Well, I wouldn't say it is so much a matter of forgetting the rest of
the world exists, but more the fact we have a tendency of borrowing
ideas from other countries and somehow making it uniquely our own
thing. We do this with everything weather it is food, books, games,
you name it. Someone sees it and then comes back to the USA and comes
up with his or her own version of it. The idea is original enough but
the end result often turns out to be quite a bit different than the
original thing he/she was trying to copy.
For example, let's take the topic of pizza. During the late 1800's and
early 1900's I've heard there was a large amount of Italian imigrants
who came to New York City and many of them opened restaurants selling
Italian food. Perhaps the most popular was true Italian pizza. Unlike
the American version of pizza we have now these pizzas were square,
thin crust pizzas, baked in a brick oven, and were just sauce and
cheese. What we think of as New York style pizza today. However, pizza
became a very popular hit with New Yorkers and it wasn't long before
American restaurant owners started creating their own versions of
pizza, and it began to become popular all over the country. In very
quick order restaurants stopped making square pizzas and made them
round like a pie, and started experimenting with all sorts of toppings
and sauces. In Chicago one restaurant owner, I don't remember the guys
name, decided to make the worlds first deep dish pizza with a thick
crust and several layers of meet and cheese. This became known as
Chicago style pizza because it was first created in Chicago. Thus we
borrowed the idea of pizza from the Italian imigrants who came to New
York, setup shop, but American restaurant owners decided to take the
idea and make it something more uniquely American.
Same thing could be said for Mexican food. There are hundreds of
Mexican restaurants all over the country, but most of them don't
really sell original Mexican food. Instead it is Americanized Mexican
food. I have actually eaten some true Mexican food and I can say it
totally taistes nothing like Taco Bell or any of the other Mexican
restaurants that try and pass themselves off as Mexican. For one thing
different spices etc which totally changes the flavor of the food, and
I have eaten some true Mexican hot tamales so hot it felt like I
swallowed a blow torch. Fact of the matter is most Americans aren't
use to eating food quite that spicy and hot, and so the Taco Bell's of
the world make a plane facsimile of Mexican dishes with their name on
Anyway, the point is as a culture we just take ideas, borrow them, and
somehow make them our own. Change them to suit our taistes or personal
likes/dislikes. This is obviously what happened to Harry Potter. It
was too British for the publishers and they wanted to Americanize it
to suit an American audience. In fact, I've read this was one reason
Harry Potter got a very slow start in the U.S. Harry Potter came close
to never being published at all, because it didn't fit in with the
kinds of childrens books that were being published at the time.
For example, before Harry Potter became a big name block buster
publishers didn't think they could sell it to an American audience.
They clamed that an orfened boy, growing up in a disfunctional house
hold, going off to boarding school wasn't something that would be of
any interest to parents and children. To say nothing of the fact it
delt with magic which was being regarded as off limits in a childrens
book. To put it bluntly the kind of book Joanne Rowling was selling
was taboo for a lot of reasons.
Remember at the time Harry Potter came on the scene the dust was just
beginning to settle down after R. L. Stine's Goose Bumps series came
out in the early to mid 90's. The Christian right, as usual, were
suing schools, libraries, etc trying to get such books banned and/or
removed. The end result of the Christian rights' hell raising was that
publishers had decided to begin turning down books dealing with magic
and other themes dealing with the super natural. The only thing was
that Harry Potter was becoming so popular in England American
publishers had to take notice eventually. Scolastic paid eventually
paid something like $105,000 for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
which was unheard of for any childrens book before that. They believed
they had commited financial suicide, but within a year it would be on
the New York Times best seller list
So I guess what I'm saying here is that the entire Harry Potter series
got off on the wrong foot in the U.S. to begin with. There were so
many misconceptions, fears, and worries that it wouldn't sell that
they did everything possible to market it to an American audience. By
doing so Americans do what they always do we take something and make
it our own even if our version isn't exactly like the original
On 3/5/11, dark <d...@xgam.org> wrote:
> Selecting American English? ---- that's absolutely mad!
> i will say though that I have rather noticed a tendency from some people,
> companies and agencies in the Us to forget that the rest of the world
> exists, in fact it can be quite irritating over here when American companies
> or people forget that that not everyone is part of the us or uses the same
> For instance, I saw an add the other day talking about "home movies" which
> is certainly not a term we use over here.
> Even words liek Jerk, dorc, or geek which are sometimes used in adds tend to
> not be used by people on the street, just on tv.
> Beware the grue!
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