Speak loudly and carry an American accent

Posted on November 22, 2008 by yankeebean

yankeebeanI was talking to PeacefulYorkshire this afternoon and we got to talking about American enthusiasm.  Mostly about how much we really miss American enthusiasm.

When I first moved to the UK, I found the constant cynicism and ‘un-impressed’ people REALLY hard to deal with.  After a few years I didn’t notice so much and thought that it just didn’t bother me anymore.  But I realized recently (to my HORROR) that it doesn’t bother me anymore because I do it too


Sometimes I have a mini-out-of-body-experience and hear myself talking and I’m horrified by what I hear.  When did I start to adopt this cynical, ‘can’t-do’ attitude?  WHEN??

When I lived here with my whole family, my Dad was doing a degree in contemporary woodwork and design.  It was a class of a small group of people from all over the world and he said he got a lot of insight into other countries and cultures.

“The thing about the English is this”, he said, “They take on a new project and the first thing they’ll do is give you a hundred reasons why it just can’t be done.  They’ll whine and complain and sigh… and THEN they get it done”

Some would say they’re just being realistic, but I’ve been an optimistic person.  And I think England might be slowly sucking the optimism out of me.

Well back off, UK!  You can’t have it!!  It’s MINE and you can take your cynicism and shove it where the sun don’t shine (which is everwhere… cos this in England).

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Steve Shawcross July 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    The thing to remember, is that it’s *comic* cynicism in the UK– it’s ironic or wry.

    I don’t think the British are properly cynical. I think true cynicism is an endless sadness about life, we don’t have that– our sense of humour is renowned– not least on here!

    I think the British are more realistic than cynical. There are things that are crap in life, and the British think pointing them out is important. Well not *that* important, because everything’s nonsense really!

    If the ostensibly negative British attitude is getting you down, remember it’s done via the sentiment of this song…


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  4. yankeebean November 25, 2008 at 8:19 am


    Freakin awesome… and you’re right. And it’s in my nature so if I don’t let my excitement show, it’s like I’m not me.

    And I friggin AM ME!!

    I need to figure out how to get it back. This like When Stella Got Her Groove Back except it’s when Yankeebean Got Her Shameless Spark Back.

  5. pacificyorkshirebird November 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    OK Janks, I promise to experience my victory if you promise to experience yours. Thanks for the motivation!

    I let this cynicism thing happen to me too. I dread staff meetings and brainstorming sessions because I always get so deflated after everyone vents about how we can’t manage to actually do anything new. But I totally participate now where as before I just kept my mouth shut.

    I was whining about British customer service when one of the optimism-suckers replied that American customer service is worse because it is fake. So what – it is great to have someone wish you a nice day.

    Have a nice day ladies!

  6. Janks November 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Here’s the thing. I’ve never been an ex-patriot, not really anyway. But that cynicism and complete lack of enthusiam I’ve experienced in spades. 5 years in…L…A. It is a soul crushing experience and I’m still plagued by it. Anytime something happens to me that I’m REALLY excited about, the first thing I do is think of why it’s not such a big deal. Then when I tell people about it, I announce it matter-of-factly, practically like I just finished yawning and “oh, this happened too, but whatever…” That kind of thing. Part of me wants to claim humility, part of me wants to insist that it’s because I’m nothing special. But in truth, it’s a big deal. It is TO ME. And then when whoever I told my big news to doesn’t get all excited for me I’m always surprised.

    How are they supposed to be excited for you when you yourself seem to be burdened by your fantastic news?

    Adult life sucks. There’s a never ending series of obstacles and financial set backs. If you have one fucking MINOR victory, doing something that means something to you, then it’s time to be excited. FACT. And act excited. Shout and bellow and re-fucking-joice. And you may be making people uncomfortable. You might be too loud and in everyone’s face – I can see this being especially true in England – even more so outside of London. But at the end of the day, people want to be excited. They respond to the excitement of others. And that expression you’ll see on everyone’s face when your jumping up and down and celebrating your personal victory, the one where their eyes narrow and their lips get really thin, they’re actually making that face at themselves. ‘Cause they don’t have anything to jump up and down about. And even if they did, they wouldn’t allow themselves to react with such candor. They just wish they could.

    Be an American. But not some city-worn, quasi-human, who’s ‘too cool’ to experience emotion. The word for that is heroin-addict. Be a true American. Experience your victory. And do it with fuckin’ fireworks.

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