English people of my generation have always been fascinated by America and Americans. We grew up on American popular music, American films and TV shows and heard tales of American servicemen who fornicated constantly with our women when they were posted over here in the nineteen forties. They brought chewing gum, "Lucky Strike" cigarettes and nylon stockings - rather like missionaries in Africa with their gifts of beads and mirrors.
In my last blogpost, I revealed my intimate understanding of Americans. This was achieved not just through the popular culture I absorbed in my youth but via several research trips to the USA. I was first over there in 1972 and my last visit was in 2014. I was half hoping to make a further research visit this past year but that coronavirus thing got in the way.
This is what I wrote in my last post: "It is well-known over here in England that all Americans are stupendously rich. They drive around in massive cars and have massive refrigerators and every night they go to drive-in movies where they watch cowboy films on massive screens while munching huge handfuls of popcorn from massive paper buckets."
Here are some extra key points about Americans.
They are all born with pearly white teeth that are as straight and white as piano keys and they never need to visit dentists. Even elderly Americans smile brightly in their retirement villages. In contrast, all British people have rotten brown stumps in their crooked mouths.
All Americans know the lyrics of "Home, Home on the Range" - having learnt to sing it while sitting round campfires at summer camp. It is like a second national anthem and it is to me a little surprising that Lady Gaga did not sing it at President Biden's inauguration.
American mothers are all called "mom" and they like massive household appliances. They make meatloaf every day apart from the days when they have pizzas delivered. American fathers like to sit in massive Lay-Z-Boys drinking "Rolling Rock" and watching baseball or ice hockey on their massive TV sets. These fathers are all called Chuck, Hank or Doberman and when they come back from work they put their hats on hat stands before calling out, "Honey, I'm home!"
In every American home there is a massive arsenal of weapons. Americans like to venture out into the woods at weekends shooting moose and other "critters" which is the term they use for "creatures". Oftentimes they cut off the animals' heads and mount them on their walls - like trophies.
In America there are no shops as such - just shopping malls. Every town has a massive shopping mall in the suburbs and everybody drives out to it at the weekend to buy clothing from "Abercrombie and Fitch". Nobody ever looks at the price tags and afterwards they get massive chocolate milk shakes and burgers before driving home.
In American high schools, the kids never do any school work. Boys play American football in helmets while girls join marching bands. Mostly school is about dating and planning ahead for the school prom. There's also a considerable amount of hanging about by school lockers.
Yes folks, I know a lot about Americans as the observations revealed above demonstrate. If you need any more information, please ask. My apologies to Canadians and Mexicans who are, when you think about it, also Americans as they share the continent of North America. In this post, I was of course not referring to them.
Have a nice day y'all!
Well, YP, I am so glad you avoided stereotypes! :) Perhaps you do need another visit or two. Just saying. And perhaps avoid the bulk of US television, movies and entertainment magazines (I do-ghastly stuff). But then, I'm only half American. My mum was a Brit and I grew up in the UK, so my perspective is slight skewed (or is that screwed?) from your portrait of the typical Yank. Oh...and I drive a Subaru Outback.ReplyDelete
Don't you mean that you ride a Subaru Outback which I can only imagine is some kind of horse?Delete
Haha! I have a brother named Chuck and a son named Hank. He named himself. Indeed, you have gotten all your facts totally correct! You have forgotten a few things though, such as the fact that all American drink gallons of milk a day, eat ketchup on everything (especially meat loaf- yum!) and haven't got the slightest idea of geography. We are all quite sure that we live in the greatest damn country in the world and of course we do not ever, ever think of either Canadians or Mexicans to be American in any sense of the word.ReplyDelete
There's a lot more but I need to go fry up a good English breakfast which will include some beans on toast. With ketchup.
Hip, hip, hooray!
Yes. Perhaps I should have mentioned the fact that Americans have absolutely no understanding of world geography. Robin Hood operated in the woods of New England and William Tell shot an apple off his son's head in Iowa. Leonardo da Vinci created his art in Chicago and Ferdinand Magellan sailed out of San Diego. Glad you took this in good spirit Ms Moon! Just a bit of fun.Delete
I think a lot of Americans believe that English people walk around in Bowler hats and drink endless cups of Earl Grey Tea. That is a stereotype and is probably only true for people from down sarf. Folk like us northerners wear flat caps, race pigeons and whippets, eat tripe butties and say "hee by gum". Not that I am stereotyping of course.ReplyDelete
Earl Grey tea? Yuk! I hate that stuff. We only drink "Yorkshire Tea" from tea plantations on The Yorkshire Wolds. We brew it in my bowler hat. By the way, just out of idle interest, is the Irish Potato Famine still happening?Delete
Our Spanish friends always use the term Americans to denote people from South America. They were confused when we mentioned visting friends in Nevada, America. They said, "oh you mean the United States, not America".ReplyDelete
How interesting - genuinely JayCee.Delete
How grateful I am for you sharing your in-depth firsthand knowledge of America and Americans, acquired by thorough research and observation! If it weren't for you, I'd have a completely distorted picture of them now. Phew!ReplyDelete
Glad to have been of service ma'am.Delete
A few gentle corrections: Americans actually spend MASSIVE amounts of money on their teeth. They may claim to be born with those pearly whites but a lot of them have invested in plenty of cosmetic dentistry, not to mention orthodontia and whitening toothpaste. (Which doesn't really work.) This is not true of me, of course.ReplyDelete
Also, malls are passé. No one goes to a mall anymore. Most malls are struggling half-empty shells anchored at each end by the hollow husks of once-great department stores. (Think Debenhams.)
I have never met a father named Doberman but there was a guy on our gargantuan TV sets many years ago named Dobie. Maybe that was short for Doberman? He was a teenager at the time, but he's 86 now!
Doberman appeared in The Phil Silvers Show - a fine figure of American manhood. It is surprising to me that your mother and father called you Steve and not Doberman.Delete
Thanks for the inside information on malls and teeth but just like a Trump supporter I do not believe you. It's fake news! (After all you were a newspaper reporter!)
Phil Silvers said that success went to Doberman's head, or the actor who played Doberman. He went to parties, hoping to be admired by beautiful girls.Delete
I missed the last episode of The Fugitive (Season One as we now say).
Season Two opened with the unseen narrator's voice, saying that Richard Kimball had last seen the one-armed man in Chicago Heights.
I imagined Chicago Heights to be like the thrilling street scenes of San Francisco, in Hitchcock's movie Vertigo.
Watching a YouTube video tour of Chicago Heights was a disappointment.
In Britain we were like a colony of the United States, thanks to their great television drama, Westerns, comedy shows like Dick Van Dyke, and movies.
Glasgow had more cinemas than any city in Britain.
Dick Van Dyke had a comedy show? I thought he was a documentary maker.Delete
Talking about documentaries, revisit ...Delete
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 2 The Forces of Darkness.
The three hired killers belonged to the Corsican mafia. They remained in Dallas for ten days after the murder, hiding out in a safe house.
Everyone involved in the conspiracy is dead. Their judgment will have been much more terrible than any human punishment.
When I have a spare moment I would like to catch up on that John. Thanks.Delete
What I find most impressive, Mr P, is your in depth and unbiased reporting. Just the facts.ReplyDelete
There's too much misleading information around these days Debby. It is always best to stick to the truth I find.Delete
How on earth could Steve Reed give all that up and come to Live in England. This has always puzzled me.Delete
Steve is like a missionary - bringing light into the darkness.Delete
By the age age of four all American children can walk around in shops and instantly be able to add city, state, federal and environmental taxes to the marked price and know how much they will pay at the checkout.ReplyDelete
By the age of four all Australian children have been scared shitless by a poisonous spider.Delete
I was once sitting in a bar in Barcelona, chatting to an American couple. They asked me where I was from. I said Australia. They said you speak good English. I thought (but didn't say!) I speak better English than you.ReplyDelete
They must have thought you spoke the Australian language - "Billabong swagman struth cobber mate koala?" which means "Where can I buy a roll of toilet paper?"Delete
The first time we went to the US, in the early 70's, we stayed overnight at a motel on the Florida Keys. In the restaurant our waitress - "Hi I'm Pam" (or very big Pam as we silently christened her) asked what we'd like to eat. Pencil poised, as we gave her our choices, she asked "Gee where do you come from?"... "England" we replied".. "Is that like New England - like Boston?" she enquired., "No England as across the pond". After a short deliberation while she digested the facts she said "Oh, say something in English for me"!! She took great delight in telling everyone around that we were from England, and we'd spoken to her in English!Delete
Ha-ha! I had similar experiences CG but of course the Americans who visit this blog are intelligent and well-educated.Delete
Well, tell me now, what do you know about Canadians? Homework for ya!ReplyDelete
Everything I know about Canadians I derived from your blog Red... and also from Lily Cedar's blog.Delete
Well, you're in good hands as we are reputable when it comes to all things Canadian!Delete
You really nailed it, and speaking of nailing it I would like to point out that just as it takes two to tango it also takes to to fornicate. In face the tangoing is what led to the fornicating, and exactly half of each happy couple (I assume that they were happy) was a willing English female.ReplyDelete
Since my two given names are Robert and Henry, I cannot explain why no one calls me Hank but no one ever has [called me Hank]. Most of the Americans who have Doberman Pinscher dogs for family pets refer to them as Dovermans. Ferdinand Magellan told us so just before he sailed from San Diego.
Thanks for taking my silliness in your stride Bob... or should I say Doberman?Delete
Well it's obvious you have a deep understanding of the American psyche.ReplyDelete
Why doesn't Canada follow Trump's lead and build a southern wall?Delete
Could any Brit understand the American psyche?ReplyDelete
In Travels With Charlie, John Steinbeck said he did not understand the South.
H.L. Mencken felt a resident alien in his own country, refusing to leave Baltimore, while never feeling at home there.
Edward Hopper painted those haunting glimpses of American loneliness.
Patricia Highsmith said the obsession with normality and happiness were what she fled when she settled in Europe.
Today Louise Gluck, Amanda Gorman, Anne Tyler, Janet Malcolm, Tracey K Smith, Colson Whitehead, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jayne Anne Phillips, Don De Lillo, Amy Hempel, Richard Ford, Allegra Goodman, Joy Williams, Ben Lerner, Julie Hecht, Elizabeth Tallent and many others give us a glimpse into America's psyche.
That's a list of communists. Where is McCarthy when you need him?Delete
I can't believe I forgot Anne Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek andDelete
The Writing Life.
Or Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead as well as Absence of Mind, her attempt to reconcile faith with science.
Newspaper columnist Pete Hamill, who wrote A Drinking Life, his struggle with alcohol, died in summer 2020.
A reverse Bill Bryson with a wicked tongue! You forgot Disney Land, canning, always wanted to can my food. Then there is gambling at Las Vegas. And then there is choosing a weird president. Much more livelier in America than England!ReplyDelete
I dispute your last point Thelma. We have got bingo halls and whist drives.Delete