Monday, April 13, 2009

Over the weekend I was startled to see another one of those "Britain is becoming more Americanized than America" articles in my local newspaper. It was from the Associated Press, and featured examples of how the United States is being a bad and overwhelming influence on Britain, forcing the British to accept everything from fast food to cosmetic dentistry (the horror!). I was pleased to see Mike Harling, of Postcards from Across the Pond quoted prominently.

Still, if America is taking over Britain, you would think they would do it correctly, wouldn't you? The article mentions the popularly of the restaurant chain KFC in particular, but when I ate there on a visit to the UK, I must admit to being rather puzzled. I mean a BURGER, by definition contains hamBURGER. And, I'm sorry, but the hash browns go on the side, not on top of the sandwich. Clearly, there has been a breakdown in communication somewhere along the way . . . .

Another interesting article I recently read concerned the photograph of a "ghostly figure" at Tantallon Castle (and not a very happy one, judging by the photo). A few years ago I was lucky enough to win a ghost tour with International Tours and Events. We visited many reportedly haunted sites, and were assured that some of us would find otherworldly apparitions on our film when we got home. No such luck. Still, I'm happy that some photographers are apparently talented enough to capture the ghosts on film during their brief periods of visibility!


EAS Loomis said...

Great entry. I hope I'm not part of the wave of Americanization? is that even a word? -- LL

MikeH said...

I seem to be the only one who didn't see that article in their newspaper. I've found it on-line, however; thanks for mentioning it. But I think the Americanization (and Liz, if it wasn't a word, it is now) of Britain is just as much the Brit's fault. The Americans aren't shoving this stuff down their throats at gunpoint, they seem to grab it as fast as the US can crank it out. And it's such a shame; it seems everyone, the world over, just wants video games, Starbucks coffee and fast food, as if therein lies happiness.

Meg said...

Interesting, I do get the sense sometimes things are getting more "americanised" although that's true across the world, not just in the UK. What's interesting is that, from a linguistics point of view, parts of new england are significantly more old-English than England in terms of their language patterns. Interesting, huh?

Lisanne624 said...

Liz, it's entirely possible that once again I've used a completely made up word. I'm forever astonished at the perfectly reasonable words that the spell checker refuses to acknowledge!

Lisanne624 said...

Mike, I was glad you got a mention! I guess we American tourists are partially to blame. After years of travelling outside the U.S., yet expecting to find all the comforts of home, I guess the rest of the world has finally given in!

Lisanne624 said...

Meg, I agree that it's fascinating to study language patterns. My Swedish husband was taught British English in school, and when we were dating, he continued to use the word "shall" -- even though I told him it wasn't really used in the U.S. That got me wondering about "shall" and it turns out that it really didn't become common in British English until after "the colonies" were settled. I guess that explains why it never migrated over here!

Smitten by Britain said...

The answer to your post title would be a big fat NO! That news article depresses me. When I go to England I want to see England, not little America. I'm with Mike on this, I think for the most part if there wasn't a market for this stuff it wouldn't survive. If people don't want rubbish they shouldn't buy it. I can handle McDonald's and KFC, but the first time I see a Wal-Mart in England I'm going to flip.

Lisanne624 said...

Oh Melissa, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but they have Wal-Mart in England. It's called Asda there. I saw a commercial for it on TV once while on a visit, and my jaw dropped: blue vests and yellow smiley faces were dancing all over the screen!

britannia in brief said...

Hmmm, I think Americanization is a word...if not, it is now like you said. It does seem that American culture has oozed into most places...TV and movies have probably had something to do with that, I would guess.

Michelloui said...

I have a very British friend who is a history lecturer who despises the Americanisation of Britain and has been complaining about it since I first met her 18 years ago. I'm with Mike and Smitten, I want to live in England, not a version of America. And yet, isn't what's happen part of a bigger picture? Britain, like most countries, is becoming more international, not just more American. I accept the American influence might be predominant.

And yes, Lisanne, if the UK is going to adopt American things, why do they put such an odd twist on it (i.e. KFC)?! Perhaps that's just Britain subconsciously keeping it British after all.

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