Etiquette 101, 1943-style

Bloggers and authors Boak and Bailey have brought to attention an Allied propaganda film of 1943 explaining the English pub and other aspects of U.K. life to American soldiers in England.

It’s a good piece, as always for an item of this vintage it reflects its time, but as B & B note, the core advice is still relevant, in fact for any culture. (There were/are dicks in English pubs too or on parade in favoured tourist destinations. You read about them in the popular English media every day…).

A few observations viz. the subject film: note the presence of Scots, which is emphasized. This was done I think to suggest the heterogeneity of British society but also to reflect that many Americans were still conscious of Scots, or the connected Scots-Irish, heritage. English heritage in contrast was probably considered too distant or diluted. The name Meredith in fact sounds more English than anything else but he sounds and looks, I would say, like a prototypical New Yorker of indeterminate origins.

From a beer standpoint, it’s ironic that Burgess Meredith’s father and uncles, certainly their fathers, would not have been ignorant of “bitter and mild”, served indeed from handpumps, in American ale houses of direct British lineage. I’ve written often of this tradition here and considerably in my musty ale article.

That it was felt the average soldier was ignorant of this history shows that an Americanized German brewing had completely taken over by the 1940s.

In the end, what this film was teaching was good manners, something always salutary which could have applied as well within the United States. A bunch of New Yorkers on the loose in towns of the deep south were probably as strange/threatening to local denizens as the Yanks were to their English hosts in wartime. And vice versa.

Note re image: the image above was sourced from Pinterest, here. It is used for educational and historical purposes. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner or authorized user, as applicable. All feedback welcomed.

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