Tuesday, 29 March 2011

United States of England: Response


Click here for Part 1

Okay.  So, as threatened promised, this is a follow up post to my last blog.  I wanted to know how Americans perceived the English and England, and hundreds of bloggers responded...  Well... 4.  So, thank for your thoughts and giving me plenty of giggles, and here are my responses to your responses.

1.  What are the most common stereotypes of the English?

"Bad teeth..."
Dental care over here is ridiculously expensive and a lot of dental surgeries have been closed in recent years due to lack of funding.  There were reports on the news of people pulling out teeth with pliers because they can't afford to go to the dentist and of others trying to fix a broken tooth with superglue because there wasn't a local dentist to go too.  But those cases are the minority.  On the whole, no, the English don't have bad teeth.

"Drink too much..."
Compared to a lot of countries in Europe, we're practically tee-total!  I think we probably drink more than Americans, but we're far from being a nation of alcoholics.

"Snobbish..."
Totally not true for 99% of us.  The snobs tend to be rich and look down on everyone who doesn't have as much money as them, no matter what nationality they are.

"Chip on their shoulder about Americans..."
I've never met anyone who has a problem with Americans.  If anything they have a strange attitude towards the Polish (not me included I hasten to add).

"Stiff upper lip..."
Oh, yes.  The good old English stiff upper lip.  Forty years ago maybe, but not so much now.

"Frumpy..."
Three examples of how frumpy we are...
Keira Knightly
Kate Winslett
Rachel Weisz
See?  We're a nation of beauty queens!

Well, maybe not, but we're no frumpier than America.

"Talk funny..."
I guess we do if you're not used to the accent, but I think that's true of everywhere.  (And no, we don't all sound like Stewie Griffin or Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins".)

"Generally well educated..."
I guess that's sort of true, but I should point out that most of us weren't educated in posh boarding schools as depicted in a lot of movies.  I think our senior schools are pretty similar to your high schools, except you have more subjects and we have to wear uniforms.

"Very socially rigid..."
This response made me laugh because it's so not true.  We're a lot less inhibited than you think we are.

"Somewhat prudish about sex..."
See the above answer :)

"GREAT humor in TV shows and commercials"
Very true.
Personally, I worship at the shrine of Eddie Izzard, but to truly appreciate the bizarrness of English humour, you have to see the wonder that is Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.





2.  What have you heard or do you believe about England as a country?

"Great Health Care"
True, if somewhat underfunded.

"Small!! compared to US"
True.

"I've always imagined England as being formal, beautiful, proper. I imagine lush green fields and small, poorly paved lanes. Quaint."
Some smaller towns and villages still look like this...

Wareside.  3 miles from where I live.
But most towns look like this...
Hoddesdon.  The town I grew up in, 5 miles away.
It's kind of sad, but at least there are still some scenes like this...
5 minutes down the road.

What do you think about our royal family?

"Don't care a hoot..."

"Americans are obsessed with the Royal family. Not all of us are obsessed- but we hear about them often. Lady Diana is up there with Elvis (almost). I still remember hearing about her death- it was shocking."

"As little as possible. I see tabloid headlines and feel thankful that nobody watches me so closely. "

If you ask most English people what they think about our royal family, the overall response would be... "Meh, whatever..."

Everyone was shocked when Diana died and the conspiracy theories connected to her death are still flying around to this day.  I neither loved her or hated her, but there's no denying that she was more in touch with the "common people" than any other member of the royal family.  I only hope her sons follow in her emotional and free thinking footsteps.  I think William will be a great king, but I can't help thinking Harry would be better.  He'd be the party king!

Maybe she is human...
I don't think William or Charles will ever get to be King though.

The Queen will never give up her crown.

And she'll never die.

Because she's a robot.

That never pee's.

Without Googling it, do you know who our Prime Minister is?

Yes, it's David Cameron, and no, most people don't care.  We have very little faith in our government, not matter what party it is.

Who is your favourite English (or British) band/singer?


The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
No great surprise there then.

Have you heard of any of these people?

I'm so glad that most people know who Stephen Fry is.  I adore him.  He's a big, fluffy teddy bear stuffed with intellect and wit.  As for the others...

Jordan/Katie Price
Jordan is a millionaire/former glamour model who sells every aspect of her life and her three childrens life to everyone and anyone who wants it.  She's the kind of celebrity I despise:  She tells the tabloids all about her sex life and then complains about her lack of privacy.



Kerry Katona


Kerry Katona is pretty much the same.  A former member of all girl pop group Atomic Kitten, twice divorced with four children, former drug addict, bipolar sufferer and constantly selling exclusives to Hello magazine





Cheryl Cole
Cheryl Cole, member of girl group Girls Allowed, has been named sexiest woman in the world two years running (according to some lad's magazine).  She was married to a high profiled football player, but finally divorced him after the press published details about his sixth affair.  Like the previous two, she is everywhere.




Jade Goody
Jade Goody was constantly in the tabloids for several years.  She came third in the 2002 series of the reality show Big Brother and then the Jade phenomenon exploded.  Thick as two short planks (uttering memorable quotes like "Sherlock Holmes invented toilets" and "Rio de Janeiro; ain't that a person?") but lovable with it, she became the nations (very rich) darling until she showed her true nature of not only being stupid, but also racist.  On live television.  She tried to make amends by going on the Indian version of Big Brother in 2008, but two days into the show she was told she had cervical cancer.  On live television.  She died on Mothers Day 2009, still in the media spotlight.

Watch this clip...





Ladies and gentlemen, that blonde muppet is Boris Johnson...

...the Lord Mayor of London.

No, I am not kidding.

Jedward (John and Edward - get it?) are an absolutely terrible pop duo who were discovered on The X Factor (the English and original version of American Idol.)  They've had one hit single since then - a duet with Vanilla Ice.  Classy.

These guys make Justin Beiber and Rebecca Black look like music maestros.

(Warning:  If you choose to watch this clip, I do not take responsibility if your eardrums start to bleed.)





Do you have a favourite word or phrase that you've only heard used by an English person? And are you sure you know what it means?

"Mind if we pop round.. It means to stop by for a visit"

"Shag... to screw"

"Jolly Good...  It sounds like such a happy way to agree."

Correct, correct and correct  (although if someone uses the term "Jolly good" these days, they're usually being sarcastic because nobody speaks like that anymore).

Other Englishisms you may enjoy include "Minger" (meaning unattractive), "Argy-bargy" (an argument or fight), "Lug-hole" (an ear) and "Wanker" (a derogatory for someone, implying that they masturbate a lot).

Would you like to visit England?  If so, where and why?

London was a popular choice, which isn't a surprise.  Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and a lot more besides.  I love visiting London and I only live an hour away by train.  My favourite places to visit are Camden Market (it's very retro), Piccadilly Circus (lots of shops, street entertainers and theatres) and the Tower of London (where lots of peoples heads fell off).  It's a wonderful place to visit.

Piccadilly Circus
And there you have it (and I swear I'm not working for the English tourist board).  I just wanted to give you an insight  into my little England, the country in which I was born.  The country that is obsessed with celebrities, where few people care about their government and care less about their royal family. A country where we talk funny, aren't frumpy and drink quite a bit.  And the country that boasts the highest teenage pregnancy, highest number of jobless families, highest H.I.V rate and highest cocaine use in Europe.

It's not much.  But it's home.

5 people love me ♥ Add a comment...:

PAMO said... [Reply to comment]

I vote this as the all time BEST BLOG POST I've EVER READ!
WOW!!!!!
Thank you, thank you.
Seriously, this needs attention, it's that good. Well done!

Ruth said... [Reply to comment]

Nice perspective. The ladies are lovely and I now realize that my source that reported frumpiness was totally looking the wrong way. Thanks. I still really want to visit for an extended time so I can see more than London.

A said... [Reply to comment]

@PAMO
Wow! Praise indeed :)

Thank you, Pamo. You should be getting your bribe in the post any day now...

:)

Maundering mutterer said... [Reply to comment]

That was a very interesting and amusing post! Your love for your country, with all it's idiosyncrasies shines out - and it was a good read, too!

PAMO said... [Reply to comment]

Hey A- Thanks for joining my other blog. It's nice to have you there. Just don't expect much. HAHA! Thanks again.
PAMO

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