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June 24, 2005

Comments

Frank McGahon

It's even more preposterous coming from my compatriots!

eoin

"It's even more preposterous coming from my compatriots"

Not quite. There may well be more anti-American feeling, or Anti-Irish feeling in London than anti-"exotic" feeling, at least as could be expressed in polite company ( particularly in relation to Anti-Americanism).

Anti-Irish feelling was strong until recently, in fact. My dad was arressted, once, on suspicion of being Irish.

Proximity breeds contempt, and the history of the Islands was not all that sunny: it works in reverse too - I can't speak of English people in Ireland, but they sure get it hard in Scotland, if anecdotal evidence holds true.

Jim

I remember once asking a woman from Glasgow who worked for us what kind of derogatory names they had for the English, and she thought a moment, and said finally that after you had called someone English, there wasn't much left to call them.

I think Americans and Australians expect to be treated with contempt in England because that's what they tend to hear from English people who bother to comment on us. That is bound to be a small and probably unrepresentative sample. Most people can't be bothered.

Abiola Lapite

"There may well be more anti-American feeling, or Anti-Irish feeling in London than anti-"exotic" feeling, at least as could be expressed in polite company ( particularly in relation to Anti-Americanism)."

Personally, I've yet to see an ounce of genuine anti-Americanism anywhere in London, and I'm extremely doubtful that anything of the same level of ill-feeling exists as does towards people who look like the dreaded "asylum spongers." To the extent that Americans get any negative responses from Londoners, it's almost certainly because the individuals in question are being outright obnoxious (e.g. talking loudly in the Tube, arrogantly putting down within earshot the British way of doing things, etc.) After all, if a Yank keeps his mouth shut and goes about his business, how is anyone even going to know he's a foreigner?

As for anti-Irish feeling, what there was in the 1980s and early 1990s was probably rooted more in IRA terrorism than anything, and now that the Islamists have shown what they're capable of, the IRA's come to seem almost harmless. If anything, there actually seems to me to be a great deal more *pro-Irish* feeling in the UK nowadays than there is from Ireland towards the UK - at least outside of Ulster country.

eoin

"f anything, there actually seems to me to be a great deal more *pro-Irish* feeling in the UK nowadays than there is from Ireland towards the UK - at least outside of Ulster country."

That seems to be true enough these days. The English are a generous people, particularly in their support of our soccer team when out yobs would not support England. Maybe a cultural cringe.

Frank McGahon

" If anything, there actually seems to me to be a great deal more *pro-Irish* feeling in the UK nowadays than there is from Ireland towards the UK"

I'd say that's about right, there really is no English equivalent for the low level anglophobia one regularly finds in Ireland. Irish people tend to be friendly to English people individually but yet retain this knee-jerk anti-Englishry for generalisations. Attitudes towards the respective national football teams are telling. It would be unthinkable to see Irish style schadenfreude towards the England team's tribulations mirrored in England. Both teams have been equivalently successful in recent years so any Irish claims of "underdog" status underpinning this are risible.

radek

I concur. Londoners for the most part seem like very friendly people who really don't care where you from and are even pretty tolerant of obvious cultural gaffes (like with tipping - still haven't figured that one out). I think the whole "they don't like us" mentality is due to a few paranoids, and some in the US who's logic goes roughly; 'European culture is superior to American culture. Therefore it must be that the intellectual, witty, cultured Europeans look down on American yahoos'.

The obnoxious ones seem to be Canadianes who seem to insist on telling everyone that 'they are not Americans!' while no body gives a shit. Or at least one obnoxious individual I met.

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