Tuesday, 3 July 2012

America!!! (And British knob-headery)

I'll be flying out to Boston Tomorrow. I think it goes without saying I'm pretty excited. For starters, Boston looks like a heckuva town. When you add the fact I'll be meeting some of my old Clarion comrades, plus irritating the great and good of speculative fiction at my first Readercon, the whole thing starts to add up to one big squee sandwich.

I'm a little bit in love with America. The mind-bogglingly wide streets, the quality root beer, the open-armed 'bring me your weak and knackered' (I think that's the phrase) mentality that allowed me to hang at one of their universities for a month and a half- really cool. Now I get to see how the East Side operates.

The main thing I'll have to remember to take there is the Arrogance filter. I had a problem back at Clarion that the medical profession describes as 'Britishness'. I'd say things very Britishly and realize hours later that it was actually quite insulting when spoken outside of the UK's say-it-but-don't-mean-it environment. In any other country, when a disaster happens people are giving tributes to the victims and their families within hours. In Brit-land it's the same, but with sick jokes. We don't mean it. I guess it's just a coping mechanism. A blitz thing.

Which isn't to say the Yanks are humorless. Per capita, they may well be the wittiest people on Earth. Actually, both nation's sitcoms encapsulate the difference. In Frasier, Friends and Big Bang..., the characters get frustrated by events, but ultimately they learn lessons and bond. Whereas in The Office, Steptoe & Son and The Young Ones...   well, bond? Lessons? Yur havin' a laff aintcha?

Anyway, best get ready. But as far as rules for Brits stateside goes-

1- See the sights.

2- Don't be a dick. Put a mental doorman at your mouth.

3- TIP!