Guest post by Albannach:
Okay so I’ll be honest. I am having a difficult time reconciling the two requirements of my task:
1. Keep up my part of the trade under which IncrediIncredipete and I have engaged, and write something intelligent and thoughtful enough to work on this site;
And 2. “Be Sunshiny.”
I likes me a challenge.
It is challenging; when you try to be upbeat whilst thinking on the UK’s opinion of the United States right now. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyone currently living in the States at this moment will have a difficult time coming to an exact impression of how the rest of the world sees us, even this tiny island; our staunch friend and ally.
My idea to come here, as some of you may know, had-let’s face it- nothing to do with anything political (or cerebral at all, for that matter.) The Home Office, Immigration Laws, and Visa Restrictions were just a faint tickle in the back of my imagination that the succeeding months would, as they say, bring down on my head with stonking alacrity. It was interesting though. I didn’t come over here cocky or anything, but whatever over-confidence I may have had was speedily whisked away. You know how Brits are sexy and exotic in the United States?
Yeah. It’s not the other way around here. Americans impress the English not.
The Following Italicized was written by John Cleese a while ago. I know most of you have probably seen it by now. I’m highlighting bits, as a teaching aid: knowing what I know now.
To the citizens of the United States of America, in light of your failure to elect a comIncredipetent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II resumes monarchial duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.
Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.8% of you who have, until now, been unaware thereâ€™s a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America. Congress and the Senate are disbanded. A questionnaire circulated next year will determine whether any of you noticed.
If there is a British National who appreciates George W., they are in a part of the country that I have not yet visited. My typical introductory conversations now go something like this:
“Oh, you’re from America, then?”
“Yes. Please don’t hold that against me.”
The same things are problematic and prevalent: Immigration, Drugs, Education, Healthcare. The NHS does NOT solve all problems and teenage pregnancy has splintered the levels of anywhere I have ever been before. The grass is NOT greener.
Looking at the papers here, however, you’ll find actual news about other parts of the world. Normal citizens know what’s going on. There is a general air of information, and everyone is proud of it. Of course, when the whole nation is the size of the tri-state area that I originally hail from, it’s easy enough to be forced to pay attention to other (huger) parts of the world.
To aid your transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. Look up â€œrevocationâ€ in the Oxford English Dictionary. Check â€œaluminiumâ€ in the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you pronounce it. The letter â€˜Uâ€™ will be reinstated in words such as â€˜favourâ€™ and â€˜neighbourâ€™. Likewise you will learn to spell â€˜doughnutâ€™ without skipping half the letters. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up â€œvocabulary.â€
Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as *like* and *you know* is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up *interspersed*. There will be no more *bleeps* in the Jerry Springer show. If youâ€™re not old enough to cope with bad language then you should not have chat shows.
2. There is no such thing as *U.S. English.* Weâ€™ll let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter *u*.
Would you like to know how many times I have been corrected on my choice of words? Would you like to know how many times that I have been told “It’s a mobile phone, not a cell phone!” and then corrected on my pronunciation of “mobile?” Arguing is useless. “It’s the Queen’s English” or “WE invented the bloody language” is pursed, at the ready, on everyone’s lips. Like wee biting sentinels of the English.
5. You should stop playing American â€œfootball.â€ Thereâ€™s only one kind of football. What you call American â€œfootballâ€ is not a very good game. The 2.1% of you aware there is a world outside your borders may have noticed no one else plays â€œAmericanâ€ football. You should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls.
Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American â€œfootballâ€, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).
You should stop playing baseball. Itâ€™s not reasonable to host an event called the â€˜World Seriesâ€™ for a game which is not played outside of America. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girlsâ€™ game called â€œrounders,â€ which is baseball without fancy team stripe, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
Don’t even get me started here. I’ve lived through a world cup. I’ve been in the appropriate amount of clashes with young men who were pissed up beyond all recognition, drooling, stumbling, and, at times, bleeding.
And, not to be unpatriotic, but rugby is h-o-t.
6. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns, or anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because you are not sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you need a permit to carry a vegetable peeler.
1. Sorry, Incredipete.
2. Yeah. While, to be fair, Philly is holding it’s own violent-crimewise this year, The United Kingdom isn’t exactly a Utopia of peaceful frenzy. This anti-gun pacifist self-confidently sticks my tongue out to the self righteous many here and says “guns don’t kill people, drunk asshole chavs kill people.” (go look up what a chav is)
11. The UK will harmonise petrol prices (or â€œGasoline,â€ as you will be permitted to keep calling it) for those of the former USA, adopting UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon, get used to it).
12. Learn to resolve personal issues without guns, lawyers or therapists. That you need many lawyers and therapists shows youâ€™re not adult enough to be independent. If youâ€™re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, youâ€™re not grown up enough to handle a gun.
What scares me is I can see the litigious nature of the United States creeping in here. I can see obesity making it’s way over, also, even though if I hear one more “Fat American” joke I am going to GET OUT my vegetable peeler. There are little things creeping in that scare me: because they shouldn’t be anywhere.
No one should have to be this nervous about boarding a plane, EPECIALLY simply because their nation is a political ally with The Eight-Hundred Pound Gorilla. That’s okay though, because this nation here; this tiny little island of sarcastic freckled faces that never see the sun take everything on the chin, and ride The Tube to Heathrow, undaunted.
I’ve gotten a lot of crap about where I come from since I’ve been here, and I’ve had (for the most part) a sense of humor (note the correct spelling of humor) about it. If it gets to be too much, the only question I ask my English Challenger is:
“Okay then. So where’d you take your last holiday?”
After a light reddening, they’ll (90% of the time) tell me in that fantastically disarming way-that they only do here-somewhere in The United States. And then I hear them tell me about how they loved my country.
There’s a moral to this whole tangent. We ALL have every reason to own national pride. We ALL have a duty to be proud of each other. The definition of “ally” is 1.To place in a friendly association, as by treaty: 2.To unite or connect in a personal relationship, as in friendship or marriage.
Friends. This is what we are,especially in light of these past years. Now is the time to remember, more than ever, why my nation of peasant freedom fighters need this, their tyrannical sovereign grandparents.
Love, Abannach. xxx