Monday, March 08, 2010

Rule, Britannia

A review of England, by an Irish writer. It manages to be erudite, literary and oddly unconsciously racist in that smashing Irish way.

The language completely charmed me when I read it this morning.

He says:
Shakespeare might have lauded Englishness, but few English people do so today. The result is a kind of nameless, stunted plant which expresses itself through a dysfunctional culture of entitlement whenever the English are doing moderately well.
He's talking about a lack of nationalistic songs.
The English do not even write songs about themselves. The three most ‘English’ of wartime tunes — Berkeley Square, A Foggy Day in London Town and Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover — were, essentially, written by American Jews (though the lyrics of Berkeley Square were written by an Englishman of German-Jewish extraction). And to leap sporting codes for a moment, the tune most often chanted by English soccer fans, The Great Escape, was also written by an American Jew.

Read more here.

It's not a totally coherent piece - and it doesn't mention Jerusalem, Britain's adpopted national anthem, nor Rule Britannia, the actual national anthem. It also uses British and English as synonyms, having not quite worked out what a powerful force Scotland has been in British lfe. But I thought it was interesting.

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