. But I do think they'd do better without the grudge. Besides, somebody already mentioned teeth. :D
     
  16. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

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    #16
    Eh, I think they have some good humor, hot actresses, and it's pretty pathetic that they have to keep the effing queen around still. Oh, and I should be a dentist and set up shop there.... I kid, I kid.

    Generally I worry more about what they think of Americans. It's also the spawning ground of some of the best punk/industrial/metal bands.
     
  17. Queso macrumors G4

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    #17
    I've highlighted your problem there. BA staff are so convinced of their superiority to others I'm surprised they don't pull shutters down over their arseholes during takeoff and landing.
     
  18. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #18
    They are terrible. The owner of the restaurant I worked in at the time actually asked them to never come back. Yes- they were that bad. :( BUT- they kept coming back! :confused:
     
  19. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

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    #19
    I think quite highly of my neighbors across the pond (even after seeing that video from the MR picnic). You do, however, speak kind of funny.
     
  20. UKnjb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #20
    Hmmmm. I've got to agree with you and dynamicv there. BA stewardesses are surely born with some bitch-ar$ed gene in the ascendancy and get selected for work as a result. One of the reasons why I will NEVER fly with them. Sorry for your own experiences with them. :(
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    I'm sorry you had such a rude welcome. Genuine Americans are genuinely appreciated on the whole. Some of my best friends are Americans...
     
  22. UKnjb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #22
    We've crossed posts on your experiences here back on Peyton's thread. As skunk alluded, I also remain sorry that you retain bad memories of the UK that seem to run deep. I wonder if you could elaborate on your statement that there is a "generalized distaste of Americans for reasons that most Britons probably can't quite grasp". Just what is it that we cannot grasp and why?

    PS. Did you ever read Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island"?
     
  23. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

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    #23
    thanks for the kind words, bud.
     
  24. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #24
    You invaded our country - we must hate you ;)

    Really;
    The British (in the wider sense, including Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish) are very like the Irish with a great relaxed attitude to life.

    However there are a good number in the South East who tend to be more uptight and take life too seriously (I lived in London for a while).
     
  25. Tanglewood macrumors 6502a

    Tanglewood

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    #25
    My feelings on Britain and the British people?

    I spent 6 weeks in England in a study aboard program in Oxford last summer. I have to say that I had the time of my life and I constantly wish I was back. The majority of the time the people were friendly and actually got to know the barkeep at the local pub.

    One of the funnier stories of when I was over there (actually this was in Mallorca) was when I ran in to a group from Manchester. They thought it was cool I was from America and ask if I knew ________ from New York when I said I was from California. This reminds me of most Americans and their lack of geography since my friend from the trip's mother called to make sure we were okay from the bombings in London even though we were in Oxford. I guess for most over here London is Britain and vise versa.

    Coming from southern California where if you don't have a car you're limited in your mobility, if felt great being able to go where ever I wanted via bus, train, taxi, walking, etc..

    I like using the pound and two pound coins and kinda wish they would do it over here and get rid of the $1 bill.

    Great Indian food, though need to work on your Mexican.

    Why don't you guys use ice?!

    Beer's a little warm but I got use to it.;)
     

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