I've never purchased any travel guide, let alone a Rick Steves one, relying on the library in the past and the internet lately. I do watch his videos on PBS and YouTube and find him to be pleasant. I do like his humour, particularly his deliberate fumbles with foreign languages, which are comedy gold. His Italian is as good as Brad Pitt's in 'Inglourious Basterds', his French on par with the actors in the dreadful Ooh-La-Lah.
In his defense, the misspellings which the Brits complain about may be a case of he says tomato, they say tomato. He has been instrumental in pushing many cakey North Americans off their cushioned backsides, expanding their horizons, transforming them into roving Chuck Polo's. His is also not the only guide to omit what others consider important information. Frommers and Fodors, from what I remember, do not mention many pleasant market towns in the UK, the DK book on Germany does not mention two of my favourite spots in Bavaria. He may just write about where he has been and what he likes: it's his guide, after all. I do not have the time to read all the TA posts but one poster complained that Mr Steves had ruined Cinque Terre for everyone, with the increased flock of tourists his tours bring. The poster is naturally right to feel aggrieved, the Cinque Terre should be reserved for Brits only, as should Dordogne and Tuscany.
I do not know the exact number of countries in Europe. I do know that the Northern Irish, Welsh and Scots do not refer to themselves as citizens of the UK. Enter a downtown Glasgow pub on an early Saturday afternoon and try telling a Glasgow Rangers or Celtic supporter that they are British.
Lastly, I thought I was ugly. Jeremy Clarkson has me beat hands down, and he is not funny (apart from his face, of course, which is longer than Lake Konigssee). All this Brit talk has put me in the mood to watch a Sid James film tonight, I say to my wife with a mischevous grin, as I rub my palms together.