Saturday, 31 December 2011

Anti-American sentiment

The occasional visitor to my blog might be forgiven for thinking that my odd rantettes about American language mean that I’m in some way anti-American. I would like to emphatically state that I am most certainly not!  


For the record:

  • I work for an American owned company
  • I have nothing against American people
  • I’m not against American culture – I listen to American music. I watch American films and sometimes American television programmes. I like an amount of American art.


What I don’t like is American imperialism both political and cultural. It’s their arrogance in thinking that their language, culture and beliefs are über alles that infuriates me. It’s an arrogance born out of insularity. Unfortunately the impact that American cultural imperialism has over here is amplified by stupid British people, who use Americanisms because they don’t know any better, or worse still because they think that it is somehow fashionable or clever. And, it’s a situation made even worse by what was and still should be the bastion of British culture and language, Auntie Beeb. Sadly the BBC seems to love Americanisms. As a consequence we are doomed!

5 comments:

  1. Let me get this straight.

    So on one hand you claim you're most definatly not anti-American. And then you turn around and say that Britain is doomed because they adapt minor cultural terms, or "isms" from another English-speaking country. And then you claim in another post that "Americanisms" are comparable to the language of Neanderthals. And every so often, you go on a rant about all the various American laws/customs that you disprove of. Not that I personally approve of most of them, but I certainly know better than to bring them up while trying to label myself as *not* anti-american. That's just foolish.

    Let me put this into a better context for you: Hypothetically, supposed I made the claim that I was definatly not Anti-Arab. I like Arabs. I work for an Arab company. Less than a week later I embarked on a rant about "how those camel-fuckers are always going to jihad". My previous claim would become completely invalid, wouldn't it? My personal integrity would be completely compromised, right? The value of my own word would greatly decline.

    In summary, Paul, you're better than that. I made this comment because I like to hold intellectuals like yourself to higher standards than the ones you've demonstrated here.

    And quite frankly, if this sort of two-faced, condescending, arrogant shtick is becoming the norm for you and your home, then Britain IS doomed.

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  2. Thank you for your kind comments. I particularly enjoyed the irony of referring to me ask an intellectual. That amused me no end.

    Britain has always absorbed culture and language from many sources. Our disgraceful imperial past has been partly responsible for that but many other aspects of our history have also facilitated the constant change.

    I refute whole-heartedly that I am Anti-American or Anti any other nation come to that and to accuse me of it is to misunderstand what I am saying to further your own prejudice.

    I will occasionally use some words and phrases that originate from America, as I will with French, German or Indian. I see no problem with this. What I object to language wise is the acceptance by British people of the wholesale slaughter of that language by its baser cousin. It mainly happens for two reasons. First stupidity, and second as a means of oppression. The British ruling classes have a particular love of American law and their perception of American business. They crave adopting many of these crazy ideas so that they can exploit us even more than they do now. Many stupid British people seem happy to let them. To facilitate the promotion and acceptance of many of these oppressive ideas the adoption of American over English is positively encouraged via the ‘British’ media.

    I use terms like ‘American’ and ‘British’ merely to refer to inhabitants of locations. I have no pride in being British. Pride, nationalism and patriotism are the traits of fools and fascists.

    I have no idea what “shtick” is. Please advise, is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

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  3. I'm impressed, Paul. Deny it all you want, but that was an extremly intelligent reply, indicative of an equally bright mind. Hence, you are an intellectual, although you (thankfully) lack many of the not-so-positive traits that have become culturally and socially tied to that word.

    "Shtick" is a Yiddish term used in the US, usually refering to a slapstick comedy routine. It's sorta fallen out of style, but not enough for me to quit using it.

    I agree that the media has an bizzare knack for butchering the English language, but that's honestly occuring on both sides of the pond. I'm personally suprised that neither the US or the UK have yet to suffer a catastrophic earthquake due to all of our deceased literary and media icons rolling in their respective graves.

    What you are describing as a British problem is really a disturbing trait afflicting the whole of the 1st world, a.k.a the "West".

    That said, I've heard similar concerns voice by Chinese, Indian, Saudi, Pakistani, Nigerian, and Russian nationals. I'm starting to think it may be a side-affect sown upon mankind by the very invention these problems are usually voiced on: the internet. Information, communication, entertainment, and commerical purchasing at the click of a button have a strange effect on people. They become less patient, and more willing to cut corners even when it's not needed.

    I must admit that I was in a rather aggressive mood when I first commented, and was honestly looking for an nasty arguement. As a matter of fact, the "Arab" example I gave in my previous post was directly taken from an arguement with a EDL goofball who constantly complained that other Brits dismissed his opinion for being racist. Funny thing: he was racist. VERY racist. And crude.

    However, you've shown me something much more valuable in this day and age: an intelligent mind with a different opinion that I'm able to conduct legitimate debates with. On the internet, as well *gasp*. And while I disagree with many of your opinions, I find myself respecting you more and more as another human being.

    And don't even get me started on American Law and Business "mindset". As one who's lived the bulk of his life at the mercy of these forces, I can't say I'm particularly pleased with either of them. And that's an understatement.

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  4. Thank you Anon for your further comment. It is much appreciated. I can see we have at least a little common ground.

    I suppose it’s the creeping homogenisation of cultures that worries me most. I like our differences. Differences should be celebrated and not all rolled into one.

    For me all discrimination is wrong. Having the curse of pedantry even means that I’m opposed to that well known oxymoron ‘positive discrimination’. I realise that it is instituted for noble reasons but to me it is discrimination and if the world is ever to be fair discrimination of all sorts must be eradicated.

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  5. My pleasure, Mr. Garrard.

    I concur with your statement regarding the homogenisation of cultures, as well as your condemnation of all types of discrimination.

    It should be noted, however, that often times these two phenomenon occur as almost subconcious thought-processes.

    For example, when I was 12 years old, I was selected to take a 3-week, 6-country tour of Europe as part of a People-to-People Studend Ambassador delegation. A girl in my group noted that wherever we went, the beverage we were served almost 95% of the time, was Coke. Under other circumstances, this would have hardly been noteworthy, except for the fact that almost no other patrons at the restraunts we visited drank coke.

    It was only after I had returned home did the explaination for this occur to me: we were American. I have little doubt that this was a direct decision made by the respective owners of said establishments upon learning a group of young Americans would be dining at their restraunts. Again, this normally wouldn't have drawn my attention, but I wasn't too fond of the fact that I'd spent 9 months studying for a 5,000-mile trip just to be constantly served a beverage that I can purchase just down the street from my home.

    I'm well aware that there was no malicious intent behind this, but it unfortunatly served to dilute what was supposed to be a refreshing taste of foriegn culture and cuisine.

    While this example is definatly one of the more mild occurances of discrimination that I've experienced, it still caused setback to an otherwise noble goal.

    In conclusion, discrimination can be a very subtle foe that must be confronted as often as possible. Vigilance towards otherwise harmless assumptions must be practiced, although preferably not to an unreasonable extreme.

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