A recent study showed that more Americans were killed by police in one recent month in March, than were killed by police in the UK over the course of the entire 20th century. If you live in America, you’re about 10,000 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than someone living in Britain.
Must be a terrible place to live, right?
British newspapers have taken an almost ghoulish delight in their coverage of recent cases of American police brutality. There’s a subtext to these stories- where they reassure Britons about how good they have it over in Blighty- where sensible bobbies would never ever shoot you in the back. Isn’t it just awful in the states, with their ridiculous war on drugs, their uber-militaristic approach to policing and their crazed gun-culture? How do they live with the constant danger?
But the ice cream here in Britain sucks. Really- it’s bad.
A little history: future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was, in her youth, once part of a team of chemists, working to find a way to double the amount of air in ice cream, in order to save on the cost of ingredients. The fact that they succeeded in their quest to make ice cream less pure, while also generating bigger profits, tells you a great deal about both Mrs Thatcher and about how little British people properly appreciate ice cream.
Mr. Whippy is the main British soft serve brand. And while there’s some doubt about how much Thatcher directly contributed to its invention, there is no question about the awful taste of the end result. British soft serve ice cream is a chemical-laced monstrosity that, in taste and texture, resembles whipped, melted plastic. American chain Dairy Queen also makes claims to have invented soft serve, and while their product couldn’t fairly be called “good” it is still miles ahead of its British equivalent.
And things aren’t that much better with British “regular” ice cream- the kind you buy in tubs in supermarkets. If you lift up a tub of UK-manufactured ice cream, it’ll feel unnaturally light- a result of the nation’s stubborn belief that somehow pumping frozen dairy full of air somehow makes it better. It’s rather inexplicable, because the UK very much values its dairy products- the yoghurt over here, for example, is much better than that found in the states. But if you can find good ice cream in Blighty, chances are it’ll have been imported from the USA or Italy, or even Sweden (Magnum bars, which are great, came from Sweden, although they are now distributed by multi-national company Unilever).
Maybe it’s the cold damp weather, but there’s also no tradition of “soda fountains” over here- shops where mixologists called “soda jerks” put together mouth watering concoctions consisting of creams, syrups, sodas and of course, ice cream. But Scandinavia isn’t exactly known for its warm dry weather, and they somehow manage to put together some quality ice cream. The whole of the UK it seems, is either incapable, or uninterested in creating ice cream that doesn’t suck.
What the hell does any of this have to do with police brutality?
Trust me, it does- because the quality of frozen treats in your home country is far more likely to have a direct impact on your life than the quality of policing.
I’ve blogged several times about the superiority of the British policing system, and about how inherently more violent American culture is. But when I go back to the states to visit, it’s not like the main thought on my mind is: “I hope this trip doesn’t end in me being shot in the back by an over-zealous policeman.” Instead I’m thinking to myself: “Finally- I get to have a real milkshake!”
By the numbers…
I’ve had 1 gun pulled on me in my decades of living in America, but I was on an Indian reservation, which is technically not American territory.
I’ve been involved in 0 muggings, 0 beatings, 0 stabbings and 0 mass shootings.
But I’ve had literally thousands of encounters with really good frozen treats.
Root beer floats with thick vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with a maraschino cherry on top. Giant banana splits and sundaes, slathered with generous helpings of nuts, chocolate and even berries. Ice cream sandwiches made with giant chocolate chip cookies. Hand made popsicles, filled with exotic flavours like cucumber lemon mint, or chocolate and peanut butter with honey and banana (called an Elvis bar).
I’ve supped countless ice cream sodas, egg creams and malted shakes. Eaten hundreds of creamsicles, fudge-icles and fudge-sicles. I’ve worked my way through scores of slurpees, blizzards, snow cones, bomb pops, italian ices and orange juliuses. I’ve devoured dozens of otter pops, ‘icee’ pops and twin popsicles. Frozen bananas, choco-tacos, klondike bars and eskimo pies. Purple cows, jello pudding pops, peanut buster parfaits, Mcflurries, chipwiches and cookie pusses.
In America, ice cream is so important, that it’s common for children’s birthday cakes to be made completely out of ice cream. Giant. Ice. Cream. Cakes. For every child in the country if they want one. It brings a tear to my eye to think about all that milky, chilly happiness.
So if you’re a British person worried about coming over to Disney World due to all the violence in the USA, there’s no need to be afraid. You’re going to have a good time, and you’re going to have so much good ice cream that you’ll need to worry more about your waist line than about police brutality…
Unless you’re black. Or poor. Or Muslim. Or protesting against something. Or worst of all, poor, black and Muslim, and protesting against something. Then you really do have an astronomically greater chance of getting shot in the back by a cop. It’s a high price that some Americans pay for all that frozen deliciousness.
I guess with everything considered, maybe we should all learn to appreciate Mr Whippy.