Sunday, December 19, 2010

Understanding Americans. . . . . . ..brilliant ! ;-)

G'day, JustinO,
 
Understanding Americans, from a British perspective.
 
A great piece, and one of the nest I've ever read. 
 
 
 Gary


Thanks, Gary.  We Yanks ought to feel proud.  We even look good!  ;-)
   JustinO
 

14 comments:

J said...

The observation that American would not elect an atheist or agnostic to the presidency any time soon is off base. The writings of both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams confirm that both put no stock in religious creeds. In that they joined another of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. Of course, the commentator is quite correct that these gentlemen probably couldn't be elected dogcatcher today, especially now that born again historians like Glenn Beck are busily rewriting history to prove that the founding fathers' ceremonial reference to god or divine providence showed them to be devout. I honestly think this revisionist movement had its origins in the 1950's, about the time Eisenhower decided we had to add "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.
But before you start parcing down the frivolities of the American Songbook, Gary, try checking out the words to Waltzing Matilda. In the States a "jolly bagman" would be a tribute or bribe money distributer for organized crime who's happy in his work.

JustinO'Shea said...

Huh??????

Gary Kelly said...

I was wondering when J would bite. Hehe. Anyway, the lyrics to Waltzing Matilda are "Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong..."

A swag is a tramp's possessions rolled up in a... swag, which becomes his bedding when it's unrolled.

This particular swagman pinched a farmer's sheep and put it in his tucker (food) bag and got into trouble with the law.

By the way, a billabong is not something you smoke. It's a pond.

I'll go now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but I had the impression that Kevin Connolly wrote that piece with more than a little affection for the US and it's people, and was sorry to be leaving.

We all have our little faults and annoying ways but it is the overall picture that is important and Mr Connolly obvioulsy had a positive picture, and presented the same to us in his writing.

So, as for Gary "parcing (sic)down" the American Songbook, well it was Mr Connolly who did that and was more than a little complimentary apart from that one song.

At least he had his facts and words correct. (which is more than I do most of the time, heehee!)

Actually, the story behind that song is interesting, it well illustrates the multicultural and political background of the times:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltzing_Matilda

Greg in Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

G'Day Greg-in-Adelaide. . . a musical tone name. . .;-)

Like you I thought Kevin's article was flattering. . .and if Gary's says this is the best he was ever read. . .yes, he did say that! --it has to be true. Amen.

I like positive things with a sense of humor. . .

Are you thawing out, Greg? Weather improving for the holiday week? We are doing A-OK here. . . we're used to this at Christmas time.

Carry on in great style. .
justin

J said...

Oh, don't go Gary. The American songbook has such gems to explore as "Flat foot floozie with a floy floy." Popular in 1938, the song had to be changed from "floozie" to "floogie" to get it on the radio. Floy floy was a slang term for a venereal disease.
We don't have swagmen in America, although "swag" is shorthand for "stuff we all get". I used to think Waltzing Matilda was the national anthem of Australia. It isn't, but it should be. If you play it slowly it is one of the most beautiful tunes you will ever hear.

Gary Kelly said...

As you say J, Waltzing Matilda is not the Aussie anthem but it brings a tear to the eye of every Aussie when played on ceremonial occasions.

...and he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled, you'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me...

Billy: an open-top can for boiling water, often for making tea on a campfire. Kellypedia.

Anonymous said...

Hey J, and others,
Let me tell you of my impressions of the US and how it is perceived here in this country.

Here in Oz many of us have long bemoaned the advance of the long slow and perhaps insidious Americanisation of our country and culture, not the least of which have been the many "Americanisms" that have crept into our language.

When the American colonies declared their independence and war with Britain began, access to America for the transportation of convicts ceased, and overcrowding in British gaols soon raised official concerns.

The British turned to Australia, "discovered" and claimed by Captain Cook about 6 years earlier, to unload their 'trash".

All the first settlements in this country were by the British as penal colonies, with the exception, of South Australia and it's capital Adelaide, of course lol.....!

Over the years we have had various migratory influxes from countries all over the globe and we count ourselves as a very multicultural country, not unlike the US.

Like the US, we have developed our own culture and ever since probably WW2 when we had strong influxes of US armed forces to help repel the Japanese on our northern borders, we have had close ties with your country and the influences of your culture.

The slow and sure Americanisation of our culture annoyed my parents and their generation. They were afraid we'd lose our own heritage due to the insidious creep into our culture.
In fact we had been sort of hiding our love and realisation of our culture and character from the world and ourselves. Was it due to our convict beginnings? Was it because we saw ourselves as less than the Brits or the Americans? ...and the rest of the world in general? I'm not sure, but something made Australians generally self conscious and quietly protective of our identity.

Into the 80s as media has become more open with worldwide access due to the internet and the American language influences due to Microsoft, many still bemoaned the loss of our "Britishness"

But I feel that it is now obvious that our younger generations are not so stressed by this and see us as joining the world, not just America. The growth of conciousness of our own 'self' as a country in recent years, our own character, and pride in who we are and where we sit in the world has perhaps reduced the fear of simply being Americanised, many see us as simply becoming more a part of the world.

The coming of the intramanet (lol) has opened us to more worldly influences and the American influence on our culture is becoming diluted.

I visited the US several times in the late 80s/early 90s as part of my work. Until I was there on the ground all my views of the US were via movies and TV. I saw, fortunately, that the people are much better than that.

I'd never had the US on my list of countries in which I'd like to spend more time until my last two visits. Once out of the cities and among the people I really saw the heart of the country and like Mr Connolly, despite the differences and my reactions to the outright self confidence you people have in yourselves, I came to have a sneaking liking for your country and people. I was always well received and treated with respect and good manners and came to really enjoy the experience.

So, I hope that puts my enjoyment and understanding of Mr Connelly's article and perhaps what prompted Gary to draw attention to it?

Greg in no-convict-Adelaide (lol, we ARE suprerior to the other states! teehee.)

Anonymous said...

Hey J, and others,
Let me tell you of my impressions of the US and how it is perceived here in this country.

Here in Oz many of us have long bemoaned the advance of the long slow and perhaps insidious Americanisation of our country and culture, not the least of which have been the many "Americanisms" that have crept into our language.

When the American colonies declared their independence and war with Britain began, access to America for the transportation of convicts ceased, and overcrowding in British gaols soon raised official concerns.

The British turned to Australia, "discovered" and claimed by Captain Cook about 6 years earlier, to unload their 'trash".

All the first settlements in this country were by the British as penal colonies, with the exception, of South Australia and it's capital Adelaide, of course lol.....!

Over the years we have had various migratory influxes from countries all over the globe and we count ourselves as a very multicultural country, not unlike the US.

Like the US, we have developed our own culture and ever since probably WW2 when we had strong influxes of US armed forces to help repel the Japanese on our northern borders, we have had close ties with your country and the influences of your culture.

The slow and sure Americanisation of our culture annoyed my parents and their generation. They were afraid we'd lose our own heritage due to the insidious creep into our culture.
In fact we had been sort of hiding our love and realisation of our culture and character from the world and ourselves. Was it due to our convict beginnings? Was it because we saw ourselves as less than the Brits or the Americans? ...and the rest of the world in general? I'm not sure, but something made Australians generally self conscious and quietly protective of our identity.

Into the 80s as media has become more open with worldwide access due to the internet and the American language influences due to Microsoft, many still bemoaned the loss of our "Britishness"

But I feel that it is now obvious that our younger generations are not so stressed by this and see us as joining the world, not just America. The growth of conciousness of our own 'self' as a country in recent years, our own character, and pride in who we are and where we sit in the world has perhaps reduced the fear of simply being Americanised, many see us as simply becoming more a part of the world.

The coming of the intramanet (lol) has opened us to more worldly influences and the American influence on our culture is becoming diluted.

I visited the US several times in the late 80s/early 90s as part of my work. Until I was there on the ground all my views of the US were via movies and TV. I saw, fortunately, that the people are much better than that.

I'd never had the US on my list of countries in which I'd like to spend more time until my last two visits. Once out of the cities and among the people I really saw the heart of the country and like Mr Connolly, despite the differences and my reactions to the outright self confidence you people have in yourselves, I came to have a sneaking liking for your country and people. I was always well received and treated with respect and good manners and came to really enjoy the experience.

So, I hope that puts my enjoyment and understanding of Mr Connelly's article and perhaps what prompted Gary to draw attention to it?

Greg in no-convict-Adelaide

Anonymous said...

Hey J, and others,
Let me tell you of my impressions of the US and how it is perceived here in this country.

Here in Oz many of us have long bemoaned the advance of the long slow and perhaps insidious Americanisation of our country and culture, not the least of which have been the many "Americanisms" that have crept into our language.

When the American colonies declared their independence and war with Britain began, access to America for the transportation of convicts ceased, and overcrowding in British gaols soon raised official concerns.

The British turned to Australia, "discovered" and claimed by Captain Cook about 6 years earlier, to unload their 'trash".

All the first settlements in this country were by the British as penal colonies, with the exception, of South Australia and it's capital Adelaide, of course lol.....!

Over the years we have had various migratory influxes from countries all over the globe and we count ourselves as a very multicultural country, not unlike the US.

Like the US, we have developed our own culture and ever since probably WW2 when we had strong influxes of US armed forces to help repel the Japanese on our northern borders, we have had close ties with your country and the influences of your culture.

The slow and sure Americanisation of our culture annoyed my parents and their generation. They were afraid we'd lose our own heritage due to the insidious creep into our culture.
In fact we had been sort of hiding our love and realisation of our culture and character from the world and ourselves. Was it due to our convict beginnings? Was it because we saw ourselves as less than the Brits or the Americans? ...and the rest of the world in general? I'm not sure, but something made Australians generally self conscious and quietly protective of our identity.

Into the 80s as media has become more open with worldwide access due to the internet and the American language influences due to Microsoft, many still bemoaned the loss of our "Britishness"

But I feel that it is now obvious that our younger generations are not so stressed by this and see us as joining the world, not just America. The growth of conciousness of our own 'self' as a country in recent years, our own character, and pride in who we are and where we sit in the world has perhaps reduced the fear of simply being Americanised, many see us as simply becoming more a part of the world.

The coming of the intramanet (lol) has opened us to more worldly influences and the American influence on our culture is becoming diluted.

I visited the US several times in the late 80s/early 90s as part of my work. Until I was there on the ground all my views of the US were via movies and TV. I saw, fortunately, that the people are much better than that.

I'd never had the US on my list of countries in which I'd like to spend more time until my last two visits. Once out of the cities and among the people I really saw the heart of the country and like Mr Connolly, despite the differences and my reactions to the outright self confidence you people have in yourselves, I came to have a sneaking liking for your country and people. I was always well received and treated with respect and good manners and came to really enjoy the experience.

So, I hope that puts my enjoyment and understanding of Mr Connelly's article and perhaps what prompted Gary to draw attention to it?

Greg in no-convict-Adelaide

Gary Kelly said...

Yes, Greg, I grew up during the "cultural cringe" in Oz. I thought everyone with an American accent was a Hollywood star and that they all lived in big houses and drove Cadillacs.

Australia's geographical isolation produced a culture unique to this land... rather like its wildlife.

When TV was introduced in 1956, and we started making Aussie TV programs, we heard our own accent compared to American and British accents. OMG! And that was the start of the "cultural cringe". Surely we don't sound THAT bad.

But then Crocodile Dundee came to the rescue. "That's not a knife. THIS is a knife."

Now we're quite proud of our culture, albeit modified by influences from abroad. And our accent now is not as flat and monotone as it was when I was a kid.

I remember when our excuse for speaking without opening our mouths was so that the flies couldn't get in. Hehe.

I think we also owe a big vote of thanks to our migrants... the Greeks and Italians of the 50s and 60s who were proud to call themselves fair dinkum Aussies and who couldn't wait to learn how to say "owyagoinmate no worries".

J said...

If there's any trashiness being popularized in Oz you may be sure that it has its origin in American television and, to a lesser extent, American movies. Of course, the latter have become indistinguishable from Australian movies since most of our stars are coming from down under. But you have to wonder what effect the States had on the behavior of Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson. I still think Russell's greatest role was in Captain and Commander, and Mel's was with Sigorney Weaver in The Year of Living Dangerously. Now Austrailia is taking over Nashville.
I don't mind any of this at all, but I do worry about our absorption of immigrants from Muslim countries. The late Orianna Fallaci and, more recently, German Chancellor Merkel, are right about them; they don't assimilate.

Gary Kelly said...

Australians don't assimilate very well either. Almost none of us knows how to throw a boomerang and practically no one eats witchety grubs.

Anonymous said...

Oh Gary, how you bring us back to earth. I hangs me head in shame, you are 1000% correct. A sobering reminder of our 'heritage', our beginnings in this big red wide land.

Greg in Adelaide