An American's take--On the British

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by GSMiller, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #1
    I ran across quite an interesting article about how one American living abroad defines the British, and I'm curious to see how the MR readers who reside across the pond feel of her observations in her new book..

    Full article here.
     
  2. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #2
    Still "two countries divided by a common language" (even though that quote is from an Irishman),how someone can live in a country for a decade and not have any understanding of it other than it's not the US is beyond me.
     
  3. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    Well, I'm an American, but I've heard from a number of people from the UK about the "culture of envy" bit. Here in the states, if you drive down the road in an exotic convertible, most people will smile and wave, give you the thumbs-up, or even cheer.

    There's a bad side to that - we worship success overmuch - but it is true that Americans are more accepting of displays of wealth because everyone aspires to it unashamedly.

    It seems that more people in the UK see most displays of wealth as vulgar, especially flashy things. By driving down the street in that exotic convertible you're giving everyone two fingers - "Hey **** you all, I'm rich and you aren't. Outta my way little man".

    It was a pretty lame interview all the same though - while most of what she's saying echos things I've heard people in the UK say about themselves, it's a fairly shallow analysis.
     
  4. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #4
    By driving down the street in that exotic convertible your shouting "look at me I'm a total tosser".
     
  5. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #5
    :D

    See what I'm sayin'?

    I'd love to visit the UK, but if I do, I'll make sure to rent a diesel Golf or something...keep a low profile.
     
  6. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #6
    So if the Brits hate wealth, why so much love for the Royal family?:confused:
     
  7. Queso macrumors G4

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    #7
    Displaying wealth isn't considered vulgar, but you have to know the right way to do it. Shouting about wealth isn't good, but just going about your business whilst being obviously wealthy isn't a problem. Those that have earned their wealth are looked up to more than those that have inherited it, but I guess that's true of most societies.

    I also think her observations are less about the British and more about the English, a mistake someone who has lived amongst us should never make. On that note, I'm definitely interested in seeing how the British team instil pride before the World Cup :p

    We don't love them that much. Our media and government try to convince us we do, and a lot of people fall for it, but if they buggered off tomorrow we'd hardly even notice.
     
  8. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #8
    It's the subtlety that septics often miss, there are people that drive around London in vintage Bentleys (which are considerably more valuable than most modern sports cars) that are loved and treated as a real asset of the city,whilst the City type in his (almost invariably it's a him) flashy new sports car is almost universally thought of as a major tosser.
     
  9. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #9
    It's my experience that many Brits would love to see the Royal family kicked out on their arses.
     
  10. Queso macrumors G4

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    #10
    That's because Bentley drivers wouldn't lower themselves to racing you off the lights when you really don't give a stuff :D
     
  11. thworple macrumors 6502

    thworple

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    #11
    She makes it sound like everyone is a drunken, repressed, whiny, class-warrior with no sense of national identity!

    Bloody Yank, telling us what we are, and what we aren't! Bet she's upper-class too. I just don't understand women I really don't...... now where's my beer......? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    That's a good point - lumping everyone into the category of "Brits" will win you few friends in the UK, I imagine. Actually, the first thing that impressed me about people from the UK is the extremely strong sense of place they have within what is, to an American, a small country. Besides just England, Scotland, Wales and the two Irelands (I know, one of them is not in the UK), there are regions within all these states with extremely strong local identities. So much so that one can place people geographically by their speech with a high degree of accuracy. Regional identities in the 'States can be strong, but I think they are generally much stronger in the UK and in Europe in general.

    So, in other words, the English appreciate James May but think Jeremy Clarkson is a tosser. :D

    ...I'll go with that.
     
  13. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #13
    Except that they would then have the unenviable task of choosing a president...
     
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    Yeah, at that point you'd be looking back nostalgically to the days of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. :D
     
  15. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #15

    This Brit thinks that they're both tossers! ;)
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #16
    I don't think many would do that, not unless we somehow elected Robert Mugabe into office :D
     
  17. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #17
    * Applause*

    :D:D
     
  18. Kardashian macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

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    #18
    There isn't.
     
  19. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    God forbid...well look at the French - they had that Le Pen madman running for office. He makes the Bush Administration look like a bunch of hippies.
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #20
    I think it would be a tie between Eddy Izzard and George Galloway.
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    Seems the British have an all-purpose opprobrium for these situations: "The nerve of some people." It's the one you hear whenever they think someone needs to be cut down to size, which is remarkably often in my experience.

    Another great book on the subject of Americans in Britain is Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island." Really a hilarious read, especially so if you've spent any sort of time in Britain. My total is about six months, including one three month stretch. We're tentatively planning on another trip next June.
     
  22. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    #22
    People do moan at times about the Royal Family, but a Britain without them would be utterly unthinkable to most of the population.

    The upper echelons of the Royal Family are born into an almost unbelievable life of luxury, which counter balances an almost unbelievable life of Duty and expectation.

    Now, the lower levels of the Aristocracy - thats where the fun is, all night parting and unless you really push the boat out the papers will never find out!!! ;)
     
  23. Queso macrumors G4

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    #23
    Now that book is worth reading. Bryson gets it. I laughed myself silly reading that. We're quite an absurd race of people really :D
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #24
    Bill Bryson's book is pretty perceptive. We shall all be on best behaviour in June, I promise.
     
  25. Gazoobee macrumors newbie

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    #25
    The British don't "hate" wealth, they do think conceit, smugness and a lack of humility are bad things however. Actually outside of America and perhaps Australia, this is what most people think.

    The Royal Family is also not very rich, and they are very humble all things considered. More humble than George W. anyway. ;)
     

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