Highlands of New Hampshire
September, in a sunny field in New Hampshire, Americans of Scottish
descent, and a few who would just like to have Scottish blood
in their veins meet together at one of biggest Highland Games
of the season. Every weekend during the summer there is a Highland
games going on somewhere in the US, a chance to put on a kilt,
meet other members of your clan and tuck into some authentic Scottish
Haggis. They've been running since the middle of the 19th century
but exactly what goes on at Highland Games, and why have they
become such an important part of life for many Scottish Americans?
The social anthropologist Celeste Ray has an explanation - Highland
Games give repressed American men the chance to play peacock,
dressing up in kilts and plaid, and fussing over how they look.
But the Highland Games are more than just an athletic and cultural
spectacle; they are the shop window for Scottish American identity,
which after years in the background, is becoming more and more
important to Americans of Scottish stock.
How Scottish Got So Cool
used to be thought of as cheap and pawky so why has claiming Scottish
identity become so popular in the U.S.?
In the 1950s, American movie goers were sold on one image of
Scotland - Brigadoon, the musical starring Cyd Charisse and Gene
Kelly showed a Scotland which hadn't changed since the 1800s,
in which lads and lassies in kilts danced around Highland Glens
But in the last decade, Scotland's image on the big screen has
had a radical overhaul.
Randall Wallace may provide some of the answer- his "Braveheart"
turned a generation of Americans onto the appeal of Scottish culture,
but that doesn't explain why Mike Myers love the Scots so, or
why Samantha in Sex in the City was so happy to get her teeth
into a prime bit of Scottish beefcake. So why is America so plaid
to be Scottish?
meaning to, our reporter gets given an award, which gives him
the chance to visit the Scottish Home, an old folks home for Scots
in Chicago which is full of transplanted Scots, perfectly at home
amongst the tartan carpets, pictures of Rabbie Burns, and the
St Andrew's Night, 30th November, is one of the three most important
dates for Scots world wide - but what exactly is a haggis lassie?
And how will the audience react to David's jokes?