Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you with your English and of course, learn something new. My name’s Katya, I’m your host, and today with me…
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Yeah that warms me up. I thought those posters were telling me that I wouldn’t have hot water, that’s what I thought. Вода, вода, I don’t see вода anywhere here.
It’s a lot of usefulness.
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Imagine the usefulness. Sorry. Please continue.
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To that little hesitation there. Right. Are we trying to get worse or get better?
But Gary is the one who always doubts, you know, questions everything. Like, thank you for your comments. Gary, oh, we have comments? Thank you for your ideas. They sent ideas?
He’s just following Socrates, you always should question.
Thank you Barbara for… I was trying to be like Socrates, Barbara had that one right.
Okay. Is that so? Alright.
Gary’s just mouthing to Barbara, thank you.
Alright but we are here today to talk about stereotypes. I think this is something we’ve all met in our lives, this is something we’ve all had in our heads as well. So yeah, but before we do, what’s up, what’s new?
Well I believe we’re getting some heating soon.
Yes, a lot of buildings have in Novosibirsk have placed announcements on the doors, the front doors, stating that we will be having our heating turned on.
Just the idea, just the idea. Talking about ideas again, just the idea of even having heat.
Yeah we’ve had that torturing experience a few times this year.
I have heat. Does.. You have heat?
I got it yesterday and it was the best day of this month.
To be honest, I don’t really want it now, because I sleep better in a really cold room.
I am the same way, I’m gonna wait a little bit. Yeah.
What do you mean wait? You mean you can actually, you know, you have…
Yeah we can turn it on or turn it off, there’s a little dial?
Oh you have one of those new fancy places. I live in an old building, you can’t do anything, you don’t have any kind of a lever or anything like that.
Oh so you can’t turn it off at all?
No. You can just… So in winter it’s really hot, like really hot and stuffy so I have to open my window for like 5 minutes when it’s -40, go to another room, wait for the room to become, you now, a little bit chilly. So yeah, it’s challenging. Yeah, I wish I had those new radiators with some kind of a valve or something.
Yeah there’s valves. Yeah, I guess you could say regulated temperature.
Yeah, is it an on/off valve or is it an actual?
I believe I have an on/off valve, yeah.
Yeah, that’s what I have. Which I’m glad I have for the reason you have just mentioned.
So and it’s almost winter, winter is coming. So do you have any… Are you excited about winter coming first of all?
I wasn’t ready because I was expecting it to be a little bit warmer for a while. And then all of a sudden I’m without certain clothes, I need to go shopping. I haven’t prepared myself.
I was looking for a nice down jacket on Ozon.ru.
No, they actually pluck the feathers out of geese alive.
Well I mean in Russia we have fur.
I know. Can you find something else?
Yeah, pillows and down jackets.
Definitely. There’s lots of suffering involved. Go ahead and get it, but there’s a lot of suffering involved.
Well I mean, I was looking for a down jacket or just a comfy jacket.
Get a comfy one. Comfy one, down not okay.
Did anyone notice that you can’t collect anything from the ozon collection points, they’re all closed.
Oh really? I’ve been so successful.
The one… What about 5 Frunze.
Frunze, yeah, I think that’s exact one I… It’s just.. It just says no available.
So that’s new. So maybe I’m gonna try Wildberries, I don’t know.
Yeah or maybe just try another Ozon. I mean there is…
How about just going shopping to an actual shopping mall?
To a real market. Well thing is whenever I go to those markets, I’m always ushered in by the sales assistants and I feel guilty when I don’t want anything.
And then they pressure me, they peer pressure me about buying things. No, I don’t wanna give you money.
That’s odd. Maybe that’s because you’re just so cute, because when I go in, they totally ignore me.
Well Ben, I got the Socrates treatment and you get the cute, you’re cute. I’ll take the Socrates at this point and I’ll take anything I can get. Right.
Wait, but what about going to shopping malls?
They’re quite expensive generally. Well maybe not Фамилия, that shop in Аура which is nearby here. Maybe they have cheaper things, I don’t know.
Good luck with this challenge.
Yeah. Alright. So you don’t seem very excited about the winter then.
I’m excited, yeah. If you come to Russia, what do you expect?
I’m kinda ticked off, you know, what’s with this winter, nobody told me about that.
Oh I was so… I remember being so surprised when you came here in December last year and you remember, it was a really cold winter, it was freezing like -40 and I was thinking oh my god, he came right in the middle of this nightmare, really cold winter.
It was cool. Getting off the plane and having that icy weather hit…
Having, you now, just a leather jacket on.
Having that wonderful walk to the bus.
Exactly, the bus where everyone’s squished in together.
Right, that’s right. Especially in the Covid world, when it’s especially nice to go right into a densely packed bus.
Well since we’re talking about stereotypes today, I can’t but ask you all if you had any kind of stereotypes before you came here to Russia.
Oh plenty. Quite a few of them have been expanded.
Oh let’s go, let’s go through them and see whether they turned out to be true or not true.
Well the first stereotype a lot of people in the West unfortunately have about Russians is that there are a lot of alcoholics here. And this is becoming less and less… I mean of course there are still alcoholics, of course, like in most countries, however, it’s nowhere near to the extent that I thought it would have been. Yeah.
Gary? Barbara? Did you have this stereotype before coming to Russia?
I was pretty… I came eyes wide open. I certainly knew that I wasn’t going to be disappeared into a GULAG as some with fear. I just had my friends, one of whom I had known for over a couple of decades I think, oh this is a desperate move. Hey everybody, let’s help her not go.
Sign my petition Barbara please don’t go to Russia.
No, this is my choice. How can you choose to go to Russia? But I did. And I don’t regret my choice.
What was the question? About alcohol? I think… That was one question. Well alcohol is still a problem.
It depends on your circle. Here in the city of light known as the BigAppleSchool you don’t have too much alcoholism.
Yeah but the question was did you have any stereotypes before coming to Russia?
I did have that stereotype. I don’t think I had a lot of stereotypes, but I did have that one cause I had my stereotypes long ago. This was still about Soviet Union basically if I had…. But alcohol would’ve been one of them.
So I’ve got on my newsfeed on Facebook, I’ve got two very conservative Russian newsletters. One is called Russia Beyond and one is Russian Federation. And they like to show how strong Russia is because they can, you know, they’re as ferocious as a bear.
So they like to put on beautiful models having tea with bears or lounging around. Of course this goes toward, to me, I’m not impressed with this, because this is animal abuse for me when I look at this. Bear’s quite ferocious and he should be ferocious because he’s a bear.
And to show that you can dominate a bear sounds that you are really strong, so this is this idea of political strength and big strength. And unfortunately it comes down to, you know, poor little abused bears in circuses riding bicycles, that’s how I see that.
Alright. Any other stereotypes that you heard about Russia and Russians?
Bathing in… Diving into an ice pond in the middle of winter. That’s what they do.
Yeah. It’s true. That’s true.
I mean, that happens on one of the religious holidays in the middle of January, yeah, people do that, a lot of people do that.
I guess maybe not in the cities, I guess if you go outside of cities, maybe it’s more…
I mean I don’t see it here. I mean they don’t put the fountains on here.
Well I mean it only happens once a yeah, I mean, during that holiday so and if you go the embankment, they usually have those special spots on the river Ob. But usually on this day they have ambulance around, you know, tents with heaters inside, so you don’t have any kind of hypothermia.
So yeah. But I know that there are people all over the world who actually do that, you know, on a regular basis. They go outside and they pour, you know, like these buckets of ice water.
Right, yeah. And there’s also one on Russia Beyond that show how, they’ll show the same video of this woman, because they wanna show how beautiful women are in Russia, which they are of course, they’re very beautiful.
Is this the lady who does the podcast, not podcast, but Youtube videos and he has a very specific English accent?
No, this is on a newspaper, Russia Beyond, and so this…
Is this Russia Beyond the Headlines, cause this is actually..
Well it just appears in my Facebook, I don’t know how it got there, I just subscribed to it.
You’re locked out Barbara.
You’re on a Russian Federation mailing list and…
And they show this woman to show how strong women are, in high heels, and how beautiful they are in high heels, in a dress without any kind of fur coat walking in the winter. And they’ll show her face like look how calm I am, I'm not cold, I’m Russian and very strong. I can walk in high heels in the snow.
Do you think that only ads to the stereotypes?
I think that adds to the stereotype. I think that is the stereotype.
Well it’s like the Gazprom ad, has anyone seen the Gazprom advert? I mean I’m not gonna… Try to keep this as English has possible, but they say Сила России, strength of Russia, Сила реки, strength of the river, Сила красоты, which is strength of beauty. I don’t know if you’ve seen this.
I’ve seen when it’s time for voting, they’ll have these billboards up, for Russia, for the city, for the people.
Yeah I’ve seen it for all the different parties around town, yeah, you have the pensioners’ party, the communist party, you have…
Have you ever heard a stereotype or had you ever heard a stereotype before coming here about Russian never smiling?
Do you find this true or…?
To an extent yes, but it’s not like it’s illegal to smile or anything. If you… Usually it’s in… So for instance if you go to an information desk I guess, you’re not gonna be greeted with the biggest smile necessarily.
That’s a little bit of an understatement.
The Soviet generation is not big smilers.
Well we in America are really taught for, you know, to be smilers for service, like in service industry. Hello, welcome to McDonald’s, what can I get you for you? …
Unless it’s the DMV, which is a different… There people don’t smile.
The DMV. The department of motor vehicles.
So if you go to get your license… Well I guess they’re not selling anything, they don’t have to…
They get their salary, the don’t have to worry about smiling, so yeah.
So I guess, yeah, maybe… Well because America, it’s built on capitalism, and you have to sell things.
We’re gonna talk about this, so…
A little bit later, yeah.
So any other stereotypes about Russia or Russians?
I think I had a stereotype that everybody was a chess player.
So I will ask oh do you play chess? You don’t! Not Russian!
Are you good at math? You’re not? Outrageous!
You like sunflower seeds? What? You don’t like sunflower seeds?
It’s actually a stereotype about Russia that Russians tend to be very good at maths and perhaps it is true to an extent.
Better than Americans, let’s put it that… Which is not saying a lot.
You know, it’s interesting to ask you about this and then compare it to the answers my students gave me cause when I start teaching first year students, so 17-18-19 years old, I always ask them so what do you know about Russia? So anything that comes to mind, why have you chosen Russian? And people always say things like never smile, drink vodka and Slav squat. Like, these are the things..
Slav squats, yeah, that’s…
I’m like well, that’s not much, but okay, we’ll work on that.
Imagine the gopniks sitting, squatting…
So you know the squatting.
It comes from prison culture I believe. Prisoners at some point were not allowed to sit down or something for a long period of time, and they turned to squatting and a lot of..
Yeah a lot of people taken this culture outside of Russia.
Yeah I think I read that in Russia Beyond.
Right. Another point of pride. Who’s got the best squat? We do, we do.
And then I was also surprised that…
Slav squat, gracious, I’ve never even heard that.
No. I mean I know what it is. Definitely.
Something to practice now.
I think I know what we’re gonna take a picture of for this podcast’s cover picture.
When I first came to Russia back in 2013-2011, squatting was definitely a big thing. People were huddling around, yeah, it was a very big thing.
So 2013, 2011, I saw many squat… not squatters, people who squatted. People would smoke cigarettes…
Well it depends on… Because you were a student where you were living.
Well Krasnodar at least. Petersburg as well.
Well I’m sure where you were living, I’m sure there were a lot of places where nobody was squatting.
I hope. You go to Krasnodar and everyone is squatting.
I have seen on few occasional squatters recently, but not… People who squat, cause squatters is a different term. Squatters are people who illegally…
But it’s not legal. We know we’re not talking about those guys.
I’m not talking about those.
Talking about Russian squatters.
We’re talking about Slav squatters.
I heard one more stereotype maybe that I heard people ask me about, at least, you know, three times while I was in the US. So people ask me where are you from? And I say I’m from Russia. They’re like oh so you can talk to my friend, he’s Polish.
I’m like I don’t speak Polish. You don’t? But you speak… You’re from Russia. I’m like yeah, speak Russian. But you don’t understand polish? Like, you would be surprised, but no.
So a lot of people for some reason, well, not a lot, but at least, you know, like 5-6 people I met thought that if you’re from Russia or if you’re from Ukraine, or if you’re from Poland, that means you speak all of the Slavic languages. That means that you can understand Ukrainian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Polish. No.
…from the Soviet Union, because when I worked with ballerina from Moldova, I’d say okay where are you going for your vacation and she say oh I’m going back to Russia. And then she’d say, comments to say maybe it would be Kiev. I said that’s not Russia. She was oh, it’s all Russia. So I thought well, that’s Soviet Union mentality when it belonged to the Soviet Union.
So it’s that kind of mentality where it’s all Russia. No matter…
I guess Kiev did use to be the capital of Russia a long time ago, but a long long time…
But we don’t talk about that.
No we don’t’ talk about that.
Right, I actually have a question to you.
You may find that disappearing from your feed, yes.
So and tell me. Are stereotypes always negative?
I would say 99.9% of the time. You might find some cute little anecdote in 1% of the time, but most times I think it’s negative.
Well for instance Swiss stereotypes. They’re always… Everything runs on time in Switzerland.
Well German has the same…
And Germany of course too, yeah.
And I’m proud of that, cause I’m a quarter German. So I like the thing that I’m always punctual.
What are the other ¾? Right yes.
Well I’ve got about 5 or 6 quarters.
I don’t think that’s how math works, you know.
Yeah. Well it’s not our strength, that’s more of a Russian strength.
You it’s like the bigger half.
That’s the fruit of an American education. American math and science education.
Let’s just say I’m a mud, that’s all, I’m a mud.
Alright. Well, we all are.
Alright. So and in what way are stereotypes negative? So, what bad can happen?
Well first of all it’s harmful, it’s a tool to actually oppress a certain group of people and it’s done by maybe twisting the truth, it could be based on truth. But really, saying something negative about them and it could even be used for stirring people to war as well.
Cause you use stereotyping that they are your enemy so you wanna stir the citizens to war. So it’s made up to be your enemy and therefore for you not to like them and therefore it will be a good tool to, well, to support racism, sexism, xenophobia.
Antianimalism, animal cruelty.
Well yeah we may say that it can lead to hatred, racism, phobias, bias, you name it.
If we go really-really-really deep, so let’s pretend we’re all cavemen.
Ben is going to go very-very deep, so…
Very-very deep. Let’s pretend we’re all cavemen and we’re all living in a cave.
He’s gonna do the evolution thing, I could feel it coming.
If you say oh if you go outside, there’s this big tiger and it’s gonna rip your head off, that’s I guess is the origin of stereotype. If you go to this place, this will happen to you. So it comes from a place of self-defense initially. And then over the years I guess it’s evolved into perhaps a negative.
Are you saying that these men are wanting to get along with the whole world if there is a whole world out there.
No, they’re just warning other members of their tribe of the dangers that can happen out there.
And those are true dangers, right?
Yeah, yeah. Like a tiger coming in, having its way with you. And then after a while evolution happens and different tribes and cultures evolve and it’s all just a messy game of do you know Chinese whispers? Do you know that game?
Oh when you kinda whisper something in one person’s ear, then he has to say the same thing to another person and then after 10 people you check what the…
So it’s telephone we call it.
In Russia we call it the broken telephone.
And the fact that you would call it the Chinese whispers does sound stereotypical, right.
It’s the whole… It’s those bad Chinese.
Because we say things like oh it’s Chinese to me meaning I don’t understand it. That’s Chinese to me, because Chinese is considered so foreign.
But in English we’d say it’s Greek to me.
Oh yeah it’s true, right. I’ve heard that.
But here you say китайская грамота, right?
I don’t think we say that anymore.
Okay. Well they used to say it, they used to say it.
Does that mean you’re like illiterate or what?
Well what it means is it’s something unreadable. I can’t make any sense. Do I turn it this way or this way?
So it’s like Chinese script. Which way is it? You know, is it…?
So basically everything has been lost in a long game of broken telephone or whatever you wanna call it.
So yeah and thousands of years later we have what we have.
it’s all about power tripping, I mean that’s the nature of our world, right, the balance of power. And so you gotta make your enemies to be a certain thing.
Right, it does serve if you stereotype somebody. Most, not all the time, I mean I can’t say… Let’s take example, Russians as chess players, right. That actually says maybe I’m not gonna hack it there because they are so smart and playing chess all the time.
And studying physics, right. And you know what I mean, so that actually was not total, it wasn’t… It’s not all… You can’t stereotype stereotypes.
Right, yes, I think we don’t wanna do that to even stereotypes. Those little feeling of those stereotypes will be hurt.
Right, yeah, they’re very sensitive.
Alright, so we’ve talked about stereotypes…
Long forgotten Gary, long forgotten.
New question now.
00:25:18 G: I’m following carefully.
So we’ve talked about stereotypes Russians and Russia. What about England?
Oh they drink tea all of the time.
To be honest it is kinda true yeah. It is.
Maybe not 4 o’clock, any time of day to be honest. I just had three cups of tea with milk so. It’s definitely.
And what about crumpets? Do you like crumpets?
Crumpets, to be honest yeah, I like crumpets.
I think so. All I know is the stereotype that the English like…
It’s kind of like a pastry, it’s kinda hard to describe.
But it’s a particular thing, right?
Yeah it’s a particular thing. It’s like a pastry. I guess crumpet, scones. To be honest, what is the difference? Maybe you know more.
But you just said scones and scones in England and in the US are totally different things.
Yeah. Well I know in America crumpet… English muffins, what are English muffins in America?
That you have to cut in half.
Right, those are English muffins.
That’s what I think of. I could be wrong.
But I think that’s a crumpet, yeah.
Could be wrong. I mean yeah, double check me on this.
Yeah, cause you’re British, you should know.
Yes, but I have got an American mother and so I am a bit twisted.
So you’re quarter, quarter, quarter. Half of that, quarter of that.
One of those six quarters.
Alright. So English love their tea. What are other stereotypes?
It’s cold and dreary and you’re all detectives, right? Like Sherlock Holmes.
It is cold and dreary absolutely, yeah. Detectives, maybe, maybe.
I think British people seem to be very calm, that would be my stereotype.
It used to… That definitely, for instance, in the second world war, it definitely was the case, yeah.
It’s the old motto that has been re…
And those are all positive, everything is positive.
I wouldn’t say calm anymore. Now the internet has changed things.
Well the negative to calm would be cold, that the British are rather cold.
Yes, a lot of people… I think maybe that is a Russian stereotype of Brits.
I think maybe that’s kind of an American stereotype of Brits also.
Well Barbara you say that these are all good stereotypes. Well I heard some bad stereotypes about English as well or Britain.
Go on, I literally don’t care.
Or England, let’s first talk about that. It’s that first they are… They have horrible antisocial behavior when abroad.
Oh that’s absolutely true.
It’s 100% true and yeah… Every single Spanish or Greek town braces themselves for the summer when the Brits come.
Like the soccer, the football.
Not just the football. Well football is kinda part of it, but if…
Well do you mean just going to all those all-inclusive resorts or whatever?
Yeah we just… People get drunk and flip over sunchairs and destroy the town and… vomit everywhere. It’s not…
Right on those sunchairs.
Unfortunately that’s a true…
Oh man, why are there so many of them? All of the sunchairs.
It is true. And yeah a lot of nationalities don’t like the Brits on their holiday.
I heard that stereotypes about Russians.
Well it’s actually quite funny, I’m not sure if you know about modern Russian football fans trying to emulate the stereotypical old school English football fans.
Right, yes. Were they after or were they before the….
Is anyone aware of 2018 football World Cup? So not the football World Cup, so the Euros I think it was, Euros.
It took part in Russia in 2018.
So no no no, that was the world cup, I’m talking about the Euros. Maybe it was 2018.
The Europe championship. I know a someone who is a kind of a wannabe football hooligan, I like him. He is one of the football hooligans.
Not from here, no no no, from England, someone I know. And he went out with his football fan friends, sorry soccer fan friends.
Well now I understand, okay.
Now, oh, that game with a round ball.
He went to I think either Nice or Marseille in France and I believe England faced off Russia. And…
Yeah and all the English football fans thought they would be like, they would revive old school British or English football hooligan behavior and then Russians completely wipes the floor with the Brits. And the Russian fans, they were all… They didn’t drink anything, they prepared to fight.
They came ready to kick arse.
It’s because they’d been… They can’t go that long without drinking and therefore their mood was so bad.
I think they’re called ultras or ultras…
And they kind of have an old admiration for the old school British hooligans and they have this stereotype of…
The internet, the internet, I nominate the Internet. I bet the internet did, Instagram. Instagram.
Well don’t blame the Instagram!
It is the Internet… Not necessarily Instagram.
Let Instagram defend Itself.
Yeah so. This is obviously…. I’m talking about football hooligans, I’m not talking about the general population. But yeah. There is this shared communality between Brits and Russians in this respect.
Well congratulations to both countries.
And that’s installed into holiday culture in Spain and Greece. I believe Brits and Russians are shockingly similar on holiday. We like to make a mess all over.
Sounds so, it sounds so, unfortunately.
Unfortunately for the locals. But…
We Americans are innocent in this, we just destroy our own towns I think.
Just stay inside the country.
That’s right, we stay, we just go downtown and we destroy that.
Florida, I mean, Florida is the place.
Right, yes. We’ll just go destroy our own place. That’s how we do it.
I heard one more stereotype about England is that English food is all bland or boiled or fried.
It definitely used to be the case, it definitely used to be the case. Recently there’s been a huge revival of British cuisine and ever since Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver came to the scene, that changed a lot.
Oh god I love Jamie Oliver.
But that definitely used to be a stereotype. For instance a typical British grandmother would overboil her vegetables and…
Yes. And might say oh, want more gruel please.
More gruel. Yeah, British food was never knows for its…
Yes, more of this wonderful gruel. I haven’t had enough gruel yet.
But recently British food is… London is a gastronomical capital of the world now, but it definitely used to, definitely was not the case before.
You know I remember when I was in Britain for the first time and I was living in a student residence and we had dining hall. And I remember coming for breakfast for the first time and the thing is that I came at around 8 am and that was already too late.
So and I was like okay, give me whatever and it was like, you know, those cold beans, greasy tomatoes. I’m like it’s tomatoes, they’re not supposed to be greasy. What did you do to them? And it was just so bad…
Oh my goodness. Is that what I’m gonna eat for the next two weeks?
We serve them the way our grandmothers used to serve them to us. No mercy.
But for those who still think that English food is bland and boring, check out… There is a video on Youtube in a channel called Anglophenia and I think the video I called 11 British food you need to try. So and it shows you all the tasty things.
Yes they might sound like death to your arteries cause they’re all fried or something, but still looks tasty. Like Scotch egg I think it is? Cause it’s what…
Yeah yeah yeah Scotch egg.
Cause it’s egg wrapped in sausage, bread crumbs and then deep fried.
Oh of course it is. I was right with you until the deep, what, deep fried.
Well there’s… a Scottish stereotype is deep frying everything. And it is true that Scots do like to deep fry everything. I don’t know if any of you’ve tried a deep fried ice cream or deep fired Mars bars.
Oh that sounds like… That’s actually an American thing.
I thought it comes from Scotland, I don’t know.
The Mexicans have some kind of weird ice cream that you…
What is it? Churros? Something like that.
Oh churros is… It’s just deep fried batter.
Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
Something like that, yeah.
And then you dip it in chocolate sauce.
And then deep fry it again.
Deep fried ice cream I was actually… It’s so great. I tried deep fried Mars bar many years ago and I thought that was gonna be disgusting. I was so shockingly, I was shocked, it was amazing.
Okay. So wait, you’ve mentioned Scottish stereotypes, so what other stereotypes that you have in England about Scotland and Wales?
Scotland and Wales. Well let’s move it the other way. The Scots don’t like the English basically. The Welsh…
The Welsh are okay with the English actually.
But the English are not okay with the Welsh.
We have a lot of funny stereotypes about the Welsh. I love the Welsh, I’ve been to Wales a few time. Great place. Great people, love it. But we do have some funny stereotypes.
To be honest it’s kind of rude. I don’t want to… That people have…
Wait this is a stereotype, that doesn’t mean that we personally have to believe them.
We have families with many children…
Well that people have relations with sheep, let’s say that. Let’s just say that.
That is animal abuse and is so disgusting.
Barbara thank you for defending the animals again.
The Welsh don’t particularly..
I feel like the entire animal kingdom is safe with Barbara. Barbara behind the microphone.
I’ll always be on the side of animals.
Scotland. So people, yeah generally… It’s kinda of like what I said about alcohol in Russia, people think that Scots are alcoholics and… Maybe, maybe more so, maybe it is more of a case than it is in Russia now, I don’t know. But that Scots are… They’re tough people.
Well they have to because they wear those skirts.
Right, yes, you gotta be ready to defend yourself.
They’re fun, they’re funny. You don’t wear underwear with that.
You don’t wear underwear with that?
Yeah you don’t wear underwear. And you have a sporran, which is, sorry, it’s a fur, it’s a fur thing which you put on top.
But the animals died naturally and they come up and remove the fur.
Do you know what a sporran is?
I guess you could model one for us.
I will try. But it’s basically this puffy bag which they wear on a.. around your waist over the kilt.
And they have… the traditional Scottish wear uses a… The Scottish national costume I guess you can say, you wear a knife on your leg it’s called a sgian-dubh, but dubh is spelled as d-u-b-h. Sgian-dubh.
Yeah which is a strange word but yeah. Basically the stereotype is that Scots have whiskey which I guess is true to an extent.
Well they make one of the best, well, the best whiskeys in the world.
Well there’s a debate that Japanese make the best whiskey versus…
Let’s not forget the American. What am I defending here? Cancel that.
Actually I tried bourbon, bourbon is great, bourbon is great, it really is, but Scots do make really good whiskey, as do the Irish. And what other stereotypes?
Well that they dance the highland fling. They do this because this is the sign of a deer, means that you are hunting things.
On and then the rock and roll adopted it.
Oh I don’t know. We only have five fingers so there’s only a few things that you can do with your fingers. I don’t think that that came because of the Scottish. But they do the highland fling so and this is wonderful rhythmic dancing with the feet. Tells all about the hunting party.
By the way, what about the Irish?
What are stereotypes about them?
Everyone loves the Irish and the Irish hate the English.
There is a common element here.
In England everyone loves the Irish people and they don’t return the love.
Yeah it is a little bit, but yeah. Irish people are great. The stereotype. They speak a little quickly, maybe it’s true. What else?
Well don’t they drink? Aren’t they also alcoholics?
Yeah the alcohol is another stereotype as well. Maybe there’s some truth in that, I don’t know.
Oh the Irish pubs are supposed to not allow women, so they’re a little chauvinistic. In the olden days.
Perhaps. Well definitely in the olden days it was like that. Yeah. I mean to be honest alcohol is a huge problem in the UK in general and Ireland as well. So yeah.
So I’ll disclose here that I do have Irish, Scottish and English blood.
Well thank you for disclosing.
Right, right. It’s a wonder you can even hold that together, right, yes.
Holding those six quarters.
So Gary, what’s your heritage?
I’m all squatters. ¾ Slavic squatters. No I’m ¾ Slovak.
And then a quarter German.
So maybe you’re somewhat related to Andy Warhol, I don’t know. He was… Wait was he Czech or Slovak? I can’t remember.
I remember Gary mentioned the Germans when we talked about our families and everything. But you never mentioned the Slovak part of the family.
Well that was more of an imprint on my family. Both my grandfathers. Let’s see, one grandfather was born in Slovakia, came to the United States and then came back and grew up in Slovakia. And my other, so both grandfathers were Slovak.
Have you been to Slovakia?
I went to Bratislava, it’s actually a fun place, yeah. Check it out if you can.
Yeah. I would like to do that.
Another stereotype about Brit – they destroy Bratislava. Brits come to Bratislava and they come to Hungary and other countries for stag doe. You know what stag does are?
Stag does. So you have hen does and stag does. So basically the night or the week before someone gets married.
Stag doe, yeah yeah, doe.
And it’s not like just a party but it’s a whole week.
It is a few nights and basically people get absolutely sloshed or drunk whatever you wanna say and it is a true stereotype. If there is British stag party…
Because it’s cheaper than in the UK.
Wait didn’t you tell me the same thing about places in England? Oh no, you didn’t. We had a podcast about travelling, but it was with Stephen and John both of whom are form Britain and we talked about travelling in England around England and Britain and outside.
And they said about one place, maybe… It might’ve been Cambridge or something like that and I was like oh it’s all touristy and lovely, they were like yes, but a lot of people go there to have their stag parties and hen parties. I’m like really? They were like oh yeah.
Skegness. It’s on the coast. North-East.
I don’t remember, I don’t remember.
Skegness is this seaside town, which is quite a funny place and people get absolutely trashed there. Maybe it’s there, I don’t know.
Bratislava, yeah. Well, so…
Wait but does that mean that now you’ll have to get a visa or something to go there?
No no no. 90 days visa free, so this is not a problem.
You just have to… The only problem is the covid test certificate. It’s everywhere now.
Now it’s a little bit of a difficult time.
Okay. Alright. So and what about stereotypes about America and Americans?
So a lot of… Given that my mother’s American and I’m English, I’ve been caught in between the two. A lot of Brits have this annoying stereotype about, not me, I don’t have this stereotype that Americans are dumb and fat and this is kind of annoying, kind of annoying.
Oh my goodness. It’s so true.
I think we’re almost identical. We have a huge obesity problem in the UK and a fair share of idiots as well.
I remember actually hearing a lot about this stereotype about obesity and before I went to the US people were like oh Katya, you’re gonna put on so much weight. I’m like oh, I don’t know. But I lived in Massachusetts, I was surprised to see that so many people are so fit, they’re always running in the morning.
Well that’s because you were in…
Definitely true in Los Angeles, in New York, in…
But if you go down south, no disrespect to our lovely south, but in the country, if you get out of the cities where people are, you know, trying to be fit and all those things. Out in the county they’re not trying to be fit, just trying to do what they wanna do.
But it’s… I don’t hold this stereotype myself, but it’s just kind of annoying if you come from some kind of American family and you go to the UK, people might be a bit snooty, it’s kind of annoying. Well definitely in posher circles, I don’t know about… Maybe in not so posh circle as well, I don’t know. It’s kinda annoying.
Loud and obnoxious I would say.
Yeah loud and obnoxious. It’s just that we, we had a history of being, having access to luxury and I guess that kinda can make you…
Well like tv sets, you know, like everyone would have a tv set. I’m talking like about those things or something. Remember about dumbing down of America? You gotta shoot your tv. The dumbing down of America is that we’re sitting there, watching show, dumb show after dumb show after dumb show.
And we had you know these you gotta shoot your tv and don’t get dumbed down. We still have that now, I mean with the Internet… Well I don’t know.
I think the whole world has that now.
Different ways of getting dumbed down, yeah.
I mean have the Internet and Netflix now, so.
And that’s a big dumb down too.
One of the stereotypes that I heard as well is that everyone, a lot of people are workaholics, they’re crazy about work. Career over family. So people are ready to work almost 24/7 to reach their goals, cause… and that leads to another stereotype cause they wanna have big houses, big cars, big tv, very materialistic.
Well yeah, that’ll come down to an American dream. Remember the 2.5 kids, the big house, the car.
You just add the animal together and then you get one human.
You just multiply six quarters by two and round up.
Well Gary’s gonna back me up on that because it is a saying 2.5 kids.
Yeah that’s just, it’s true. On average.
Yes. On average. And the house. And it is a capitalistic society. We argue toward what does success mean?
Well the whole origin of the American institution is that everyone deserves having their own property as long as they…
Right. It’s a property-oriented, yes, it’s a property-oriented…
And we got that from England.
Yeah yeah, yeah, it is, yeah, it is.
That you should have your property be safeguarded.
Right. And then sort of unlimited opportunity to better yourself.
And then if you become a failure and here you’re under this direction to always be successful, it can lead to a lot of…
Well it’s just hard now. And I remember and Barbara perhaps you remember.
When the middle class, middle people were doing better than they are now. And it’s hard to… Like now it takes two incomes whereas…
Right. There is a sign of a strong economy if there is a strong middle class. But middle class now means both parents have to go out to work. If there are two parents.
Like the stereotype. Just to keep it going, not even…
Well because they want to live beyond their means. If they had a little tacky house somewhere, they would be quite comfortable. But they have to have this big house. That’s a stereotype. And it’s engrained in us. Luckily, it’s of no importance to me at all, so I didn’t get in that trap.
Well Barbara, that is lucky.
You know what I heard about the US is that earlier, in the 60s or something like that, when you had a student loan, it would take you about 240 maybe 300 hours of work to pay it off. Now with the current student, you know, like the tuition, it would take you about 2000 hours to pay off your student loans.
And there are people who let’s say they want to be lawyers, they’re gonna go to the best law school because of the reputation and because that’s gonna make them…
I remember yeah… a friend of mine saying that med school would take about 1 million dollars, I mean, to finish your degree, cause it’s not just 4 years or 5 years, it’s 8.
Right. And then there is no guarantee that you are going to get a high power job after that. It’s just the degree.
Just as a comparison, I was talking to a friend of mine, he went to Cornell and no scholarship, no nothing. And Cornell’s a good…
Ivy League school. I was just talking about within memory and I looked it up in my record of absolutely everything and so he paid… His dad gave him a check which he took to the office and paid. His tuition for the entire year this would’ve been 1977, okay, pretty long ago, was $3500.
And automobile. My first car that I bought was probably half of that, it was the cheapest car on the market.
Just so you understand, my college pays… They pay for me when I work there and per year it’s 8000 only for accommodation.
And it’s 75000 per year of tuition.
Is it really? Which is that? That’s Wellesley?
Okay so going back to what you’re saying about Cornell, so my mom worked as a secretary at Stanford university and I’d wanted to go to Stanford university. Back then I remember it was like 2000 a year, something like that.
2000 a year for Stanford university. Plus she would’ve gotten some kind of benefits having worked, being working there. So I would’ve been able to, but it still was not affordable. Even that.
Yeah yeah, I mean it was probably a lot of money kind of. Not like it is now.
You know, a minimum wage of a waitress was like 2 dollars an hour.
Maybe more like a dollar and something?
Cause I think my first job was maybe… I mean real job was like a dollar, $1.15.
Yeah that’s true. Because in the 80s my first minimum paying job was like $2.50. In 1980s.
Yeah and this would’ve been in the 70s. Or mid 60s.
Alright. One more stereotype actually that I want to talk about. So I heard about a stereotype that a lot of Americans are environmentally ignorant. So what would you say about that?
Depends which part of America. I would say not necessarily.
We have a fine example of someone who is not environmentally ignorant.
The reason why I’m not is because I was brought up in the 70s ecology remember that came out.
We had to recycle, so that was something new, recycle, plant trees and all that. Then it went away when the age of the computer came and the Me generation what we called them in the 1980s, the Me generation, the Me me me.
Remember the Me generation? So then when the youngsters rediscovered ecology, but they don’t call it ecology, they call it environmental sciences or something, something environmental. But yeah, something that we’re raised to do.
And it was because and I said this in a different podcast, it was because of that blue marble, remember the astronauts took this picture of the blue marble? Our earth. And we saw that first stunning picture of our earth from a distance, we gotta take care of the marble.
Whoever wants to learn more on the topic, check out our episode on ecofriendliness, it was a great one. So let’s talk about stereotypes about different states in the US. So Barbara, you lived in California and Georgia.
Benjamin, you lived in Vegas. Gary, you’re from Ohio. So what are the stereotypes about these places? And are there any stereotypes about these places?
I mean, let’s start with the most boring state stereotypes.
No no no no, Kansas, Kansas.
Ohio’s gotta… If I had any idea you meant Kansas.
Sorry I didn’t mean to look at you.
Cause I said let’s talk about the states that we’ve lived in. And then you look at Gary and say this and I’m like oh wow.
That was just, yeah, that was just…
Not to …you or anything Gary, but tell us what Ohio’s like.
You’ve got the three big C’s, you’ve got the three big cities, cities that bring excitement and danger.
To Kansas or are we talking about…
Ohio, Ohio. You don’t give up.
You said Kansas. We’re talking about Ohio.
I think we can agree that Kansas is a little bit boring. I mean maybe, a lot of people from…
So leaving Kansas aside… So are there any stereotypes about Ohio?
I don’t think there’s powerful stereotypes about Ohio. Except that it’s just Midwestern sort of we call it Midwest…
No one talks about Ohio, really. I mean it’s just…
Yeah that’s basically correct.
I have to jump in with Florida. Everyone loves the stereotypes about Florida.
Florida. Well Florida has been coming into….
It’s a stereotypical state.
It’s been rowing into a total stereotype of its own which is…
Especially with this Florida man which has become…
Yeah, that’s great, yeah. But anyway, no Ohio’s just sort of Midwestern people are supposed to be sort of amiable, likeable.
Backbone of America. Just kind of everybody’s your friend.
Yeah honest. Sort of decent and things like that.
It’s like Ohio, Minnesota, Wyoming, generally.
Well no Wyoming is west. Iowa, yeah. Iowa is definitely.
Yeah we know about Georgia that back roads kind of thing, with the chewing tobacco, the guns, the dogs.
Oh is there a stereotype that people…
Cause I heard that stereotype about Texas.
Yeah, right. Well Texas is the south, as Georgia’s the south. Kind of.
I hear a stereotype that people in the south are so like their level of hospitality like southern hospitality, that they are so welcoming and friendly and everything. Is that true?
Right. I don’t know if that’s true. In a big city you are going to get a big city thing, but we’re definitely slower than certainly New York or even California. Hospitable… I think there are people, I mean they’re slow down, cause it’s so hot there, you gotta slow down and take your time.
I think people, I think it was… I was in Atlanta at a convention at a big hotel and people would actually greet you on an elevator.
They would say how you doing?
But that is a convention, right, you have to…
No, it was, this was just like local whatever. I mean I felt like that was just what people might do there or maybe it was… And I’ve also visited like North Carolina, things like this it’s a southern thing that you will be friendlier with a stranger than we would be in Ohio or certainly in New York, forget about it. As they say.
I remember giving a compliment while being in New York city and I think the person just looked at me like what? I’m like what was their reaction like? And my friend was like Katerina you are not in Massachusetts anymore, you’re not in Boston, stop doing that. Okay.
Gave a compliment. Just like oh, I love your hair. And the look that I had was like okay?
Really? Okay, okay. Well that’s interesting.
You’re right. Now that you’re kinda stirring up memories, long-long suppressed memories, yeah, people are more friendly. I can see that now. People will say oh yeah, I like your hair, where did you get your shoes? Yeah. Complete strangers.
Like little things that make it. Okay. And what about California? Cause you’ve lived in California.
California’s reputation is that we’re laid back and that we’re always in competition with New York city, because you’ve got the two coastal…
Yeah, there is. But then when you divide the state from… There is a difference between northern California and southern California. You would say that southern California is a little bit more conservative than Northern California.
You mean the east and the west? Say cause the further east you go, isn’t it more conservative.
No, I’m talking about just the state of California.
If you divide California into Northern California and to Southern California. Southern California would be a little bit more conservative.
Orange County considered. Although things are changing, you know, I’m speaking about decades ago.
Okay yeah yeah, like in the Reagan days, yeah.
Things are changing so much and I don’t even… I’m not even qualified to talk about California anymore.
Alright. And what about Vegas? What are the stereotypes about Vegas?
Vegas is such a transient state.
I thought, for a second I thought you were gonna say trashy.
Not Vegas, sorry, not Vegas, Nevada is such a transient state meaning that people move in and out of that state very frequently. So it’s kinda hard for there to be a local stereotype. However, I would say, of course it’s known as sin city, Vegas is known as sin city, which is true.
You go there to indulge in your sins. I mean, next door you have Utah which is known as kinda as like an angel state. So yeah, that’s a stereotype people have. And do you know what? I quite… People say rude things about Mormons, I’ve had nothing but nice experiences with Mormons, they’re friendly people, they work hard. Stereotype, but I don’t know, I have a soft spot for Mormons, I don’t know.
That’s because if you’re in a religion, you want to solicit people, come to our church service.
I mean I’m not a Mormon, but I mean, but yeah, I’ve got Jewish heritage. I don’t know, they’re, yeah, I don’t know.
Okay. Alright. And what are the stereotypes you’ve heard about Massachusetts? Cause I before I came there, I had no idea what kind of a place that was. And only later I found out all the stereotypes that…
Super liberal. Super-super liberal.
It’s actually a fact that they’re the bluest state in the country. Okay, what else?
Well there is a stereotype of New England which I, especially in the more northern… The more north you go, generally, like Maine, that they’re laconic, they don’t say very much. And they aren’t overly friendly or demonstrative or warm. Okay.
I guess Massachusetts you have the Irish stereotype I guess.
I heard a couple more that a lot of people in Massachusetts are very rude and horrible drivers.
And that’s why we have the term sorry about saying that, but Masshole. Like that term appeared in Massachusetts for the local people and everything, cause people drive horribly, act horribly according to the stereotype.
I’ve had very good experience, so that’s why when I’m telling people oh I love people here, they’re so friendly, they just look at me like are we talking about the same place right now Katerina, really?
Okay, this goes down to say that we’re all alike, we all have the worst of the worst, we all have the best of the best, right? You could say we’re all pretty much the same, stereotyping.
When people make stereotypes about Americans, it’s kinda annoying because America’s such a diverse country, there’s so many different places, it’s… I mean it’s essentially built up… each state is its own country in its own way. And it’s yeah, it’s kinda of annoying. I’m proud to have American passport, it’s a great place to come from.
It’s a great thing to have.
It’s a great place to be from. It’s like me, I’m from Ohio – great place to be from. Right.
Yeah, there’s so many interesting intricacies about each state and yeah.
Okay. So and what about if we change, you know, from talking about stereotypes regarding geography to professional stereotypes. So what stereotypes have you heard about teachers? Since we all here teach from… Wait, Gary, do you teach now?
Well I teach, I mean, sometimes.
Just wanted to make sure cause I was not sure. So are there any stereotypes about teachers?
Are you talking about English teachers or? Oh, English teachers. Yeah, that we’re uptight and we’re what we call grammar nazis.
Yeah, that is a term, that is a term, yeah. Grammar Nazis, yeah.
Yeah, I might have a pet peeve about when someone says a certain something and I’m just like I want to tell that person. And I’m not talking about teaching ESL, I’m not talking about that, I’m just talking about fellow English speakers.
Yeah I guess everyone has their own peeves.
Well like a double negative, I ain’t got no or I don’t got no or… It really bothers me.
Yeah my dad would not like it if I said oh I’m doing good, he would say you’re supposed to say well.
Exactly. Definitely. That’s my other one. I don’t like that.
I have a professor at Wellesley and he hates it when people say enjoy. He’s like this verb needs an object. Enjoy what?
Yes. But see, if you’re in a restaurant and you’re serving a very delicious dish and you’re gonna say enjoy. And you mean this.
Right, the whole server word thing is a problem, right. I’m sure the grammar nazi teacher that you’re describing, a professor, would have a problem with everything that they say. I’m so and so, and I’m gonna be your server.
Grammar’s always evolving.
In English we don’t really have the subjunctive case anymore. I don’t know if anyone knows.
Apparently the subjunctive case used to be much more prevalent in English. To be honest, I’m not an authority on this subject, and I watched an interesting documentary about it. So grammar does evolve.
So subjunctive would be like if I was you, I wouldn’t do that. Which is like oh no! It’s if I were you.
Right, if I were you. Please! But that’s already the language has changed.
It’s constantly changing, yeah.
I heard about a stereotype about English teachers at least in Russia that English teachers tend to be more open minded. And in general more flexible about changes.
Okay, that sounds good. That sounds.. That feels real good. I’m sure it’s false but it’s… Let it be false but true.
I guess the nature of English being such an international language, I guess you have so many different types of English teachers. You have English teachers from more conservative countries, you have English teachers from more liberal areas. It’s, yeah.
I don’t think so in that regard, because I think in America when we have certain rules and we deem how the British say it as wrong, we would axe it out, that is wrong. And I know you probably have the same thing that that American English is wrong.
Well ultimately American English comes from older English, well, obviously things have changed and things have evolved, but I think…
Yeah shall. Would you say shall we done?
Do you know what? I do, I do sometimes.
Sometimes I do. Shall I make you a cup of tea?
Yeah and there’s nothing wrong with me, it just sounds so formal.
It is quite formal, it is.
We say do you want me to, it’s…
Do you wanna cup of tea? Do you want me to make a cup of tea?
Shall I make you a cup of tea?
Yeah, that’s actually should. Because I was peaking with a group of students about this the other day because in Russian there’s no word for shall. I don’t think there’s a word for shall. And it’s kind of hard to translate between the two languages in that. Yeah.
Well your speech patterns…
But see, if we’re going to use shall, it’s gonna be coming from the Bible, you shall not kill. Shall not commit adultery. This is shall is like a commandment.
Well it used to be, it was first person, right. I shall, we shall. They all had…
We used to use it, I mean not long ago.
Well kind of like a model verb where it doesn’t… Wait wait wait, he shall. Yeah, it doesn’t change.
I have an example. For example, shall we move on in our podcast?
I think we can take that hint. Right, yes.
Cause I just have one last question actually and I have this question to Варвара. So are there any stereotypes about ballet dancers?
Yes. The stereotypes would be based on truth that we need to be very thin. So if you could draw some pictures, you might draw us throwing up or thinking maybe some kind of thought bubble of lots of food. So thinness, maybe your feet are not as pretty, you might have these big bunions and bloody blisters.
Varya, can you stand on your tip toes?
Yes, I can stand on the tip toes.
Yes I can stand on my tip toes.
Of course she can do that. What kind of question is that?
I mean, I’ve tried to do it and I almost broke my toe.
Well Ben, that’s why they train.
A disclaimer, we should put a disclaimer, don’t try to do this at home if you don’t have proper education to do that.
I guess you gotta be thin for that. I mean.
Maybe that’s why we can do it.
Put that weight on those toes.
All that training, we don’t need all that training.
I have a question about American school of ballet. Cause in Russia there is a stereotype that all the ballerinas, they have, you know, some malicious plans to destroy other ballerinas, cause they want to get, you know, get the spotlight. They want to be the prima ballerina. That’s why they just hate each other and are ready to destroy each other. So what about America?
Yeah it is competitive, but it can’t be just in America, it’s all over the world. O there is this competition. And it is a cold environment. And it’s gossipy and you might do something to maybe keep someone fro something. Yeah it’s not a pretty world, I don’t think.
That’s sad. Alright. Any other stereotypes you wanna talk about?
There’s so many. I mentioned it briefly in a previous podcast about German sunchairs.
The Germans wake up at 5 in the morning and take the sunchairs in the holiday resorts. And there’s always a war between the Brits and the Germans that has continued since…
I remember you mentioned that, yeah.
When the Brits don’t get the chairs, they come in and…
It is true. The hangover Brits don’t get the chairs and…
Aggressively overturn all the sunchairs.
Exactly. Coming back to that. It is true.
Alright. Well dear listeners, do you have any kind of stereotypes that you wanna discuss and do you know any other stereotypes about Britain, America, or Russia that we have not talked about? So if you do, make sure to send these ideas in the comment section on Vk or, well, again, any other platform.
Alright, well, then this was the BigAppleSchool podcast and today we discussed so many different stereotypes. So thank you for listening and remember if you struggle to understand our conversation, you are always welcome to our website which is BigAppleSchool.com/podcast.
You can find full scripts of each episodes there, so which are very interactive, so make sure to check this out. And if you want to get even more content, you can always follow us on any social media be that Instagram, Vk, Youtube, Telegram.
Just search our name which is BigAppleSchool. And if you have a kid, make sure to check our special Instagram profile, which is BigAppleKids. We have a lot of fun stuff there too. So my guests for today were…
So and we all know that everything comes to an end sooner or later and so has this season of BigAppleSchool podcast with me as a host. So that was Katya and I’m not saying farewell, I’m saying I’ll see you around.