Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Saturday, April 30, 2005  

The English are peculiar

Time and again, in my years as a young Brit roaming the world rather aimlessly, I found myself thinking, of some nation or other: "Boy, these people have a long way to go! But why do they hate us Brits so much? And why don't I care?" John Derbyshire

Whe I lived in Crete for a few months in 1984 with my wife I met a lot of young English people (and other Europeans). The English I met were generally working class whom you'd think would have no pretensions of class or arrogance, but I found that, universally, they treated the Greeks like servants, and the tourist spots like an extension of England. They acted as if wherever they were, it was England, and treated natives like they were foreigners in their own country.

No wonder the British are despised everywhere they go, I thought. And yes, I noticed that they didn't care a whit if they were. They couldn't even deign to notice. It was beneathe them to think that anyone else (the natives) even mattered.

You can't even call them arrogant because they had this inbred sense that even though they were low class, on the dole, ignorant louts or low wage clerks or shop girls and boys -- they were naturally better than anyone else who wasn't English.

They didn't say it so much as it leaked out of them. The kind of obtuse superiority they had was rather amusing and charming in one way, it was funny to watch them being English, but it was also incredibly boorish at other times, for they had not the slightest curiosity or respect for other peoples. It's what makes the English so insufferable and more so because they don't care if they are insufferable to others. They certainly are the same way to each other which is how it gets inbred on down the pecking order.

People say American tourists are arrogant, but I never saw that and never was it.

Now, it may be that every culture assumes it is more "natural" than another, but I have to say that I haven't met any English who I would have said were "natural" people. I've met Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians, Americans, Greeks, and many other kinds of people who were what I'd call natural in manner, open and unreserved, warm and engaging in the best sense of "real", but with the English, no matter how attractive (and the English have incredibly beautiful people in great numbers) they always seems barbed to me; ready to deflate your spirit if you were ever feeling pretty good about life or self.

Ther are, of course, humble, sincere, and decent Brits and I've met a few of those, too. I'm just waxing upon the sense of the culture I got from the numbers I met in Crete.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:03 AM |