David Blaine: Britain vs. America

The British reaction to David Blaine’s shenanigans and that of the Americans are worlds apart. I noticed it last night, while watching ABC’s two hour special, and my friend Robin highlighted it to me again today.

The Americans revel in the genius behind the man, share his pain, and will him on to accomplish his seemingly pointless tasks. The British, meanwhile, deride his work, ridiculing him to the best of their ability.

I remember an interview with his girlfriend and her being shocked at the British reaction to his being suspended for 45 days or so in a perspex box above the Thames.

During the 45 days, Blaine was pelted with countless foodstuffs (including eggs, lemons, sausages, bacon, water bottles, beer cans and paint-filled water balloons, according to Wikipedia), was the target of a makeshift cross-river golf driving range that a lone amateur had set up, and at the highlight in British humour, had a radio-controlled helicopter hover around the box, from which a beefburger was suspended.

Last night, during Blaine’s failed attempt to hold his breath for nine minutes, the Lincoln Center was abuzz with joyous Americans, chanting his name and whooping as only Americans know how. This highlights one of the biggest contrasts between the two nations’ people: while the Americans celebrate success, we Brits do our best to knock people off their perches, especially when their endeavours are so ridiculous.


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