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So what do the English think of Americans?
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 984
Location: not here
So what do the English think of Americans?  Reply with quote  

I moved this to knew thread before people start whining about going off topic.


MYOWNCLICHE wrote:
What in general do the people in England think of Americans?


That's tough to answer because generally people are stupid over here (I think that goes for any country). A common conceptualisation is that everything is bigger and better in America. There's a strong dislike for your government obviously, but I don't think it reflects on the people as a whole. People believe Americans are more melodramatic and over the top, always panicking about stuff. The British just tend to lay back and say "nah."

People seem to think everything is extreme in America. My Mum (notice the spelling of that word) once commented on the weather in the US saying "Everything is so extreme over there, it's either a tornado or a hurricane, a heat wave or being knee deep in snow." I then pointed out to her that she was stupid and told her "as the US covers the best part of the globe, it has many different climates. Some parts of America even have similar weather to England, but that just doesn't make the news headlines" She looked at me bleary eyed, as her brain went into meltdown. Oh I love ya Ma, but you're as dumb as a bag of spanners.

I guess for a typical stereotyped British view of an average America, watch Trainspotting, as in the US citizen who goes into the pub and asks to use "the bathroom."

People tend to think of the fast food culture when they think of Americans, but again I think most people know that that is pretty stereotypical. We don't just look at you negatively, lots of people LOOK UP to Americans. I know girls who try to pick up fashion tips from Friends and Sex and the City (sad, isn't it?), plus guys particularly in the Hip Hop scene who try and speak with an American accent. I knew two guys at School who used to always say certain words, like "hella," all the time with a pathetic attempt at an US accent. At first I just thought it was laughable, then it got so annoying it made me want to punch their heads until their brains came out of their eyes.

My personal view of Americans? Hmmm that's a tought one too. I mean, I've never been to the US, but I think your population is too diverse to just summarise in a couple of sentances. What I will say though, is that I don't think the general public of either countries is that different. Generally they all seem to just wanna consume whatever is served up in front of them. However, there always seems to be an underground movement (usuaully that surrounds the punk/hip hop scene) that is trying to break away.

Where the media is concerned though, it's always "What will the US think of this?" as they want whatever product their pushing to make it big over there. That's why all our films for the past decade contain at least one American, so gives somebody for the US audience to relate to and therefore want to buy/go see it. Which is fucking annoying. Forget pandering to the Americans and make us something that OUR OWN country will enjoy.

It's the same with music, I guess to. It's a shame because people look to the US for the new music where their are some great artists right here in the UK (like Buddy Peace for example ;-). I guess though in some ways it's easier to look to the US. I mean, I hear about new music mostly via messageboards, which are mostly contributed by Americans and therefore most of the music is of course American. Hip Hop thrives in some places over here, but more often than not it's non-existant. I grew in a town where I knew only one other person who listened to Hip Hop. Now I leave in a town where nobody does. I went to a Hip Hop night at a bar a couple of days ago, and the DJ starting doing some scratching. He was actually quite good and I got so excited I jumped up on the table and yelled "YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAH," clapping my hands. The other five people in the bar (I told you it wasn't popular) looked at me like I was nuts. Some dude was SCRATCHING in EXMOUTH. It was awesome.

Anyway, before I go off on anymore wild tangents, I should nip this in the bud. I'll end by saying I generally just despise people, whether they're American or British. I stay indoors and read, or watch movies, or play video games or surf the net. People honestly don't understand why I don't want to go to the local club (voted the 2nd worst in Britain I might add) and listen to the DJ who plays three Britney Spears songs in a row (plus his set list is only two hours long, so he just repeats it, if you're lucky you'll get to hear them all again). Then I get to make inane conversations with people I don't particularly like very much. Shit, I said no more wild tangents.

I liked to hear some of the other UK folks opinions on this, on whether I'm talking sense or complete rubbish. I'll be interested to hear what you guys think of us (we're that island that's just left of France ;-) or what Sage thinks about the European crowds. I read once he thinks they're not much different from the US, but I fail to believe that. I never understand when I hear live recordings from the US, that there is so many people talking in the background. Don't get me wrong, we can get quite rowdy, but most of the time people shut the fuck up when there's a spoken word piece or a quieter song being performed.

Anyway, enough of this stupid rant.
Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:53 pm
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dorkasaurus



Joined: 09 Jul 2002
Posts: 537
Location: trench b
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i guess billy no mates suits you well then. you need to stop bitching about the idiots you encounter and seek out other antisocial, lonely, and hopefully intelligent individuals like yourself. it's statistically impossible to have a town full of idiots (there have to be anomalies). i'm sure there are interesting people if you'd take a little time to find them. what about that dj that was scratching, maybe you should make friends with him. hmm?

plus, calling your mom stupid is so unnecessary considering we don't know the woman. very bad form.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:15 am
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 984
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The talk of stupid people was actually over empthasized for the sake of humour which I most probably completely failed on. It makes look pompous I suppose, but I don't particularly give a shit. I don't generally think people are stupid at all, misguided perhaps? Besides I don't blame them, they live life in a way which is quick and easy for them. I'd do it if I didn't feel my conscience dragging me.

I do tend to be a private person though. I just don't like being with other people. Sure, I do have some friends, although in this town I think there is only person I really connect with (I did speak to the DJ, but he was quite shy, he didn't say much). Besides, what exactly is wrong with staying in? I enjoy it, so what's the problem? Why do people think socializing is the answer to everything? And my Mum is pretty dumb, she says the worst things sometimes. That's a fact. I still love her to bits, but that makes me a bad person?

I think you're kind of missing the point though. I admit that it's my fault, I went on some aimless rant because it's 5am and I can't sleep. The personal stuff was to show how our society is saturated with this fried cheese culture which I personally find unbearable. I wasn't looking for advice or sympathy, but thanks for your input. I never said I was lonely either. I'm tempted to edit the crap out of my first post, but then these posts will make no sense so I won't.


Last edited by Billy No More on Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:46 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:26 am
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duke_city



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
Posts: 3208
Location: San Diego,CA
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I like this thread.

My experience with people from England has been one of suprise. I'm not sure that growing up 26 years in New Mexico, Texas and now California I've sampled enough American culture to compare it to my 1 month vacation in England but I'll try anyways.

My biggest suprise with English people is how much more cordial they are with each other. I find myself turning the tables on someone lost and wandering New York City or Los Angeles as I did London and don't for a minute think they would be met with as many helpful and intrigued people as I did in England. Furthermore I'm still not completely sure why Americans are so fascinating to British people, my only guess is they are taking their cues from our exported Hollywood movies and braindead television programs.

After a few dozen frank conversations with locals in England (London,Brighton, Nottingham) I discovered that most British people recognize that Americans are a very impatient lot who are hellbent on living lifestyles that are very exceptional. There is some truth in the exceptional lifestyle department but I think the impatience is something only New Yorkers practice in large numbers.

I will say that I found the portions of food miniscule and the ideas of "free refills" and "All you can eat" to be uniquely American concepts. This is a good thing though, we could do a lot of good for this country by becoming smaller consumers. Also when it comes to cars I enjoyed the sight of trains, tube stations, and small cars being used everywhere and no hints of SUV or humungous trucks being used as daily drivers.

As a whole I found the average person in London to be much more informed on political issues especially with those concerning places outside the UK. You'd be hard pressed to even get the average American to do simple things like pointing out European countries on a map or to realize that Canada and Mexico are even part of North America.

Smoking in England seems to be embedded as part of the culture which I find disgusting. Nothing worse than seeing a pretty young girl filling her lungs with tar and nicotine. Americans particulalry in California fortunately DO NOT share the same affinity with smoking, in fact its illegal to smoke indoors in California. Drinking alchohol in London seems to be much more engraved in the culture as well. This is also something I despise so I was overwhelmed with the amounts of "pubs" all of which are useless to me as they function as magnets for smokers and drinkers.

The weather is pretty shitty in England. Compared to California its darn right terrible. Not really a problem for vacations since Spain and France are so close but if I had to deal with that pissy weather for more than a few weeks I'd think I go crazy.

All and all, Americans could learn a few things from the British concerning manners and more efficient ways to travel and consume. Sadly I find nothing that Americans could teach the English. :(

Brian
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:41 am
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dorkasaurus



Joined: 09 Jul 2002
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Location: trench b
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maybe i was reading too much into it, but you made it seem to me as if you were stranded on an island in a sea of idiots, but whatever. staying in isn't a problem either, hell i'm home on a saturday night, but... nevermind. in the immortal words of digital underground "do what 'cha like."

as for talking about your mom, i don't care if she is an moron or a retard, i think unless you've had a seriously fucked up home life (abuse and all that) it's disloyal to badmouth family to strangers. sure no one knows who you are, but then why say anything. if you have no loyalty towards family, then what about your friends with whom you have no blood ties?
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:50 am
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
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Dork - You need to take things I say with a pinch of salt. I didn't really fantasise about brutally killing two people just because they spoke with phony american accents either. Okay, my Mum isn't exactly "as dumb as a bag of spanners," but she isn't that bright. I don't really see that as being that insulting. Some people are clever. Other's are not. That's what makes this world such an interesting place. Besides, I did also say that I still love her for everything she is. Isn't that the ultimate compliment you could give someone? And as you brought up my family life, yes it was pretty fucked up, thanks.

dallasbboy - That was fascinating, thank you! I know exactly what you mean about pubs and smoking. I'm a non smoker myself. Although more places are banning smoking, it's still pretty dominant. It intrigues me, because the government at the end of the day must love smokers. They tax cigarrettes to the hilt, knowing people will keep paying for them no matter what. It's a nice little earner for them. Yet at the same time, the health secretary is trying to encourage people to give up smoking and launching various campaigns to get people to do so. Afterall, smoking costs so much to the NHS. It seems like no matter what the government does, it's kicking itself up it's own ass.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:06 am
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duke_city



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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Billy No Mates wrote:
Dork - You need to take things I say with a pinch of salt. I didn't really fantasise about brutally killing two people just because they spoke with phony american accents either. Okay, my Mum isn't exactly "as dumb as a bag of spanners," but she isn't that bright. I don't really see that as being that insulting. Some people are clever. Other's are not. That's what makes this world such an interesting place. Besides, I did also say that I still love her for everything she is. Isn't that the ultimate compliment you could give someone? And as you brought up my family life, yes it was pretty fucked up, thanks.



Another area hard to grasp, British humor. Laced heavily with cynicism and brutal wit. :)
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:10 am
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
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Actually I was about to mention that! The main difference between the US and Britain is our comedy. The British tend to understand US humour, save from a few references, but American's generally don't seem to get our humour at all. Ours can be quite obscure too, which is why The Simpsons and Family Guy go down so well over here.

Most American's seem to mention Monty Python when the subject of British comedy comes up. MP is hilarious don't get me wrong, but we've moved on a lot since then. I'd check out The Office (which you have probably heard of), Spaced (which you probably haven't, this slipped under the radar over here to, but it was fantastic) and also more recently, Little Britain. These are all good TV shows to check out, they should be on the net somewhere to download.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:33 am
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Frezz



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Mr. Bean kicks ass.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:39 am
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Craig a.d.



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
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i watched Benny Hill in 7th grade, saw a boobie flash or 2, and I have loved the English ever since.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:08 am
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joedan



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
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Billy No Mates wrote:
Actually I was about to mention that! The main difference between the US and Britain is our comedy. The British tend to understand US humour, save from a few references, but American's generally don't seem to get our humour at all. Ours can be quite obscure too, which is why The Simpsons and Family Guy go down so well over here.

Most American's seem to mention Monty Python when the subject of British comedy comes up. MP is hilarious don't get me wrong, but we've moved on a lot since then. I'd check out The Office (which you have probably heard of), Spaced (which you probably haven't, this slipped under the radar over here to, but it was fantastic) and also more recently, Little Britain. These are all good TV shows to check out, they should be on the net somewhere to download.


i've always liked british humor, from monty python to now. i've only seen a couple of episodes of the office and it was pretty damn funny. i think the fact that it doesn't have a laugh track adds to the appeal. also, ali-g is excellent.

do they air king of the hill in england? i wonder if it is as humorous to a non-american.

"Oh, dang, someone's coming! Lie back and think of England. Hugh Grant. Spice Girls. Paddington!" - Bobby Hill

by the way, what the hell is a spanner?
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:14 am
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duke_city



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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joedan wrote:

by the way, what the hell is a spanner?


I think its what we call a wrench in America.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:18 am
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joedan



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
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wrench eh? you've gotta love those british with their crazy words.

my t.a. in art class last quarter was british. on the first day he called us all "boffins" then spent the remainder of class time explaining what a boffin is. i'm still not clear on the term...
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:26 am
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Buddy Peace



Joined: 21 Jul 2002
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Some thoughts...  Reply with quote  

I don't have any real pre conceived notions about the US, and/or people from the US at all. I make observations now and again, but never in a "wow, do people in America really think like this?" kind of way. For a start, it dwarfs England in size, and there are so many pockets and culturally diverse areas that it would be impossible to generalise the entire country. I've never really tried. Why would one want to generalise whole countries just so they fit into your vocabulary and worldly experience?

I think that all this "all Americans are fat" and "everything in America is HUGE and they give you these HUGE portions!" stuff is pretty unnecessary - yeah, some restaurants probably serve you up a full spit roasted cow, and sure America has its share of overweight folk, but even for the sake of a quick, tame laugh, I don't abide by these weak observations at all. England has a lot of overweight people too, and in the city just try and find a main street without a glut of kebab shops and curry houses. And yes, pubs are everywhere! Although the trend/fashion bar is sweeping in at an alarming rate... I just don't get along with these subtle stereotypes at all. People use them for just about every race and it doesn't help anything - it just instills a tolerence for further stereotyping, which could get a lot worse.

It's nice that some American people have found some English folk to be pleasant and friendly to each other. It's a shame to say that it is decreasingly so - the media will have you believe that young people want to beat you senseless and that black people will mug you on site, and that any man walking with a young child is a peadophile, so there is an element of paranoia in many places, but it's cool that people can get along when they visit here.

Personally, I am extremely interested in America and American culture. It might stem from a love of hip hop culture which started in the late 80s - I'm sure it is natural to want to find out more and study the place where most of what you spend your time involved in started off - but it has evolved to many different areas too. On a historical level for instance - I realised recently that most of the history I was taught in school was predominantly British. I want to know more about other countries - well, not only America but the whole world. But is amazing how much I have missed out on.

On America specifically though, what was a big issue to me was catching all the pop culture references over the years. Even UK rappers drop them in quite a lot. From candy to TV programs to magazines to performers and so on. It's is fascinating, and the references date back years too. That definitely played a part in my interest. It puts certain things into perspective.

On the whole - I like to think that I can get along with people without relying on preconceptions first. Perhaps it's not as easy as it sounds, but I like think that it could be... The American people I have met - either in real life or on message boards (starting with the Non Prophets board for instance! Sorry if I sound like a sucker for saying this...) have always been (or most of the time) straight up friendly, interesting, funny and intelligent people. I suppose that in itself is a generalisation though... But I think that would be a better generalisation than one of the more personal ones - about appearance and ways of life. Derogatory ones for the sake of a cheap laugh. They need to go quicksmart.

By the way (sorry if this has been answered while I have been typing this!) - a boffin is a dated term for an educated person - like how people used to call others 'swots' to make fun of how much they studied. I guess like a 'nerd' really. Also a 'nonce' is really a term used for a well studied person too. Somehow though in the UK it has been adopted as a way of calling someone a peadophile. That might be why I saw a Nonce CD in the Tower Records sale a few years ago. I bought it safe in the knowledge that it was completely non-peadophile endorsing. And it was 3.

I've been reading Bill Bryson's 'Made In America' over the past week or so. It is such an interesting book, and I would suggest that anyone should try and read it. I'm only about 150 pages in so far but it is incredible - it starts with discovery of America and the gradual discovery of the world at large and goes on to discuss how language evolved and arrived and how and why it has changed how it has, and much more.

I've said too much. Thanks for bearing with me. I hope I've made sense and made myself clear. I'm not always the best at conveying my thoughts on a message board. But thanks for making me think about this! And cheers for the props Billy No Mates! That's lovely.

Okay peace.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:40 am
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
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Bill Bryson's books are incredible, not only are they fascinating but hilarious to. I read The Lost Continent, in which he travels around small town America. It was so interesting to me, because most people over here think of America, they either think Florida or New York etc. But these small quaint little towns grabbed my attention so much I'm actually thinking of travelling around these sort of places when I finish University in 2005. I know so many people in the US I might just backpack around, staying with people I know and in the odd hotel etc.

Bryson also wrote Notes from a Small Country, in which he travelled to England. I keep meaning to pick that up, I'm sure that's a great read as well.

As for the term "dumb as a bag of spanners," you guys of never heard that? I actually thought that was a US phrase. Ha. I heard it on the Coen Brother's movie O Brother Where Art Thou, it was also on The Simpsons and the Spider-man comic I was reading the other day. Oh well.
Post Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:56 am
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