Skip to comments.Let us cleave these plucky little Americans to our bosom
Posted on 06/20/2004 11:46:21 AM PDT by ijcr
The Americans now see us, apparently, as 'introverted, arrogant bores who whip children and live in perpetual rain'
All generalisations are dangerous, even this one. But the worst kind, it's often seemed, are those about nationalities.
The French as dogbreathy bed-hoppers; the Italians as pretty cowards; the Aussies as irritatingly upbeat simpletons whose definition of 'cultured' is someone who gets out the bath to have a pee; the Bulgarians as torn-faced miserly cut-throat scum who would sooner slice open their neighbour's first-born than pick up a bar of soap; the Swedes as a kindlier, sexier yet strangely more suicidal version of the Germans... lazy generalisations, pat and trite and unhelpful, unless of course you're ever planning to go, quite unaccountably, to Bulgaria.
The Americans now see us, apparently, as 'introverted, arrogant bores who whip children and live in perpetual rain'. Not just any Americans, not even Americans with a bizarre academic interest in extrapolating national characteristics from the study of 1956 postcards of Weston-super-Mare? No, these respondents, we are told by a new British Council study, are America's young 'high achievers', the coming royalty of commerce. They think David Beckham plays 'hockey', and fewer than 5 per cent of them will ever want to visit us.
This, then, is the special relationship. US ambassador William S Farish was going on about it again yesterday, in a valedictory piece after three short years in Britain. His impressions, he told us, were that normal Britons see George W Bush not as a caricature but 'as a plain-spoken man of principle who says what he believes', which shows Farish as a man not above actionably deluded poppycock in the same way the ocean is not above the sky.
He went on again, fairly cynically, about the special relationship. They throw this phrase at us so cheaply, like dropped popcorn; it means as much as an empty promise to a mistress. No, not a mistress, a 'stalker'; we are the ones who know, obsessively, their tastes, their plans, their favourite films, and they are the ones with a dim recollection of poking us once in a cabbagey attic and an even hazier recollection of our name.
There is, though, one forgotten group of all-American heroes, and it is time for them to be feted. Not the high-achievers, with their ignorance of a country they never intend to visit, the trim wunderkinds with their buttoned-down God, and the naked whumping greed they call ambition, and their deeply unsavoury attitudes towards such human delights as alcohol and laziness and failure. Time, instead, to cheer the real American heroes: their tourists.
For decades, we've smirked. Tittered at their gaudy stomachs, their mispronunciations, their soft, keen, strangely sad faces. Grinned to ourselves, and not that quietly, at their kindness, and their interest. We should have been cheering them. At least they came. At least they wanted to find out 'something' else, about 'somebody' else, and if they took a slightly skewed vision and 4,000 shots of blurred fat thumbs back to Rumpshuck, Ohio, then no real matter.
Every couple on every cloistered flatulent coach trip, every vapid trotted tourist cliche, every dismal teacake in the rain, has been, we can now see, a proud and determined little blow against ignorance: and this summer we must talk to them, or at least stop sneering quite so openly; and see them as one last hope for a better American future, and bless their little polyester socks.
It's always nice to have someone else tell you what you think
I guess I'm in the 5%(that would be 15 million BTW) Not only have I visited them but I know Beckham is an overprice soccer player married to a spice girl. Woopie!
What an arrogant author. Full of BS and himself. LOL
He doesn't seem to like the Bulgarians either.
I didn't before, but I could be persuaded after reading this.
There's another thread on this study. Buried way down in the text is the fact that the respondents are all "people of color" and have no ethnic or cultural ties in their family histories to Britain or Europe (except as victims of colonization). Talk about slanted data.
Garbage in, garbage out, and it leaves a bad smell on your breath when you throw it up all over the printed page.
Also a distortionist. Didn't even bother to mention that the survey he cited was bunk...they only questioned high achieving minority students...far from the snapshot of what 'Americans' as a whole think.
Overpriced soccer player married to a spice girl and snogging his personal assistants.
Yeah, that little tidbit wasn't mentioned. This wasn't just a survey of young American "high-achievers". It was a survey specifically of black and Hispanic high-achieving high school students in, I believe, 3 or 4 states. I think California was one.
Not exactly a broad study.
*** the Bulgarians as torn-faced miserly cut-throat scum who would sooner slice open their neighbour's first-born than pick up a bar of soap; ****
I thought this was the French!
Euan complains about the stereotype and then proceeds to prove that in his case at least, the "arrogant bore" part is exactly right. Nice going, Jock. Feel free to let us stay the hell away from your bosom.
I would have had to think about who Beckham is, but I would have eventually gotten it.
Spice girl? Enh. Okay, points for a female boy-"band".
This writer is going to give Scottish groundskeepers a bad name.
And Scottish writers, too. The illogic and irrational hate of the NYSlimes columnists must be spreading.
What an ugly piece! (The article, too...) I don't have any of the views he thinks I have, but I do recognize him. He's just another bitter liberal, and if I want to see such a wretched waste of skin and air I'll save the plane fare and drive by the poli-sci pod on any college campus.
Coffee spew warning!
After seeing that plucky Italian fellow who showed Al Quaeda how an Italian dies, I sure dont see Italians as Cowards. Now the Frogs , Yes bed wetting cowards.
I've noticed that everyone loves to criticise the US but can't even take a hint about their own flaws. I'm not saying that those polls are a accurate assesment of the UK but they can't even seem to stand the thought that someone doesn't like them. You would think that it would make him think twice about forming the same stereotypes about the US and Americans.
He left out the fact that it wasn't a general sample of Americans. It was a poll of high achieving (A's and B's) minority college students with lots of extracuricular activities. As someone who fits that general description, I can tell you that most of us had a hell of a lot more to worry about than what some other country was really like. The kids that wanted to go to the UK either knew enough or found out enough to make an informed decision. I talked to several students who had studied abroad in the UK before I signed up for a semester at Oxford. As with any foreign country, it's not as good as the ol' USA.
Don't worry about it. All the liberty loving Scots were removed by the British government or left voluntarily 300 years ago. They came to the United States and were instrumental in fighting for the Revolution, and creating the wonderful Constutitional government that is our inheritance.
Pity the p'ur folk who were left behind.
"Overpriced soccer player married to a spice girl and snogging his personal assistants."
Not to mention the moves he tried to make on the Spice Girls' mother, Old Spice.
What D-I-D he say? I haven't a clue, either.
I write better than than when I'm dead drunk.
Not all of you, I just have one name on my list of introverted, arrogant Scottish bores.
What a coincidence!
And saved their bacon in innumerable ways when Hitler had other plans for them.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans.
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate the Yugoslavs.
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I dont like anybody very much.
"The Merry Minuet"......The Kingston Trio.
Oh, but a wee error in Euan Ferguson's screed.
Methinks the good Sir has confusion upon his noggin. Most have fondness for the 'old sod'. We know quite a bit more about the "motherlands" than Fergie claims.
Slow news day in the hilly north?
A fairly Anglo-centric Scot, I'd say.
In my experience traveling to the U. K., the Scots were warm and friendly to Americans. So were about half the English - the other half seeming to loathe us much like to chap in the column above. The Welsh seemed not terribly interested one way or the other.
If the author wishes to be comforted, he can rest in the knowledge that the America that existed, and elected Reagan, is dead as well. What she is replaced with hasn't yet been determined.
National Brotherhood Week Lyrics
National Brotherhood Week Lyrics
One week of every year is designated National Brotherhood Week. This is just one of many such weeks honoring various worthy causes. One of my favorites is National Make-fun-of-the-handicapped Week which Frank Fontaine and Jerry Lewis are in charge of as you know. During National Brotherhood Week various special events are arranged to drive home the message of brotherhood. This year, for example, on the first day of the week Malcolm X was killed which gives you an idea of how effective the whole thing is. I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another and I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that. Here's a song about National Brotherhood Week.
Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.
But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek. It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise,
As long as you don't let 'em in your school.
Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It's American as apple pie.
But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic. Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand.
You can tolerate him if you try.
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.
But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood Week. Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
The study cited is a survey of young people who have no reason to know anything about Britain. They were educated in public schools by leftist professors and are as ignorant as the day is long. Their only knowledge of life outside the US is from TV and Hollywood, which are also the private preserve of leftist mental midgets. They have not yet launched themselves out into the real world.
But that will change as soon as they go to work.
I would posit that average Americans know more in practical terms about life outside the US than do most of our international counterparts. Most US bases are outside the US, so everyone who has ever served has traveled, and has interacted with his foreign military counterparts.
In the petroleum business, much of the work is overseas, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that the welder next door has done a tour of duty in the middle east, or South America. The driller down the street spent years in the Gulf of Thailand and the North Sea. The engineers in the neighborhood work with mostly foreign colleagues, and many of them have done their time overseas.
And I am surprised at the numbers of average folks around town who have gone overseas on missionary trips, or nursing charity trips, it seems every other church in town is sponsoring such trips.
You can go to the remotest Andean village and you will find American adventure tourists, American preachers, American Peace Corps types, American geologists and oilmen, American bankers, just doing what they do. That is one of the big complaints from leftists worried about "cultural imperialism", that there is no where left in the world you can go to escape Americans. Thats because we and our businesses and our products are everywhere.
We aren't ignorant from lack of international exposure, we are the most international people in the world. We are "ignorant" because we don't subscribe to this writer's prejudices about the world. And we don't.
I'm with you. I didn't know whether to cheer or bust him in the chops. But, I was leaning to the latter.
BTW, do all Euros have such a sunny disposition?
Re: your tag line- I was reading a well researched novel set during the Napoleonic Wars, written by Georgette Heyer, "A Civil Contract," published in 1961.
Apparently the British public believed that Wellington's exploits in the Peninsular War were over-rated. There was great debate in the House of Lords about whether to spend the money to keep up the Army after Napoleon went to Elba.
Many in the "nobility" lost their fortunes by selling cheaply out of their government "funds" when news started to come through about the carnage at Waterloo. Because they had speculated on losing the war, there were many in government who were furious with Wellington and called Waterloo a defeat for several year afterwards.
I thought that kind of historical revisionism was a product of our times, but apparently not.
"The Americans now see us, apparently, as 'introverted, arrogant bores".
Uh, dude, most Americans don't give one small damn about you. I would be surprised if very many of them had ANY opinion AT ALL.
I like inventing aphorisms but I can rarely produce a good and original one:
Education is always painful;
Pain is always educational.
Radical egalitarians want to make everyone equal--
By making everyone equally poor.
I can try some others if you like.
Well Euan one things sure.. That thought is as pretty as a processed bowl of Hagis.. not that Hagis is too tempting to start with..
Proof of your insight is available to anyone who inquires what the writer would say about an internationally unsophisticated, Hindi-speaking wallah from Hindustan, or a Quechua-speaking citizen of Peru who doesn't know where Dulles International is, or how to get to Gatwick airport from downtown London.
Don't remember that one.
David Beckham who.
Take that you futbol loving nitwits!!
It's the haggis.
I've been to the UK 4 times,and love it.
Even though I'm in my senior years I know who Beckham is.
I even have a passing knowledge of Manchester United.
This guy is really trying hard to be clever and is failing miserably.
'English Characteristics: Cold-blooded queers with nasty complexions and terrible teeth who once conquered half the world but still haven't figured out central heating. They warm their beers and chill their baths and boil all their food, including bread. An intensely snobbish group, but who exactly they're snubbing is an international mystery. Lately they've been getting their comeuppance world power-wise, as their shabby, antiquated, and bankrupt little back alley of a country slowly winds down like the ill-crafted clockwork playthings of which their undersized children are so fond. In fact, last year their entire government had to kiss the ass of the fat aboriginal nig-nog who runs Uganda to retrieve a single flit hack writer from the clutches of that august nation. They all have large collections of something useless like lamp finials or toad eggs, and they would have lost both world wars if it were not for us. They like to be spanked with canes and that's just what they deserve. LOL
This piece pissed me off so I wrote them this comment -
I read Euan Ferguson's " Let us cleave these plucky little Americans to our bosom " article/op-ed piece. I was unimpressed with his maybe they will learn attitude. As a citizen of the United States I find europeans (small e intentional ) quite filled with themselves. You will always be small "e" until you realize that the world doesn't revolve around what you think or say. We citizens of The United States of America threw you out long ago. We neither cared for your attitudes or your egotistical mindsets.
To be honest, you whine too much about everything. The cannot stand Bush crowd really has developed from the cannot stand Americans crowd. You love our American dollars however. You must think it a shame that we Americans had to save you from Germany some 60 odd years ago. Well we did, and it was the right thing to do at the time. We idiots over here saw something we thought was wrong and acted. Forget that though. We did that not only for europe but for the whole world. We thought you could handle your own affairs.Actually we don't like minding other peoples business, except when it interferes with what we are doing.
We support most of the world with aid in one form or another. Food to the hungry, money for the needy, protection for the abused, at quite some cost. And you know what we get in return? Whining about how stupid we are. Well perhaps you are right. Perhaps we should withdraw from the world and let it wither into anarchy and if any dare attack us again smother them with thermonuclear devices as a warning to the next.
I once considered notsogreat britain ( lower case intentional ) our friend and ally. Today my opinion is being changed.
The United States may not survive the coming ( or should I say current ) world war but I would rather die than to continue to support the false friends that the europeans have turned out to be. I hope that after the dust settles you enjoy your life of slavery that will be left if we STOOPID Americans fail. You will deserve it.
As to author of this piece, he is sadly mistaken. MOST Americans have an impression of the British based on their TV exports. From his intellectual vacuity, he reminds me of this character...