Cool, groovy, morning, fine. Tipper Gore was a friend of mine

i was listening to mark kermode reviewing the borat movie tonight and, amongst other things, he commented that there was an ‘anti-american’ streak to it that he felt uncomfortable with. while he was speaking mostly in referance to the film it got me thinking (plus i can’t get to sleep because i foolishly drank a mug of cofee at midnight so i could watch the rest of spiderman on dvd) and i decided to post my thoughts.

there is, it’s true, a river of anti-american sentiment running about a mile wide through britain at the moment. it’s roots are explicable and, largely, understandable but it is becoming increasingly rampant and – like any form of racism – unpleasant. it’s starting to make me uncomfortable too.

the eighties and early nineties in this country looked frequently towards america as a source of cultural aspiration. pepsi cola, levis guys, mtv. i for one was obsessed with beverly hills 90210. i discovered i had ‘bangs’, didn’t want to catch ‘mono’ and wanted to waitress in the peach pit so badly i could almost taste laverne’s apple pie.

and when we got tired of all that ‘apple pie’ kurt came to help us restle with our tortured souls.

by the mid ninties the revolt had begun. we wanted our music, our clothes and our government back. england for the english. select ran a union jack cover emblazoned with the words ‘yanks go home’ and offered us the cream of britpop as proof of our own cultural self sufficiancy. the shining jewel in the crown came with blair. new labour. new era. new cool britania.

generally speaking most brits never really noticed clinton, in the words of joni mitchell, till he was gone. the groundswell opinion is that blair dragged britain into a war that wasn’t ours. that when bush said that we were either for him or against him we picked the wrong side. when richard curtis takes the time out to question ‘how special the special aliance is’ in a hugh grant rom-com you have to worry about your PR.

add in to the mix for example: pimp my ride, barbie bling, tv channel D.O.G’s and metabolic syndrome and you have a heady cocktail of stuff to hate.

right now we have a nation where everyone under, like 23, sounds, like, totally american, dude. and everyone over 23 is quite happy to say in polite company ‘i wish they’d just bomb that whole fucking country’

we are a nation divided by the cultural instability of another country.

i get why people rage against the states here. i find myself using words like ‘fall’ (autumn) and ‘ass’ (arse!) and it annoys me. when eddie izzard compared america to the roman empire

beware america… you will collapse from within, like a wet souffle

i laughed like a drain.

rednecks, pimps, god botherers and gun toters right?

and yet i still, on a daily basis, enjoy art, music and film made by americans. i communicate daily with americans whom i love to bits. racsism is at heart a generalisation. a sweeping statement. oswald mosley used to tell his jewish ‘friends’ not to come to his rallies because they ‘wouldn’t like it’. so fucking british.

i know why the u.k is angry. we need to hold on to our own identity and america does need to get a grip, in so many ways. and i guess you needed to be told – but it’s getting out of hand. it’s so o.k now to be passionately anti-american (rather than anti-bush, say) that i do not envy any american brave enough to live here.

that said, we don’t like the french much either – and i saw my first polish immigration joke on tv this week. catherine tate in case you’re interested. so maybe things will cool down for all you ‘yankees’ over here soon…


0 thoughts on “Cool, groovy, morning, fine. Tipper Gore was a friend of mine

  1. Your voice in this blog is so resonant. I find myself envious and wanting but I really am glad you wrote it and I got to read it. We (our family) were in England during the “countdown” of hours right before and then at the precise moment when Bush declared war in 2003. I truly wanted to affect a UK accent (didn’t care which regional dialect) just so the moment I opened my mouth no one whould immediately know I was American. I loudly in comedic efforts told people numerous times “I didn’t vote for that man” (which is the truth) but I felt that being American was somehow tied into Bush and his lying ass face. I do not hate any country nor religion, culture, etc. But I can write these words “Bush and his tribe have brought shame to an entire country.” As the OLD saying goes “Pride goeth before a fall.” Thanks for your sentiments MS.

  2. joefish: britain is a weird place that way. if there is one thing brits have it is humility – british people are very self-depreciating and happy to slag the country off, but at the heart of it are quite quietly patriotic. the scots, to be fair are noisely patriotic but that is purely aimed at the english. the scots hate the english far more than the americans 😆
    i am quite proud of britain, it’s a lovely quirky little place but as mt points out “pride goeth before a fall”

    mt: thank you for your comment. it’s people like yourself i was mostly thinking of when i wrote this.

    i think my feelings on this matter tap into other, wider issues. we are becoming increasingly intolerant of immigration. the tension between british muslim residents and the rest of the country is becoming more and more prominant. we are becoming increasingly parochial and ‘pure-blood’ in our attitudes towards people living here and it makes me very nervous. i can be quite brutal about certain things – stupid, annoying people. stupid, anoying politics. but basically i am a great big liberal at heart.

    right, i’m off to hug a tree.

  3. yo yo yo!
    you go girl!
    that was like, awsome! you totally hit the nail on the head girlfriend.

    sorry i couldnt resist that.

    very nice post, jealous i cant stress a point like that without using swearwords.

    there are moments where i hate britain, and british people, but i always immediately acknowledge that its the same reasons i love them too. right now in this political climate i am very upset and nervous though, its frustrating me, as i firmly think, for everything i like in life, that britain is the best country in the world (as i am sure we all do about our own lands) but, so nervous now i want out, i dont feel safe. its the paranoia that we have watched america enjoy since the cold war, transfered onto us the minute blair made “that desicion”..
    we were never a target, the london bombings in 2005 were no surprise (check how they got a nickname like 9/11 ! i laughed when they reffered to them as the 7/7 bombings, it’ll be commemoritive mugs and gift cards next, if wembley was built we’d have ronan keaton performing memorial concerts etc.
    if i were on the outside looking in at britain and america i’d want to bomb us too.

    my biggest fear recently though is this massive arse of a situation where the christian clergy and politicians in this country are taking their gloves off with the muslims, i am now officially scared of the potential chaos and war this may bring on our doorstep.

    the annoying thing is there has been a lot said that i agree with, things i think a lot of us agree with, but things you just dont say, because certain religeons cant take critisism or have their hypocracies pointed out, without it ending in bloodshed and explosions.

    i hate this fear, it was never meant to be here, the brits are at there best when there is somthing docile about them, we are becoming edgy, and scared of feathers. anyway, i am starting to rant now, but point being, its not just “valleygirl speak” thats arrived on our shores is it, cheers mr. blair.

  4. omega: you’re absolutely right. it is far more than just the valley girl speak, but i think that it’s the prevelance of that stuff that really rubs peoples noses in it. there is such a scism in that sense – it reminds me a little of the japanese peuritan/libertine hypochresy that we all poke fun at. it makes me so mad that we are fighting religious wars at all never mind that we are allowing it to bleed into an everyday rascism. somehow in britain we hate the muslims and the christians – we’re at war with the war. but not in a huggy, hippy, bed-in kind of a way. in a nasty, jittery – as you put it – ‘scared of feathers’ way. there is nothing more dangerous than a lynch mob unsure of who to lynch first.

  5. I KNOW; it’s ME again!!! I am trying to not come off sounding like a sycophantic kiss up but here goes: Some people feel they are a female trapped in a male body or vise versa and I have always felt I was born in the wrong country. I am almost 50 years old (soon very soon) and from as long back as I have memory I have been drawn to what I used to think was England. Now that my geography skills are more well honed I realize it’s not just England but also Wales and Scotland (basically the UK). The really lucky thing that happened was that one of my daughters married an Englishman so I have a direct pipeline to my emotional/spiritual homeland. Just because my heart belongs to the UK does not mean I HATE America or any other country. There’s so many more words screaming in my head to get out but I shall try to remain as “sane like” to stay out of the padded room. (smile)

  6. calisto: thank you!

    mt: there’s nothing shameful about feeling you belong somewhere other than where you are – it’s why people move! just look at my post concerning the climate in malta for some serious yearning 😆

  7. mt- i know exactly what you mean, everytime i visit paris i feel “i belong here” i am absolutely in love with the city, its people and its attitude, it really floats my boat, BUT….every time i note the french inability to queue (i never feel confidant spelling that word! weirdly for what i am about to write it appears french!) the french, parisians mainly, just cannot queue! its the stuff short films and documentaries are made of, sombody like me going out there on a mission to teach a whole city how to queue and queuing rules and ettiquette.
    saying t hat london can be pretty bad for it too. but one thing i have noted , particularly in scotland are these moments that do hammer home that brittishnes that i love and hate all at once….
    a group of people can arrive at a bus stop, intermitantly gathering a crowd. not one person standing in a line, but everyone takes mental note of whe arrives and who was before you, almost subconciously. when the bus arrives everyone boards accordingly even though standing nonchanantly random.
    even the scummiest ned will not overstep his mark in this scenario, and will help an old lady board etc.

    this situation and the bbc are the biggest most final bastions of brittishness we have left.

    if we lose either of those, its a matter of time before tv show adverts get splatted over the screen whilst watching your favourite programme (my new pet hate from downloading american tv shows, its a bit like getting ass raped by your tv).

    long live the queen, the bbc and anally rententive queuing structures.

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