Monday, September 02, 2013

"Dangerously English"

The cultural self-loathing of Britain's ruling elites has really come to an almost hysterical, self-parodying pitch.

This is the latest from the guy who organised the famous Last Night of the Proms for eleven years. If someone was wondering why it was looking less and less English every year, we are now told that it was no accident.

"...The flag-waving finale to one of the cultural highlights of the nation’s calendar.

But according to its former director, patriotic fervour should be kept to a minimum at the Last Night of the Proms.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, who ran the concert series for 11 years until 2007, claimed the event was ‘dangerously English’ until he brought in a host of international musicians to make it more ‘inclusive’.

The former BBC Radio 3 controller welcomed the fact this year’s concert will feature talent from overseas.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme yesterday: ‘The Last Night of the Proms, from being something dangerously English, has now become something totally inclusive.

Wanker. Tosser. Pillock.

You had to know this was coming. Though the Proms' Englishness is mostly ironic, a typically tongue-in-cheek English in-joke, it could hardly get past the self-hatred censors on the left forever. What started as healthy and charming national habit of modest self-deprecation has been nurtured by people like this into a dangerous national mental disorder. I've come across no other people in Europe, except perhaps the Germans, who are so thorougly trained in this mass neurosis.

But here's a little secret: English people are patriotic. And they're emotional. The people bobbing up and down and singing along to Elgar in their black-tie and dinner jackets at the Royal Albert Hall are only doing it in an ironic way as a cover for their real feelings. Trust me, by the second chorus, the irony is the fake, the shield, not the patriotism.

It's not an accident that all the English people I know can sing along to Jerusalem. And this Last Night sing-along has grown into a mass annual outpouring, now being broadcast every year onto giant screens in the biggest public parks in three cities to huge and totally unsophisticated crowds of flag-waving chavs and shopkeepers...all. singing. along.

It's the nation's best kept secret: they really are the good natured, "keep calm and carry on," stiff upper lip, mustn't grumble down to earth people the stereotype says they are. For all the studied sophistication on display in the Capitol, one doesn't have to scratch too deep to get the average Englishman back to his fish n' chips and flat-cap roots. I've talked to them, and compared to the real thing, the real soulless moderns inhabiting the world's centres of the anti-culture, the modern urban Brit is what he's always been. And away from London, away from Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, the people in the small towns and villages have very little modernian skin to scratch off. Plenty of tweed skirts and twin sets, plenty of flat caps and wellies out there if you know where to look.

Like much of the Islamic rage one sees on the evening's newscasts, Britain's self-hatred, outside this little cadre of elites, is staged for the cameras. And judging from the comments sections in newspaper reports like the one above, the general population is going along with it less and less.

Here's one of my favourite clips of one of the all-time great English actors in one of the all-time great English films, about one of the all-time great English heroic characters. Leslie Howard as the Scarlett Pimpernell.

..."This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm,

this England.



Teresa B. said...

My son's favourite way of waking us up is with Last Night of the Proms "Rule Britannia!" He said he could never stop loving that song!

My favourite movie!
When I was a child I dreamed of marrying Leslie Howard!
I figured all the British were like him.

Felix said...

A director of the Proms who didn't believe in English patriotism?

Like the rector of the shrine of Guadaloupe who didn't believe that Our Lady appeared there.

df said...

Quite true, though sadly the English are drip-fed self-hatred from the major organs of the state, viz, the BBC, the state Education system, and the CofE.
By the way, I speak under correction, but as far as I'm aware it's 'capital' not 'Capitol'.

Benny said...

DF I agree 100%. A valid point/points.