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Thursday, March 29, 2007

There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a book

At Border's in Islington this morning they were stacking "Evil Empire" at the till points. The sub-title is "100 ways that Britain Ruined The World" (though look on Amazon and it's clear that the authors couldn't decide whether the Welsh and the Scottish were equally complicit in all this world-ruining) and it's written by Penny Rimbaud. Good to see that the anarchists have finally caught up with the Schott's format. What interests me is that somebody has put it on the counter in the hope that customers might feel like lightening their daily round with a little self-abasement. Would a similar book duffing up the national legacy of France or Australia or Iran get the same kind of prominence in their shops? This British habit of Asking For It seems to be a recent invention. I first noticed it during the World Cup in France when the BBC panel commenting on England's progress was made up of a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Frenchman. I can't see anything similar happening elsewhere in the world.

7 comments:

  1. Oh, I don't know about that, David. Michael Moore seems to have quite a high profile in the US, which is the main focus of his critiques.

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  2. But I would suggest that no American publisher would put out a book with the name "100 ways that the US ruined the world".

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  3. Obviously the first entry in the "million reasons why Britain (sorry England no brickbats not laurels) made the world better" is we don't randomly lock up people for wrtiting books we don't like even annoying shouty anarchists.

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  4. Obviously the first entry in the "million reasons why Britain (sorry England no brickbats not laurels) made the world better" is we don't randomly lock up people for wrtiting books we don't like even annoying shouty anarchists.

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  5. sorry for the multiple posting, whilst I'm here surely the repost book contiues with the track listings of Beatles and Stones output, that's before we get to Darwin, Faraday, Blake sorry in danger of turining into the smug bloke off the Renault clio ad Mr Shakeper......

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  6. But, but, but... this book's publisher is listed, on the Amazon.co.uk link you provided, as "Quirk Books, US". So it's actually a US publisher publishing a book whose content and subtitle criticises the UK. So a correct comparison would be a UK-published book that was uncomplimentary about the US. Nothing remarkable here, folks, move along...

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  7. Well, they're probably tying it in with the current seasons on slavery and racism, areas where the British Empire seems to have had a formative influence (just watch the BBC4 series on racism - excellent historical background to the subject. I don't think it is necessarily self abasement to learn about European history, especially the stuff left out of the history books. Nor is it necessary to feel guilty about it, but it is enlightening to find out about. But I take your point about the more general cultural cringe, recognised for me when that truly appallingly titled book "Is it just me or is everything s***e" came out. To which the only reasonable reply to this cretinous misanthrope is "yes, it is just you".

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