June 09, 2010

When Buchanan dared to ask who would assimilate better, a million Englishmen or a million Zulus, the Left pooped their pants. I still don”€™t understand why. What really should have browned their trousers was the fact that Pat had to go to the bottom of Africa to find someone less compatible than Englishmen. The truth is, England is not just different than America; it is inexorably, irrevocably, and perpetually incompatible with us.

America was founded by losers and, as recently as 100 years ago, still had a Wild West culture where disputes were still settled with shootouts. England gave up trying in about 4,000 BC and today spends most of its time sipping tea and thinking about stuff. They”€™re settled. They have divided their society into three classes and have no intention of changing. Where our working class votes Republican because they think they”€™re about to get rich and don”€™t want to share any of their future money, Britain’s working class gets tattoos of the local soccer team and carefully cultivates their phenomenally regional accents. North American rock is about “€œTakin”€™ Care of Business“€ and “€œFor the weekend, I just can”€™t wait,”€ but British rock is deep into its own head singing “€œSatan, laughing spreads his wings“€ “€œwhen the wizard walks by.”€

As a kid immigrating here from England in 1975, the first thing I noticed was the comic books. When we read Beano back in England we had no idea who drew Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher. America’s Dennis  tells you the whole thing is done by Hank Ketcham on the first page. The website even calls it “Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace.” Superhero comics go even further. Pick up a copy of The Flash  and you”€™re told who penciled it, inked it, and even lettered it. This is because America has a pioneer mentality. It’s every man for himself and if you don”€™t claim something for yourself, someone else will. Britain’s complete and everyone’s taken care of so it’s all free. “€œGo ahead and say you drew Dennis if you want. I could give a toss.”€

We didn”€™t even have superheroes in Britain as most kids preferred imagination-based characters like Tolkien’s Hobbits. When the UK finally did get one  in 1977 he lived in outer space and spoke like his throat was made of Stonehenge. Spiderman on the other hand, lives in Queens and makes goofy wisecracks about villains waking up on the wrong side of the bed. That’s what America’s all about, the everyman.

“England’s poor have been settled for so long, they have nothing left to do but argue about soccer and work on their wardrobe.”

English itself reiterates this. When America saw all those extra “U”s in English they just took ‘em out. It may have made the language less colourful but America doesn”€™t have time for color. Look at their homes. Americans don”€™t mind storage bins in the living room and speaker wires stretched diagonally across the wall because they might move soon. Not only do Brits hide the wires and store everything in cupboards, they wallpaper the living shit out of the joint and then ad wall-to-wall carpeting.

As I got older and started to get into punk rock, the differences remained the same. British punks spend hours primping and preening their anti-fashion mohawks and heavily accessorized motorcycle jackets like aristocrats getting ready for the annual ball but America’s punk is called hardcore and all you need to be part of that is short hair and a sweatshirt. Englishmen love fashion because their culture is under house arrest. You”€™d be obsessed with getting dressed too if it was the most interesting part of your day. America is too busy trying to get ahead to worry about clothes. Have you ever seen COPS PORN? (Link SFW despite title.) Our working class don”€™t even wear shirts. England’s poor have been settled for so long, they have nothing left to do but argue about soccer and work on their wardrobe. Not only do they wear shirts, they wear hats, jackets, scarves, and they”€™re all Burberry.

I”€™m older now and mostly writing comedy for TV but the dichotomy has barely budged. Next to Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan is about the only British comic to break into the American market and even he thinks nary the twain shall meet. “€œBritain likes to laugh at losers,”€ he said recently, “€œand America hates that.”€ Some say the tides are changing with fantastic American losers like Michael Scott (a Gervais creation) and Kenny Powers, but critics have no idea how low England’s classist loser-bashing can go. In a recent episode of Peep Show for example, the protagonist is so scared of being bullied by children he peers through his building’s letterbox, waiting for them to leave. He is later mistakenly accused of pedophilia. This is no different from Some Mother’s Do “€˜Ave Em‘s Frank Spencer who, 40 years earlier, would wet himself every time his wife got angry.

I”€™m sure Britain has all kinds of good things to say about their sedentary culture and I will admit there’s a certain charm to walking into a British pub and seeing an adolescent yob having a cheery conversation with the same old geezer he talks to every night. They may be cheeky but they’re chatty too. Family affairs are mandatory in Britain and the only thing a British mother finds more devastating than having her 30-year-old move out is discovering he”€™ll be moving more than an hour away. That’s cute and all but there’s no future in it. Happiness is about fulfillment and fulfillment is about carpe-ing the diem. They see themselves as a strong family but all I see are castrated mommy’s boys.

Our world is about capitalism and trying to better ourselves. Theirs is about pontificating. Where we grab at the ladder and struggle to go up just one more rung, they throw their hands up and laugh at the people below. They may find it amusing now but it’s hard to stay on a ladder when you don”€™t use your hands and it’s only a matter of time before England’s lack of ambition leads to its downfall. Luckily, the British don”€™t take themselves too seriously so when they”€™re all in a heap at the bottom, they”€™ll still have plenty of losers to laugh at. 


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!