What Brits and Americans find odd about each other.

  • tegga8

    Posts: 59

    Aug 10, 2013 12:52 PM GMT
    England and the USA are two nations divided by more than a common language. In a spirit of amity, and without any criticism I am offering three aspects of American life that I think British people find particularly alien. This is in no way critical, or an attempt to start any arguments on the specific points. I’d be amused to hear any additions, disagreements and examples in the opposite direction though.

    Casual explicit religiosity.
    No English politician would survive making constant references to god. The idea of mixing religion with politics is anathema. Religious politicians are deeply mistrusted. We see figures such as Iain Paisley as comical and dangerous.
    In general, we find mawkish references to god in films and TV embarrassing. We brace ourselves for the ‘god’ moment after an American athlete wins a medal – by the way, was the other athletes loosing also in “god’s plan”?

    Gun ownership.
    To most Brits, the idea of casual gun ownership is utterly bemusing. In General, Europeans don't get the fundamental idea Americans have that power is lent to the state by the people, and cannot see how the appetite for gun ownership amongst many Americans is an extension of this. But for those that do understand this, the death rates are enough evidence.

    Aversion to socialised medicine.
    This us Brits find bizarre. That people are so outraged at the possibility of free, universal health care, paid for by general taxation they are prepared to march to stop themselves having it seems like a cult of self harm.

    Anyway, as I say, this is not a personal criticism, or an argument about the specific points, but an account of what I see as some basic cultural differences.
    I’d be interested in what others think, and what people think the oddest aspects of British and European culture are. And yes, I know Monarchy is ridiculous, so I’ll give you that one to start.
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    Aug 10, 2013 12:54 PM GMT
    I think your perception of Americans is a bit skewed.
  • tegga8

    Posts: 59

    Aug 10, 2013 12:59 PM GMT
    It's a perception of a general perception amongst the British, rather than a personal perception. Three things that jar when British people are confronted by them, because they are quite contrary to what the Brits see as the natural way of things. It's not supposed to be, in any way a detailed opinion of American life.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:03 PM GMT
    In norn iron, ian paisley isnt seen as comical or dangerious, hes seen as great leader by the dangerous and never comical by the ones against him.

    backwardsness in religious terms is NOT present unilaterally, its present in pockets of the entire western world.
  • tegga8

    Posts: 59

    Aug 10, 2013 1:06 PM GMT
    i2ci2i said
    backwardsness in religious terms is NOT present unilaterally, its present in pockets of the entire western world.


    I think that's implied in what I've written- it's why I switched to 'English'. I wouldn't have mentioned him otherwise.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:10 PM GMT
    I mean... you all have hunting rifles over there that you use to shoot grouse with on the weekends, don't you? Before you all head off to get yer fish and chips, right? And just exactly what do you do and who is yer family?


    It's the nutty shit that makes the front page. Don't be too terribly mislead, we're pretty much the same.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:13 PM GMT
    The one thing that has bothered me over here is that Brits (and Europeans) call a restroom or bathroom "the toilet." It feels crass and uncivilized. Yet, when I call a restroom a "restroom", British people think I'm trying to be excessively polite.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:15 PM GMT
    tegga8 saidIt's a perception of a general perception amongst the British, rather than a personal perception. Three things that jar when British people are confronted by them, because they are quite contrary to what the Brits see as the natural way of things. It's not supposed to be, in any way a detailed opinion of American life.


    It tends to prove those Americans with right-leaning views are more vocal and obtrusive than those with a more liberal outlook. Why else would Brits generally tend to ascribe to Americans the sort of conservative characteristics you have described?
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:17 PM GMT
    As an American the general perception of brits I am exposed to is that all brits have terrible teeth, can't cook, drink piss tasting warm beer, and hate guns.
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

    Posts: 3755

    Aug 10, 2013 1:23 PM GMT
    ATC84 saidAs an American the general perception of brits I am exposed to is that you all have terrible teeth, can't cook, drink piss tasting warm beer, and hate guns.

    +1
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:24 PM GMT
    ATC84 saidAs an American the general perception of brits I am exposed to is that you all have terrible teeth, can't cook, drink piss tasting warm beer, and hate guns.


    I think he was asking about what Brits and Americans find odd about one another, not suggesting we reel off a list of lazy stereotypes.
  • somedaytoo

    Posts: 704

    Aug 10, 2013 1:24 PM GMT
    What I've noticed about the Brits: There could be a hippopotamus in the house and nobody will mention it.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:24 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said

    It tends to prove those Americans with right-leaning views are more vocal and obtrusive{HUH?} than those with a more liberal outlook. Why else would Brits generally tend to ascribe to Americans the sort of conservative characteristics you have described?
    ---edited

    OR the fact that since the news media is dominated by self-described 'progressives' (read: Liberals) that they mostly report on conservative/tea party events, meanwhile ignoring what they consider 'normal' behavior from their side: Bill Maher outrageous comments; Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackass, er Jackson's race-bating; IRS/NSA events, et al
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:25 PM GMT
    The only difference I see is I don't understand the fascination with the Royal Family.

    Apart from that, I love English comedy, and the accents are lovely! icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:25 PM GMT
    This is a very interesting thread..



  • Buddha

    Posts: 1767

    Aug 10, 2013 1:26 PM GMT
    I don't know about England, but I've gotten the impression that jockstraps are a pretty fetishized/gay wear in Europe.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:28 PM GMT
    Oh the Brits have Top Gear. Can't forget about Top Gear!

    So much better than the American version. I don't know why we bother to try. Everything is funner when heard in a accent.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:29 PM GMT
    The only dislike I have is the aversion to cold beer and ice in mixed drinks. That's not a lot, is it? icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:46 PM GMT
    I’m not holding myself as a representative of all United States citizens. Even if I did, I wouldn't adequately give you a full picture necessary to understand this country. Sometimes some of us don’t even understand ourselves. This is because the United States is a large country divided into regions. Inside those regions are states that can differ from each other almost in similar ways England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland can differ from one another. Inside those states are metropolitan areas with demographics unlike the rest of the state it inhabits.

    As for what Americans find odd about Brits…in my experience, most Americans do not seem to know nor care much about Britain beyond pop culture and history. You might run across a hipster who gets their news from BBC. You might even find an anglophile - likely a descendant from the Isles. Beyond that, apart from the highly noticeable British accent, most Americans probably don’t have much to say about Britain.
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:55 PM GMT
    Anocxu saidThis is a very interesting thread..


    It would be if only British people who had spent time in America or Americans who have spent time in Britain, would respond...
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    Aug 10, 2013 1:58 PM GMT
    somedaytoo saidWhat I've noticed about the Brits: There could be a hippopotamus in the house and nobody will mention it.


    Lol! It's the British reserve. Monty Python skit in the making...icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 10, 2013 2:01 PM GMT
    GooberGeek saidYou might even find an anglophile - likely a descendant from the isles. Beyond that, apart from the highly noticeable British accent, most Americans probably don’t have much to say about Britain.


    You find a lot of Conservatives who are Anglophiles. At Yale, one of the 3 right-wing parties is the "Tory Party," which bases itself upon this aesthetic. A lot [if not most] of conservative Southerners who are well-educated and traditionalist are Anglophilic. I was definitely like that; now that I've been over in England for a year I've grown less so, but I imagine the idealism will always remain.

    I am 50% British, but you can usually safely assume that if someone looks like he's from the South, he'll be more British than anything else.
  • thatirishbast...

    Posts: 3523

    Aug 10, 2013 2:10 PM GMT
    Here's the main difference between the two.

    Americans to Brits: 'How can you watch that?!'

    Brits to Americans: 'How can you eat that?!'
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    Aug 10, 2013 2:12 PM GMT
    Spotted dick?
  • thatirishbast...

    Posts: 3523

    Aug 10, 2013 2:15 PM GMT
    turbobilly saidSpotted dick?


    Is delicious.