Monday, July 5, 2010

Land of the free... and other reasons.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. I realize that doesn't mean quite the same thing in the U.K. as it does here. As usual, I watched on TV the birthday celebration at the National Mall in Washington. Really good music, really cool fireworks. Wall to wall people, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the Capitol.

People waving flags, large and small. Children on the shoulders of their parents, waving those little flags. Celebrities performing. Miltary bands performing. You know.

I sometimes think, perhaps correctly, that Europeans sort of look down on Americans for what they must think are displays of naive (and probably misplaced) patriotism.

Anyway, it happens every year on the 4th of July. The politicians are out of town for their holiday, so the American people reclaim their capitol for a few hours. Maybe they ought to just stay put, eh? -- children sitting on the railings of the carved marble balustrades of the capitol building, swinging their legs and eating ice cream. Screw Congress - we're not giving it back to you. Heh.

Well, today, on the evening news, there were the yesterday videos of the obligatory interviews as the reporters worked the happy crowd of maybe a couple hundred thousand. "What do YOU like about America?" "Why do you like living in America?" "What do you like MOST about living in America?" "Is America still great?" Loaded questions. Of course there were no negative responses in this crowd. "Hell, yes, America is still great!" "I love living here because of the freedom." That last was repeated a dozen times or so. No nasty negative sarcasm.

At the edge of the walkway are some benches and on one bench was a lady without a flag, just sitting there taking it all in, with a little white paper bag on her lap. The reporter shoved the microphone in her face and asked what she loved most about America. As soon as she opened her mouth it was obvious she was British, maybe even of the Scottish persuasion. The reporter adjusted his ear to her accent and repeated the question.

"What was that? What do you like best about America?"

"The doughnuts, I said. Best damn doughnuts I ever tasted. We don't got them like these."


  1. She sounds Irish to me.

    A Scot would have indicated that all great Americans were descended from Scots.

  2. You'll forgive me if I introduce a note of scepticism here. No, you probably won't, but anyway...

    My first reaction about the British sounding lady was that her turn of phrase was anything but British so possibly:

    1. You're telling porkies. I realise that never happens so...

    2. She was a plant by the interviewer.

    3. She had lived a long time in the USA.

  3. Everyone comes to America for the donuts. ;-)

  4. "The doughnuts, I said. Best damn doughnuts I ever tasted. We don't got them like these."
    It may be you have transposed the actual words spoken, but no british person I have ever met would speak that sentence. Not even a scottish british person. It's just not british-speak.

    However, I've never tasted an american doughnut. I think perhaps I'd better not, because if they're really so good, I'd tarnish forever my enjoyment of the doughnuts I buy here.

  5. Oh... I did notice how you spelled doughnut. Is that spelling used in your land?

    I also hear that doughnuts are an obsession with your police officers, so much so, that a fleeing fugitive may strew doughnuts, in much the same way as warplanes throw off pursuing missiled by strewing chaff and flares.

  6. I admit to not recording it and transcribing it word for word. Instead I wrote the gist that Americans would find humorous. God forbid you take the post for what it was and not pick it apart for the sake of semantics. :)

    Well, I can't complain, since the subject of this blog IS about words and different ways of saying things. But it would have been NICE if ONE of you had actually told us what a person of British persuasion would have said.

    Anyway, for those of you who care, the post was about how one person had a different reason for liking America than all the others had.

    Doughnuts is how my American dictionary says it is supposed to be spelled by an American who is not writing ad copy. :)

    Hey Kelly II. You still alive? I'm really glad. :) I know you don't eat donuts, though.

  7. Bwahahahaha. Doughnuts. Now that's a good one.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  8. We care, of course we care. We thought it was a test. What she may have said was, "The doughnuts, they're the best I've ever tasted. Ours are nothing like this."

  9. Irish?! Adullamite!

    She must have said, "They're bloody good these doughnuts. They beat ours by a long chalk. Cheap as chips, too."

  10. Right. The Brits are such a well-mannered group. Crikey.

  11. Now I finally think I see what has caused the uproar. Upon re-reading (as I thought I had done before the post was published) I find I typed one letter wrong in what I intended to ascribe to the lady: "get" became "got". Sorry. I guess it looks even worse with that.

    I wasn't trying to make her seem like an imbecile; only that she had a different (and refreshing, I thought) reason for liking America.

  12. The funniest part was your last comment. Tee hee. Talk about a storm in a teacup!

  13. Not well mannered? An uproar? A storm in a teacup?

    What's the matter? This used to be a blog about how to speak British. We thought you cared or would at least be interested.

  14. Please send one dozen doughnuts so that I can test the theory. Assorted flavours. Thank you.

  15. Hey Toni. Yeah, bit of an overkill, this one. Welcome back. :)

  16. Yes, Sheila. Nobody's comments were inappropriate, for sure. This blog is indeed meant to be a place for me to learn new words and phrases. Sometimes the subject matter wanders in my posts, though, and this was a post about reasons people like America. I shouldn't have been shocked. :)

  17. Dear A. - I think you would be disappointed. I'm sure your doughnuts are just as tasty. You could send some of yours to me, just to make sure. Your mail is faster. :)

  18. Sorry - I have been a bit shite about visiting blogs. Blame it on the new mutt (see the last two month's posts.)



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