Tuesday 4 June 2024

Outdated and Unexpected Stereotypes

@QcWynter: I have decided to be "openly Caribbean" tomorrow as I go about my chores and errands in and around Upminster. How best to show it? I know. I shall be "vibrant" and, if I can find it within me, "exuberant".

Alan Frame on being Scottish: Ah, see, that’s what happens when you are a son of Calvin, grandson of Lord Kelvin, nephew of DCI Taggart, great-great grandson of Adam Smith (his “invisible hand” is everywhere, but not in a creepy way). Uncle Iain (M) Banks is much talked about in therapy, but the “Scottish Enlightenment” worked two ways – we are expected to know everything about everything, even when the crystals cannae tak it, Captain.

@QuetzalThoughts: As an immigrant, some American racial stereotypes still leave me baffled. Why is it such a joke that Black people enjoy fried chicken and watermelon? It's so confusing since everyone eats these foods to the point that I have no idea how the premise even took off. (See Wikipedia – circa 1900 there were cartoons of little black boys grinning while eating a slice of watermelon, wearing tattered straw hats, plaid shirts, dungarees held up with one strap, and no shoes.) 

@AlCabbage045: I love that almost every group seems to have the notion that they’re characteristically late to events. I’ve heard of “running on Black Time”, “Arab Time”, “Muslim time,” etc. (And we’re all the nation with the dry sense of humour, and say sorry when someone steps on our toe. And we say "thank you" to the bus driver. In England, Canada and Burma nobody can say "no".)

MNateShyamalan: The saddest thing is when you visit a city that’s not New York or Chicago and they’re like “We also have a distinctive pizza style!”

My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone. (Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft wanted women to regain the rights they had lost in the 18th century. We're getting there.)

Many Yorkshire people are immensely proud of both their county and their identity, embracing the popular nickname of God's Own County, which appears on mugs and tea towels and was first used by the writer Nigel Farndale, himself a Yorkshireman, as a headline in a special Yorkshire edition of Country Life magazine in 1995... T
here is a British saying that "a Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with all the generosity squeezed out of him"... Yorkshire people are often stereotyped as friendly but "bloody-minded", stubborn and argumentative. (Wikipedia. There’s also a suggestion of sticktoitiveness.)

The town of Dhamar is itself quite dull and can best be described as the Reading of Yemen: in the middle of nowhere, containing nothing of interest and bearing a generally depressed atmosphere. Despite this the female population of Dhamar have acquired a reputation as being stubborn, hot tempered and quick to violence. (Via FB)

@TristinHopper: Vancouver Island Facebook groups: "Does anyone know of any vegan, sex-positive carbon-neutral employers that will accommodate flexible hours and alternative non-verbal forms of decolonized communication?"

@Burinstou_Pete: I’d like to find out where the woke, anti-Brit sentiment started.

@DaveHeywood16: Probably over a few plates of tofu at a North London dinner party for tree-hugging vegans, no evidence for that just a wild guess. 

(This one is harder to get right. Tristin nails it, but Dave is inaccurate and out of date. TV series get the current psychobabble right, whatever it is. Jim Bergerac: It’s like being bombarded with popcorn.)

double-denim clad luvvies – who are too woke, apparently. (This person has their stereotypes crossed – it’s chavs who wear double denim. See also very young people who condemn Gen X, Y, Z, Millennials, Xennials, the teens, the noughts, the 90s, the 80s, the 70s for being so uncool as to sport side partings and A-line skirts. Please note: it was the 70s. Every decade since would have cringed at side partings and A-line skirts. Likewise serving hatches are not 80s but 50s and 60s and probably 30s and 40s.)

Lefties all live in Hampstead on a diet of muesli. (They’ve been priced out of Hampstead and you can get muesli in Tesco now.)

LibDems in sandals? Most men wear sandals in hot weather.

Place names that are a byword for provincial, narrow-minded, unsophisticated: Kankakee, Sheboygan, Peoria, Wigan, Weybridge. (Disgusted, Tonbridge Wells)

Is your hair real?
But all Japanese are straight-haired.
Um... actually, some people have curly hair like myself.
Oh, OK. But since this show is for 'American audience', and they think Japanese are straight-haired, so...

Actor Yuki Matsuzaki. He also pointed out that the text on a hanging scroll read “Safe and fresh, Habu-snake Pharmacy”, and that you don’t find a gong in a dojo. A fellow-actor, supposedly speaking Japanese, just mouthed gibberish. He refused to learn the lines phonetically because “American audiences don’t care”, and complained it was “racist” to make him speak Japanese. “He did actually end up practicing his lines and performing in Japanese. Even though it was completely butchered, I still give him credit for swallowing his pride and trying it.” He was told: "Since you’re Asian, you can’t be the lead." The same producer's comments include, "She's, you know, very 'Japanese'. Obedient. She’s a good girl." An American actor comments that he gets “The Japanese won’t know the difference” in Japan.)

@juliamorizawa: Or the scene where the Japanese woman seductively teaches the white man to use chopsticks. A classic trope I could never play because I’m terrible with chopsticks.

@edwest: The common American idea of the French as dainty weaklings, rather than the most militaristic and belligerent country in western Europe, is v strange. (“They have a 35-hour week! They retire at 50!” A country can only compete if everyone works 24 hours a day until they drop, without frills like healthcare, pensions, maternity leave etc.)

I was shocked to learn how much the English enjoy visiting the pub and having a drink because their stereotype is that of a stuffy, refined Englishman. (Quora)

23-year-olds in East London with handlebar moustaches and watches on fobs selling their home-fermented kimchi by the peck and bushel and their signature kefir by the scruple to punters who have cycled simply leagues on their penny farthing to try it. (Giles Coren, Sept 2021. Aren’t hipsters all 35 by now? He means "watches on chains". The fob is the thing that anchors the chain in the opposite waistcoat pocket.)

@Lord_Steerforth: Americans still bang on about the fog, more than 60 years after the last London smog. (British journalists refer to every faint sea-mist as a "peasouper". Before the Clean Air Act, the London fog was a mixture of water vapour, smoke from coal fires, and smoke from power stations – burning coal in larger quantities. It was lethal.)

Cartoon: Cliff edge bristling with signs “yield, stop, danger, no, warning, beware, skull and crossbones”. Car drives off cliff. Driver and passenger are cows with rings through their noses. Caption: No one could have predicted this! (BSE is 35 years in the past, but what better avatar for Brexiteers than a couple of mad cows? Bulls, but not cows, have rings through their noses.)

@DrBritWilliams: My tolerance for hot sauce has lowered and I know it’s because I’ve been in Minnesota too long.

According to Aerial America, each state is supposed to contain people with a particular personality. In Missouri they say “Show me!” etc. For Southerners see Florence King

And for London stereotypes, see Glenys Roberts, Metropolitan Myths. If you want to pass as a native, claim that North Londoners never go south and vice versa.

A five-foot tall British woman was pursued down the street by a Hong Kong trader calling out: “We have big sizes for you!” (A male Chinese colleague used to go to Hong Kong to find clothes small enough, and I’ve been deluded by Chinese and Indian clothes marked “big”. I really am large.)

An Indian couple on Nothing to Declare tried to smuggle home-cooked food into Australia. The man kept smiling and saying: “We’re Indian, you see, we’re Indian.” It cut no ice. 

What’s wrong with England? Asks someone on Twitter.

@rodkelly50: The fact that they all believe the hype and yearn for an England that never existed.
@whododgenik: This is true of every single country in the world.

An episode of Perry Mason featured a South African diamond firm. All its personnel were terribly British. One of them even wore a bowler hat!

Did any woman ever lie down with a face pack and cucumber slices on her eyes? There was a moment when every beauty product contained cucumber. Teabags on the eyes might be more effective, but wouldn’t be photogenic.

Why do ghosts wear sheets and clank chains? The sheets are the shrouds people were buried in (woollen, according to an Act of 1666). The chains bound them in the afterlife – see Marley (and Marley) in A Christmas Carol.

Do Tory ladies wear hats and a blue rinse in their hair? People went on calling them “blue-haired” long after the rinses (blue, mauve, peach) had disappeared.

Hillbillies were always “feudin’” and lived in hilarious poverty. They're related to “hicks”, as sent up in the musical Oklahoma.

Pearl-clutching – even “pearl-wearing”. Pearl necklaces haven’t been fashionable since the 1980s.

More here, and links to the rest.

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