Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Unwelcome Atlantic Cross-overs

I've been away from Britain for long enough now (since October 2004) to feel a little out of touch with goings on there - other than news about flippin' Brexit! What follows isn't Brexit-related, thanks be, but it has some relevance to both sides of the Atlantic - a question from Quora, posed recently. The link leads to a complete thread of answers. I like the lengthy answer provideded by Simon Mark Blackburn, and have extracted a nap selection from Mr Blackburn's contribution.

Which American habits and mannerisms do you wish Britain hadn't adopted?

Parts of an answer by Simon Mark Blackburn, Chartered Architect RIBA

I am not anti - American. Americanisms are fine coming from North Americans. They often sound dynamic, humorous and colourful to my ears.

So much good has come from America. STEM, Medicine, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Moon landings and NASA, JFK, guitars, Hollywood's great past and the silver screen giants, generous funding of the Arts, the culture of philanthropy and enlightened self-interest. Don't forget "bring me your huddled masses etc...." And that lot's just for starters.


It's a just a pity that us over here are now so culturally diminished that we now mainly absorb America's crass and pretentious characteristics. I’d feel less saddened if we at least adopted some of its better habits.

Sooooo…in no specific order and without further ado….

[These are just a selection extracted by your blogger, for the full list see Simon Mark Blackburn's answer at the link above]

The baseball cap. That ubiquitous symbol of the idiocracy.

"Can I get...?" instead of "I'll have..." or "may I have..." if one is being posh.

A grubby little one bed-roomed flat over a chip shop being described as an apartment! Pretentious estate agents watching too much US telly I think. It's in a piddly little suburban town in middle England, not Greenwich Village or LA!

Black Friday.

Oriented instead of orientated.

Lootenant (somebody renting a toilet) instead of lieutenant (a subaltern).

Snuck instead of sneaked.

Burglarized instead of burgled.

Regular? As opposed to what? Irregular? What does an irregular coffee look like?

And so on.

Narcissism. Self-delusion about one's own importance and attractiveness. This is a real problem amongst our youngsters.

Victimhood. I'm fed up with hearing about LGBQTABCDEF or whatever the latest Venn diagram of gripes that we’re importing from America.

Social inflation. I heard a dinner lady referring to her...profession. Dinner ladies are great. Best people in a school, maybe the World even, but… surgeon is a profession, astronaut is a profession, barrister is a profession. Dinner lady isn’t.

Idiots driving about in cars painted with American flags and or US style plates (either Union or Confederate).

Honestly, does the Brit idiot who suggests we "touch base" realise how ridiculous he sounds?

As a postscript I'm adding contributions from two others - I liked these:

Mish Armo (Teacher at a Primary School 1990 - present) ended a list with:
The following are non-negotiables. If we ever adopt the following, I will stick pins in my eyes as I sail across the North Sea in a blizzard

Gun culture.
Healthcare that isn’t free at the point of need. Long live the NHS.
Saying Happy Holidays.
Telling a stranger our life stories when we aren’t drunk.

Nigel Foster (Much travelled writer) His 4 points:

Facebook. Twitter. Both are crimes against humanity.
Whooping to show appreciation.
Political correctness used as virtue signalling.
Virtue signalling.


R J Adams said...

I will only disagree with one of Mr Blackburn's positives from America: "the culture of philanthropy." We don't need philanthropy, we need the rich sods who (when it suits them) practice it to pay a fair rate of tax instead. And, of course, a government that uses the extra money correctly to help poor and sick people, rather than wasting it on war games.
I could add an awful lot more to the list of bad stuff to cross the Atlantic, or waiting to cross after Brexit, but I'll refrain from appearing too negative.
Well, OK, just three then: homelessness (now endemic in the UK), the drug company culture, and crap American TV that's now invaded the whole of Europe. No, I'll stop there, honest! But only because gun culture, political correctness, Facebook & Twitter, have already been mentioned.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Yes - the 'philanthropy' was theoretically good ("send me your huddled masses and all that") but doesn't work in practice most of the time. Even initially, with theoretical good intent, what happened was they came, they saw and they killed off most natives already here - all very philanthropic! :-/

No argument from me about any additions to the list of unwelcome crossovers - there are more at the full thread too, in other responses.

I suspect things have become quite a bit worse on the unwelcome crossover front since I left in 2004. I remember being a bit miffed when some British pop singers used to imitate American accents, but that's about it - in my memory. I do clearly recall being royally pissed off when the USA would not agree to the Kyoto Protocol (I think that was the term) - that wasn't a crossover - it ought to have been a crossover, but in the opposite direction - and still, never has been. :(

R J Adams said...

It seems that both countries appear hellbent on leaping over the cliff to chaos. America may prove better off. I doubt anything can prevent a chaotic Brexit, but maybe on the edge of that American cliff Trump could build a wall ;-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ I think we'll survive Trump, perhaps even learn something from the experience. I'm worried about Britain and Brexit though, because whatever way the cookie crumbles on 29 March, some group will remain p'd off for a long, long time, with little recourse.

Wisewebwoman said...

I try and roll with the times as best I can with the odd explosion when I just can't take it anymore. I do enjoy these posts from Quorom where I have not participated as I confine my poor old overloaded self to other platforms of vent and vanish.

I remember a book written by an acquaintance about the effects of American television in Ireland and indeed throughout the world:
A Great Feast of Light by John Doyle
Memorable quuote: "There was no sex Ireland until television."

A fine line between geezer and griper, eh? :D


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ You'd be great on Quora WWW, it's a good resource for excellent writers, and if not one of those it's just a matter of finding one's own niche - but I understand how you are already into so many things it'd be overkill! I found it as an alternative to Facebook, and have stuck with it for just over a year now. 'Keeps me off the street', as they say. :)

LOL! I like the quote!