Saturday, April 23, 2005

St. George's day? How un-English.

Yesterday, Ken drew attention to an excellent Times editorial which mirrors my long-held views on this matter perfectly. Nationalism and those cringe-worthy public shows of patriotism are for young and insecure nations, such as United States. A pleasure in English culture is traditionally and, in my mind, best expressed in quiet and simple contentment, free from any over-excited and flashy celebrations.

This is best summed up for me in the introduction of George Mikes' How To Be An Alien (a truly hilarious guide by Mikes, a Central European immigrant, on Englishness). Bear in mind that his 1940s use of "race" simply means "people":

On the Continent almost every nation whether little or great has openly declared at one time or another that it is superior to all other nations; the English fight heroic wars to combat these dangerous ideas without ever mentioning which is really the most superior race in the world.

It would be thoroughly un-English to be so rude as to assert there was anything superior about England, or to be so crass and flashy as to salute flags or loudly sing songs. Let's leave that to people who need to create muscial extravaganzas in place of heritage and genuine contentment. Any discourse on liberty will be sufficient to remind us, without being so crass as to state it, that England is, in the broad view, top nation. ;-)