For two nations, one born of the other and sharing a common language, both have so many misconceptions about the other, it is frankly staggering!
Nowhere, as far as I can tell, is the belief in the media’s representation of falsehood more apparent than in this very subject.
But here’s the thing, we need to start by understanding that the USA is NOT New York City, Florida and the West Coast – it is more to do with all the fantastic bits in between and in that very same breath London has little to do with the rest of the UK… the UK being effectively 4 countries and only England is, well… England..
So what of the USA? Well lets start with Europe (which apparently we’re part of) and the differences between each of those many countries which are obviously vast – now look at the USA and see 50 states…. They’re effectively 50 COUNTRIES… all brought together by a single figurehead/symbol… not a King or Queen, but a flag! And that is why the US flag is taken so very seriously.
In its short history the USA has achieved much to be proud of – they put a man on the damn Moon for heavens sake… so while we can go through the history of inventions and compare what we’ve done – they’re doing all right.
So lets look at some of those clichés:
Obesity: The UK wins out here as it has far more clinically obese people than the USA per capita, in fact the US is more full of fitness that the UK ever was.
Guns: Well until the banning of handguns in the UK, they weren’t such a big deal here, which is fair considering the UK has been the most warring nation in the
history of humanity. But if you’re under 25, the near mention of a gun will probably frighten you because that’s what the media told you that you should be – BUT…. We have guns and lots of them!! You can legally own a shotgun at any age. You can own a rifle up to .50 calibre in the UK and the UK still manufactures a lot of guns.
Heck I’m a Brit (obviously) and I trained in the use of the following albeit in the military:
L1A1 7.62mm Self Loading Rifle (SLR) UK FN FAL variant,
L85A1/2 5.56mm SA80,
L2A3 9mm Sterling Submachine Gun,
L4A6 7.62mm Light Machine Gun (Bren),
L7A2 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG/M240),
L9A1 9mm Browning High Power,
L96A1 7.62mm AW Sniper Rifle
2 inch 51mm Mortar
L16A2 81mm Mortar,
L14A1 84mm Carl Gustov Anti Tank Weapon,
Milan Anti Tank Guided Missile System,
M72 LAW 66,
and of course the trusty Bayonet
On top of that, Glock, AR15, 1911, M/PSG1, MP5, G3 and a Ruger or two and I’m not going to list shotguns.
In the USA the media and the NRA would have you all believe it’s about 2nd Amendment Rights and self-defence – well while that all makes for great sound bites, it’s frankly bollocks… A lot of people in urban areas simply do not own firearms, but the rural areas, just like in the UK a lot of people own guns and for good reasons – shit out there can kill you!! From, coyotes (which by the way are not some small dog – they’re big, really big), bears. Snakes, deer, (they have a lot of deer) and frankly the list goes on – and lets not forget just how big the place is, if you’re on a horse that gets spooked by a snake, how are you going to walk back 70 miles across open ground in summer heat or winter snow without dying if that’s how far the horse gallops before collapse? So you may literally have to shoot your horse a long time before you get to that distance…
British Yellow Teeth: I’ve seen worse teeth in the US than the UK and Yellow teeth vs white teeth is about even.
British Politeness: Well for the stereotype that is Downton Abbey and just about any other period drama – NO…. we’re generally rude, swear more than people would like to admit… But once you get to know us – we’re our own kinda awesome.
US Optimism…. Actually that is 100% true!! Only you can build your dream, but here in the UK we are more likely to chastise you for even thinking about it – and that alone has kept us in the dark ages for too long.
Here’s a couple of other things to note
A Bill of rights…. The UK is the only western country without one!
Freedom of speech protected by law – there is no such thing in the UK
How to Piss off a Brit and a Yank in equal measure without fail – and show yourself to be a complete dickhead:
Firstly I blame two movies for this
1, Smokey and the Bandit
2, Mary Poppins!
So how to do it? Simple, try to mimic the accent to the face of someone from the opposite country!! This means several things – you are in some way deficient in manners, and, if we think about it, intellect, humour, and most other things too.
So here’s the golden rule – DON’T F * * * * * G DO IT!!!!
Only other point would be to actually ask where someone is from before assuming they’re either English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Australian, South African, Kiwi, American or Canadian!!!
So back to how big is America? Well it’s huge and for the sake of argument we’ll just look at the lower 48 states for a start:
In the middle-ish lower part is a small looking state of Arkansas which looks like this:
A few famous names from Arkansas are Mary Steenburgen, John Grisham, Charles “Sonny” Liston, Billy Bob Thornton, Glen Campbell, Bill Clinton, Gauge, Johnny Cash, to mention only a very few.
It’s population is 2,915,918 and it may surprise you to note that majority of England and Wales fits inside it! and we have a population of 64,950,131 So irrespective of population, our postage stamp size land mass shows the reality of our significance to the USA.
To make is a little more obvious, here is a map of Europe over laid on the US map and you see my point…
Finally those other two states Hawaii, which is just a small group of islands, no biggy there – but the other one, well that’s behemoth known as Alaska and a good chunk of the lower 48 states fits right inside of it.
Difference in visas and living in each country:
It is far, far easier to get a US Green Card than obtain a UK visa, even for a wife/partner!! And it costs a lot more too.
In fact, when we see politicians claiming “We’re open for business” trust me when I say – we’re not, not without a lot of front money.
In fact, assuming you were not moving from NYC or Palo Alto, you’ll find the UK vastly more expensive!
In the UK shops really do shut early and in the US, they really do stay open longer.
Food…. Oh where to start…
UK food is awesome!! Well the selection of it is. The UK didn’t have an Empire where the sun never set without picking a vast kaleidoscope of cuisine in the process, albeit people visiting the UK just after World war 2 would have found it very bland.
In the UK we do some great food variants – Indian cuisine is something for the most part I don’t think in understood very well in the US, and is now our national dish. Mediterranean and Arabic food, outside of NYC isn’t always easy to find.
BUT there are some thing our cousins do better that us!!
The US has a couple of things (or more) that we can’t compete with. Ok, several things actually, firstly lets just give a slight mention to Milk Shake: Not only can you go to a “Sonic Drive-in” and enjoy over 25 flavours of Milk Shake (and over 400,000 drink combinations) with your take out and that’s fine but!!! in the USA one thing is notable about Chocolate milk shake – IT tastes actually like Chocolate!!! Not that weak assed junk we get here in the UK.
Steak : The US does steak at the lowest level as good as ours from the best restaurants – they know steak and frankly we just don’t.
Mexican… You simply cannot find great Mexican food in the UK – it does not exist.
Drinks… When you eat out you are ALWAYS given water when you get to your table in the US… and refills of your soft drinks are free… In the UK you have to ask for water, pay for it and there are no refills – not ever, of any kind or anything. (this may be different for one or two US food outlets here).
So what is good in the UK?
Public transport, while not cheap is effective and you can get most places by bus or train.
The NHS… I know I know – it’s financially the black hole of Calcutta… and it may not be the most cutting edge treatment in the world at any given time. But it is effective, it does work and it will save your life and not even ask for your insurance details in the process.
Heck you can book an appointment with your Doctor twice a day, every day of the week if you wanted (Don’t do that btw)… and you will be seen, treated and sorted out with little cost other than for your prescription.
As a final point in both countries:
We may elect our leaders, but as soon as they’re in power we tend to dislike what they do… So to be judged by what your own government does is not only unfair, but it’s wrong.
I have seen this all over the world and even lost friends because of it (by lost, I mean in one case shot dead).
You, me, I, we are not our governments, we are not as portrayed as the media predicts.
So why do it to each other?!
One last point – Brits beat Americans in their loudness ;)