The Broad is Back!

April 22, 2011

Weddings can bring out the worst in people

There’s a certain wedding happening in a week that is showing me some amazing insight into Anglo-American relations.

We pretty much hate one another.

This is quite strange to me, considering the Revolution ended 228 years ago. But people have long memories, I guess. Or something.

Probably more the something.

There’s a lot of sniping going back and forth over the monarchy and whether people care about the wedding. Two people are getting married. I have no personal insights into either of them, but in my book a wedding is always nice. And royal weddings are fun to watch because they are just done so nicely.  So in today’s world, with killings and war and a country that’s falling apart thanks to inequity in tax laws and education and all the other things plaguing us (America, I mean, but I guess the UK has similar problems) a wedding is a nice respite.

Until I hit the internet. I’ll look at a story, mostly to avoid grading papers, the bane of my life right now, and boom–Americans insulting the British. British people bashing the Americans. Why? I don’t get it. Really, we have more in common than most countries.

The worst, of course, are in the comments people can post.

“Ma! Why do you read them? You know those people are crazy,” my son warns me. He’s right, I know. But I can’t help myself. I am amazed anew at how stupid people are–how hateful, ignorant and just so willing to share that with the world.

But it is also interesting to see the inherent snarkiness when the BBC reports on America. Now I love BBC America, and as a proud Doctor Who fan, I’m glad we have them. Makes my life easier to get my fix. And really, the BBC produces quality television, and I’d be more than willing to chip in and pay a licensing fee to access their materials on-line. But there’s no denying that corporate BBC takes a rather superior tone when discussing Americans. We’re so quaint. British newspapers often take the same tone. We’re just so naive and gullible, oh, and let’s not forget ignorant.  And fat and loud, while we’re at it.

American newspapers and television aren’t exempt from dishing out biased stereotypes. Them Brits–either effete snobs or football hooligans, right? But they do a mean period drama. And sure, most Americans don’t “get” the whole royalty thing. Many Americans I know see the royal family (of anywhere) as just another type of celebrity, and we manufacture them by the cart load over here–no big deal. The royals are just around longer. But I’ve been disgusted with the press on this side of the pond, too.

Why do we hate each other so?  I know why my relatives were a little touchy about Britain, being of Irish extraction. But I also know that the cousins who were the most rabid haters of Britain (and they are pretty much gone now) couldn’t have found Ireland on a map. Of course, they couldn’t have found Kansas, either. They just knew the British are the bad guys. At a family wake, a cousin castigated me for traveling to England. “Why give them a dime of our money?”

Well, because London is a great city?  I love England. I love America, too, and Italy and Ireland and Taiwan, and well, you get the picture.  When I go to England I feel right at home. We share a language, a heritage, and much to the chagrin of a lot of people, a shockingly similar DNA. When I’m in England, most people don’t realize I’m American till I speak, quietly, but with a definite New York accent. No one has said, oh, you’re so American, except for the Welsh ex-boyfriend who commented on my “big, American teeth”. Genetics, buddy. Never had braces or dental work. But I am very American.

There’s really no reason for us to hate one another. But people love to hate, don’t they? And we can do it so well.  Let’s snipe at one another–keeps us from expending energy on fixing what is wrong with our respective countries. It just amazes me that something as benign as a wedding shows the deep rifts between our two countries.  Of course, I’ve never known a wedding that didn’t cause all sorts of sniping and anger, so in this way, I guess poor William and Catherine are having a “people’s wedding”.

But obviously, this hatred is bothering me enough to put aside the grading to write about it.  Although we share a language and aspects of our culture, we have been officially separate countries for 228 years, so why is it a surprise to people that we’re different on a number of levels? And why do we hate what’s different? Oh, right, because we’re humans. And humans are a very strange species.

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3 Comments »

  1. Agree, agree, agree!

    I haven’t been keeping up with the royal wedding articles online, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear it’s bringing out the negative commenters. After all, every topic seems to bring them out. The anonymity of the online world seems to embolden people.

    I *have* read that William’s fiancee prefers Catherine to Kate, and as far as I can tell, you’re the only one who is honoring her wishes!

    Comment by Monica — April 22, 2011 @ 6:54 pm |Reply

  2. I know what it’s like to have people call me by a name I dislike. So I try to honor other’s wishes!

    Comment by maggiec — April 22, 2011 @ 11:23 pm |Reply

  3. I must admit, I was laughing by the end of the second sentence.

    Isn’t it amazing that we can go out on a “first date” with someone and say something cute like, “I love the way you smile.” There are a few unsueing giggles, maybe a blush or two. Then the two of you resume eating while those around you are trying not to throw-up their meals.

    As time passes (usually five to ten years), the two of you decide to have an anniversary dinner at the same restaurant that started your insipid lives. The atmosphere seems different. You don’t know why, but it’s not the cozy place it was a few years ago.

    After the two of you sit at “your table”, the waitress comes over and takes your order. There appears to be a different aura stemming from your mate, as if to ask, “Why can’t we just do this at home?” Not a bad idea, considering.

    Your food arrives and your mate takes a bite and starts to chew. Your inadvertant, but yet deep-down, feelings are displayed when, “I hate the way you chew your food!” slips from your mouth in audible fashion.

    Your mate glares at you and gets up from the table. That was short. As you glance around the restaurant, there is no reaction to what just happened.

    Love — Amercian style! It’s just peachy!

    In addendum: I do know where both Ireland AND Kansas is.

    Comment by Phil W — April 29, 2011 @ 3:54 am |Reply


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