Wednesday 19 August 2015

What Some Brits Think about Americans

Thought you'd enjoy my latest column at the BBC America web site. As with any other nation, we shouldn't really be generalizing but some of these quotes raise interesting points anyway.

What do you think?


  1. Your article made me smile........
    Australians and Americans seem to have much in common!
    Maggie x

  2. I think many Brits are prone to generalising about Americans, and don't appreciate that it's a vast country with huge regional and cultural differences. For example many people told me to expect that America would be full of deeply religious people carrying guns - this wasn't at all my experience in New York. And for people who criticise their use of language, Bill Bryson writes very well on the matter, pointing out that many "American" usages of English are closer to the original English from England, and more technically "correct".

  3. I think ... oh, impolitic things. Like, yes, American humor is very different from British humor. (Are we Americans supposed to deny this, or what?) It has a different set of motivating forces behind it, a different dynamic. It arose in particular circumstances. The idea that it's either some bland globalized default that British humor needs to differentiate itself from, or an inferior form of British humor, is not right. If anything, American humor at its root is itself a reaction to the British. After all, the first real wisecrackers were Benjamin Franklin et al.

    Americans may use irony strategically, and many may not understand it, but do the British really understand American humor?


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