Sunday, March 23, 2008

Irony

I had a massive post here about the lazy way in which we Brits use the 'Americans have no sense of Irony' or 'they don't understand sarcasm properly' kind of comments in order to give ourselves a fuzzy sense of intellectual superiority. It was thoughtful and I thought quite good, basically blaming the media that comes out of America and the examples that we are presented with through popular culture that reinforce that inaccurate setereotype - for example :



However, as I was writing I was listening to Stephen Fry's podgrammes number 2 and he opened with pretty much the same comment and attacked the sentiment with far more vitriol and eloquence than I could possibly muster and also I do enough plagiarism on the podcast without it spilling over into this blog. Just bear in mind that I am a hypocrite and will no doubt be guilty of rash generalisations to this effect again at some point in the near future. Just be assured that when I use the term 'Americans' I am aiming at a particular subset of the 300+ million of them and have bee too lazy to make that difference clear. Just like when I talk of 'America' I am usually discussing the government.

Anyway, just to prove that this entire statement is a complete nonsense:

Clicky

9 comments:

Olivia said...

Did you see the "I've Got a Crush on Obama" video?

Anyway, how do I find Stephen's podcast??

MattJ said...

I'll only tell if you keep listening to ours! lol!

Easiest thing to do is to go through iTunes but otherwise it is here:

http://www.stephenfry.com/podcasts/index.html

Olivia said...

Thanks for the link Matt, I listened to Stephen Fry last night. It was a long podcast...and amazing to hear one of Britain's greatest brains come out in defense of the American sense of humour, and musical traditions! a refreshing change from the usual vehement tirades.

MattJ said...

I had a big thing here about how, in my opinion, it is the US popular Media that are the most guilty of perpetuating the stereotype because they have no respect for the intellignce of their audience but ultimately every nation is guilty of it to an extent. look at the unjustified hatred of the french that still seems to permeate through US TV and government? Even more so than the British and we spent about 25% of the last 1000 years at war with them lol!

Anyway, i think we can agree that wherever stereotypes originate, they are unlikely to apply to 300 million people?

Olivia said...

Exactly. Without making long examples or trying to be immodest or anything, I'll just use myself as an example:

You've got me on your blogroll as "erudite" and yet I spent 12 years being "edjicated" in the most stereotyped state of all!

It all depends on the person, the structure of their brain, and what they make of the information and educational opportunities available to them.

MattJ said...

Yeah but you've had the advantage of living in civilisation for a few years haven't you? *stir*

Olivia said...

You stir well, Matt. I'll have you know, sir, that I was more erudite and informative then than I am now. It has since worn off somewhat thanks to the glorification of the rougher side of British society all over the media which you cannot escape as long as you own a radio or TV or read the papers.

Also, over there I was never told off *by friends* (you don't know them) for using big words.

Olivia said...

Or, at least, people who call themselves friends. They have pounced on me quite a lot recently...

MattJ said...

People tell you off for using the language? hahah! I would just start using bigger and ore complicated sentences until they go away! Although I will confess to mocking people who use large more complicated words in order to appear intelligent rather than as a natural way of speaking. You know the kind of thing, you see it on those 'Police! Camera Action!' type shows all the time lol!

 
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