I have just read this interesting post in the Guardian's blog Comment is Free. Apparently new research shows that most Americans associate Scotland with Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons (which is, of course, an American creation with a voice created by an American!). Sean Connery has lost out to this guy???
It doesn't come as a surprise to me as I have had way too many incidents with the American public where they reveal their unbelievable ignorance about Scotland.
I had an instance in Cleveland when I was working in a national bookstore chain as a cashier and a woman asked where I was from (they ALL do...) and proceeded to tell me to have a nice vacation!! - I was working for $6.25 an hour and I was in Cleveland Ohio!!!! I have also been told more times than I can count that my English is very good - to which, if I'm in a testy mood, I often reply "Thanks, so is yours!!". Darren's Grandma has told me (in a very thick Virginia accent) how my English is better than the Chinese girl that works at her old folks' home!!
The one that took the biscuit was lately when again I was working as a cashier. A woman asked where I was from (they still ALL ask) and she proceeded to tell me she was a high school teacher. I asked what she taught and she said English as a Second Language. She described her job and how challenging it is for her poor Mexican students to learn English - then she added - "of course, you'd know how difficult that it is" - I said "excuse me?" and she clarified - "you know how difficult it is to learn English from when you had to". My jaw slammed onto the floor and I picked it up informing her that I can't speak any other language - just English!! I guess my argument was too complex for her to grasp because she left the store still going on about how well I spoke English!!!!
From this vast mountain of experience I read the Guardian article a little puzzled. The subtitle is :
Americans don't know much about Scotland and what they do know is mainly bad. Should the Scots be worried?
The thoughts of the Scots being worried about this makes me roll around on the ground laughing. Americans still tell me (incessantly) how they want to visit Scotland (and often assume I'll plan their trip for them) and tell me (again incessantly) that they consider themselves Scottish. I have over time developed the guts to reply to this statement thus:
You are not Scottish, you are American!! To qualify as Scottish you have to be brought up there and have the prerequisite accent (or to Americans - bad English). The man who was born in India and his parents moved to Scotland when he was 1yr old is Scottish of Indian parentage. If you've endured the biting cold horizontal rain walking home from school in the dark of 3.30pm for your entire school career, then you are Scottish!! My kids will be American if they live here - American with a Scottish mother.
The classic example of all of this was when I was at the St Patrick's day parade here in New Orleans and I wore a sign saying "I'm Scottish throw me something". I had several "Irish" men shout "The Irish hate the Scots!" - and I'd laugh to myself - the Irish love the Scots - so all these men claiming to be Irish did was reveal how un-Irish they truly are!!
I take no responsibility for my grammar or spelling or vocabulary - I can't be held accountable I'm only ScAttish!!
(I'd also like to stress some Americans are very knowledgeable and treated me very well .... its just some ... well ... don't - so if you are one of the former please know I do not mean you - and if you are one of the latter ... you read my blog?? ... wow your English is better than I thought!!!)