Dear Amy: My dilemma involves a group of women who I am friends with on an online sobriety site.
We met virtually more than five years ago, have traveled together, and share our lives daily with our blogs and Zooms.
I’ve noticed that the members, mostly from Britain, often poke fun at America and Americans, calling us “the colonists” and posting degrading videos regarding our political situation, etc.
I was raised to respect other people’s countries and traditions.
Except for this, these women are very kind and have good manners.
So how can I get them to stop this. It hurts!
I would never make fun of them or their leaders or country!
I did speak to one of them about my feelings, and she said that the others would be mortified if they knew that their comments bothered me.
So why do they do that? Can you offer me a fresh perspective?
I would never make fun of the queen or their classist views.
— Confused American
Confused American: My take on this is that these other women diss America because the pot sometimes enjoys calling out the kettle.
My point is — are you aware of how messed-up things are right now in Britain? (Have you been watching “The Crown”?)
These friends also do this because they don’t know it bothers you, and they don’t know it bothers you because you have not told them.
So, tell them! Say, “I have a confession to make: Your contempt toward America really bothers me. Honestly, I find it hurtful. I should have said something before, because I know if I had, you would have stopped. Things are tough everywhere right now, so can we call a truce?” (c) Ask Amy
The colonists! I don’t know if I’m in a giddy mood right now, but that seems really funny to me. Yes, we Americans are a scruffy lot of ungrateful, self-relying hooligans lacking in composure and decorum. And pass the tea! It’s time to dump some into the harbor.
I hate those Hallmark movies in which there’s royalty. Like, a young woman from America falls in love with a prince from someplace in Europe. The stereotypes are so overdone. The American woman is a party animal who has no sensibility. The European queen is an uptight, high-maintenance, fake-accent-spewing shrew (read: Jane Seymour, the actress who never ages) who wants to nullify the budding relationship before her son, the prince, falls too deeply in love. The American woman has to learn to be more prim and proper, and the prince loves her because she helps him relax and get in touch with himself. It’s mind-numbing, and I hate it.
For whatever weird reason, it’s never been my fantasy (at any point in my life) to marry a prince and become royalty. I… yeah, just no. Oh, I love the whole concept of a knight in shiny armor, a la Disney animated movies, but that’s not quite the same thing.
There’s this episode of Frasier in which Frasier’s dad, Martin, pretends to have abdicated from the Russian throne. He says dreamily, “I think maybe it’s the swans that I miss the most,” and Frasier’s like, “Oh, Dad, knock it off.” That episode is so classic that I made my dad watch it with me once. It involves a jackalope and The Antiques Roadshow. Martin chases Eddie all around the condo while wearing said jackalope as a mask.
If you go farther back in pop culture, I remember watching family fare in the 1980s in which teen girls from America were ditzy, unfocused party animals who couldn’t properly keep their hair combed; and teen girls from Great Britain were snooty, solemn, cliquish, well-groomed, and dedicated to schoolwork. [Shaking my head.]
But as far as ridiculous stereotypes go, these seem fairly innocuous. I think they’re far less offensive than any other stereotypes. It’s almost jokeworthy. If someone were to call me a colonist, I’d refer to that person as the Duchess of Windsor. (Does Windsor have a duchess? I hope so.) [Shrug.] Or, if the duchess were to ask about my plans for the weekend, I’d say, “I’ll be hanging out with some colonists. We’re meeting up with Paul Revere to plan our rebellion on mounted horseback,” or something. How can anyone say that with a straight face? 😀 It’s impossible. So I’d urge the letter writer to see the humor in this. (But if she’s really upset, I reckon she ought to speak up like Ask Amy said.)
As for other countries making fun of our disastrous political system, snort. It may as well be laughed at. There’s not enough sacrificial tea to throw overboard at this point.