England My England: Anglophilia Explained - a new ebook by Mark Dery

Hot off the electron gun: England My England: Anglophilia Explained, a new ebook from our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor, Mark Dery. It's published by Thought Catalog.

Downton Abbey has brought out the Anglophile in American fans of the hit TV series. But Anglophilia has a long history in America. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege? At last, Anglophilia explained---in American, thank you.

England My England: Anglophilia Explained


  1. Well, now maybe I can begin to understand my teenage, born-and-raised Alaskan daughter’s fascination with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. It’s certainly not his looks.

    1. I understand teenage girls often get interested in ecology, and he is the nearest thing we Brits have to an actual Sasquatch.

  2. Why oh why do some Americans persist in seeing us Brits as superior, better educated, deferential-to-the-aristocracy, funny people? We’re not deferential to the aristocracy.

    1. For the same reason that many Brits (and Continental Europeans) are still under the impression that downtowns of US cities are dangerous places where you are in probable danger of being mugged even in broad daylight: it’s a combination of true but exaggerated descriptions of decades past combined with the depictions in TV and movies based on them.

  3. Can someone please write a sister publication to this explaining the subtle nuances of English regional accents to US members of the acting profession, particularly those involved in TV shows.  Not every criminal hard man is a ‘Cockney geezer’, rock musicians are not all ‘Brummies’ (a new addition to the repetoir since the Osbournes), or ‘Mancunians’ and the people who speak like toffs are mainly members of the Royal family.

    1. I’m guessing the traditional West Country ‘farmer’ accent probably sounds quite rural to US ears as well.
      Of course, not everyone with a west country burr is a farmer, but people think we are.

    2. In exchange I’d like someone to write a guide explaining to English actors how to do an American accent. With the exception of Hugh Laurie when I hear English actors pretending to be American I want to say, “The only American who really spoke like John Wayne was John Wayne.” 

      1. Yeah, they’re all awful. Laurie is one of the few I’ve heard pull it off in way that’s impossible to distinguish.

        The worst example I can think of is from the new Doctor Who series. The Daleks in depression era NYC. the most comically overblown attempts at American accents you’ll ever hear. Like they were gleaned from a mish mosh of old stereotypes and gangster movies.

        1. There were some equally bad American accents in the old episodes of Doctor Who–going back as far as Hartnell’s The Gunfighters.

          Here’s an odd thing, though: I’ve known several British guys who were surprised to learn that the three main members of Spinal Tap–Messrs. St. Hubbins, Tufnel, and Smalls–were American comedians. Then again I guess it’s not surprising that people who thought This Is Spinal Tap was a real documentary could be so easily fooled.

          1. the three main members of Spinal Tap… were American comedians

            You know that Christopher Guest is actually Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest and a hereditary peer of the United Kingdom?

        1.  Good call. Elba was pretty great. I had no idea he was British when I first watched The Wire. West’s accent came through from time to time though. It wasn’t distracting at least.

    1. Although I never went there I’m sure there are parts of Essex that are nice, and I have known some wonderful people from Essex, so I know it doesn’t fully deserve the reputation Spitting Image gave it.

      But…the Spitting Image video will always be funny to me because about a week before I saw it I was in a pub and a guy who looked almost exactly like the guys in the video started talking to me. He had a mustache and wore a purple shell suit. Those were the only differences between him and the guys in the video.

  4. Chris Knowles: Thanks for the heads-up. Infuriating. Will ask my publisher about worldwide availability and report back, here. Where are you? U.K.? (The irony…)

  5. I do have to say that I always considered myself an Anglophile, based on early exposure to the Goodies and Monty Python.  Now that I’m dating a Brit, Anglophilia has a different connotation and I enjoy it a few orders of magnitude more.  

  6. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege?

    Because so many Americans are in love with hierarchy no matter its source. I wonder if people would like it if it showed how servants were really treated and portrayed the Crawleys in a more realistic manner as something less than saintly, caring, loving, paternal masters…..

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