US and UK
Per John Cleese during the Clinton era:
1.) We speak English and you don't.
2.) When we hold a "World Championship", we actually invite people from other countries.
3.) When you meet our head of state, you only have to go down on one knee.
That clear it up? ;-)
I was an exchange student to the North of England in the 1980's and there was no appreciable culture shock save the horrible food for me ;-). I imagine, however, that there's more of a rift between our countries today, but remember, firstly, we are England's offspring, and secondly, we're *all* the frickin' West. If we continue our family squabbles, it makes it that much easier for China to divide and conquer. Cheers!
"it makes it that much easier for China to divide and conquer."
Time for revenge don't you think :)
As one who has moved from the UK to the US, I found it went like this:
First, there were lots of superficial differences, all the little things you notice when you visit America on business or vacation.
Second, I started thinking that underneath, people are pretty much the same everywhere.
But after some time, I am coming to a realisation that there are really deep, fundamental differences in our cultures. Americans just seem to think in different ways about things and have quite a different world-view. In some of my exchanges with Philo for example, there have been disconnects that have taken me by surprise. I don't think it is just me/him, I see it everywhere, in the emphasis given to different topics in the media, the way people treat political discussions, the things that people find troubling and the things that people don't. There are really two different worlds, and I think they are still diverging.
To be fair, Philo diverges from my world-view in some great yawning chasms, and I'm an American.
March 4th, 2005
"When we hold a "World Championship", we actually invite people from other countries."
You know, this was funny in 1993. And maybe even again in '94. But now it's just silly and trite.
A shared history, shared language and reasonable levels of cultural interaction tend gloss over a lot of underlying differences. You can have a lot of changes in over 200 years of separate development.
Probably a more interesting question would be to compare the cultures of the US & Canada.
a cynic writes...
March 4th, 2005
I tend to think of Britain in retirement, having handed off the family business to America. In this case, the family business is running the world.
Britain handed over the reigns right after World War II. There are similarities in how Britain and America have handled this role, but some distinctive differences as well. Britain tried to export Western civilization, but was slow to export independence and democracy.
America does not want to perceive itself as a colonizer, so places a greater emphasis on nations establishing independent governments, first seen with Germany and Japan (again, just as Britain was handing it's role to the U.S.), currently taking root in Afghanistan and Iraq. America has discovered that encouraging democratic, capitalist, non-militarist states is what serves her own interests best. Enlightened self interest.
Heh, this should liven the discussion. :)
March 4th, 2005
However similar or different the cultures might be, one thing is clear - the relationship between US and UK is a master-slave relationship.
It is just plain pathetic how Tony Blair keeps behaving like a faithful dog with succeeding US presidents - Democrat and Republican. No partisan politics here.
i love the UK but language aside the UK and USA are nearly opposite. UK people sip tea, USA people gulp coffee. UK people are mad about football (soccer) USA people ae mad about football (gridiron). Even if the riches are undeserved, USA people view the famous and/or wealthy with a certain bit of respect and awe. UK people could care less. UK people take holidays by leisurely strolling around quaint meadows. USA people take holidays by driving to and through giant canyons, mountain areas, national parks . UK people have gardens. USA people have lawns. UK people take the tube. There is no tube in the US. and so forth. all the tiny details add up.
The UK is saturated with Starbucks and you can't find a decent cup of tea (or coffee) anywhere.
The UK take their holidays in Ibiza or similar and spend most of the time throwing up or fucking in the bushes after running around drunk.
London has the Tube, elsewhere places might get Metro services, which is a fancy name for trams that were all pulled up in the 50's or more likely they get bugger all.
March 5th, 2005
I've heard it said that the East Coast liberal is actually closer to the Europeans than he is to his fellow countryman in the Bible Belt.
One thing that does strike me, and I think it's been increasing dramatically, is the ferocious split that is developing between the two sides in the States. I'm sure there is a great deal of difference in political views between the different Brits on this forum, but in general these differences appaer a lot more muted.
There is also the question that the British, like most Europeans, are not so affected by scaremongering. To Americans "socialist" is a term of abuse used to end argunents; to the British it's a somewhat wan political alternative.
I don't know that I have met any East Coast liberals, but in general the East and the Mid West seem to be far away from Britain culturally and ideologically. California seems to be closer to Britain, though still dissimilar.
This thing about the ferocious split that is developing between the two sides in the States: The political spectrum in the UK is far wider than the US, but the difference is that the British don't feel they have to make their whole sense of self worth depend on defending a particular party. The never ending "My leader is better than your leader" "No he isn't" "Yes he is!" "No he isn't!" "Wanna fight about it?" mentality is completely alien to the British psyche. Sheesh. That's why you don't see fights between the Brits on this forum. I might have completely opposing political views from one of my fellow Brits here, but that's something we would argue over a pint in the pub, not something we would pick a public fight about. From overseas, all the political abuse and mud-slinging on every internet forum doesn't show America in a very good light at all. This is the bunch of juveniles that wants to lead the world?
------"The never ending "My leader is better than your leader" "No he isn't" "Yes he is!" "No he isn't!" "Wanna fight about it?" mentality is completely alien to the British psyche."------
Forgotten Thatcher pretty quickly! Mind you, I think one of the reasons she fell was precisely because of what you say. Major managed to stay in power for six years because he waan't thatcher, and Blair is now hugely unpopular because people have realized he isn't Major.
The Brits and some other Commonwealth denizens are offered the hereditary distraction (God bless 'er) to smooth over horrible defeat by political others. So MUCH is invested in the one person in the US.
"BTW, wondering what the Brits think about Prince Charles' proposed wedding?"
That is to say, it was about as surprising as the sun rising in the morning. I didn't think anything much about it except "Oh, it's to be this year then?"
Chas has just gone home after visiting Oz, no big ructions about Camilla, it's not an issue here outside the truly sad adherents to big things that don't matter. Charles III's mettle is yet to be tested. He's his own man, let it go.
BTW he's been constantly upstaged by the Danish Crown Pince and his lovely young wife who started out as a Tasmanian schoolgirl who rocketed thru a couple of Melbourne advertisng agencies (D+B, Saachi++) then Sydney real estate before hitting the "A" list at the Sydney Olympics and the rest is nuptial .... Women's mags went ape.
The British think that 200 miles is a long way. Americans think that 200 years is a long time ago.
Canadians are a kind of mix. Some British stuff, some French, some American. I'd like to believe it's the best of all these, but some days I wonder.
"This is the bunch of juveniles that wants to lead the world?"
No. This is the bunch of juveniles that already run the world.
March 6th, 2005
Speaking as an Englishman and having worked in the US (california) for some time:
I would agree with Ian, at first things seem to be largely the same however there are very big cultural differences.
Mostly I would say it's the attitude to the world and how others are perceived. I've also noticed amongst young people that Americans seem more highly strung and worried about little things, which I or my friends would just shrug off and ignore. Included in this is the way one is perceived, and a hyper-competitiveness.
Do Englishmen use the word 'bigotry' a lot?
I think I only heard Americans use the word in arguments.
I was thinking about this the other day in the video store because I happened to see a picture of Richard Nixon. That brought to mind the particular way he said "My fellow Americans." Then it occured to me that I've never heard a Canadian politician say "My fellow Canadians", not even Mulroney. I can't imagine a politician from the UK saying that, because what would they use for a noun? Just about anything will offend someone.
But how about Australia, or India, or France, or other countries? Do they say that, or is it peculiar to Americans?
"Honest John" Howard is inclined to invoke "The Australian People" when he's reaching, along the lines of Nixon's "Silent Majority".
Doesn't go the "My Fellow Aussies" or "Mate ...." at all - I don't think he works at that level.
> Then it occured to me that I've never heard a Canadian politician say "My fellow Canadians", not even Mulroney.
Well it happens, though; try Googling:
"mes chers compatriotes" site:gc.ca
"my fellow canadians" site:gc.ca
Christopher, thanks for the google. You'll note that many of those references are for "my fellow Canadians" within a paragrah, in a normal speaking voice. I was thinking of the Nixonian usage, where My Fellow Americans is used as a salutation, and with a particular emphasis.
But I did see one for Diefenbaker, with the usage like Nixon. I can only plead that Dief the Chief was just barely before my time.