Random trans-Atlantic claptrap

Polite notice: Britain, please stop stealing our culture. Signed – America

Look I get it, American culture is awesome.

Who wouldn’t want to partake in it? There’s a reason that Hamburger joints are popping up all over London – Hamburgers taste great! There’s also a reason that action and superhero films make more money in the UK than any other genre- those movies kick ass!  And there’s a whole lot of reasons that blue jeans are worn by virtually everyone in Britain (and around the world), rather than say, plus fours. Blue jeans are totally comfortable, and they go with almost everything. Blue jeans rock! And speaking of rock, America invented rock music, and that’s awesome too. And hip hop. And jazz. And skateboarding. And sweetened breakfast cereal with cartoon mascots. And buffalo chicken wings. All American, and all awesome.

But at the end of the day, these things are ours, not yours.

They are sacred elements from our national cultural heritage. As important to us as Noh plays and the tea ceremony are to the Japanese, or the tango to the Argentines. You may indulge in them, but you may not appropriate them.

You already have your own culture…

It involves Morris dancing, binge-drinking, being passive-aggressive, eating beans on toast and doing lots of ceremonial marching in front of palaces while wearing red uniforms and big hats. That should be enough for you. Leave my culture alone.

I mean, I didn’t move all the way from the USA just to see every British teenager in Croydon wearing New York Yankees baseball caps. Or to walk around Regents street underneath a sea of  banners advertising an NFL American football game at Wembley stadium. And I didn’t become an American expat just to find out if Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts taste differently if purchased from a Tesco instead of from a 7-11.

You often mock American culture, or pretend it doesn’t exist. But I’m on to you.

This is just an act of misdirection to better enable your real goal- thievery and amalgamation. You deride America, while reaping the benefits. And it’s time you stopped. “Oh- cheerleading, how terribly American and embarrassing to prance around showing such… enthusiasm,” you loudly declare to anyone listening. Meanwhile, you’re off in some back alley somewhere starting a British cheerleading association.

And don’t act like it’s my fault, or rather our fault-

American culture is not some irresistible juggernaut that has been forced upon you. These are your choices.

No one is forcing you to eat Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. You’re eating them because they are just about the best tasting thing on the planet. No one put a gun to Mumford and Sons heads and told them they had to imitate U.S. bluegrass and country artists. They’re doing that as a form of homage to those far better American bands. And no one is tricking your children into going trick or treating on Halloween. They’re doing it because American-style Halloweens are a hell of a lot of fun, and because they are hoping someone will give them Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

And the level of theft of my country’s culture is only accelerating.

Sometimes I feel like I live in Boise, not Britain. Restaurants here are even starting to put in self-serve soda machines with crushed ice dispensers. Crushed ice, from a machine – is there anything more middle-American than that? And this Sunday, I heard some posh talking head on the Andrew Marr programme talk about wanting to give a “shout out” to someone.

Let’s be perfectly clear – you are British. You don’t get to do “shout outs.”

That’s our thing – it’s not your thing. Your schools don’t get to have “proms” – they have “school discos.”  They’re not proms, because they’re not taking place in America. Just like you can’t tell someone to “cowboy up,” since you don’t have cowboys. Or you shouldn’t say “more bang for your buck” as you don’t have bucks. I suppose we can’t stop you from stealing from us, but we can stop you from pretending that it’s a victimless crime. There are victims. 320 million of them.

Maybe if you just acknowledged that you are obsessed with borrowing from our American culture, and you admitted how great Reese’s peanut butter cups are, we Americans wouldn’t feel so defiled by your never-ending cultural confiscations. But as it stands now, each time I see someone at work eating an Oreo instead of a custard creme, I feel exactly the way I’d imagine a Maori warrior might feel, if they were to stumble upon some white office workers performing a Haka as part of a work team-building exercise. Violated. Angry. Embarrassed. Sad.

So please, take off that Yankees hat. Stop eating those Oreos. Get off that skateboard. Stop trying to surf. Don’t record any more hip hop albums. Don’t fry up any more chicken, and don’t barbecue any more ribs. Stop stealing from my people. I will now console myself with some Reese’s peanut butter cups. No, you can’t have any.

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4 thoughts on “Polite notice: Britain, please stop stealing our culture. Signed – America

  1. This is most needlessly offended things I’ve ever read and it’s wonderful. The NFL, cheerleading and so on are little more than curiosities in Britain. Pretending that they’re somehow staples of British culture and whining about American culture apparently rules the world is laughable.

  2. So true! I’m glad somebody finally said it. They love to talk bad about us, yet love to steal our culture, and try to be like us. They even stole hip hop hahaha. They’re pathetic! They cry when they need us, but hate us when they’re doing fine. Thanks for speaking up as an American. It needed to be said!

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