Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pond Parleys: what we’re about

Winston Churchill coined the phrase "special relationship" to describe the ties between Brits and Americans. George Bernard Shaw described us as being "separated by a common language". So which is it? Are the UK and the USA morphing into one culture or are we moving further apart?

A BBC Radio Five Live debate on Thursday January 22nd asked the question "Which is better, the US or the UK?" Despite the alarming breadth of this question, we (authors Toni Hargis and Mike Harling) debated the issues with host Richard Madeley. In Pond Parleys we intend to keep the debate going, and invite everyone to contribute their thoughts and questions.

How it works.

Every week a new question or issue will be posted, with a paragraph from both blog hosts. The posts will hopefully elicit insightful, challenging and witty debate amongst our readers. Anyone who has an interesting question or debate point is invited to e-mail us through the profile page, and we will consider addressing the issue on the blog.

We look forward to your comments; by all means, point out shortcomings on either side of the Pond, but please do so in the spirit of continued friendship.


  1. WOW it looks like I'm your first visitor!!!! How exciting...and how exciting is this new venture/blog...

    I can't wait it sounds such a good premise....and the two of you i one place..great stuff..I shall help spread the word!!!

    Break a leg guys!!

    Saz (FFF)

  2. I've always felt that we 'rub' along. I've only met a few Americans and they were fantastic fun but THEY had ventured out into the real world.

    The physical size of America is daunting particularly when I am aware of the cultural differences in our small isle ..... so I'm left with what I always do and treat everyone I meet as an individual. Mind you, my formative years were the 60's so you wouldn't expect anything different ........ would you?

  3. ...... ooooo ...... and very good luck with the new blog .......

  4. Just checking in... this will be fun! Loking forward to a few lively debates and general 'natters'...

  5. Good luck you two! I like reading both your blogs so I expect this will be absolutely top notch!

  6. Best of luck with this new blog. I will have to read both, now.

  7. Great idea! Best of luck with it.

  8. As another American living and breathing in the UK, I find my heart strings pulled by both countries. I will enjoy exploring, with you, the roads that this blog goes down!

  9. I just usually read blogs. I can never remember my sign in details. "Anonymous" is actually Paula! Hi Mike!

  10. Looking forward to you getting started.

  11. Hell-o everyone! Welcome, and thank you. This is quite the auspicious beginning; now I suppose we'll need to add some content.

  12. Love it!!!!! Can't wait to add it to my watch list

  13. Hargis and Harling! I think that should be your byline. Good luck to both of you. I await your debut with interest and anticipation.

  14. Will add to my list as well! You go you guys and I will be interested to see what you come up with!

  15. Ooh - really looking forward to this blog and await the first 'debate' with interest. Having been away from the Uk for so long I am sure I view it completely unrealistically and with rose tinted specs. Funny how patriotic I've become since living away from 'home'. Can't wait to contribute.

  16. Are we becoming one culture?

    I'm not really sure it's an issue of "becoming" so much as having always been one culture.

    Popular culture, most notably in the entertainment and social areas, hops back and forth across the Atlantic with the greatest of ease. And has been doing so for generations.

    We each "get" what the other is about with ease and on a very basic level. Americans don't do that with Germany or France, Spain or Italy.

    Certainly there seems to be a rediscovery of each other going on though, doesn't there?

    I can't remember a time when awareness of all things British has been so high in America (a land that others have pointed out is woefully insular). True, during the Beatles/British Invasion era of the mid-60s everything British was unspeakably cool.

    But that was a long time back and was mainly directed at teen-agers.

    There's a different flavour to our connectedness now, a more adult awareness of daily life in our two countries, a recognition of kinship in our cultures on a basic level.

    Perhaps the travel explostion started it, as well as tv and movies. Whatever the cause, it seems there's been an explosion of UK/US internet forums as well as cultural and travel exchange sites.

    We also seem to be marrying each other more and more, with Americans living and working in the UK and Brits doing the same in the US.

    I think we find each other kind of cute.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.