It’s been a week since my last post and I have yet to have had any contact from Lorraine Kelly. A couple of days after I posted, I had a slight paranoia about getting a communication from her solicitor suing me for libel. I don’t think it is libel though, I’m convinced that she actually does hate Americans. Saying that, I will be the first to admit and be embarrassed by the fact that there are plenty of Americans who give Lorraine and those who think like her plenty of ammunition. Furthermore, there are many things about the USA itself that also show the country in a not so positive light. I know, I used some of these things in “He Was Weird.”
The obvious one is of course the school shooting. These occur all too often in America and does portray the country in a not so good light. What I have found quite uplifting however is from the feedback from British people who have read “He Was Weird.” None of the blame for the shooting in the book on guns but on other factors, mainly on the bullying his is subject to throughout the story. They realise that Mark’s access to guns came about by an oversight which gave him the opportunity to shoot up the school but that wasn’t the reason why he did it. Another aspect of America which some Brits find amusing although many admit it is getting just as bad in their own country is when after the shooting occurs, the lawyers get involved. I admit, the law suit culture in America has gone beyond comical now and I hope it never gets that bad in the UK. Then there’s the religious fanaticism. Some American Fundamentalist Christians can be as bad as any Jihadist Muslim. After Columbine, there were two sets of parents who went to large religious revivals proclaiming that it was their daughter who said she loved Jesus when she got shot, though the actual report found that the girl who said that survived the shooting. It is actions like this that give the impressions that Americans think with their bibles instead of their brains.
Lionel Shriver, in her book “We Need to Talk About Kevin” gives a scathing attack on Americans by her main character Eva. Her attack definitely highlights main of the things Europeans find offensive about Americans, their loud and brash mannerisms, the way they talk too much about things that should be kept personal, although I never had an American tell me they were into anal and how they think they the USA is the greatest country in the world. She also states that Americans don’t realise that most of the world hates them but I’m not sure if that is totally accurate. I used to work with this one guy who might have fitted some of the above stereotypes but he knew that a lot of foreigners hated Americans. His response to that was “They say they hate Americans but you see they all want to come here.” Yes, according to him, everyone one is lining up at their local airport trying to get over to the US. I don’t think so. Still, it is people like this and the ones Lionel describes are the ones that unfortunately are the most visible. Loud abrupt brash people, rednecks, religious fanatics among others are the ones who shout about America the loudest and consequently make me a little embarrassed to be one. They also make my job of showing that not all Americans are the same that much harder.
For the past twenty eight years I have been fighting a war on two fronts. While, I have been trying to disprove stereotypes about Americans, I have also been defending Britain against them. The main one is the National Health Service, a great British invention. I have had massive debates with Republicans and conservative types who claim that the NHS doesn’t work and would like nothing more than to see it fail. It has its problems but it works and I get very angry at these type of Americans who think they know another country because they saw a two minute segment on the news. These hypocrites are the very first ones to condemn any non American who comments on anything to do with the USA. Again, more Americans who make me shudder at the fact that I’m one of them.
Americans do stereotype other nationalities, even the British. I admit that I was guilty of this too although my justification was that my stereotype is meant as a positive. Like many Americans back in the 1980s, I thought that the vast majority of British students were anti American lefties. Since I was very angry at the US when I first came to the UK in 1986, I thought that my left wing, anti American views would make me appear real cool in the eyes of the British student body. It wasn’t long before I found that it wasn’t the case. There were many people of left wing persuasion at the college I attended, there were many who weren’t, many more weren’t interested in politics at all. That was a bit of a shock to my Asperger’s mind at first but I did recover. I must say that I did make a lot of friends of all political persuasions.
If there is anyone in the US who likes to carry out stereotypes of the British it is Family Guy. I am a little surprised that no one in the UK has slammed the show for being anti British. It portrays British men as gay or at least camp and British women as homely. While the UK is more tolerant of homosexuality, most of the men aren’t homosexual. I would also dare any American to go into a pub full of BNP types and say that British men are gay. As for the women, I can definitely say that Family Guy has got that one wrong too. After all, I have married two of them. So I know all of the British stereotypes are wrong. I know it’s probably all done in good fun and unlike many Americans, British people are able to laugh at themselves. However, it doesn’t justify stereotyping.
Wow, I feel that from these last two posts, I have gotten a lot off my mind here. I don’t like stereotyping even if it’s supposedly positive. I try to judge all people as individuals but I get incensed when others will still adhere to the same old stereotypes. One more thing, not all British people have bad teeth.
Next post: US-UK Points
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405460172&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird