Before I started the View from the Hudson blog, I maintained a blog called Phonybrit, which dealt with the syndrome of being an anglophile in America. When possible, I tried to use British grammar and use British expressions, as I was doing research at the time for a play I was writing that had a British character.
To someone to whom English is not the mother tongue, the difference can be hard to detect, but believe me, there are some stunning distictions. My favorite example is during World War II, when generals from the US and the UK had a major misunderstand when one side proposed to “table” a topic. To the Brits, that meant to deal with it straight away, to the Americans, that meant to put it aside for discusssion later.
In recent clashes between conservatives and liberals, it makes me feel that we are simply speaking two different languages, seeing the world completely differently. This came out when the Occupy movement was at its height. To conservatives, these were a bunch of kids looking for a handout instead of working, hippies who had not agenda. To liberals, these were noble prostesters trying to cast light on the fact that bankers seem to have hijacked our democracy.
This got me thinking about the minor bruhaha over Michelle Obama’s alleged slander during the September 11th commemoration. As they were folding the American flag, the First Lady leaned over to the President and said something, after which, he nods in agreement. Right-wing blogs where ablaze, saying that she said an array of things, the concensus being, “All this for a **** flag”?
To me, it looks like she is saying, “Look how they fold that flag.”
Okay, probably no one in this debate is an expert lip reader, but it’s theie presumption that she hates America versus our presumption that she loves our country — after all, she and her family have sacrificed their privacy, their time, everything to try to save it — that’s at issue.
To them, her body language and facial expressions read as disgust. To us, it reads, “This is so moving as to be unbelievable.”
I mean, if we cannot agree that President and his wife are patriots, well … I just don’t know what we can agree upon.