Re: The United States or the United Kingdom?
Interesting thread, all ... this whole geography thing is a strange one, although the UK is much smaller than say, the USA, it's very much a divided up country, you can travel very little distance and be listening in to a new dialect, but the 'size' of landscape may be a red-herring. The USA has around 4 times the population of the UK, but the middle, the Great Plains and other vast stretches is largely given over to farming, many cities are on the coast or by the Great Lakes, there seems to be -- to an outsider -- a more or less North/South division, still, and East/West Coast split.
Another interesting link is the New York/London relationship, so here, you have London, with old publishing links to NYC but which also as a huge financial centre (or did!) , and undertakes so much business and is so intimately linked to NYC that you sometimes think, those two cities share a culture which gives them more in common than some parts of the UK have to London. Many Americans come over and work in London. And visit.
Space and geography is a strange creature, I only have to consider the differences on a superficial level between say, local villages close to me and how they associate and/or divide up.
If you consider NYC with it's large immigrant population, it's been said that it would grind to a hault if a sizable chunk of the illegals working there were suddenly ousted... how many new cultures are mixed in there who haven't become Americanised, yet, we have the same issue here, even after many years. I've just heard it debated today, by N Ferguson.
There's a lot of cultural complexity behind those last two snippets, or examples of course ... but yes, there's a common British culture, or American culture, and Britain is closer to America in many ways, this is known, we follow American culture and vice-versa, but at times, I've also heard it said that we share more in common with the rest of Europe. Confusing?
We're also known as being a little zenophobic, historically we don't like "foreigners" -- but I think people see what is front of their faces, their own lives, economic struggle and instant pleasures rule over most people's lives. I think people everywhere are like that regardless of culture, BUT, re all things literary, briefly, the Scandinavian crime fiction has become big both here and in the USA, I understand, on the screen and as the written word, so it's a funny one, some things travel well; perhaps good literature is the only key or 'test'?
One point, many Brits know next to nothing about the history of the Low Countries, or countries like Finland, or Sweden, and only a little bit more, mostly due to WWII about France and Germany, or the French Revolution which is often studied at school. However, if you are being scrupulous, people do read, and I think you are often surprised, many graduates for example will be immersed in Literature or History, or such like. it's whether they read across disciplines.
It's just not everybody however, so we still don't understand one another as much as we could, only the highly educated and well travelled seem to get close to that ideal!
Last edited by Hamlet; 10-Jul-2012 at 22:59.
"Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard"
Myth of Sysyphus ~ by Albert Camus