History Creator / BillBryson

27th May '17 2:33:05 AM LentilSandEater
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* BerserkButton: Ugly architecture generally and the removal of the UK's red phone boxes particularly.
** Don't forget small movie theaters.

to:

* BerserkButton: BerserkButton:
**
Ugly architecture generally and the removal of the UK's red phone boxes particularly.
** Don't forget small Small movie theaters.



* CharacterizationMarchesOn: It is possible to track a distinct evolution in Bryson's attitudes and prejudices reading his books chronologically. He seems to become mellower and less judgmental in later books, perhaps as he becomes increasingly learned. In earlier books his treatment of women verges on outright misogyny, but in his most recent books he seems to have come over to the side of feminism (he uses 'she' as a default pronoun and is very active in documenting the achievements of women is his books about history and science, and is keen to denounce their often unacknowledged importance to their fields).The writer of books like 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything' and 'At Home' feels like a much more informed and open-minded man that the writer of 'The Lost Continent'.
** WordOfGod in [[http://augustjordandavis.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/mark-lawson-talks-to-bill-bryson.html a BBC interview]] addresses this with Bryson admitting that much of his more [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] crude humour in early books came from general inexperience at having to write full length books and maintain the reader's attention.

to:

* CharacterizationMarchesOn: It is possible to track a distinct evolution in Bryson's attitudes and prejudices reading his books chronologically. He seems to become mellower and less judgmental in later books, perhaps as he becomes increasingly learned. In earlier books his treatment of women verges on outright misogyny, but in his most recent books he seems to have come over to the side of feminism (he uses 'she' as a default pronoun and is very active in documenting the achievements of women is his books about history and science, and is keen to denounce their often unacknowledged importance to their fields).The writer of books like 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything' and 'At Home' feels like a much more informed and open-minded man that the writer of 'The Lost Continent'.
**
Continent'. WordOfGod in [[http://augustjordandavis.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/mark-lawson-talks-to-bill-bryson.html a BBC interview]] addresses this with Bryson admitting that much of his more [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] crude humour in early books came from general inexperience at having to write full length books and maintain the reader's attention.



* UsefulNotes/CricketRules: He has mentioned at one point that, to an American, any UsefulNotes/{{cricket}} fan's description of a match or its rules might as well be completely made-up, for how ludicrous it sounds.
** Ironically, he himself understands cricket perfectly well.
** From the point of view of a non-American, the parts of ''One Summer: America 1927'' dealing with baseball read much like this. While there are a few explanatory footnotes here and there, Bryson doesn't appear to get how much about the game (i.e. pretty much everything) you'd have to explain to the average European.

to:

* UsefulNotes/CricketRules: He has mentioned at one point that, to an American, any UsefulNotes/{{cricket}} fan's description of a match or its rules might as well be completely made-up, for how ludicrous it sounds.
**
sounds. Ironically, he himself understands cricket perfectly well.
**
well. From the point of view of a non-American, the parts of ''One Summer: America 1927'' dealing with baseball read much like this. While there are a few explanatory footnotes here and there, Bryson doesn't appear to get how much about the game (i.e. pretty much everything) you'd have to explain to the average European.



* DisproportionateRetribution: Some of the people who were shipped off to Australia.
** Better than being hanged for ''impersonating an Egyptian.''
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] at the time. Before [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain the Victorian Era]], the likelihood of catching criminals in a big city like London was so incredibly low that the punishments for the few caught had to act as a deterrent.
** And, in another place, [[JustifiedTrope justified]] or [[SubvertedTrope subverted]]: he discusses the cliche of people being dealt serious punishment (deportation, imprisonment etc) for the theft of a handkerchief. As he points out, this is nearly always given as an example of just how disproportionate punishment could be in the 17th and 18th centuries. But in fact, as Bryson goes on, silk would have been incredibly valuable, even rich people able to afford only a small handkerchief. It would probably have been the most valuable thing some middle-class people owned outside of their house.

to:

* DisproportionateRetribution: DisproportionateRetribution:
**
Some of the people who were shipped off to Australia.
**
Australia. Better than being hanged for ''impersonating an Egyptian.''
**
Egyptian'' sure, but still. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] at the time. Before [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain the Victorian Era]], the likelihood of catching criminals in a big city like London was so incredibly low that the punishments for the few caught had to act as a deterrent.
** And, in In another place, [[JustifiedTrope justified]] or [[SubvertedTrope subverted]]: place he discusses the cliche of people being dealt serious punishment (deportation, imprisonment etc) for the theft of a handkerchief. As he points out, this is nearly always given as an example of just how disproportionate punishment could be in the 17th and 18th centuries. But in fact, as Bryson goes on, silk would have been incredibly valuable, even rich people able to afford only a small handkerchief. It would probably have been the most valuable thing some middle-class people owned outside of their house.



* EverythingTryingToKillYou: His assessment of the local wildlife Down Under. Considering Australia even has its own header in the trope entry, he's probably right.

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* EverythingTryingToKillYou: EverythingTryingToKillYou:
**
His assessment of the local wildlife Down Under. Considering Australia even has its own header in the trope entry, he's probably right.



* GenerationXerox: ''I'm A Stranger Here Myself'': When his son reads ''The Lost Continent'' and is amazed at how much Bill Bryson Sr. and Jr. seem to be alike. "I have to admit it, I have become my father. I even read license plates."

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* GenerationXerox: GenerationXerox:
**
''I'm A Stranger Here Myself'': When his son reads ''The Lost Continent'' and is amazed at how much Bill Bryson Sr. and Jr. seem to be alike. "I have to admit it, I have become my father. I even read license plates."



* GretzkyHasTheBall: Done with deliberate comic exaggeration when trying to describe listening to cricket on Australian radio: "Tandoori took Rogan Josh for a stiffy at Vindaloo in '61"

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* GretzkyHasTheBall: GretzkyHasTheBall:
**
Done with deliberate comic exaggeration when trying to describe listening to cricket on Australian radio: "Tandoori took Rogan Josh for a stiffy at Vindaloo in '61"



* OopNorth: On first moving to the UK and marrying, he spent many years living in a remote village in Yorkshire.

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* OopNorth: OopNorth:
**
On first moving to the UK and marrying, he spent many years living in a remote village in Yorkshire.



* PornStash: Discovering his father's "modest girlie stash".

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* PornStash: PornStash:
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Discovering his father's "modest girlie stash".
27th May '17 2:27:55 AM LentilSandEater
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* AdHominem: In ''One Summer: America 1927'', Bryson slips into the "Poisoning the Well" variant during the discussion of the guilt or innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti, listing several facts about the two of them (they were card-carrying anarchists who knew other people guilty of bombings and such) that, while not casting the two in any particularly good light, also appear to have no bearing on them being guilty of the crime they were executed for. To be fair, he's obviously trying to be impartial, but it still comes across as this trope when nothing he says actually connects the two to the crime.

to:

* AdHominem: In ''One Summer: America 1927'', Bryson slips into the "Poisoning the Well" variant during the discussion of the guilt or innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti, listing several facts about the two of them (they were card-carrying anarchists who knew other people guilty of bombings and such) that, while not casting the two in any particularly good light, also appear to have no bearing on them being guilty of the crime they were executed for. To be fair, he's obviously trying to be impartial, but it still comes across as this trope when nothing he says actually connects the two to the crime.
21st May '17 10:43:03 AM nombretomado
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** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] at the time. Before [[VictorianBritain the Victorian Era]], the likelihood of catching criminals in a big city like London was so incredibly low that the punishments for the few caught had to act as a deterrent.

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** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] at the time. Before [[VictorianBritain [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain the Victorian Era]], the likelihood of catching criminals in a big city like London was so incredibly low that the punishments for the few caught had to act as a deterrent.
27th Feb '17 9:08:55 AM hullflyer
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** Subvertted by his father's writing quoted in ''Thunderbolt Kid''.

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** Subvertted Subverted by his father's writing quoted in ''Thunderbolt Kid''.
23rd Jan '17 5:05:39 PM Geoduck
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Added DiffLines:

* RoadsideWave: He suffers one of these while touring Britain in ''Notes From a Small Island''.
21st Aug '16 7:54:21 AM TheLyniezian
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Added DiffLines:

* ThereShouldBeALaw: In ''Notes from a Big Country'', on the subject of the drug laws in the US, he recalls Newt Gingrich calling for the death penalty for drug users... and then jokingly wonders if there should be a law against being Newt Gingrich.
22nd Jun '16 5:38:49 PM Geoduck
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to:

* ''The Road to Little Dribbling'' (2015)
15th Apr '16 3:22:23 PM Geoduck
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* TakeThat: Frequent, and not at all subtle. See the page quote above.

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* TakeThat: Frequent, and not at all subtle. See the page quote above. His passionate views on British land and historical conservation have attracted some return fire, one of the more prominent examples coming from James May on an episode of Series/TopGear.
15th Apr '16 2:33:40 PM Geoduck
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* TechnologyMarchesOn: The Gizmo-crazy hiker in ''Walk In The Woods'' is kitted out with technology that was advanced in 1997 (GPS, self-pitching tent) but is fairly standard fare now.
15th Apr '16 2:32:39 PM Geoduck
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* AuthorExistenceFailure: His old friend and frequent correspondent in Australia died just before he was due to visit her while writing ''Down Under'' so he offers a humorous tale she once told him as a tribute.



* BeamMeUpScotty: In ''Notes From a Big Country'' (which is a collection of UK newspaper columns about life in the States) he falls heavily for a popular misquote of Mariah Carey.



** And overcharging for stuff.



* CreatorBreakdown: Bryson believes that if ever Shakespeare's own voice appears in his work it is in ''King John'', written after Shakespeare's son Hamnet died: "Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me, Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words, Remembers me of all his gracious parts, Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form."



* ScienceMarchesOn: The march of science itself is the subject of ''A Short History Of Nearly Everything''.
** In that book he hopes that Pluto will continue to be a planet. Yeah, not anymore. Especially interesting is the book was written as New Horizons was ''leaving'' for Pluto.



* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: The aforementioned ''Lost Continent;'' and ''A Walk in the Woods''. ''Notes from a Big Country'' mostly because it deals with a mid-[[TheNineties 90's]] world just before the internet and cellphones became ubiquitous- Bryson mentions the difficulty of finding change for a payphone at the airport, the amount of mail order catalogues he's sent, sending faxes to the UK, and renting movies on videotape. At the same time, he writes during the very peak of sedentary, suburban, automobile-centric living in America.
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