English Exceptionalism

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rockfreak
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English Exceptionalism

Post by rockfreak »

I wonder how many OBs of my vintage on the site would remember the time when all foreigners were thought funny in a Monty Python sort of way?
The Germans were militaristic and always about to start another war. Likewise the Japanese only they were yellow skinned and slit-eyed into the bargain. The Arabs were shifty and trying to sell you dirty postcards when they weren't trying to sell you their little sister. The French ate lots of garlic and all had mistresses (a bit of a problem there it seemed to me), the Swedes were emotionally cool but having lots of sex (again, a bit of a contradiction), the Scots were tight, the Irish a nation of charming bullsh*tters, the Italians were excitable, pinched women's bottoms and changed sides in the war. The only nation we seemed to vaguely like were the Dutch. They were more like us, and they were grateful to us for having saved them in the war - unlike the French who would have much preferred to have been left alone to go on eating their garlic and shagging their mistresses.

My parents read the Daily Express every day which was a bible for anyone of this particular mindset but it's still only two or three decades ago when the tabloids ran the "Achtung Surrender!" headline when we were about to play Germany in the world cup. How far have the papers contributed to this insular, chauvinistic mindset which will shortly see us jump off the cliff into third world status? We once had an empire. We once won a war. But here we are, seventy five years on, still living the same old myths.
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by Ajarn Philip »

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Is it that the English are the only nation to typecast or make fun of other nationalities? Surely not...
As a rosbif/pom/limey/sasannach/etc. you must know better. Not to mention the wide variety of names we call each other: Tyke/Brummie/Manc/Janner.
If you're complaining about Brexit, then fair enough, I agree it's a mistake, but it's also a done deal.

Or maybe you're just bored?
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by J.R. »

An interesting post Freaky.
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by sejintenej »

It must be the gutter press you read.
Nothing like that when I was brought up. Yes, we did curse Londoners for blocking up narrow lanes when they were on holiday.
French fishermen came into port whenever there was a storm in the Channel and, apart from language were OK.. Boss, descendant of a famous/infamous Welshman and a Hugenot family which fled France. Early years in France, came to England to boarding school and as English as they come. He spent WWI in POW camp with a load of Russian prisoners part of WWII as a diplomat in Hungary. None of your put down language; I don't think garlic was ever mentioned, some comment about Russian prison food. I travelled with him across France when I was about 14 - no negative comments save for the problem with dialects (he taught agents French at SOE)

As for my own experiences, never had any problem abroad (save those endemic to the country such as muggings in Brazil) but some Brits can be snobby both here and abroad

As I said, probably the pigorent gutter press as clever as their mates who found a London bus on the moon. Indeed it is those who are the problem with the UK.
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by Foureyes »

There really seems to be no limit to the subjects that 'rockfreak' dislikes, with England, the English and Christ's Hospital leading the field. Of course, the English have caricatures of foreigners, but so, too, does every nation that I can think of. I worked in Glasgow for three very happy years, but there were parts of that city that I dared not visit, or could, provided I did not speak a word. I used to travel by train from the outskirts in an open-carriage train, and overheard some truly outrageous remarks about the English. There is also a section of the Scottish population who will support any sports team that is playing against England - and by any, I mean any.

Ask the Australians or Americans about the English. As for German views of the Italians, and Polish views of the Russians and Germans!!!! I lived in the Far East for several years, and Chinese views of the Japanese - and vice versa - are unprintable. Worse than that, ask the French about the Germans, British or Italians, or, indeed, anyone not French; indeed, the word describing excessive belief in and promotion of your own country over others is 'chauvinism', which is - ahem! - a French word!

Finally, if we English are such sh..s - as rockfreak seems to think - why do so many foreigners want to come and live here?

David :shock:
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by sejintenej »

Foureyes wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:03 pm
Worse than that, ask the French about the Germans, British or Italians, or, indeed, anyone not French;
You just must separate the Parisians from the French outside the ile de France. Where I lived the Parisians were like the Japanese to the Chinese.

The Dutch were disliked purely because when they arrived they brought sacks of potatoes and everything, but everything that they were going to eat, dress in, put on their skins, wipe their asses with ....

Germans - none came around (but when I worked in Norway, midwinter and they hadn't booked in the hotel they were refused entry. It is better now)

British - never had the slightest hint of a problem. Pierre did mention with a smile that they once had the British in Aquitaine - until I corrected him by saying that in those days Britain was a colony of Normandy.
To put this latter into context, Pierre Perpere was the Patron of our hamlet (a bit like a mayor but not voted in - just appointed by the previous Patron). When he moved away Pierre appointed me, a Brit, as Patron rather than any of the French inhabitants. No problem whatsoever. A local village had a Brit as mayor which is an official voted office of the Republic Many had Brits voted onto their Councils.
Finally, if we English are such sh..s - as rockfreak seems to think - why do so many foreigners want to come and live here?
Nice one, David
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by rockfreak »

Some nations may dislike or deride other nations, but do they dislike or deride all of them? The Scots may well have disliked the English since the Scots (or the celtic half of them) may well have felt themselves a colonised tribe, as indeed did the Irish for many years. But do the Scots dislike or deride all other nations? Was our lofty humour a means of disguising an insular arrogance that perhaps uncomfortably suspected that other countries were overtaking us economically and socially? Especially when we joined the EU and had to operate on a level playing field, without the cheap raw materials, assured markets and sterling area of our Commonwealth?
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by Foureyes »

I note that rockfreak seems to be under the impression that he speaks for England - note his use of 'our' and 'we.' Well, he doesn't. He is entitled to his own views, as is any individual in this country that he so often derides, but that does not entitle him to generalise to include the whole nation. He certainly does not speak for me.
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by Pe.A »

rockfreak wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 8:10 pm Some nations may dislike or deride other nations, but do they dislike or deride all of them? The Scots may well have disliked the English since the Scots (or the celtic half of them) may well have felt themselves a colonised tribe, as indeed did the Irish for many years. But do the Scots dislike or deride all other nations? Was our lofty humour a means of disguising an insular arrogance that perhaps uncomfortably suspected that other countries were overtaking us economically and socially? Especially when we joined the EU and had to operate on a level playing field, without the cheap raw materials, assured markets and sterling area of our Commonwealth?
As someone with foreign ancestry, and an eye for history, i can see the point you are making, but other countries are just as bad given the chance. It's just that England/Britain had more direct experience of other nations when going around the world gobbling up territory, and allying with different coalitions in Europe. Interestingly, one thing the English were viewed as, certainly in Europe, was as a country not to be trusted (Perfidious Albion). One of my favourite quotes (by a British writer, btw) has always been "We English are good at forgiving our enemies. It releases us from our obligation of liking our friends".
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by sejintenej »

rockfreak wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 8:10 pm Some nations may dislike or deride other nations, but do they dislike or deride all of them? The Scots may well have disliked the English since the Scots (or the celtic half of them) may well have felt themselves a colonised tribe, as indeed did the Irish for many years.? Was our lofty humour a means of disguising an insular arrogance that perhaps uncomfortably suspected that other countries were overtaking us economically and socially? Especially when we joined the EU and had to operate on a level playing field, without the cheap raw materials, assured markets and sterling area of our Commonwealth?
You MUST distinguish between politicians/governments, the press and the common people.
It appears that it is the politicians who lead with hatred / contempt with foreign countries but the ordinary people who meet ordinary people
usually get along with them.
Look at the Brexit negotiations; the government and press were deriding the rest of the EU governments for not aquiescing to our demands - the man in the street with any experience of any national(s) of other EU countries usually felt differently (unless he had been brainwashed by Rockfreak's Sketch)

I don't follow football but there is a city with two important football clubs, Celtic being one. The supporters of each hate the other team (it seems to be a religious divide) but if you dare deride Ireland they will unite as brothers. Even if many French dislike the Germans, when Russia invades they will become the closest of friends
But do the Scots dislike or deride all other nations
If you listen to that woman it is not derision but outright hatred UNLESS the other country will help her in her personal aims.
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by loringa »

sejintenej wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:43 am I don't follow football but there is a city with two important football clubs, Celtic being one. The supporters of each hate the other team (it seems to be a religious divide) but if you dare deride Ireland they will unite as brothers.
Whilst I have no doubt that there are also football clubs called 'Celtic' on the island of Ireland, the former Belfast Celtic being a case in point, I suspect that you are referring to Glasgow Celtic and thus mean Scotland not Ireland! I am sure that many Celtic supporters may have an affinity with Ireland but I doubt many Rangers' fans do, at least not the South! :D
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by scrub »

sejintenej wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:43 amI don't follow football but there is a city with two important football clubs, Celtic being one. The supporters of each hate the other team (it seems to be a religious divide) but if you dare deride Ireland they will unite as brothers.
Trying to unpick the mess that is Old Firm Fitba, sectarianism, and national identities is a minefield, but as a very brief guide, deride the RoI/Catholicism and you upset Celtic, defame the Union/Protestantism, and you anger the Gers. There's no uniting the two unless you say Glasgow's a s******e that will never crawl out from Edinburgh's shadow, at which point, most Glaswegians will strongly suggest you do one, regardless of who they support.
rockfreak wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:03 pmHow far have the papers contributed to this insular, chauvinistic mindset which will shortly see us jump off the cliff into third world status? We once had an empire. We once won a war. But here we are, seventy five years on, still living the same old myths.
Jingoistic stereotyping of others has gone on for centuries, Shakespeare loved a bit of it and the denizens of Hartlepool got their nickname because of it. As regards the press's persistent stoking of it, at least one generation has seen the after effects of world wars and despite having ample opportunity to curb it, have allowed it to persist and flourish.

I don't think Brexit will have any tangible benefits for the majority of the country, but even a fervent unbeliever like myself thinks that "third world status" is a bit much. What I do see is that we're being led by people who are woefully unprepared for negotiations where they are not the big spoon and who have no experience (either personally or professionally) of standing on a truly level playing field where merit and competence alone determine the outcome. We're not going to get deference for just turning up as we once did. Discovering you no longer have the advantages your great, great grand parents generation had will feel like sinking to some.

To butcher a racing analogy, the UK took an early lead (thanks to the empire) and stood around admiring themselves rather than noticing that others had caught up (and in some areas, surpassed).
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Ajarn Philip (Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:26 pm)
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Re: English Exceptionalism

Post by rockfreak »

Brexit will have no discernible benefit for anyone as far as I can see. Apart from Jacob Rees-Mogg who I believe has already moved his hedge fund to Dublin. And all those others who are in a position to escape to a tax haven or America (Nigel Farrago, Aaron Banks - oops! I believe he's a tax exile already). I stick to what I've long said that Bumbling Bozza the Bullingdon Buffoon will have his career in front line politics abruptly terminated in the new year and that we shall see disorder on the streets at some point. Massive disruption at Dover and the ports (Dominic Raab didn't even know container ships came in to Dover - he thought they came in along the coast and queued up at the Cob in Lyme Regis). Food and medicine shortages. The pound will slump and the ratings agencies will strip at least another A from our credit rating, making it even more expensive for our government to borrow on the markets.
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