Heaven: All things good about the USA

Gamma GamalielGamma Gamaliel Shipmate
edited January 16 in Limbo
I know there's a tea and gin and all things British thread, but had anyone tried to tamp down the occasional Pond War spats with an 'All things great and good about the USA' thread?

If not, I'll start one to atone for joining in a spat about baseball which quickly got out of hand. And yes, I was one of those who joined in ...

So, in the interests of keeping the relationship special here's a thread that will hopefully not become too Purgatorial nor patronising in the way that Western Europeans, and particularly British, can often be about the US. You know, the qualified, 'They might do this / that / the other well ... but ...'

And also avoiding Bob Hoskins's famous speech at the end of The Long Good Friday.

So, rushing in where angels fear to tread, here are a few starters for ten:

The Simpsons
The Marx Brothers
F Scott Fitzgerald

All the cartoons from when I was a kid - Deputy Dawg, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat ... (And a particular accolade to the 1940s Fred Quimby Tom & Jerry cartoons).

Hitchcock films (ok he was British but ...)

Old Western movies.

The Chrysler Building

Mark Twain

Garrison Keillor

Roosevelt

Dorothy Day

Rothko

Jazz - all the way from trad' to Davies, Parker and Coltrane.

Warhol

Woody Allen (until the revelations came out)

US craft beer for at least having a go, but not so many points for execution (whoops, that's tilting on the side of patronising) ...

King Kong

Ray Harryhausen

There'll be more.

I've only been to Newark and New York so can't wax lyrical about New England in the fall, Yosemite, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, The Appalachians or anywhere else.

Nor have I sampled authentic Cajun cooking nor proper grits and bacon - although I had some ersatz version in New York.

So my list is necessarily limited. It does not imply there is no more to admire.



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Comments

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon in winter.

    The accents of the South. I still need to visit more places but I want someone with a Southern accent to tell me when I am about to die. I wouldn't be sad about it; I'd be focussing on that accent.

    The sheer bloody friendliness and helpfulness of them. If I tried it it would come across fake but they manage to come across genuine as they are genuine.
  • First and foremost,, the aeroplane. I don’t know for sure if the Wrights were the first but America then gave us the first reasonably safe airliner, the DC-2 (which led to the DC-3), the first practical private plane, the Piper Cub, the definitive piston-engined warplane, the P-51 Mustang and then blew the competition away for jet airliners with the Boeing 707. Other countries have contributed but the USA has dominated.

    There’s a tremendous amount of great writing in just about every genre too. While the US has P J O’Rourke we British have Jeremy Clarkson, who is a derivative yob, lacking invention.
  • I would be even compare Clarkson to P J O'Rourke. I don't like O'Rourke's politics but he is witty.

    Clarkson's just a boor.

    I'm not sure who a UK equivalent to O'Rourke would be.

    On the genuineness thing, I don't doubt that at all, particularly in the US South.
  • MSHBMSHB Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon in winter.

    And Yosemite (and Crater Lake, and Mount Lassen, and ...)

    Oh, and Redwood trees.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, Henry James, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and many more. Lots of great literature.
  • Following on from CLIMACUS and MSHB

    Having enjoyed a fabulous 2 week tour of Western National Parks, (Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon) I would nominate the whole national park system.

    Compared with the UK, the US seems to have got the balance just right between commercial tourism and conservation. There is a fee for entry, but then car parks and free 'green' shuttle buses abound, there are rangers all over the place, and even toilets in out of the way places. Very impressive.

  • Huckleberry Finn
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    The people. At least the ones I engage with on socmed (including here). They are lovely.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited August 2018
    Climacus wrote: »
    ... The accents of the South ...
    Seconded. The Verger here at the Cathedral comes from Alabama, and I love it when he reads a lesson.

    I don't have much experience of the US, but things I love would include:

    New York City
    Snoopy (and the other inhabitants of the Peanuts cartoons)

  • The people, the people, the people. I spent 7 years in the States, and the people were the wonderful to me.
  • The Episcopal Church of the United States of America. I wish it would establish missionary cells here.
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    A couple of songs among many: "City of New Orleans" and "American Pie".
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Felafool wrote: »
    Following on from CLIMACUS and MSHB

    Having enjoyed a fabulous 2 week tour of Western National Parks, (Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon) I would nominate the whole national park system.

    Compared with the UK, the US seems to have got the balance just right between commercial tourism and conservation. There is a fee for entry, but then car parks and free 'green' shuttle buses abound, there are rangers all over the place, and even toilets in out of the way places. Very impressive.

    I envy you! I, too, love the national parks. I went to Yellowstone for the first time a number of years ago and it was incredibly beautiful. And scary, :sweat_smile: I couldn't help thinking about how I was blithely walking around on what possibly is the place where civilization ends. Yikes!

    I'm also lucky enough to live in a county that has a national park- Joshua Tree National Park. A friend and I go visit a couple of times a year.
  • I too live in a county with a national park. It really is a wonderful thing.
  • Hey, we have national parks too ...

    Not quite as big as yours.

    Cue quote from George Borrow's 'Wild Wales'.

    'And what kind of place is Tregaron?'
    'Oh, a very good place. Not quite as big as London.'
  • Authors (20th century, who I recommend to everyone):
    Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughter House 5, Breakfast of Champions)
    William Styron (Sophie's Choice, Darkness Visible)
    William Shirer (20th Century Journey, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, he was also a broadcaster)

    Place to go:
    Washington State Highway 20, known as the North Cascades Route. Not many people, camp where you will. You can keep going through Idaho into Montana and Glacier National Park, where there are quite a lot of people, and it contiguous with Waterton National Park, together are are Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

    If I started on music and the arts, I could not stop.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Authors (20th century, who I recommend to everyone):

    Don't forget Rex Stout for his Nero Wolfe murder mystery series.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I think your national parks are different from ours, in that they are meant to be wild places whose wildness is preserved from human interference. In ours the human interest and history is a major part of what makes them national parks, hence the rows about how far farmers in them can modernise or are expected to stick to vaguely traditional practices, building techniques etc.
  • Our national parks are all over the map (pun intended) in that regard. Some are wildlife/nature preserves. Some are historical sites and primarily meant as interpretive centers for something that happened on that site. We also have national monuments which are nature preserves that don't rise to park status (for whatever reasons or none at all). In contrast, state parks tend to be recreational locations -- camping, boating, hiking, picnicking, whatever. While many National Parks have recreational components, they generally have more than that going on. For instance in these parts, preserving old growth forests, and the habitats they provide, from logging. Also commercial use is prohibited, except on a very limited basis, as licensed by the park authority -- generally an eatery and a tacky souvenir shop inside an interpretive center building.
    .
    So for example in the last year I have been to Mt. Rainier NP, which is a nature preserve and "natural wonder" kind of park; and also the San Juan Island National Historical Park, which specifically preserves locations and buildings from a war the US and the British didn't have in 1859, and serves as an interpretive center (actually there are two centers) explaining the history of that non-war.
  • I like the idea of having a museum / interpretive centre for a war that never took place. It's a bit like having a statue of someone who never existed.

    The war that never took place is a new one on me, although MT may have alluded to it before.

    I suspect that very few British or Americans know about the war we never actually had. I insist it goes onto every high school syllabus alongside the Mars Bar Henry Kissinger didn't eat on 3rd January 1973 or the doughnut Shakespeare didn't buy on 18th November 1602.
  • The Mars Bar and Doughnut didn't kill a pig, or take up beaucoup de bucks housing military installations on a windswept grass-clad island in West Bumfuck, British Columbia. You gotta take that into account.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    The Grand Canyon at sunrise. Especially near to an equinox. Get there when it is pitch black (do not fall in) then wait in absolute silence. Stunning does not do it justice.

    Bryce Canyon.

    Breakfast in an American Diner.

    Lunch in Quincey Market, Boston, Ma

    The approach to Chicago airport, flying past the skyscrapers over the lake.

    Ernest Hemingway,

    The friendliness of Americans when they hear a British accent.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The Mars Bar and Doughnut didn't kill a pig, or take up beaucoup de bucks housing military installations on a windswept grass-clad island in West Bumfuck, British Columbia. You gotta take that into account.

    Sure, but according to Wikipedia when both Washington (DC) and London (England) got to hear about it they were both eager to dampen things down. Mind you, having two military bases on a grassy island somewhere in No-Man's Land (Sound?) between British Columbia and that North Western US state that nobody's heard of for 12 years and Kaiser Wilhelm 1st being asked to adjudicate is quite something.

    What I did find most amusing though, was that US park rangers raise the Union Flag (it's only a Jack when it's at sea) every morning. I suppose they have to be given something to do. Bizarre. Like as if any of us over here give a flying fart ...

    Interesting, though, and I'm indebted to you for bringing this major historical event which never was to our attention.

    It reminds me of the headline in The Morley Observer - a town 5 miles south of Leeds - when a rare earth tremor struck the English Midlands 80 miles to the south, 'Earthquake Misses Morley.'

    Still, I think if I were responsible for a grassy island off the US and Canadian coasts where nothing happened but almost did, I'd want to commemorate it in some way.

    Otherwise it'd be forgotten like other border incidents like those in the 1830s and also, perhaps most bizarrely of all, the Fenian Invasion of Canada by Irish Republicans based in the US in the 1860s. I knew nothing of that until I saw an engraving of the ensuing skirmish in a museum in Dublin. I thought they were taking the mickey at first, but no, there was such an incident.
  • Golly has it been 12 years since the Guardian and the BBC and the jingoistically-named The Times ran articles about that unnamed northwestern state? My how the time, like a stolen airplane, flies!
  • What I did find most amusing though, was that US park rangers raise the Union Flag (it's only a Jack when it's at sea) every morning. I suppose they have to be given something to do. Bizarre. Like as if any of us over here give a flying fart ...
    Don't get me wrong, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your cranium, but I'm thinking they don't give a flying fuck about what homebodies in the UK fart about. They do it for the tourists.
  • Otherwise it'd be forgotten like other border incidents like those in the 1830s and also, perhaps most bizarrely of all, the Fenian Invasion of Canada by Irish Republicans based in the US in the 1860s. I knew nothing of that until I saw an engraving of the ensuing skirmish in a museum in Dublin. I thought they were taking the mickey at first, but no, there was such an incident.
    Famous quote about consequences attending to those who forget history. It'll come to mind. Let me get back to you.
  • Like as if I hadn't sussed that ...
  • They might get the occasional British tourist along. They might appreciate it.

    A fella once told me he was in a museum in Boston dedicated to The Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Bunker Hill and so on and feeling decidedly 'got at' by what he took to be the anti-British tone of the displays. A fellow Englishman, sensing his discomfort, sidled up to him and whispered, 'Carruthers, MI5 ...'
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Otherwise it'd be forgotten like other border incidents like those in the 1830s and also, perhaps most bizarrely of all, the Fenian Invasion of Canada by Irish Republicans based in the US in the 1860s. I knew nothing of that until I saw an engraving of the ensuing skirmish in a museum in Dublin. I thought they were taking the mickey at first, but no, there was such an incident.
    Famous quote about consequences attending to those who forget history. It'll come to mind. Let me get back to you.

    What, that Irish Republicans will again stage an invasion of Canada from US soil?

    ;)
  • I suspect most Brits have heard of Seattle but not many could name which State it's in. That's an indictment on us, not Washington State.
  • Well, given that we fought not one, not three, but two wars against "the British" and have a lot of national pride wrapped up (rightly or wrongly) in our independence therefrom (heck we even call our national holiday "Independence Day" and our founding document the "Declaration of Independence"), you're going to get the anti-British thing going on. A wise docent will explain for the hard-of-thinking that, to quote the liner notes to the Yellow Submarine LP, "ruffled feathers on both sides have since been plucked." But an historical building on Boston of that vintage is not, as your friend discovered, a safe space for self-doubting Brits.
  • Like as if I hadn't sussed that ...
    If one has to hedge one's bets on what some people do or do not suss....
  • I suspect most Brits have heard of Seattle but not many could name which State it's in. That's an indictment on us, not Washington State.
    And our beautiful state has such a STUPID NAME. We're always getting confused with that place on the other coast. They should have gone with the original name, Columbia, but the morons at the time didn't want to confuse it with the District of Columbia, as if anybody ever talks about DC except by its initials. But, it is what it is. With a little luck we can convince British Columbia to absorb our western counties, and have done with it.
  • I wasn't complaining about the anti-British tone of the displays in that Boston Museum, MT. I wouldn't expect them to be proclaiming that it was all some kind of terrible mistake ...

    I know expatriate British people in the US who've had well meaning friends and neighbours ask them in very concerned and sympathetic tones whether they feel upset about 1776 and all that ...

    Bless 'em. That's rather sweet.

    When my brother worked on a kids' camp in Maine back in the summer of 1980 he put on a 'skit' for their closing season's show where he made himself a makeshift red-coat uniform and acted like one of those Japanese soldiers who didn't surrender for years after WW2 - only the redcoat equivalent. It went down well.

    The brother of one of my ancestors went AWOL during the 1812-14 Anglo-US War and settled in Upper New York State.

    I'll send you a transcript of the letter he wrote home (checking to see if there was now any money in the family. There wasn't.).

    Fascinating letter.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Well, given that we fought not one, not three, but two wars against "the British" and have a lot of national pride wrapped up (rightly or wrongly) in our independence therefrom (heck we even call our national holiday "Independence Day" . . . ).
    Some of us (yes, including Congress) call it Indepence Day. But one doesn’t hear it called that here very often, and we’re in one of the states that signed the Declaration of Independence. Hear, it’s almost always called the Fourth of July/July Fourth, or just “the Fourth.”

    Meanwhile, @Gamma Gamaliel, why did you start this thread again?
  • Why, what have I done wrong?

    ;)

    (where's the Devil emoji when you need it?)

    No, I've learned a lot, about Washington State and US national parks and given Shippies a chance to list US authors, musicians and so on whose work they appreciate and Sioni Sais an opportunity to wax lyrical about aeronautics ...

    What's not to like?

    ;)
  • States signed the DoI? I was sure that men did.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    I too live in a county with a national park. It really is a wonderful thing.

    Have the spare bed ready, please.
    :wink:
  • Seriously, and I can be serious at times, I've been quite moved by the tributes to the warmth and good heartedness of Americans that various Shippies have attested to on this thread.

    It's exactly what I would expect and accords with accounts relatives have friends have given of their travels in the States.

    This isn't a sentimental, 'Mom and Apple Pie' thing, aren't those Southern folks cute?

    No, it's meant as a serious compliment.

    Even though I can't resist striking up along with Jim Reeves ...

    'I love those dear hearts and gentle people
    Who live in my home town
    I love those dear hearts and gentle people
    Who never ever let me down

    They read the Good Book from Friday 'til Monday
    That's how the weekend goes
    I've got a dream house, I'll build their one day
    With picket fence and rambling rose.'

    ;)

    (Hope that doesn't breach any copyright rules.)

    I'd also add to the list of Good Things to come out of America, the various US Shippies here, too many to list, but as well as Nick and Mousethief there's the estimable Josephine and good folk like Kelly Alves, Cliffdweller, Lamb Chopped ...

  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    I'm not anti-American as such, and most Americans I've met have been great, but if you compare the USA with the country to its immediate north, you can see just how much better it could have been if they hadn't been under the influence of that tax-avoiding pirate John Hancock and the slave-owning rapist George Washington.

    (Retires to a safe distance...)
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    The Mars Bar and Doughnut didn't kill a pig, or take up beaucoup de bucks housing military installations on a windswept grass-clad island in West Bumfuck, British Columbia. You gotta take that into account.

    Sure, but according to Wikipedia when both Washington (DC) and London (England) got to hear about it they were both eager to dampen things down. Mind you, having two military bases on a grassy island somewhere in No-Man's Land (Sound?) between British Columbia and that North Western US state that nobody's heard of for 12 years and Kaiser Wilhelm 1st being asked to adjudicate is quite something.

    There was another disputed territory oddity on the east coast. The treaty of Paris specified that the boundary between New Hampshire and Canada was, "the northwestern most head of the Connecticut River". However, there were three tributaries that formed the Connecticut River, and it was not clear which one was meant. The land between the three tributaries was in dispute, and Britain and America both tried to collect taxes there. The local residents objected and declared themselves an independent republic--the Republic of Indian Stream. Both the US and Britain objected to this, and there were skirmishes between the locals and both governments. The dispute was settled in favor of the US by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and the Republic of Indian Stream was incorporated into New Hampshire.

  • mousethief wrote: »
    States signed the DoI? I was sure that men did.
    Ha! Fair enough. I was thinking in terms of those men being delegates of their states and signing on behalf of their states. I know North Carolina's Fourth Provincial Congress specifically authorized its delegates to the Continental Congress to declare independence. Virginia took similar action, though I realize I can't say for sure now which if any of the other 11 colonies/states did.

    But yes, you're right. Men signed, as "Representatives of the united States of America."

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Even though I can't resist striking up along with Jim Reeves ...

    'I love those dear hearts and gentle people
    Who live in my home town . . . <<snip>>

    I remember that song well from my youth. It was not a Jim Reeves number, though. It was recorded by Dinah Shore, Gordon MacRae, Bing Crosby, Dennis Day, Perry Como and Doreen Lundy. See Wikipedia entry.

    Jim Reeves, however, may well have believed that the plural possessive adjective was correct in the line "I've got a dream house, I'll build their one day."
  • sionisais wrote: »
    the P-51 Mustang
    The complete efficacy of which was only realised with a British engine installed.
    Lyda wrote: »

    I'm also lucky enough to live in a county that has a national park- Joshua Tree National Park. A friend and I go visit a couple of times a year.
    Just be careful.

    In the spirit of the thread:
    The Blues
    True BBQ (In its many variations)
    Creole Food
  • Amanda B Reckondwyth, another fine American shipmate ...

    Yes, it's the Bing Crosby version I'm most familiar with but when I looked up the lyrics online to make sure my memory wasn't playing tricks as to how the lyrics run, it gave me a Jim Reeves version.

    And thanks for spotting the typo ...

    Dang! Must remember to preview my posts!

    On Andras's thing about Washington being a slave-owning rapist. Well, he certainly owned slaves but I thought it was Jefferson who went in for abusing them that way.

    I did raise this with some Americans once and they assured me that Washington was quite abstemious. I'm sure I heard somewhere that he caught cold and died returning from one of the slave huts where he'd been having his wicked way, but again, that might have been Jefferson.

    To be fair, there was an abolitionist movement in what became the USA as early as the 1750s I think, beginning among the Quakers. There were even moves to ban or at least restrict slave ownership in the fledgling Republic around 1790.

    Although we abolished slavery before our US cousins, I don't think we British have room to gloat. How had the slaves arrived in the Colonies and West Indies in the first place?

    It's a cheap jab to remind Americans that the self-evident and inalienable right of people to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' only applied if you were white, a property owner and not slaves and Native Americans.

    That doesn't stop me doing it at times ...

    It's certainly the case that some runaway slaves and some Native Americans sided with the British because they thought they'd get a better deal, but there were also plenty of black troops in Washington's Continental Army, from what I can gather.

    Nobody was squeaky clean back then when it came to human rights, hence the impressiveness of the US Bill of Rights as a document.

    By some convoluted logic, the British naval authorities convinced themselves that press-ganging merchant seamen - contrary to popular perception they rarely press-ganged land-lubbers - was somehow more fair and equitable than introducing conscription like the French and Spanish navies. At least you had a chance to run away from a press gang and even if you used violence to evade capture, juries could be sympathetic and lenient. So conscription was held up as the sort of nefarious and tyrannous trick you'd expect from benighted France and Spain ...

    How they squared that with seizing US merchantmen on the high seas and press-ganging their crews in the run up to the war of 1812-14, I don't know ...

    When poor old George III went doolally the Regency regime was one of the most repressive we ever had, although most people probably thought we were paragons of liberty compared to continental Europe.

    All these things are relative.


  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    It's a cheap jab to remind Americans that the self-evident and inalienable right of people to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' only applied if you were white, a property owner and not slaves and Native Americans.

    And wore trousers.
  • Yes, that too.

    The same thing applied, only with breeches, not trousers, in 1650s England and with the various reforms over here from the 1830s onwards.
  • sabinesabine Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    I'm glad we have a holiday (shared with Canada) called Thanksgiving. The menu has become ritualized by region, and people tend to travel long distances (it's the most heavily traveled holiday in the US).

    You can always count on a bit of political argument at the table before folks are finished eating and settle down to watch a game or take a walk.

    As a child, we traveled from the city to visit my grandpatents farm every year. My siblings and cousins and I would take long walks through fields with thigh-hiigh snow, with full gear...hats, scarves, mittens, boots, etc. We still talk about those good Sub-zero walks.

    Here's a song that children used to sing about Thanksgiving.

    (Took out link because it went to wrong song...may take longer than edit window to get it right. Will post again)

    Our menu but it was more New England-y and reflected the products of the farm. As I said, "Thanksgiving foods" vary by region. Pumpkin pie and turkey usually show up in every region, though. We had chicken instead of turkey because my grandparents raised chickens.

    I'm thankful for many things, including these wonderful memories.



  • sabinesabine Shipmate
    Childhood Thanksgiving song

    https://youtu.be/rkQS681AotU
  • sabinesabine Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Oh, and the "First Thanksgiving" story is bull. But that's a topic for Purg, please, and has never intruded on my fond memories of family gatherings. thanks
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