Greetings to our American readership

I suppose you can't really let July go by without mentioning July 4th which, as all movie-goers the world over know, is the anniversary of the day Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum made mincemeat of some aliens who were foolish enough to invade Planet Earth.

Well, it's probably unfair, but then we foreigners do get a rather distorted image of the States, and Hollywood is, I am sure, partly to blame for some of the most enduring myths.

There are the silly things, such as: All US telephone numbers begin with 555 (except Morgan Freeman's). Or how about this one: In America, duvets are L-shaped, reaching up to the armpits of the woman, but only to the waist of the man lying beside her. And of course, when you pay your taxi driver, just reach into your wallet and pull out a random number of dollar bills: this will always be the exact amount required (plus tip).

Then there are the more serious things, such as the one about how every college and university in the country is haunted by emotionally damaged serial killers. When a new family moves into a small town with trim lawns and beautiful white picket-fences, the daughter will be the first victim. There are strange monsters, demons and ghouls lurking on every ill-lit street corner. Basically, if you go to America, you can count yourself lucky if you make it back.

I'm not against a really good thriller, just as long as there's not too much in the way of red stuff. But I wonder sometimes just how much of what we think we know is really just what the entertainment industry has told us. Do we have the necessary pinch of salt?

More to the point — how is my own home country portrayed to the masses? What do Americans think of the UK?

Andrew has his own website: Visit for articles on a wide range of subjects
By: Andrew Bossom, e-mail:, website:
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