Don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right (Episode 2)


In preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the official UK tourism bureau produced tips for dealing with people from other countries.

Comments (18)
  1. Z. Taylor says:

    Do the British really talk about the Mexican-American War a lot? I couldn't tell you the last time I had a conversation about (to reach back to a comparable period) the wars between Austria, Piedmont, and France. This is not because I'm out to spare the feelings of Italians, Austrians, or French tourists, it just sort of works out that way.

    (Hums the Radetzky march, goes about his business.)

  2. James Schend says:

    @ZTaylor: I think they're more upset about the pig war: en.wikipedia.org/…/Pig_War

    They loved that pig.

  3. Robin Williams says:

    @Z. Taylor: As a Brit, I'd volunteer that no it's not a frequent topic of conversation.

    In view of fairness, I'd contribute to this list that British people enjoy copious amounts of tea (I've had 6 cups today) and complaining (in private but rarely in public).

  4. Z. Taylor says:

    @James Schend: Ah, the Pig War. Virginians really hadn't figured out this sea power thing in the years that had elapsed since the battle of Long Island, had they?

    For what it's worth, the Austrians or rather Austro-Hungarians fought a similarly bloodless "Pig War" against Serbia, embargoing Serbian pig exports around 1910. If only all parties had left it at that…

  5. KDeacon says:

    "Good conversational topics are Mexican culture, history, museums. Never discuss the Mexican American War, poverty, aliens, or earthquakes."

    Or Top Gear.

  6. Nick says:

    @KDeacon:

    Not being British myself (but greatly enjoying Top Gear nevertheless), I would guess, just from the content on the show, that you're probably better off not mentioning Top Gear regardless of the nationality of your companions.  Unless they're all British, of course :).

    My favorite was the last one:

    "Koreans are not Chinese."

  7. Will says:

    As an American I can forgive them for the American War of Independence but for the War of 1812 … NEVER!!!

  8. PhilW says:

    Raymond is apparently a Fawlty Towers fan, as well as Monty Python. When Germans are guests at Basil's hotel, his preoccupation with not mentioning the war results in him referring to it all the time, hence "I think I got away with it". I won't spoil the punchline.

  9. Will (not the Will who posted before, but also an American) says:

    "In America, time is a very important commodity. People “save” time and “spend” time as if it were money in the bank."

    Are the expressions "save time" and "spend time" really not used outside the United States?

  10. Jeremy Price says:

    "So what special abilities does your race have?"

    "Uhh, I get a +1 INT and can automatically locate the closest Four Seasons."

  11. Voo says:

    @PhilW: Oh I LOVE that episode (and I'm Austria, which is mostly the same as German for foreign purposes ;) )

  12. Cheong says:

    "Koreans are not Chinese."

    Funny this line goes without actually stating any difference at all.

    Bonus point when one of my friends got misrecognized as Japanese before.

    It does sound more like a joke than official instruction.

  13. Miral says:

    Well, the one about New Zealand seems fairly accurate to me… ;)

  14. Neil says:

    Are those price Czechs just a laborious pun?

  15. Gook says:

    How did it feel to lose the vietnam war?

  16. Reader says:

    @Gook, felt betrayed by the left once again.

  17. Joren says:

    The Dutch have a strong desire to order their time in agendas and on calendars.

    New to me.

    The Dutch hardly ever invite people with whom they are not closely acquainted for dinner.

    This is true.

    The Dutch do not believe in lining up and show almost no consideration in public for a person’s status, gender, or age.

    Huh? We queue almost as well as the English. Not as neat, but functional. The second part is true though, in a queue everyone is equal.

  18. AndyC says:

    Weirdly "save time" is a common phrase in the UK, as is "spend time" to lesser extent, so I've no idea why they're in there. A few of the others may (or may not) be good advice, but most of them seem fairly obvious. It's good to see the UK government aren't wasting our taxes on stupid "research" I suppose….

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