An update on search engine terms

After Friday’s post went live, I found another search term that led some poor soul to open, if not actually read, Notes: “what is americans favorite accent,” it asked plaintively and without a question mark. Along with that came three more almost identical questions about good manners in public places in Britain.

So if they’re going to Britain, people worry about good behavior, imagining those Victorian Britons who could read bad behavior (not to mention bad breeding) in the way people held their hands, or set their feet down on the pavement. But if they’re going to the U.S., they imagine Americans as kids in a candy store and worry about what we like best.

Says a lot about the images of our two countries, somehow.

Me, I’ll have two gumdrops, please, plus one packet of north Texas accent and an ounce of Brooklyn.

23 thoughts on “An update on search engine terms

  1. I am finding it difficult to comment as my collar, freshly starched by my butler this morning is restricting my air supply. Too many good dinners at the gentleman’s club in Pal Mal. I do not, of course subscribe to stereotypes … Kevin

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  2. I blame the popularity of ‘Downton Abbey’ for propagating such stereotypes. If Americans were foolish enough to stumble into my home town, they would soon stop fretting about etiquette and social mores. They would just worry about getting the first bus out of there.

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    • I’m pretty sure the stereotypes started well before Downton Abbey, although I’m sure it’s given them a boost. And if any Americans want a bus out of North Cornwall right now, they’ll be in trouble because the company that runs–excuse me, ran–the local buses closed its door yesterday, having given its employees exactly no notice at all. They showed up at work and the gates were locked. You take the bus to work? Too bad for you. You count on it to get to school, to the grocery store, to the doctor? Sorry, but it’s not their problem anymore. As far as I know, the intercity buses are still running, but that, of course, depends on getting to the city (or town) where they stop.

      Want to bet someone got a fat bonus before they locked up, and that the employees don’t even get their last paycheck?

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      • That’s awful! I hope another company steps in to fill the vacuum.

        Yes the stereotypes have been around for eons and actually some are warranted (queuing, obsession with discussing the weather with strangers) but I think the TV that Britain exports internationally shores up those stereotypes by showing so little of the other aspects of Britain, the other strata in British society even. But, of course, the same is true the other way and Brits have stereotypical expectations of America too.

        Keep checking those search terms. They seem to be good blog fodder.

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        • Thanks, I will keep checking. I’m addicted by now. I have to.

          The bus thing is terrible. I just heard that the company was sold a few months ago, and the buyers stripped out the assets, then closed it down. Thanks, folks. Very public spirited of you.

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  3. Capitalism at work? Squeeze out the last cent and shut it down. And here in the states local governments want to privatize everything. People losing jobs everywhere, and no shame on the bosses. Yikes, no place to run!

    Love your blog. So articulate, so clever. I’ve never commented anywhere before. Thanks for liberating me!

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    • I’m glad you joined in. The same thing’s happening here: budgets being cut, libraries being closed or occasionally turned over to volunteers (who mean well but aren’t librarians), the health service being chopped into small pieces and contracted out, often to massive corporations whose track record on previous contracts has been disastrous. Etc. Don’t get me started–I get too angry to be even remotely amusing about it.

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  4. Pingback: Stereotyping the English | Notes from the U.K.

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