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Top 5 annoying Americanisms

In my journey of becoming old and bitter I find myself more and more irritated with Americanisms. It seems, now, that not a day goes by where I don’t mutter “bloody Americans!” under my breath at something. Most of these, though are nothing more than manifestations of my own intolerance. I even annoy myself by how much they bother me. My top 5 annoying Americanisms, though, are ones that regularly get my back up. So here they are.

5. Chocolate and Cheese

Maybe I’m spoiled. Maybe I’ve lived in the UK so long I’ve gotten used to really really good food. Our proximity to Europe means we get produce of the highest quality and our standards are just higher. Either way, though, American Chocolate and American cheese just plain suck! Case in point; Hershey’s chocolate. The stuff tastes like drywall flavoured with a poorly manufactured synthetic chocolate substitute. (Mockolate?)

4. American English

What my beef is here is not how America spells some words differently. I’m not a language purist. I fully support the development of language and some of the changes to English that the United States have made do, indeed streamline the language. Classic example is the removal of the letter U from “colour” “flavour” et al. My problem however is that many applications and websites seem to ignore the fact that forms of English outside the US still exist and only offer English (United States) as a language option (Adobe, I’m looking at you!).

Okay, this isn’t an Americanism as such but it does stem from one. The creation of the American dialect has spawned a blinkered approach to languages by a number of american companies.

And don’t even get me started on “zed” and “zee” or the replacement of S with said letter in words like “organise”… Bleugh!!

3. Screw you! We’re calling it that anyway!

I’m guessing that this Americanism is deeply rooted in the nation’s history and the pride they take in declaring independence from Europe. America has this habit of taking something and giving it a name that is already used for something else. The classic example is football. What Americans call soccer is known as football over most of the world and has been for longer than the American game of Football has existed. Oddly, American football has more in common with rugby than football. Even more oddly, they chose the name even though the ball has very little contact with the players’ feet. Hey ho!

Another one of these that’s kind of irritating is the fact that, in the states, any sparkling wine is called Champagne. Only sparkling wine that is made in the Champagne region of France should be called Champagne. This isn’t nearly as annoying for me as it must be for the hardworking vinyard owners in that region who have their hard work and centuries old craft devalued like that.

2. Wait? Do you mean January 7th or July 1st?

Why!!? Why put the month first!? Well, the reason is simple. We used to do it that way in England.. y’know, before the Americans gave us the finger. But what they missed out on, in their emancipation, was when we changed the standard to the more logical day/month/year format around 1900. That’s right, stuffy old England realised the error in one of it’s traditions and changed it!

Come on America, you must see how this can cause problems. Trans-Atlantic communications are at an all time high and, because of this, so must be date miscommunication. That said; “eleven nine” doesn’t have the same ring to it…

1. Anything you can do, we can do better…

One thing that the online community seems to agree on, regardless of their nationality, is that American remakes of foreign media suck… hard! I can’t think of one American remake of a foreign movie or TV show that has been as good as the original. Ringu is better than The Ring, The Office is better than The Office and if the American version of The IT Crowd is better than the UK original I’ll eat my own face with a side of peas.

Why, why, WHY!? Well, money. It’s all about the Benjamins. But as much as I understand that these people make these things to earn money, I really wish they wouldn’t. I hear an American remake of Oldboy, one of my favourite foreign films, is in the pipeline and the web is awash with fury about a forthcoming remake to Let the Right One In.

America makes some great movies. Some REALLY great movies. Play to your strengths, America. Leave the remakes alone and concentrate on making really breathtaking original material.

So there you go. Do you have any Americanisms that really annoy you?

18 comments

  1. Adam - July 28, 2009 12:55 pm

    All this coming from a Canadian 😛 haha no I agree, I think #1 point should be their accent though, and that they think all english people look like Austin Powers and personally know the queen, dumb fucks!

  2. Dan - July 28, 2009 1:00 pm

    Hahaha Well, as annoying as that can be, people that think that are the minority. I tried to go with things that annoy me about the nation and its practices as a whole, not the views or attitudes of a particular section of it’s populace.

    Accent!? The Boston accent is like the best accent in the world! Watch The Departed and tell me those guys don’t sound awesome!

  3. Stu - July 28, 2009 1:12 pm

    One of my pet hate Americanisms is the word “gotten” which is used solely in place of the shorter word “got” all over the place. It used to be used in English quite a lot, but then died out, perhaps because we realised it’s a pointless word.

    I find myself saying it sometimes and I hate it. There’s just no need for the extra characters and the extra syllable. :\

  4. unbound - July 28, 2009 2:08 pm

    As an American, I agree with the list except for #4 (sounds like sour grapes on your part and diminishes an otherwise nice list). I would recommend revising your number 5 though…true that you have access to some wonderful European food, but stating that you were raised in the UK (home of some of the worst food in the world) is a bit counterproductive…

  5. Dan - July 28, 2009 2:23 pm

    @unbound – It’s not sour grapes at all. I’m perfectly happy for Americans to be doing their own thing with the English language. My beef is spell checking systems that insist I use “color” and “organize”. In my eyes, if a program has an option for English (United States) it should also have an option for English (International).

    Also, Take a glance at my About Me page. I was born and raised in Canada, matey. But that’s besides the point. Yes, England was famous for terrible food but that simply isn’t the case any more. Some of the world’s best chefs are English and England has some of the best local produce in the world. Also, when it comes to one of the two foods I called America out on, cheese, England produces some of the best on the planet. On a par with France and Italy.

  6. Adam - July 28, 2009 2:30 pm

    I quite frankly hate doing HTML because i MUST use COLOR not COLOUR, that irritates the F&%! out of me! IMHO It should not be English (Amercan/United States), it should be simply “American”, I can speak american ya’ll and I cannot spell color and I get paid by check, Hokey!

    America’s ignorance and inability to conform with the rest of the world is slightly annoying, and it will always do what it wants to do or see’s fit to do, sod the rest and sod the consequences, slightly off topic now so I’ll STFU.

  7. Stu - July 28, 2009 2:31 pm

    I lived in America for around 2 years and I must say that I really missed certain English foods while I was over there. Cornish pasties, Yorkshire puddings, sausage rolls, and Hob Nobs to name but a few.

    Since I’ve been back in England the only American food I’ve missed is In-n-Out burger. 😉

    I do miss the Mexican food a lot though. Baja Fresh quesadillas are the best I’ve ever had.

  8. Dan - July 28, 2009 2:39 pm

    @Adam – HTML is a funny one because it was developed, in the beginning by Tim Berners Lee, a Brit!

    Damn! I should have mentioned “check” in the article. That one winds me up no end!

    @Stu – ¡El alimento mexicano para la victoria!

  9. Rick Nunn - July 28, 2009 2:44 pm

    I like the list, and agree with a lot of it, but I have two points to make, which are more about the comments than the actual article but:

    @Dan you spoke about remakes and then mentioned The Departed, now I love the original Infernal Affairs but the American remake kicks is ass! IMO

    @Adam, before I say this please understand that I am the most pedantic man alive, you should not be using COLOR in HTML, its a styling property and should be included in a style sheet (CSS). :)

  10. Dan - July 28, 2009 2:54 pm

    @Rick – *hangs head in shame* I had no idea The Departed was a remake of anything. I’ve never seen Infernal Affairs (but it will be in the next 5 movies I watch). Well, that being the case I think you’ve found a solution to the Hollywood remake shit-machine. Just let Martin Scorsese make direct all the remakes.

  11. Ste - July 28, 2009 2:57 pm

    Ahh the stereotyping of the British by Americans never ceases to make me LOL.

    I encountered quite a few Americans on my honeymoon in the Dominican Republic recently.

    Upon striking up a conversation with a few of them, I was asked by a stereo typical American Jock where I lived. My response was Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

    I got the reply “uhh yeah is that like near Nottinghamshire Castle?”. Yeah mate I live 3 doors down from the Queen.

    /faceplam

  12. Adam - July 28, 2009 3:06 pm

    @Rick owned indeed /bow

    However if I was a noob Inline style within HTML would allow the use of color 😛

    Indeed I also are rather pedantic, I just wouldnt assume a fair few people would know what HTML is nevermind CSS, How ignorant of me, I shall now proceed to deport *my sorry ass* back to the land of the free, or err America.

  13. Andy Rudkin - July 28, 2009 3:37 pm

    I have to say that the American date system is something that works so much better with a computer based file system. If I title my quotes / invoices with the UK standard, all my files are listed with the days in the order.. i.e. all the firsts on the months, all the sevenths of the months etc. However if I go the US route and go month-day-year, then everything is honky dorey and all my files appear in the right order.

    Not that I want to big up the yanks too much… at the end of the day this is still a country that still hasn’t gotten around to adding handles to their grocery bags! Keep up!

  14. Stu - July 28, 2009 3:38 pm

    Infernal Affairs is a really good film. I saw it before I got round to The Departed, and I’m glad I did. Infernal Affairs is pretty much the exact same film as the first, and The Departed is pretty much exactly the same as them both. I feel I know the story pretty well by now.

    Just my 2 cents (or pence if you prefer) but I prefer check to cheque because it’s shorter to type, easier to spell, and you can say it how it looks. It’s also got the advantage of being a bit less French. 😉

  15. Dan - July 28, 2009 3:55 pm

    @Andy – You know I was waiting for your comments on this. You make a good point about the date system, it’s certainly one to think about. About the grocery bags; Truer words have never been spoken.

    @Stu – It certainly does. I’m all for making things sound less French. Whenever I hear people call a cake a gateau I want to choke them with it.

  16. Rick Nunn - July 28, 2009 3:58 pm

    @Andy, I have to disagree, both date formats suck for files, I have a 250gb image library and every folder in it starts with a reverse british date, eg 2009 07 28, I would have such a messy file system if it wasn’t for that. Looking at a date from a logical stand point there are only two ways IMO a date could be displayed and make sense – DD MM YYYY or YYYY MM DD. Hierarchy for the win!

  17. Dan - July 28, 2009 4:08 pm

    Actually, thinking about it, Rick is right there. The reverse British date format would be the best option. Way to go, Rick!

  18. kym - July 29, 2009 1:17 pm

    “And don’t even get me started on “zed” and “zee” or the replacement of S with said letter in words like “organise””

    That is the worst one in my opinion, it is a ZEBRA not a ZEEBRA!

    Also, is it just me that has problems with Microsoft Word being determined to make me American?
    It seems every time I open a new document it resets to English (US), and puts those stupid, annoying red lines under every word that it wants to replace the S with a ZED!

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