American English

October 6, 2008 at 10:43 am | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment

David Cox takes apart the British desire to ingratiate ourselves to Americans with clinical precision:

The Brits and the Yanks. It’s a peculiar, elusive and deceptive relationship. On the cultural front, we Brits feel driven to try and make it Stateside if we can, since for us, nowhere else really counts. Yet we know our place. Often, we opt for the kind of pre-emptive cringe on which a Greek tutor in ancient Rome might perhaps have relied. Of course, sir, we had Shakespeare and the Beatles, but we’re well aware that it’s your circuses that nowadays draw the crowds. Our role is to ingratiate, self-deprecate, grovel and try to do cute. Yours is to toss us such occasional plaudits as you see fit.

This may appear an undignified stance, but behind our hands we tell ourselves a pleasingly different story. Our transatlantic cousins, we whisper, may be rich and powerful, but they’re also ignorant and stupid. To pander to their untutored tastes, we may be obliged to dumb down our finer insights. Nonetheless, our superior wit, intelligence and sophistication are bound to prevail eventually, enabling us to repatriate the cultural prizes, treasure and glory that are our imperial birthright.

More here, including some quite cringeworthy truths for everyone who appeared in that new Simon Pegg film.

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