Americans may say they love our accents (I have been accused of sounding 'like Princess Di') but the more thoughtful ones resent and rather dislike us as a nation and people, as friends of mine have found out by being on the edge of conversations where Americans assumed no Englishmen were listening. And it is the English, specifically, who are the targets of this. Few Americans have heard of Wales. All of them have heard of Ireland and many of them think they are Irish. Scotland gets a sort of free pass, especially since Braveheart re-established the Scots' anti-English credentials among the ignorant millions who get their history off the TV.
In my early teens, [my grandfather] would sometimes stomp around his living room, where he used to shave towards mid-day with bowl, brush and open razor, deriding my ignorance and mocking the made-up discipline of sociology, which I at one stage claimed to be studying. 'What is sociology?' he roared derisively, twisting and rolling the silly word on his Hampshire tongue. I knew, alas, that he was quite right.