In the United States, we say that you’ve been denied a real college experience if you haven’t studied abroad. At the end of sophomore year, my campus was abuzz with students who were eagerly awaiting their upcoming semesters in a variety of exotic locations all over the world. I had friends who wanted to fall in love in the illuminated streets of Paris, to study biodiversity in the untamed wilderness of Brazil, to wake up to the sight of a Venetian canal, to wake up at 3pm on a beach in Barcelona with vomit in their hair.
Consequently, when I announced that I would be studying in a land renowned for kilts and haggis, and where Willie the Groundskeeper was the most recognisable cultural icon, I was met with a mixture of befuddlement and surprise. “Why Scotland?” people would ask, and even now, it’s difficult to express just what drew me to this little country in the corner of the world.
Politics is very serious business in the UK. No, really. Apart from The Thick Of It, through what medium do we have to satirise and engage with politics? The most exciting thing we have at the moment is hoping that one of these days David Dimbleby is going to snap on Question Time. Remember when he called Robin Cook “Robin Cock” by accident? That’s about as good as it gets, without Malcolm Tucker storming around.
We’re all guilty of using “Americanisms”. My friend from Aberdeen is the spokeswoman for DUDE, I revel in the AWESOMENESS of everything and even my dad is partial to throwing in a BUDDY every now and then. The biggest explanation as to why we’ve adopted so much American slang is surely the influence of US film and television. For example, the main character in The Big Lebowski is The Dude- everyone wants to be The Dude, he made milk cool again, for God’s sake. Thanks to Mean Girls we were both reacquainted with “skank” and introduced to “skeez”, and programmes like Friends, a show that plays several times every day in syndication and has done so for nearly twenty years, are responsible for the “Oh my God” and “like” pandemics that spread across the English speaking world. Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno, has been praised for the way in which she managed to engage with and portray the way American teenagers actually speak, and because of the movie’s worldwide success, we have picked up some Juno-isms like “food baby” and wanted to be as smart, witty and irreverent as she can be. While we might not all go around repeating every new word we hear on this week’s episode of Girls or chronicling the way Jersey Shore cast members speak, the language and phrases British audiences are exposed to by the US media definitely have the ability to shape the way we talk.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday played host to this year’s instalment of the grandest show in town: Superbowl XLVII – that’s 47 to the uninitiated. The American Football Conference (AFC) champions, the Baltimore Ravens, took on the champs from the National Football Conference (NFC), the San Francisco 49ers for the right to be called the best football team in the world.