Perception of the US by the British?


#1

When I first started playing the game, I (passively) thought it was made by someone in the US, since I thought it seemed so US-centric: the Capitol building, the famous quotes of many US politicians (the Jon Stewart quote, you guys watch the Daily show?!). One of the first voter groups I looked at were the patriots (the bearded guy with the flag on his shirt). I could not stop laughing! as that was what I considered the average/stereotypical “flag-waver” to be (one who doesn’t know that the flag code states you shouldn’t wear the flag on your clothes) or those insane southerners that fly the confederate flag alongside the US (I don’t care which one you fly, but it can’t be BOTH).

But then I started noticing things like gasoline incorrectly being called “petrol” (just kidding). But I passed it off as “oh look, someone’s trying to seem european”. The game also included a whole lot of issues that I thought were unique to the US, like the evolution vs. creationism. I thoughy it was only a fairly recent debate incited by the ‘religious right’ because they were emboldened by the Bush administration. For God’s sake, I went to a Catholic school and they taught ONLY evolution. I also attributed the all-of-a-sudden requestioning of global warming to the administration. So are these things unique to the US, or are they also doing that in Britain too?
I didn’t realize it was a British game (or at least a game made by someone who’s British) until I got to the part about CCTV cameras (that I recognized as British because I’d heard it in an Imogen Heap song, and then looked it up). And then on the webite “co.uk” I can’t believe I didn’t notice.

So after this realization, I couldn’t help but be offended a little, by what you’d consider a US patriot to be. I mean, this is how I see us, is this how the world sees us too?! (not that I’m a patriot) in fact, I’m against most so-called patriotism, but I’m interested in knowing why an American patriot exemplifies patriotism more than let’s say, a British patriot. Is there any bearded, pot-bellied people that wear the UK flag on their shirts? Is there anything you’d consider a stereotypical British patriot? (though I heard there’s a big difference, I heard a British guy speaking about this very thing, and how having a monarchy, allows them to more freely go after politicians. Here, criticizing Bush in his early days, ie after the attacks, was tantamount to treason! lol).

I started thinking about the stereotypical British person, and I thought of this: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=86564&title=royal-watcher&to=2

(the quotes you used in the game made me think that Winston Churchill is kind of an asshole :laughing: )


#2

Hello!
The game is done by a brit (me) but the artwork was done by someone else, as I recall, from Sweden? so you are seeing a Swedish representation of an American patriot as described by an English guy. ALL of the characters are extreme stereotypes deliberately, to make them instantly identifiable. The rich guy has a monocle and the socialist looks like castro :smiley:.
The game is designed to be universal, and to give people in the US what they expect to see, but obviously its designed by people in the UK so it might seem a bit skewed. tbh, I had not considered CCTV cameras to be a specifically UK thing. They are literally EVERYWHERE here, and most people don’t notice them or give them a second thought. We read a lot of news about the creationist debate in the US, so maybe we get an inflated sense of how big a deal it is.
Anyway, the game is trying to be as accurate as a UK guy that hasn’t been to the US for 10 years can make it, and hopefully it doesn’t offend any country too much :smiley:


#3

What are CCTV cameras exactly? Just those that the police has access to (whether public or private), or does it also include private cameras, that police don’t have access to? Because there are programs here to install police cameras, but they are definitely not that wide spread. In Chicago, there are (literally) like 70 cameras thorughout the city that belong to the police, encased in big bulletproof boxes, with a flashing blue strobe light on top (with a big police department seal on the side). They claim it’s decreased crime (but they HAVE to say that) since they cost the city millions of dollars.

The creationist/evolution debate IS a pretty big deal (several state schoolboards have proposed teaching both, instead of just evolution), but my point was that it was a fairly recent debate that only surfaced in the US (that there was never such a debate) which is why it tricked me into believing that it was a game made by someone here. I think the “debate” even clouded the minds of people who were NEVER creationists, leading to the US being one of the countries that teaches evolution, yet least people believe in (2nd only to Turkey, I think?)

It was very accurate, which is why I went on believing that it was a US game, and I wasn’t so much offended, as I was saddened by the fact that a crazy american patriot, is the archetype of crazy patriots everywhere (from here, to Sweded apparently!). Is there any crazy UK patriots, or is that a uniquely american phenomenon? (also the gun laws and controls threw me off, gun laws are pretty strict in the UK, here there’s almost enough guns for everyone, and I didn’t think there was as much debate about gun laws as there’s here)


#4

there are lots of cameras in the UK. I can probably be on a camera within 3 minutes walk from my house, Every town center has them, they point at every ATM, most subways, and we have lots of speed cameras and traffic monitoring cameras too. Tbh, they don’t bother me personally, as I think I am probably less likely to be mugged somewhere with a camera, but I can understand peoples suspicions about them.
In the UK, extreme patriots tend to either fall into the very right wing racist “send them home” brigade, such as the BNP, or the somewhat more recent ‘uk independence’ types, who are very ‘anti-europe’ and against the Euro etc. It’s not especially bad these days, but in the past, the UK has had some pretty extreme patriotism, mainly when we have huge immigration (which is still a very big issue in the UK).


#5

Slight clarification: “UK Independence types” are anti-EU, or anti-UK-membership-of-the-EU, not anti-Europe, two entirely different things.

I suppose the patriot is the hardest to represent, as by their very nature, they will be different in each country. Also, there are various different kinds of patriots, and patriotism can manifest itself in different ways. I can’t really think of a neutral way to represent a patriot.

Interestingly, regarding the question asked in the first post as to whether British people would wear the Union Flag on their tee-shirts, I saw a programme about the Union Flag a year or so ago on TV and they made an interesting point that the Union Flag is used on things like clothing and other products a lot more than, for example, the American flag would be, because in the UK we don’t have the same attitude of reverence towards our flag. Indeed, wearing clothing with the Union Flag on isn’t even necessarily a mark of patriotism in the UK. Of course, the time that you see most flags in the UK is at the time of an international football (soccer) tournament, where the cross of St. George is everywhere. Of course, this isn’t really about patriotism (regardless of what some newspapers seem to like to believe), but about support for a football team. If someone had been included in the game wearing a tee-shirt with the cross of St. George on, most people would probably have identified him as representing football fans rather than patriots. On the other hand, generally the Union Flag is seen a lot less in the UK than in the US - I remember visiting Washington D.C. a few years ago and with a friend counting the amount of US flags we saw (I think it came to around 100). A few months later, we visited London, and the number could probably be counted on one hand. The only time where the Union Flag is really seen en masse is at the Last Night of the Proms, although I’m not sure whether many of the people there don’t just wave the flag due to tradition rather than as a patriotic gesture.

Regarding CCTV cameras, it refers to any type of security camera, public or private, although in the game it only refers to those operated by the state/police. I think the statistic is something like 20% of the world’s CCTV cameras are in the UK - the authorities here have gone in for them in a big way. While I don’t think there is particularly a privacy concern regarding them (as an issue in the NationStates online game says “hey, I’ve got news for you, when you’re in public people can see you”), I’m not sure how effective they really are. Like with speed cameras, they are no substitute for proper policing, and often the quality is so poor that they cannot be used to identify the perpetrator or are inadmissible on court. There’s an interesting book called The Road to Southend Pier (tinyurl.com/6jrrna), which I haven’t read but I have read the serialisation of in a newspaper. Warning: spoiler ahead. The author tries to travel to the end of Southend Pier without being caught on CCTV. He thinks he’s done it, but when he gets to the end of the pier, he finds himself on CCTV. He then uses the Data Protection Act to request a copy of the photograph of him the camera took, but his request is turned down, as the quality of the film is so poor that, even having been given the time and date and a description of him, the operators cannot identify him.


#6

You’re probably right, people here go overboard with that. Hilary Clinton (who’s considered liberal here) voted for a ban on flag burning (didn’t pass). And there was a big controversy because Barack Obama was not wearing a US flag pin on his suit! (wearing such a pin is probably at odds with the flag code anyway). Even more proof of over the top reverence is that we have a flag code, ha haha.

There’s quite a few CCTV cameras operated privately here, but the police do NOT have access to them. I’ve started looking into cameras being used by the police here, and I think they passed some laws that no longer require the bright blue lights, and no longer are required to be “visible”. And they’re expanding those programs here also.

(I’ve recently started playing NationStates a couple of days ago (I banned Harry Potter books!) mine’s named (the Rogue Nation of) Amanah) Yeah, but at least you in public you can look back at the people that are looking at you. Oh god!! With how many cameras you guy’s say there’s in the UK I’d be terrified to live there!! Actually, I don’t know, I definitely wouldn’t want the US gov operating such cameras, don’t know about the UK gov though. I’ve never been mugged, so I don’t know if I’d like 'em afterwards, but now, a prefer a few muggings (and a beating) to cameras. And if the problem escalates, I’m going to go around shooting cameras! (and the crazy part is I think I’m probably being serious.)

Immigration’s a pretty big “problem” here too. It has the most lax laws on immigration (probably in the entire world). And recently there have been people calling for a wall to be built along the US-Mexico border. People whine about immigration here (it’s also hotly debated) but it’s not 1/100 the problem it is in other places (especially considering we literally have millions of immigrants more than other countries)


#7

Here in the UK, anyone from any of the other 27 EU member states can come and live here, no questions asked. After 12 new member states in Eastern Europe joined recently, well over 1 million people moved to the UK.

Immigration in itself is a good thing, but you have to have some control over immigration to take the full benefit from it. Controlled immigration can contribute greatly to a country, but to completely remove all controls and allow absolutely anyone from Eastern Europe to come and live and work here without any checks of any kind - or even needing to register the fact that they are here - is madness! It’s especially mad because in response to public unrest about immigration, the Government are now cracking down on non-EU residents coming to live here. That means that there are ever more stringent and burdensome checks and tests on those from outside the EU, including many people who could come here and really contribute to the country, while people can still come from anywhere inside the EU with absolutely no requirements. Indeed, arguably the system currently being operated by the Government is racist, as it distinguishes between Europeans and non-Europeans. A system should be based on the merits of your application, not where you come from.

Unfortunately, it also has lead to a surge in popularity for deeply unpleasant parties such as the BNP, who have recently won a number of new council seats, tens of thousands of votes in the London mayoral elections, and a seat on the London Assembly.


#8

I wasn’t trying to minimize the problem of immigration (in case it seemed like it). I was just distinguishing the real problem you guys seem to have, compared to the immaginary one we have. (although heavily depending on who you ask) we have about 11 million unregistered immigrants (some people claim 22 million). We have those that want to fix the immigration laws here (and register those people), those that want to deport them (then fix the laws), and those that like the chaotic way things are (businesses that benefit from the cheaper labor). And naturally, businesses get their way here.