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You never learn more about your own culture than when you can see it through the eyes of an outsider. So it’s fascinating to hear how Emma Stone views the good people of the UK, now that she’s dating Andrew Garfield (a Brit! A palpable Brit!) and coming over to do press interviews and whatnot. What does she think of our centuries of culture? What does she make of our fine cuisine? How does she feel we differ as a nation to people from Belgium or Des Moines?
Well, it turns out Emma does think we are different, in three key areas, as she explained to the the UK’s Glamour magazine.
Area 1: “Why is drinking such a big thing in Britain?”
Which raises the question: isn’t it a big thing anywhere else? Everyone on American TV shows – from Homer Simpson to the Sex and the City girls – seems to enjoy a tipple. Are we saying these people just sip at one beverage and then drive home? Or is it because there’s less call for binging on violently colorful booze and then punching the policeman you’ve just snogged if you’re in a predominantly warm and/or dry climate, like I imagine Phoenix, Arizona is in my mind?
Mind you, if you accept Emma’s first conclusion, her second does sort of make sense:
Area 2: “Then there’s the ‘c’ word – the ‘see you next Tuesday’ word – it’s everywhere, peppering every sentence, whereas if you say that word in America it shuts down the whole room.”
That’ll be because no one is drunk enough to find it funny. Or you’re saying it in the wrong room.
Area 3: “And of course there’s all the ‘piss-taking’ you guys do over there.”
I mean sure, America basically invented stand-up comedy, America pioneered the prankster TV show, and that Jackass thing where you basically electrocute your mates, then drop them off a two-storey building while holding a camcorder and giving birth to a laughter baby, and America seems to still rather like that whole ‘comedy roast’ thing – where a bunch of self-regarding and sweaty balloon-men in tuxedos say cruel things about one particularly red-faced balloon man (who appears to be mainly sweating out of his eyes) – but OK, it’s the Brits that have the obsession with mockery.
I tell you, if that’s her impression of all British people, that Andrew Garfield must be an absolute BEAST.
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic