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Tag Archives: Politics

I personally have ‘issues’ (a US neologism in Britain) with writing for the land of the free and the home of the brave, since my US editor insists that not only do I correct my orthography to comply with Merriam Webster instead of the Oxford English Dictionary, but also that I avoid describing certain plot events because ‘they are likely to cause legal problems for the publisher’. I am allowed to have a woman’s genitalia whipped until she bleeds, but under no circumstances may she lose urinary continence through fear. Violence is, apparently, legally more acceptable than natural ‘bathroom’ matters.

Where the US has ‘the color gray’, Erica Leonard (EL James) and the rest of us Brits have ‘the colour grey’. Our cars travel on motorways and have bonnets and boots, and are fuelled by petrol. The US have automobiles on freeways with hoods and trunks, and are gassed to make them go. Even worse, Brits have a bum where a US fanny is located, and a British fanny is where babies come from.

I get quite a lot of innocent amusement reading user-manuals translated from Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and I am prepared to forgive the fractured English in which Arobas Music communicate with me about my Guitar Pro software, but there is something sinister about the tacit arrogance of cultural imperialism underlying the use of US English as the default version of ‘World English’, demanding that Australian, New Zealand and British English submit to the greatest power in the world when it comes to international diplomatic use of the language. We aren’t arguing. US citizens carry guns.

There is, of course, no point in being chauvinist about it; British, Aussie and Kiwi youngsters all watch US movies (their grandparents called them ‘films’) and more readily adopt US usages (‘cos they’re cool) than they cling to the absurd idiosyncrasies of spelling ‘thru’ as the old-fangled ‘through’ of their forefathers.

Maybe the Federal government won’t issue a fatwa against me if I write a scene about bathroom matters, but there’s still that insidious sense of cultural tyranny.

Where Japan lost global influence after Pearl Harbour (Harbor) they took it back with Honda, Toyota, Sony and Panasonic. The US quietly does likewise with Coca Cola, MacDonalds, Krispy Kreme and US English. No need for a footfall. The invasion will be accomplished by silent drones.

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