Monday 19 September 2022

Essence of Britishness

Want to pass as British? The following tips may help.

Complain that death is the last taboo and that the Victorians did it better, moan about the British stiff upper lip and our inability to express emotion, and then lay on a parade for the death of a monarch that is a magnificent work of art in itself.

But don't forget to accuse everyone of mourning in the wrong way.

“Everybody knows this, but nobody will admit it” is something you could chant at intervals during the day and always be right. Also: "We say we do THIS, but actually we do THAT." The British middle classes know what their society is like – snobbish and exclusive for a start – but they pretend to believe it is very different. As E.M. Forster once said, "The female mind, though cruelly practical in daily life, cannot bear to hear ideals belittled in conversation". For example, young women’s lives are all about attracting a man, and society needs them to pair off, but the girls have to say they're keen on getting an education and embarking on a career. (Working class girls have kids young, then start a business.)

When two new tube stations open, moan that they're unnecessary, and that new flat owners prefer to take the bus. 

Avoid innovations that will make your life easier.  

Send journalists to stand bare-headed in a typhoon/blizzard, and then moan that they're standing bare-headed in a typhoon/bllizzard.

When there's a run on petrol because of a shortage of tanker drivers, refuse to "panic buy". You feel superior – you just can’t go anywhere. While moaning about the media fuelling a buying frenzy, whinge that you can’t now drive to Scotland as planned.

Times columnist Carol Midgley is “egged”: It left me winded and pathetically shocked, though of course I pretended to laugh heartily so I didn’t lose face in front of strangers who witnessed it.

Everybody hates the Big Light – the central ceiling light that has been a feature of British rooms since the days of gaslight. A switch by the door turns it on – but you mustn’t. Nobody removes the Big Light or even removes the bulb. Nobody reroutes the switch so that it turns on wall uplighters. Because then they’d have nothing to moan about, and no way of subtly putting down visitors who don’t know that We Never Turn On The Big Light. 

Take your children for a fun day out at a “dull” historical site and give them “dry” lectures about its origins. Persuade them that camping is fun. (Daily Mash. The historical site is probably also “free”, with nowhere to buy sweets, postcards or even a cup of tea.)

Acknowledge that prejudice is wrong, celebrate diversity in street festivals, yet threaten to shoot anyone who says "Can I get a latte". 

Accuse the Americans of being hegemonic imperialist expansionists (and vice versa).

Manage not to see that we took our numbering system and religion from the Middle East, and our language from Germanic and French invaders. 

Be proud of our Anglo-Saxon heritage, while assuming history started in 1066, when the Anglo-Saxons lost.

The BBC will broadcast “very British” escapist and resilience advice shows intended to help viewers through the “tough times ahead” caused by the cost of living crisis. The programmes include a new David Attenborough series about UK wildlife and a week of cost of living-themed programmes, including a decluttering series, Sort Your Life Out, fronted by Stacy Solomon. The corporation’s director of unscripted, Kate Phillips, said the BBC wants “to bring audiences together”. (The Week)

The most bizarre thing about the British right’s entirely fantasised war on Christmas is their furious defence of German traditions related to a Middle Eastern religion imported by a bunch of Italians. (@cooraysmith)

A group of teenagers on the bus neglects to get up when there are elderly people standing. "I gave up my seat and stared at them, but they just continued to sit there!" comments someone who could not be more passive aggressive if they tried.

Don't ask for help, then when none is offered say "Thank you very much!" sarcastically, then complain about the incident to someone else, while congratulating yourself on your directness.

I was making tea for an annoying colleague at work. I deliberately used the same spoon to hoik out the teabag from his cup that I'd just used to stir my coffee. (@fesshole)

I voted Green – to send THEM a message.

More here, and links to the rest.

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