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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Repost: Across The Pond, A Cheeky American's Take On the Brits


(Note: I had started a 2nd or 3rd blog sometime ago, and well, this fell into that blogs' roll. So a repost. Old news - obviously - but well, we recycle things. Some good, some, not so much. )

The American Revolution. Sir Winston Churchill. The Beatles. Princess Diana. West End Girls. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Spice Girls. Monty Python. Football. 007. The Office. Simon Cowell.

I bet if you ask most Americans what they think of when they bother to deem the Brits worth the brain power to concern themselves with at all, that would be close to list of items you might get as a response.

Now, it takes little creativity to know what we remember most about a culture is its culture. Namely, music, politics, art and entertainment. Since it goes little beyond that - except for those scholarly sorts that bring up Jane Austen or that stuffy old Will Shakespeare - ask yourself Brits: "do I take offense to me country being remembered for The Spice Girls, eh?"
 
For this author (ok, a bloody Yank without a noteworthy pub), Britain, England or The Isles are just as foreign as Russia, China or Zimbabwe. I can watch or listen to the BBC or take an course on Brit Lit or make me way to library and get something there. Or pull up Youtube and watch Susan Boyle again - isn't she smashingly good? (Drab dresser though.) But what does that really tell me about my older, wittier, more quirky and quizzical to fly-over America, British inhabitants?

Not much.

Like America, we have our extremist groups, slackers, important people doing important things, derelicts (not to be confused with The Derelicts) and plenty of accents to boot. In fact, there is no one America. Ergo, no one British Experience.

Back in April 2001, I had a plane ticket to the London ready to use for an escape from my life. It was a time of great upheaval for me. Not much seemed right about the situations I had gotten myself into. Friends, lacking. Foes, aplenty. But I decided against a relocation. Regret. Alas, 2009 and still stuck in the debt-riddled United States.
 
Recently (not so recently), I rented 2004's Shaun of the Dead with Simon Pegg. (You guys and Simons...) Good fun and all. A slacker comes to realize he has to do something about his same old same old. Just happens to have zombies and romance thrown in it.
 
But it spoke to me. (Sorry, Will Shakespeare.)
 
It told me to get off me duff and get on with it. Do whatever comes naturally. And to others in my way: bugger off.
 
Granted, Shaun did revert to form. But in one inspired moment, he made himself a hero and did something.
 
So Brits, you do have mesmerizing powers on us wasteful and rude Americans. Not that British zombies and slackers were what you were shooting for, but eh, you take your victories as they come, right?
 
(Winston Churchill is probably spinning in his tomb right now.)

Take Care, Mates! (Um, sorry, wrong country, right language.)
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