Sunday 21 December 2014

Dear America

Dear America,

How are you all doing? How is Uncle Sam? How is the lovely Oprah?

It’s been a while since I’ve been over to visit you all, so I thought I would write you a letter just to let you know that I am still alive and thinking about you all. Last time I was over there, you offered me your spare room in Alaska, rather than somewhere warmer. 

Still, I got to visit Seattle for a day on the way – it’s just a shame that Frasier Crane wasn’t around Bill Gates conveniently had to be elsewhere. I had a few things to say to him about Microsoft (again).

Why do you think he keeps ignoring my emails?

Actually, now the pleasantries are over, I have a confession to make.

I have an ulterior motive.

I think I might have annoyed you – by accident of course. I love you guys and, being British, I like to poke fun at people I love. It’s just the way we are across the pond. Anyway, I’m also keen to make things right and explain my actions.

Here are some of my "sins":

Correcting Your Language

I know somebody has probably told you that whenever I watch an American programme or film (that’s “movie” to you), I stand up, ranting, and say things like:

Stop saying "Do the MATH"! It’s MATHS! And while we’re on, it’s ALUMINIUM not "ALUMINUM". And what the hell is a DIAPER and a FAUCET?

I’m just joking. I know what these things are – I’m just trying to impress any fellow Brits who might be listening by convincing them I can speak a foreign language fluently.

Mocking Patriotism

Listen guys, I can explain what happened on that fateful day in Florida. I was one of three British people waiting to see the Hall of Presidents and I honestly did not mean to say what I said. 

Looking back I should have just stood up and looked around instead of staying seated and cracking a joke.

When the folk band played your National Anthem I did not expect everybody to stand up and put their hands on their hearts and start bellowing the words. When I said “Spot the Brits!” while remaining seated, I was not being disrespectful. Nor was I being facetious when I giggled and pointed at a man who was clearly overwhelmed by the song, with tear-filled eyes and a voice so choked he could barely utter the words “Oh, say can you see …”.
It’s just that, as Brits, we are proud of our country but don’t blubber and stand there with our hands on our chests when God Save The Queen comes on. In fact, quite the contrary – it’s a dreary song and I think the Queen is so wealthy she could probably save all of us.

Furthermore, my joke about the ubiquitous nature of the American flag was not meant to offend. I was not actually going to steal one. What would I do with it?

Finally, I know you Americans are under the impression that you live in the greatest country in the world. I really did not mean to upset the poor pastor when I questioned this statement on his pompous blog. I was just having a bad day and all of his talk about how God loves America more than any other country just wound me up. I apologise to the pastor and all of his sheep who may have read my comment claiming that Britain is a far better and safer place to live than America. 

Mocking Stupidity

I laughed at these videos and I apologise:

I also have to laugh when asked stupid questions like “Do you celebrate 4th July in England?”

And yes, I really have been asked that question.

Moaning About The Slow Invasion Of Britain By America

Every year, a new American tradition seems to find its way across the Atlantic Ocean and wangle its way into our culture. It started with Hallowe’en, which means that every year I am supposed to buy bags of sweets and face armies of kids dressed up as ghouls and ghosts as they bang my door with the words that make my blood boil: “Trick or Treat”.

And then I noticed that the School Prom was the next invader. Both of my lads have dressed up in suits, jumped into a limo and attended a prom – just for leaving school. That did not happen in my day. 

And then the final straw, when, this year, a large percentage of British people went crazy on a day called Black Friday. Shops were invaded by crazed idiots desperate for a bargain, fighting over televisions and other expensive items that had had their price reduced. I don’t want to see my country descending into anarchy because of an American tradition.

What’s next? Will we end up celebrating Thanksgiving?

I’m not being awkward or funny. If I want the things above, I will visit America again and enjoy them with you guys.

Calling America "The Colonies"

What else was I supposed to say? 

Picture the scene. Mrs PM and I were on an old ship in Boston, that had taken part in the War of Independence. We were part of a tour group and were told some very interesting facts about the part that the ship had played in the war against the British over two hundred years earlier. 

“Is there anyone from Britain?” asked the tour guide.

Of course, being proud of my country, I put my hand up with a gleeful smile – and then I was roundly booed.

Listen, this war happened many years before I was born and I didn’t spot any people in the tour group who were that old. My response was simply a natural gut reaction – to inject a bit of humour (as opposed to "humor") into the situation:

“Well, I’m glad to see you’re looking after The Colonies for us until we get it back in the near future!”

There is no plot for the UK to invade America. Just because we are British doesn’t mean that we are all megalomaniacs and evil monsters, as depicted in films (or "movies").

It was a joke. 

And Finally ...

There are lots of other ways I may have upset you guys and if so, I am sorry. 

America is basically like a good friend to me, somebody who provides lots of fantastic films, brilliant music and, even though a lot of you don’t get irony, lots of great comedy.

I do plan to visit again soon but this time I will try not to take the piss out of religion, accents, words, history or the stupid people who live in your country.

Don’t forget, there are stupid people everywhere – including Britain.

Take Boris Johnson as an example:

This man is Mayor of London!! Yes – we REALLY DID elected him!

Actually, that’s not quite true; the population of London did. And there is talk that one day he may become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

If that happens, I will be over the pond in a flash.

Actually maybe not. You guys elected George W Bush didn’t you?

Not once but TWICE.

Oh dear – I’ve annoyed you again haven’t I?

Yours Sincerely

Plastic Mancunian

P.S. It’s great to know that you guys hate Piers Morgan too. I’m really sorry we inflicted him upon you – please don’t blame me personally for that!


Pandora Behr said...

I should do one of these mocking Britain and the US from an Australian point of view. Good post. x

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Don't worry - I have plans for Australia too - and most of the rest of Europe.




Jackie K said...

Tis all in fun. I'll try to take your Australia post in the same vein - even though I put up with plenty of teasing during the year I worked at a pub in Twickenham. (One of the best years of my life though).

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Aussies, like us, have a great sense of humour (not humor!) so I trust you will find it amusing.

To be fair, most decent Americans I have met can joke about such things too.




jeremy north said...

Ironically PM you constantly refer to America. I may be wrong but is that not the name of a continent? Generally split into three parts, north, central and south.
North America has a huge country, Canada, another very big one, Mexico and a bunch of federated states in between the two. I don't believe it has a proper name of its own.
Isn't it funny that they think of their 'country' as a continent, yet most people from there think that a much much larger continent Africa as if it were a small country.

I used to do the spelling/vocabulary rant but actually in many respects they have history on their side. Received pronunciation and a lot of other toff crap tried to make themselves seem superior by monkeying with our language hence some of our stupid spelling.

Everything else you said gets my wholehearted agreement.
Awesome post PM

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jeremy,

You are, of course, totally correct about "America".

Next time I'm there I'll ask their opinion (if they let me back into the country).




River said...

Those videos just cracked me up!
Independence from China in 1976???

And all those people putting pins in "France" or "North Korea", not realising it is actually Australia.

You know what the problem is? For most Americans, their country IS the world so they don't need to know about any other. (And here I admit that I don't know much about any other country either, just my own)I dare say it would be similar in a lot of countries, where people just aren't interested enough to bother finding out about the rest of the world.
Black Friday is a silly idea and should be banned forever.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

One of the problems with the US news coverage is that it rarely covers foreign news - unless the US is actually involved. On my first trip there, I toured for four weeks and knew nothing about what was going on either at home or anywhere outside the States.

I agree about Black Friday. Sadly I think we will end up suffering it from now on.




Steve Hayes said...

You haven't really made it until you have brunch with "omelet stations".

River said...

black Friday is just another name for Boxing Day sales anyway, isn't it? But the customers are more pushy, more violent.
Still should be banned whatever it gets called. People (who aren't me) overspend and get themselves in debt enough over Christmas without added sales days.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Steve,

In that case, I've made it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Yes - but now we have Black Friday, Boxing Day AND New Year sales. It's a wonder people have any money left.




H2B said...

The one that annoys me is Halloween!! More and more Aussies seemed to get hoodwinked by the supermarkets to celebrate it.

River, Black Friday happens before X'mas, thus gives people a chance to grab discounted stuff for X'mas pressies. It is the Friday after Thanksgiving, i.e.fourth Friday in Nov.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

Hallowe'en is a particular annoyance. As for Black Friday, it may be a bargain day (week?) but when it turns ordinary people into idiots then there is something fundamentally wrong.

There was one particular case where a woman went out just to get a bargain and buy anything she could.

"Oh I don't need it," she said. "But it's really cheap!".

America can keep Black Friday as far as I concerned.