Controversy in Yorkshire

Posted on March 6, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanWell, it seems us Not-From-Yorkshire girls are starting to cause a bit of a stir!  I must admit, when we were plotting this blog over dinner and drinks, I thought it would probably happen eventually.  I’m only slightly surprised it took as long as it did…

I know first-hand that it only takes a few slightly off-center words about America to get my hackles up.  Whether or not I like America and all of it’s choices and ways, it’s my home country and I’ll stand up for it (within reason).

Me and my awesome not-from-yorkshire ladies (if I may be so bold to speak for us all) love many many things about Britain, otherwise we’d hit the road!  But we’re also exasperated or annoyed by a lot of things, too.  It would be the same in any other country (or planet for that matter) – you take the good with the bad.  But we need a place to commiserate with each other.  A place where we can be brutally honest and not give a gale-force-rip what other people think or say – otherwise known as – WOOHOO!! :)

Two of our recent blog posts have resulted in some mild heat.  Yankeebean’s American-ness vs. English Chick’s English-ness made Mertonmum compare our blog with Iraq and Vietnam (!?!) and Builders in Britain, The Facts made Pattycake wary of Yankee bloggers.

This made me wonder…  Are we giving Americans a bad name?

After thinking about this for approximately 3 seconds, I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is ‘no’.

This blog is our chance to vent in a ‘casualty-free-zone’.  We have a safe place where we can bitch about everything that we find hard and/or frustrating about leaving our home country behind and trying to shimmy into a new one.

You know the phrase ‘When is Rome, do as the Romans do’?  Well, I don’t flippin want to!  It makes me feel like I’m forgetting who I am and I just won’t do it.

Now I’m not a sucker, I adjust in the ways that are absolutely necessary.  I know how to queue like a champ, I’ve adjusted the volume of my voice to better match the locals, and MAN-O-MAN, can I ever talk about the weather in awkward social situations.  But there are some things that I won’t (or can’t?) just turn off.

So, while I’m sorry for offending anyone that reads this blog, I am most certainly not sorry for writing it.  If you’re not a fan, just click that little red ‘x’ in the top right-hand of your screen and it will all disappear… but thanks for reading!  ;)

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What Others Are Saying

  1. pacificyorkshirebird March 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Very interesting discussion above – thanks for engaging!

    I would also like to add that wordpress is open to everyone, and anyone who has something to say has the freedom to write their own blog.

  2. peacefulyorkshire March 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Hi Iota,
    You wrote:
    I feel that your argument here is “we’re going to say what we want to say, whether people like it or not”, but if your commenter said the same, you wouldn’t accept it. It can’t be one rule for you, one rule for others”

    I would like to reiterate the fact that we have never had the opinion mentioned above nor have we ever stated that “it was one rule for us and one rule for the others” If we did not want comments we would not leave leave our readers with the ability to add them. Also, we have always “accepted” disagreeing comments from our readers from day one.
    On the other hand, we might not answer in the way that the disagreeing commenter would like. We might not answer at all. We might answer tongue-in-cheek style. We might take it seriously, we might not. We will not, however, post abusive comments that are aimed at us. I would also like to add a new one: we will will not post comments that are abusive to other commenters either–

    You wrote:
    “why SHOULD they click the little red cross? Why shouldn’t they leave a comment to say they disagree with you? Do you genuinely not have a problem with it?”

    Simply the answer is no we don’t have a problem with it.
    What I was referring to about the red x was that if people don’t want to leave a comment they always can use that option to close the screen and forget about us forevermore! Either way we are not bothered and will keep on posting- and keep smilin’ as Yankeebean wrote!

    Thanks for your interest, Iota!

  3. yankeebean March 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Mmmmmm, sponge cake… :)

    No, really, I’ll approve any comment unless it states something inappropriate or is just outright mean. I’ll also openly admit that we’ve permanently blocked one regular-commenter (and, to date, they are they only comments that have been blocked because several were malicious and the rest were obnoxious so we just banned them forever). But if someone argues their point rightly, it’s fine by me and they will be heard.

    It’s never fun to be criticized, but it’s good practice for me since I work in the music industry anyway.

    I’ve had my share of bad reviews and good reviews, but I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, because what else can I do? And I’m still smiling, too :)

  4. Iota March 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    You say “we never had a problem about people disagreeing with us”, but then why SHOULD they click the little red cross? Why shouldn’t they leave a comment to say they disagree with you? Do you genuinely not have a problem with it?

    I’m not suggesting that it’s ok to leave rude or abusive comments – of course it isn’t. And you’ve had those.

    I feel that your argument here is “we’re going to say what we want to say, whether people like it or not”, but if your commenters said the same, you wouldn’t accept it. It can’t be one rule for you, one rule for others.

    You say “we are definitely an opinionated blog” – but it’s not ok for your commenters to be opinionated too?

    I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it. (Whether it’s bundt cake or Victoria sponge.)

  5. notfromaroundhere March 7, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I’m going to post this weekend about the ridiculousness of the “racism” accusation; I have no idea why the blogosphere is running so hot and bothered this week! But I love this blog, love the frank way that you say what I’m probably already thinking, and I hope you are not dissuaded from your core theme by a little controversy and stirred up emotions!

  6. pattycake March 7, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Yankeebean – I note your remark that “it only takes a few slightly off-centre words about America to get my hackles up”. Perhaps you could consider that “off-centre words” about England get English people’s hackles up too. I dont think you realise the hurt and offence you (I hope unwittingly) cause. On another ex-pat blog, , it has even been suggested that your attitude verges on racism. I dont believe that myself, but on reading many of your posts can readily see where that remark comes from. If I was a guest in another country, I would do my best not to deliberately disparage my hosts – I certainly wouldnt go to america and make the kind of remarks you are so free with about Britons.

  7. Iota March 6, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I hear you. I know what it’s like to be in a foreign land, and I know how important company and understanding and venting is in that situation.

    The trouble is, a blog is in the public domain. You don’t control who is going to read it. It’s not like having a drink in a bar with a few sympathetic friends. What you say is out there for everyone to read. There is such a thing as a limited access blog, which is password protected, and only intended to be between friends. That would more realistically be a “casualty-free-zone”.

    Not everyone will follow your blog for a period of time, and get the whole picture, ie that there are things that frustrate you about Britain, and also things that you love. And that you are rude about Americans too, from time to time. Some people will drop in, and read one post. And it might be a post that plays into their own stereotype of what Americans abroad are like.

    If you don’t mind offending some people, then that’s your choice. I’m all for freedom of speech, and I enjoy your blog. But if you dish it out, you should be prepared to take it too. Yes, a reader can always click on the little red cross. But if you feel free to air an opinion, then you need to be prepared to allow others do the same.

    Of course you could always screen your comments, and just not publish those you don’t like. Personally, I think a huge element of blogging is freedom of speech, so I wouldn’t do that. But you could if you wanted. I suspect you won’t though, and I hope you don’t. I think reading people’s reactions to a blog post is part of the whole thing.

  8. peacefulyorkshire March 7, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Hi Iota and Pattycake,

    Yes, we are definitely an opinionated blog, we wouldn’t be Shes Not From Yorkshire if we were not! But, I think the commenter calling us verging on racist as suggested on NFAH’s blog, is extreme. Its sad that commenter felt the need to say it on someone else’s blog and not ours.

    We have been accused of not publishing negative comments on our blog, this is simply not true. It is only once that we have had to block someone’s comments because they were abusive and not a contribution to the discussion. It is a rare occasion that we receive adverse comments anyway, which is exactly why Yankeebean has written the above post and also writes “I am surprised it took this long”.

    As suggested by pattycake, we are not out on a vengeance against the Brits to disparage “our hosts”. We have never said that Britain is a bad place to live or that it is worse to live in than America. As Yankeebean wrote in her above post– if we hated it so much we would take our British partners and move far far away (and let me tell you how much we would miss this little island if we did that!)

    If you come as a new reader to any blog and only read one post, you don’t really get the full story, the background. Its kind of like reading a chapter from a book, it might not always make sense in the context of things. If any readers feel like “we have it in” for Britain I would encourage them to have a look around at other posts (oh, around 97 others to be specific) and see what else we have to say on topics ranging from everything to tea towels to roller skates to Obama to British bread products.

    The intention on this blog is that we recount our feelings, our experiences, our stories– hence the headline “a place to rant. cry. complain”. Us three American ladies met in Britain and found we shared the same loves, hates, pleasures and frustrations in living here.The stories we tell aren’t always pretty and our feelings aren’t always going to be PC– that’s why we’re anonymous. We do not see the need to make it password protected, as you thoughtfully suggest Iota, as many readers come to find our blog and can relate to the experiences that we write about, and find it insightful and relevant.

    We do know that not everyone is going to agree with us and nor did we expect them too, well… of course not!! With 6 billion people in the world we cannot cater to everyone’s style nor will we try to! We have never had a problem about people disagreeing with us. However, despite what our readers agree with or don’t agree with, we will not change our writing style, nor will we change what we write about.

    To quote people who go to Alcoholics Anonymous: “Take what you want from the meeting and just leave the rest”.
    Or as yankeebean writes, just click the red x…

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