Moving on... I did find this quote which is attributed to Colin Firth and I felt it was worth commenting on given the recent banter about words.
"The English people, a lot of them, would not be able to understand a word of spoken Shakespeare. There are people who do and I'm not denying they exist. But it's a far more philistine country than people think." ~ Colin Firth
Let's just break this down shall we? For my part I have to agree with Colin. Americans tend to believe that all Englishmen attended Eton and then proceeded to read at either Oxford or Cambridge. Its a well known fact in American that if you are English you must be smart, and sexy. For whatever reason the English accent is a million times sexier than any other accent found on planet Earth. Australia and New Zealand don't hold a candle, even the Scottish and Irish leave something to be desire. Don't ask me why. I don't pretend to understand. I'm only stating facts.
Now, Colin is right. Obviously. It would be ridiculous to really believe that any country, no matter how sexy and small, could possible produce an entire population with a fondness for good literature. There are normal people in England, I would even venture to say that England has their fair share of total morons. Its just that England, unlike America, doesn't broadcast that message to the world. Compare the people portrayed in the British TV shows and movies most Americans have seen. If their characters are the least plebeian, they are in such away that sets them apart from every other character in the script. Their town is full of Oxford scholars and they are the loan town fool.
Taking that a step further lets look at the British actors that are known to most Americans. They are all extremely smart and articulate people. Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, the loathsome Kenneth Branagh, even the comedic Ricki Gervais and the Monty Python crew were all well educated. Can I be brutally honest for a moment and speak directly to Colin...
Firth, who uses the word philistine in idol conversation? Honestly, how do you expect to paint your fellow country man as raging morons if you run about dropping SAT vocabulary words on unsuspecting Americans who are used to newspapers written on a 3rd grade reading level?
I think Americans all grasp the concept that the collective British Isles is not soaring above the average of the universe. We know this is true, in the abstract. Its just that while Americans seem to broadcast our idiocy, the British have, by some miracle, managed to keep theirs off the air waves.
Sorry Colin. In time we may come to see just how philistine you English are, but in the meantime you will just have to carry the burden of being labeled intelligent.
* Photo courtsey of AP