two nations divided by a common language
A couple of days ago in travel broadens the mind I listed some strange things about the average American’s of idea leaving America and visiting England. Mostly it doesn’t happen, most Americans never leave the Americas, mostly American’s think Mexico is ‘foreign’ enough. Just to be fair, here are some complementary and contradictory facts about the unbalanced social interactions between the uneducated American and the ignorant Englishman.
For a start there are some things that Americans just do not understand about the English;
- Apologising needlessly. The English will say ‘sorry’ even if they’re not in the wrong and it’s an American who’s trodden on their foot. This is confusing to Americans, but don’t worry it just means that Englishmen can be unbearably polite. Nobody is going to sue anyone. In contrast, underneath their superficial politeness most Americans would just as soon shoot you.
- English Accents. When I was a kid I could tell to within a few miles where someone came from by the way they spoke. Even towns as close together as Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne, (10 miles), still have totally different accents. Honestly, to English ears there are only three American accents, so don’t expect an Englishman to know you’re from Nebraska, or Canada. Anyhow, most Americans think the language is called ‘American’.
- Strange and strong-tasting ‘Foods’ are to be found in England, and not eaten elsewhere. I cite Marmite, Brown Sauce, and Bovril. On the other hand, in the USA I’ve eaten stuff that would make a goat sick; I cite grits, and American bacon which you have to grill until it snaps to make it edible. English people do not willingly eat real Mexican / Latin American food, which looks like dog puke. Most English people think most American food is only fit for the trash. An Englishman shouldn’t try to explain black pudding to an American.
- Pubs. The traditional English pub is nothing like an American Bar. A real English pub is more like the landlord’s front room, and some things are just not allowed ~ for example sitting at the bar, talking to people you don’t know, and running a tab. Not a chance. Some acceptable behaviour in American Bars would have you thrown out of an English pub ~ and maybe arrested for sexual harassment.
- English Reserve. The English will not strike up a conversation, or even speak with, someone they haven’t been introduced to. The English will not speak to people they don’t know in lifts, (elevators), on public transport, in the street, in bars and restaurants, or during any other chance encounter. In fact the English do not speak at all in elevators and on public transport at all. The English never, ever hug, and a handshake is to be used only sparingly and with care. Americans don’t seem to care who they talk to.
- English Understatement. The English are in no way effusive. The way the average American ‘goes overboard‘ all the time is childishly offensive to the average Englishman. In contrast, if an Englishman says ‘nice’ that’s high praise indeed. English people will poke fun at themselves, Americans don’t.
- Sports. By and large the English do not play, and have no interest whatsoever in; baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and what the Americans call football. The English play cricket, football, (soccer), and Rugby. In England your social class can be determined by which sport you like; only chavs like soccer. Wearing your team colours is beneath contempt among polite Englishmen.
- Religion. Unlike in the United States of America, there is an official state religion in England ~ The Church of England. English people do not go to church, and never, ever talk about religion.
- The Royal Family. An Englishman will be contemptuous of and roundly criticise every member of the Royal Family, with the exception of the Queen. Normally a well-mannered Englishman will discuss the Monarch only with the utmost loyalty and courtesy.
If you are American want to impress an Englishman, then just don’t be overtly American, unless you are actually in America. For an Englishman, the one and only impressive thing about America is that it’s big.
On the other hand, if you are a real Englishman you will not want or need to try to impress anyone.
Most American women are cute, smart, well-groomed, intelligent, and well-educated. Until they get into a bar, when they sometimes transform into loud skanks who like karaoke. Most American men are jerks. Most English women try too hard, and a real English Gentleman doesn’t feel he needs to try at all.
Despite the fact that the English and Americans almost share a common language and a common culture, we are as different as chalk and cheese. If you are in an across the pond relationship, then expect constant misunderstandings, friction, and disagreement. For example, it will surprise most English people that Americans actually care about politics. In contrast most English people don’t give a damn about Trump, Clinton, global warming, pipelines, transgender identities…
Personally, I’d have to say that nothing has really changed since 1776.
To travel is to take a journey into yourself.
Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat. Here are some real facts about Americans;
64% of Americans do not own a passport.
In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.
When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.
Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.
More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.
Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.
Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.
The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;
- ‘the bacon is terrible…’
- ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
- ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
- ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
- ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
- ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
- ‘it always rains in England…’
- ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
- ‘British cars are undrivable…’
- ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
- ‘British TV sucks…’
- ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
- ‘there’s no dress code…’
- ‘black people are just people…’
- ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’
I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit. American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.
In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.
The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. ~ Saint Augustine
Which is why it does not surprise me that;
- Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
- Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
- More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
- More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
- Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
- 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
- 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
- All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu
To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit. Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others. They need to get out into the world a bit more.
And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.
Have a nice day.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway & Mt. San Jacinto
just a time being you and me
cool at the top of the mountain
that’s where we both want to be
long way to the top of the mountain
at the top the air is crystal clear to see
a far piece from the top of the mountain
the majestic view of land and town still free
better if a cool guy isn’t afraid of heights
words and pictures by jack collier and the girl riding shotgun
long distance love affair
wondering if she does care
some may even say it isn’t fair
and feelings are too hard to bear
she’s just some chick way over there
all I know is my heart’s going nowhere
a new day has come, and life is in the air
words and pictures by jack collier
The Steel Of The New Iron Lady.
There is a wailing and gnashing of teeth among Britain’s left-leaning inner city liberal elite today. The snowflake Guardian newspaper has completely thrown its toys out of the pram. Tim Farron, the pathetic failed Leader of the Liberal Party, says that Teresa May has completely betrayed Britain.
All because, in a landmark speech yesterday, British Prime Minister Teresa May signaled that she fully accepts the will of the majority of the English Peoples and will negotiate the hardest of hard Brexit with the moribund European Union.
There is a 12 point plan for when Britain finally exits European Super State, the major elements of which are;
- Britain will leave the European Single Market.
- We will end freedom of movement and take control of immigration.
- Britain will no longer accept rulings from the European Court of Justice.
- We will leave the European Customs Union.
- Britain will look to the whole world when we make our own trade agreements.
The Prime Minister gave European politicians a stinging ultimatum and said that she will just walk away from a bad deal, and that if they don’t negotiate a mutually beneficial trade deal with the United Kingdom they will be committing an ‘act of calamitous self harm’.
Addressing stunned European Union ambassadors she threatened that Britain will set itself up as a low tax rival if European leaders tried to impose a punitive exit deal on Britain. If Europe doesn’t play ball, then Britain will just walk away and let them get on with it. Anyhow, it’s likely that the European Union will implode after Britain leaves.
Teresa May is waving both the carrot and the stick, and it’s a pretty big stick. Britain is the fastest growing G7 economy, the fourth biggest economy in the world, the second biggest contributor to NATO after the USA, London is the world’s greatest financial centre, and English is the only truly world language.
The original Iron Lady was British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had a close political relationship with President Ronald Reagan. Perhaps Teresa May and Donald Trump will forge a similar history making Special Relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Perhaps Mr. Trump could even persuade Teresa May to throw cold water on the whole stupid, tax funded, man-made climate change CO2 hysteria. After all, England has bugger all in common with Europe, and a hell of a lot of shared history and culture in common with America.
Some say that all Britain will regret turning our backs on the European Union. And, that our economy will falter and fail. All I know is Europe ain’t seen nothing yet.
these opinions are mine and mine alone
California Road Trip.
Echo Beach, Route 66, Hotel California
Gorillaz, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
California Girls, Breakfast in America
California Rain, California King Bed
Dog Breath, Champagne, Back to California
I’m Going Home, Get Back, Grateful Dead
pictures by the girl riding shotgun
jack collier doing the driving
You know what? Today I’m sick of the miserable English winter. I’m a bit fed up with all the Xmas false bonhomie and commercialism that precedes the real joy of Christmas. So, just to please myself here are some shots from road trips I took in the warm Southern California Sunshine. These pictures were taken with a Lumix pocket camera.
All these pictures were taken by
jack collier and
the girl riding shotgun
In December seventy years ago the French decided they would stay in Indochina. This set off a chain of misery which did not end when the Americans were defeated by Vietnamese communists in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. French occupation of Vietnam ended with their defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The Vietnamese Cambodian war then went on until 1991.
Billy Joel ~ We Didn’t Start The Fire
Please listen responsibly.
Perhaps we should all learn a little more forgotten history.
I like the desert. I also like Palm Springs, mountains, and cable cars ~ although this one near Palm Springs is called an Aerial Tramway. If you want to look like a manly man don’t be scared of cable cars.
All these shots were taken with a LUMIX Panasonic DMC-X53 pocket camera, which is far better to cart up a mountain that my old 35mm SLR with all its attendant lenses. My days of carrying around a heavy SLR are done and gone.
pictures by jack collier
and the girl riding shotgun
If I could, I would spend all of my time on the beach. My local beach, or in Australia, California, Miami, Texas, or the Windies… just so long as there is the sea and the sky. Lighthouses, a cool villa, and a gorgeous woman would be good too. I would settle for a hut to sleep in. To be honest, I can do without the guy playing the guitar.
Chris Rea ~ On The Beach
please listen responsibly
On The Beach is also the title of a novel by Nevil Shute, which was turned into a chilling movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. (I think Ava Gardner has such a look of a dirty vamp about her.)
please watch responsibly
If your girl talks about the 2000 Armand Assante movie, it’s cool if you not only know about the earlier film, but also the book.
As for my beach. It’s lonely, cold, and grey down by the sea today.