Monday, March 11, 2002

RUE BRITANNIA: Does it bother anyone else that the entertainment world has decided that Americans are too stupid to enjoy British TV and books without having them "translated" into "American" or dubbed with an American accent? I was annoyed to learn a few years ago that the Harry Potter series had been "translated" for U.S. distribution. As a kid I loved reading British books because the spelling, the idioms, and the syntax were all a little different. I've recently been reminded of this annoying editorial practice because my toddler is into the very British Thomas the Tank Engine TV series. It's bad enough that Hollywood made a full-length Thomas movie with American actors (including the dim Alec Baldwin) and has George Carlin narrate the video series. But even though producers thought American audiences were incapable of handling a British accent, they didn't change all the British phrases and expressions. Listening to someone with an American accent read lines like, "Thomas, what a silly engine you were. From now on you shall have to be more sensible," is really weird and grating.

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