My United States of Whatever

(I have never been to the United States of America and I can count the number of American people I have spoken to – face-to-face – on one hand.  But I won’t let such a triviality stop me from writing this post.)

My knowledge of the United States is plentiful.  Everything I know, I know because I saw it on the tellybox, or I heard it on the (BBC) news, or I saw it in a film, or Judy Blume told me.  More recently, if I know it, I know it because of you, Oh American Reader on an American blogging site primarily used by American folk. 

Some of what I know is very mundane.  I know that when you say you’re going for a walk along the sidewalk, you really mean you’re taking a stroll on the pavement.  I know that when you speak of that bum sitting on his fanny in the subway, you really mean that tramp sitting on his bum in the underground.  I happily forgive you your laziness when it comes to omitting the ‘u’ in words such as favourite or colour, but I know that you know that when I say ‘I couldn’t care less’ I trump your ‘I could care less’ (and I know that you know that mine makes more sense.)

You went to elementary school, I went to primary school.  You Thank, I Box.  You drink in bars, I drink in pubs.  You balance your checkbook, I balance my chequebook.  You drive on the right, I (don’t) drive on the left.  You have a back yard, I have a back garden.  Your uncle is Sam, my uncle is Bob.

But some of what I know is very important.  I know, for example, that you all own guns.  Not only do you all own guns, but you all use them to hunt animals in mountains.  When you’re not using them to hunt animals in mountains, you’re using them to shoot each other, often in public places.  I’m aware that most of you, even those who are professionally trained, are not Good Shots though.  Phew!

I also know that you’re either popular in school, or you’re a nerd.  Popular (rich) kids ridicule nerdy (often poor) kids, but it’s ok because the nerdy (often poor) kids always come out tops, usually with the help of lots of blood and gore.  Staying with the teenage theme, I know what kids on Band Camp get up to …

Everybody who lives in Queens is Hispanic. Everybody who lives in Brooklyn is the member of a gang.  Everybody who lives in Texas is a cowboy.  (Jessica Fletcher is the killer.) 

I know that religion is very important in American society, apparently as long as it’s something safe (like Christianity or Judaism.)  It’s fine for a Christian in America to spout hate and judge people in the name of God, but woe betide if a Muslim even attempts to open his mouth about anything.

When the Day of Judgement/End of the World comes along, America is going to be the country that gets all the action.  But that’s cool, because you have the means (and money) to save yourself from destruction.  Aliens seem to like America more than any other country on the planet … it must be like having that odd family member that nobody likes, constantly visiting you (but without the sweets candy.)

I know that America rules the world. But Scientology owns America. 

(I’m not sure which is scarier.)

please God bless America, for she is lovely xxx Elsabeth


  1. In the same spirit: My knowledge of Britain is also plentiful. Most of what I know comes from television, which Brits call the telly, and from Danny Boyle movies, Bend it Like Beckham, and My Fair Lady, but I have actually spent a month in the UK. I know that all Britons have bad teeth and scruffy hair. It never stops raining, which makes everyone depressed and gives Brits pasty complexions. The British live to drink, smoke, and have sex, which they call shagging. They are obsessed with royalty, social class, tabloids, cricket, and soccer, which they call football. They are constant complainers, and they blame Americans for everything. They either speak with a Cockney accent, like Eliza Doolittle and the chimneysweep in Mary Poppins, or speak the Queen’s English. They call public schools private schools and private schools public schools.  All British men are either pansies or drunken louts, and all British women are unattractive and chubby. British Muslims are radicals and terrorists. British Christians are Anglicans who don’t actually believe in anything. Everyone from Manchester works in a factory. Everyone in Birmingham is a criminal. Everyone from the north is incomprehensible. Everyone from south London is a chav. Oh, and all Britons know the Queen personally and just love to drink tea. Cheerio, and all that! :DHave I nailed enough stereotypes?

  2. @espoir – The purpose of your reply baffles me.  Seriously.  Like I said, there was no (real) purpose behind my post … it was something going through my head after reading a fair few xlogs.  I’m sorry if I offended you … it was never my intention.  Although your reply was slightly off the mark with regards to why I may have written the post, it does in some way give it the purpose it needed.  Thank you.  (And for goodness sake, the next time you want to spoil my follow up post, at least do it in the messages bit so that I can get the credit for it )

  3. I’m an American and I hope that one day you will be able to make the trip and visit our country. While I think some of your views will remain consistent (there is no denying certain facts) I think you might be pleasantly surprised that not everything is at it appears. For instance, I am happy to report that Scientology is not widely practiced by most Americans and I’m fairly certain no one can truly explain what it is or how one practices it, unless you are a self proclaimed Scientologist. However, we do take walks on the sidewalks, there are bums that lay around the subway, and we don’t add the letter “u” in certain words.

  4. Yep sometimes it is quite scary here… what with everyone owning guns and shooting everyone else. heheOf course if you ever do make it here for a visit you must come to California. Which is of course the very best of the states since we all surf and have tans and blond hair. haha

  5. @nicsd – … and you all walk around in bikini’s (to show off your latest implants) and are ultra slim, because when you’re not walking around in bikini’s or surfing you’re playing volleyball on glorious sandy beaches, and the sun never ever stops shining.  Speaking of California, we have an advert over here which aims to entice us to visit your sunny state.  The only off-putting thing is a woman at the end whom I can only assume is Schwarzenager’s wife.  Yikes … !  It’s enough to make me think twice about visiting! 

  6. Ha ha. I guess it’s up to your readers to ensure they’re actually reading your words carefully. If there is any purpose to your post, it’s that you’re describing your experience of America – which, as you’ve not been there, is TV, films, Xanga etc. It’s an absurd reality. And I think you realise this with a wry British tongue in the cheek.But I only know this because I know you…

  7. I love this post!!  Just about everything you mentioned was true, although a some of us aren’t overtly religious, and some of us are definitely not biased towards other religions. It does seem that Scientology has really become the focus of everyones attention.  I guess we are too fixated on celebrity status over here, I don’t read tabloids, and I guess I could care less who does what, I’m busy with my own life.Both my wife and I use the term bum for our bottoms, and a we usually call Bums, derelicts or homeless person.  In Wisconsin we call Bars “Taverns” or Pub depending on what part of the state.  And we call the Television “The Boob Tube” or “Idiot Box.”  We are weird folk, but everyone has their quirks regardless of where they are from, and it all makes for an interesting melting pot of religious, ethnic, political, every day life.   I always say that if you come over to the US, you may see many different types of things that aren’t represented on TV or the News, you are welcome in my home state anytime!!

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