Going back to the last time the USA beat Europe at the Ryder Cup, I think it was 2008, some British journalist for The Sun thought it would be rather amusing to write an article on the things that British supposedly did better than Americans. The article was rather amusing but at the same time very inaccurate to the point if I were one of those fanatically patriotic redneck types, I would not have seen the humour and gotten rather angry. The article left me wondering if this particular journalist had ever been to the US. So, going on memory from six years ago, I will bring up some of those points and examine them.
1. Football (Soccer)- Yes, back in 2008, England was better than the US at football. However, it could be said that at the past World Cup, it was the other way around.
2. Cricket- I found this enlightening. I never knew any Americans played cricket. This article informed me they did. Still, England will more than likely always be better than the US at a sport I found more boring to watch on TV than baseball.
3. Music- True, the UK has given the world many musical legends, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, do I need to go further? However, the US has given the world Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson (not a fan), Aerosmith, rap music and thrash metal. The journalist’s use of Hanson and Maroon 5 was a bit flawed here but if he wants to talk about naff bands, I could mention Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Great Britain and the US have for the past 5 decades enjoyed a musical trade off with one another and long may it continue!
4. Humour- This is a difficult one because there are differences in senses of humour between British and Americans. Many Americans don’t find Monty Python funny, (I do) but the only two British people who have found David Letterman funny were my two sons and they’re half American. Britain has given the world Monty Python, Blackadder, and many shows of the like. At the same time the US has given The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. Both countries have made some very funny films as well. Like music, there is a mutual trade off with humour between the US and UK.
5. Food- In last Saturday’s Sun, columnist Jeremy Clarkson stated that he never had a decent meal in America. I could dismiss this with the fact that I believe Clarkson is a closet American hater but I won’t. Let me provide three witnesses to the contrary, my ex wife, ex girlfriend and current wife. All three have been to the States with me and all three were very impressed with the quantity and quality of the food they were given no matter what sort of eatery we went to. They each liked different sorts of things but none of the complained about the food. Exhibit B: Many British people enjoy watching “Man V Food” and are astounded at the amounts of food that the star of the show has to consume. Many want to go to the States just to eat at one of the restaurants from the show. I’m being honest and objective here but sorry unknown journalist and Jeremy, I’m afraid that the US wins on this one.
6. Pubs- I love the traditional British pub. However, when I first came to Britain I was slightly frustrated at the fact they shut at 11pm. That was because I came from Atlantic City, New Jersey where many bars are open 24 hours. The journalist’s evidence that American bars closed at 9 and didn’t serve alcohol had me asking, “Where did this guy go, Utah?” This alone has led me to conclude that said journalist has never been to the States. Saying all that, I still prefer the atmosphere in a British pub.
7. Manners- True, the British are world renown for their manners but unfortunately, I am seeing this trait being lost with the British youth. I’ve never had an eight year old American boy tell me to “F” off. I fear that if this is not addressed, then the US could surpass the UK in this department.
If books were to go by, one thing America does better than Britain and this is nothing for Yanks to be proud of is school shootings. The only school shooting in the UK happened in Simon Lelic’s book “Rupture.” In fact, the combination of the book and this post has given me an idea for a post down the line in the future. Unfortunately, America has a long sad history in this department.
Thank you for coming along for the ride on this one. I think the reason I wanted to harp on this subject is the fact that this journalist got it so wrong. I know and understand he was trying to be amusing but I can’t help thinking that if any American had written a similar type article but called it “Things Americans Still Do Better Than Brits,” he would have been up in arms, especially if there were the glaring inaccuracies that were in his article. Each country might do some things better than the other, however, I think history has shown a much better result when the two countries have traded and shared their cultures with one another.
Next post: Putting Stereotypes to Rest
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=1405969931&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird