Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Britain: Not All Americans Are Loud And Obnoxious

Dear Britain,


I am writing all the way from America to inform you (and a certain selection of your population) that, contrary to popular belief, not all Americans are loud and obnoxious.

As an Englishman who has now worked with and befriended hundreds of what you and I affectionately refer to as "Yanks", I must touch upon my hard-line opposition to this stereotype.

Having lived in the Midwestern state of Indiana for over four years, I can confirm that - much to my shock (and no doubt yours) - that the people here are actually quite humble, sometimes even reserved, and, as such, do a pretty decent job - on the whole - of not drawing too much attention to themselves.

While, just as in Britain, you can always find the odd (sometimes disturbingly odd) person who thinks that the only way to get noticed is to raise his or her voice above 10 decibels, most Midwesterners - and I would surmise most Americans - are not the vocally raucous people we thought they were.

I understand you might find all of this difficult to believe, what with seemingly insurmountable evidence  to the contrary blasting from your TV sets, but actual Americans - the ones who pay bills and raise families - are in fact nothing like the ones you see on WWE Raw.

Yes, there are obvious exceptions here and there, but in general terms, those "belligerent" Americans you bumped into on the London Underground are just the exception that proves the rule. And actually, the more I think about it, most American tourists I encountered in London weren't especially loud. I am convinced we just noticed them because they were American.

The truth is, Britain, you and I were hoodwinked. Constant repeats of bombastic American sports movies have left us believing that the loudness trait is true of all 300 million Americans. It isn't.

Again, there may be instances where a group of Americans get together and - wittingly or unwittingly - drown everyone else out. But, we must remember that this brand of discourse can be found in virtually every nation on Earth.

Moreover, it is highly imperative that we don't make accusations of another country without first looking at ourselves: if you've ever been to a Saturday afternoon football match or walked through the streets of Manchester on a Friday night, you'll know exactly what I mean.

I hope that you will respond to this issue accordingly and reprimand those who would bear this viewpoint. You might want to even raise your voice a little.

Sincerely,
A British expat



Complete Compendium of Word Differences


7 comments:

Rachel said...

The loudest thing I've ever witnessed was Bonfire Night in the normally peaceful Sussex town of Lewes. No American, no matter how loud, will ever be able to frighten me again. Mostly because I'm partially deaf now.

Laurence Brown said...

Ah yes, Bonfire Night. Perhaps the closest thing to July 4th that England has. I look forward to comparing the two holidays later this year.

Thank you for commenting.

P.S. I really like what I've seen of Mañana Mama. I hope to read some more when I have the time.

Bonnie Rose said...

I agree with you. The loudest americans I have met are the ones who obtained passports and traveled abroad. But I've heard the same thing said about English tourists. So maybe we come out even in that regard. ;)

Laurence Brown said...

Exactly, Bonnie. I've certainly encountered British tourists who are just as loud as any Americans I've met. Typically - and I'm generalizing here - this is following the consumption of rather large portions of alcohol.

Carolyn van Es-Vines said...

Hi Laurence,
Whereabouts in Indiana do you live? I grew up in Indianapolis myself and left at 25 for DC. Have you figured out yet why they're called Hoosiers? Anyway, funny enough, since moving to Holland 13 years ago, I've come across way too many loud Americans, the exceptions, of course, who prove the rule. I never thought we were particularly a loud lot (how do you like my English?) but then, out and about, I'd hear loud, countrified, nasally English and think Lord, these are my people. I do agree with your overall premise though that tourists are the same everywhere. Nice post.

Laurence Brown said...

I live in Fort Wayne, but used to work in Indianapolis. It's really improved as a city over the last 5 years, has Indy.

Yes, tourists from different countries tend to have their individual quirks, but, on the whole, people just want the same things out of a vacation: fun, adventure and education.

Catherine said...

While living in London, I did notice 'loud' American tourists, shouting at each other on the Tube or in Museums. {{Shudder}}
However, my British Husband reminds me that he witnessed loud (drunken) English tourists while in Spain. But the loudest tourists we ever witnessed were Italian students visiting Cambridge.

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