I was recently told I had become‚”persona non grata‚” among some of my more pretence-savvy friends for committing an Americanism.
I was recently told I had become‚”persona non grata‚” among some of my more pretence-savvy friends for committing an Americanism. No, I didn’t refute evolution or have a gun fight in a meth lab. That would have been fine. Those are personal choices I have the right to make and act upon. My crime was far worse and born not out of rebellion or conflicting views but out of lax patriotism and fickle vocabulary. I referred to my trousers as pants.
“But c’est la vie” I pleaded with them, being pseudo-intellectual English students they respond exclusively to Frenchisms, but I did so while ordering a continental coffee and instead of saying “could I have a venti mocha latte?” I asked “could I get one?” which my former friends called the “coup de grais”.
Now, I see their point. Just because most of the TV, music, movies, books, magazines and websites I’ve ever been exposed to are American does not give me carte blanche to go around slipping foreign words into my sentences. But what I can’t understand is: where is this Englishness that everyone is so afraid of losing? This heritage? After all what is our heritage without change, if nothing changed it wouldn’t be called heritage, it would be called the way things are. Other cultures and civilisations have been instrumental in shaping our society, language and even diet.
“What’s that Sir Walter Raleigh? A potato? You’re not putting that rubbish on my Sunday roast. Tobacco you say? None for me thanks, I’m English”.
Unless of course England is finished. Like a big project we’ve all been working on for the past few thousand years that is finally complete. And what with all the innovations in communication over the past couple of decades perhaps we’d better rein it in a bit before some sort of global community forms and we don’t know our arses from our H-bombs.
I’m sorry but we’re an England living in an American world. But don’t worry, that’s only until the era of Japan kicks in and your kids are forcing you to watch “Everybody loves Rokuro” and “That’s so Kazumi” and I can stop not eating sushi just because it’s cool and start not eating sushi because it’s horrible.
“Au contrare” said one of my friends, slamming his doppio espresso into its saucer, “Of course change is inevitable but it’s not like you’ve welcomed it with open arms. You’re brainwashed, it’s out of your control”.
“Of course it’s out of my control” I said, dropping my chopsticks “but so are the monarchy and the great British summer and we all pretend to love those things, so can we not admit that we’re powerless here too, keep a stiff upper lip and take comfort in the fact that at least that part of our Englishness is still intact?”
More sushi? Yes please, I’m English.