That is quite correct, Brits (I don't know as much about the humor of other European countries) enjoy nothing so much as "taking the mickey" (actually, it's a little ruder word than mickey) on their friends. Meaning, in our terms, "giving them a hard time" but to the 10th degree. It's kind of a "if I was nice to you, you'd know I didn't really like you." sort of mentality. If you watch shows like "The Office" you'll see that they pull no punches either. There is a certain type of British comedy that tends to be acidic and biting till it hurts. Also, in order to understand Brits, you need to understand that most of their humour is very self-deprecating. Very rare to hear a Brit bragging about himself, his abilities, his country, etc. as it's just "not done." And, hate to say it, but I have seen enough "ugly Americans abroad" in my European travels that I know exactly why the stereotypes persist.
I hope all Europeans don`t have such a horrible picture of we "ugly Americans"! I have not been to Europe (maybe now I know why) but I do have a couple of British friends whose British sense of humor I really enjoy, I do believe I will get this book and read the entire book. I am reasonably certain that the E.U. will quickly outdo us--especially the way we are being used currently. We are so far in debt that we`ll never be able to dig out I`m afraid!
I started this book thinking I would learn more about what is happening in Europe. What I'm finding is an obsession with what Europeans think about us. I think this just shows how very ego-centric the US tends to be. I should look for the book to see if this changes deeper into the text but I'm tired of it already. We do need to understand what is happening in the rest of the world but so far there is a lot of emotionalism and very little hard facts about the progress towards a united Europe.
Have not been reading this book in the club this week, only an excerpt from amazon. I believe and from the reviews on same site made me think the book is about much more than the "Brits" making fun of us, but a much deeper text concerning the Europeans becoming more of a super power than we are at the present time -
I've long been a fan of T.R. Reid's commentary from around the globe; and--though I agree with others that his book thus far has focused more on how Europeans often look askance at our less-admirable national traits than how the EU is positioning itself to be our equal--I'd caution patience to those who would stop reading it for its alleged overemphasis on our faults. Is it that painful to look at ourselves in a mirror of others' making? I do think we need to better understand our longtime allies--who we too often took for granted during the Cold War--if we're to continue looking to them for help in managing the current, real world. As to U.S. citizens fearing to travel among these hypercritical-but-true-friends--with whom many of us share recent ancestry--be assured that they can be every bit as hospitable to polite and humble Americans as we are to them on this side of the Atlantic. Try them, you'll like them!
This book is making me feel horrible. I don't understand what is so wrong with pride and self-confidence. Why is that so deplorable to the rest of the world? I don't know alot about what is going on in the rest of the world but that is not because I think I'm better than anyone else because I'm American. It's just I know what is around me, my world. I don't even know what is happening on the other side of this country. I guess that is the American coming out in me. But I can't believe every European citizen actively gains knowledge about every other nation, other than maybe their popular culture, like was earlier stated.
Like I said earlier, I think this book is biased...he is just giving us the negative side of things. We all, no matter what country we're from, are a mixture of people who are good, bad or somewhere in-between. It's never too late to learn about other places either. This is where I launch into my spiel about the olden days....when I went to school we learned about every country in the world, their capital, their main exports, their main industries. I doubt that that is the case today. As a Canadian, I was taught all the states and their capitals as well. Again, that may not be the case today. When I am buying something on line from the US I make a point of finding where that place is on the map and sometimes even looking up a local newspaper online. Just a little extra time and I enlarge my geographical knowledge a bit more.
PS I live in Prince Edward Island, capital city, Charlottetown.