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Toby Young Thinks Americans Hate Him Because He's British, Jay Rayner Disagrees

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Writing for the Guardian, critic Toby Young offered fellow Brit Jamie Oliver some advice regarding his American television debut. Simple things: that Oliver should be a big meanie and "embrace his status as a social pariah" (think: Cowell, Ramsay). Because Americans — "in the grip of a massive inferiority complex" no less! — have a imperialist-disdaining chip on their shoulder that dates all the way back to 1776:

When I lived in New York I was constantly struck by how quick Americans were to take offence at my remarks. It was as if the War of Independence had been fought the previous week and they were only just emerging from the yoke of colonial oppression...

Top Chef Masters judge and fellow countryman Jay Rayner jumps into the comments, calling "bollocks" on Young's pronouncements. And Rayner does not mince words: "I also judge on part of the Top Chef franchise... I can happily report there is no baying mob at the door, dressed like extras out of American Gothic, wielding burning stakes and pitchforks... Perhaps Americans don't hate people being British. Perhaps they just hate you."

The back and forth is a good read — a mini flame war — throughout, they remain cordial while trading barbs, talking about being "careful" with their words. After Toby Young calls Rayner's pronouncements on Top Chef Masters "a tad bland." Rayner drops the hammer:

...Toby, love, I'd point out that trying to extrapolate a single universal truth about the way people respond to the British, solely based on the way people respond to you in particular, would be - indeed is - an act of self-delusion so magisterial it deserves to have prose poems written about it.

Jesus, you wrote a whole book about how badly you fucked up in the US while weirdly, lots of other people went on to have very nice magazine journalism careers there... As to Top Chef Masters, I dunno, do you mind if I decide that people not hating means I'm doing something right, not wrong?

After a commenter states the obvious, writing, "Please don't have a flame war on the bottom half of the internet. It really will make both of you look like idiots," they smarten up and stop, and continue to be friends. Group hug!

· Jamie Oliver, like me, is finding out what Americans think of pushy Brits [Guardian]
· All Top Chef Masters Coverage on Eater [-EN-]