Why is everybody in the UK so obsessed with America?
Hasn’t everybody realised by now that the land of the great isn’t that great after all?
There is a word in the dictionary for becoming like America: Americanisation (or Americanization, to use its US spelling). The land that claimed bigger is better, the land where people took that advice literally. Why would you want to be like America? Sure, everybody loved McDonald’s, The Simpsons and Friends – but these are historic successes. Everything America has exported recently has been mediocre.
Great American things being marketed to the UK include: Pop-Tarts, Twinkies, Mountain Dew and Lucky Charms. Pop-Tarts are phenomenally overrated: just put some jam on a digestive biscuit and eat a little bit of icing and you’ve got a pop tart. Twinkies are bread filled with cream; Mountain Dew tastes like grass; Lucky Charms are a shortcut to diabetes. In November, shops invoke Black Friday: is it only a matter of time before we celebrate Thanksgiving?
Then there’s sport. The NFL is as exciting as walking to the shop. How can you sustain interest in a sport that’s on a break between action for far longer than any action actually takes place? The highlight of the NFL season is the Super Bowl; its highlight is the half-time show, not the match played either side of it. Yet they’re considering setting up an NFL franchise in London.
Baseball games are overly long, and basketball is more about the celebrities sitting front row than the actual game. I’m pretty sure people only ever watch ice hockey to see the fights. UFC is an American export, but its most notable fighters are Brazilian, and up until his loss Conor McGregor was the biggest name in the sport (and arguably still is). MMA is a sport with people are fighting in Brazilian and Japanese styles. The only American aspect of UFC is the location where it takes place.
The only American “sport” that is exciting is pro-wrestling, like WWE, and that’s because small Mexicans keep doing front flips and crazy stunts rather than calling time out every five minutes.
Politically, we’re obsessed too. We are coerced into plenty of things because of the “special relationship”. If the UK refuses, the US says it will “reconsider this special relationship”. America is like the mean girl at primary school: you’re forced to say you like her shoes, otherwise she gets angry. You’re forced into her conflicts as you’d rather not be a victim of her nastiness.
Americans also attempt to make British things American – and they ruin those too. The American Inbetweeners was shambolic: what the fuck is a bus turd? They fucked up an attempt to make Skins American, too. We never tried to have Jimmy Carr play a Joey Tribbiani from Bristol: just show them the original.
Even God’s sport, football, has been tarnished by grubby American hands. What makes football great is meritocracy. You can be from an obscure place and you’ll always be able to hold out hope your local team can reach the Premiership. Ipswich did it, Derby did it, Middlesbrough did it, and Leicester are in with a great chance of being this year’s champions out of nowhere. But America sets up a “soccer” league which operates with no promotion or relegation system.
We don’t need America to tell us how to act: let Americans be American, and we can be us.