Wednesday, 7 October 2009

If you say literature really quickly you sound like someone from the West Country saying Little Richard...

Well, hello and hi! I've actually thought of something to say, which is pretty good seeing as I thought I'd probably only manage one post. Before we begin, I'll apologise for some spelling errors in the last post Joe assures me are there. It shall not happen again, and in true New Labour-style I hereby declare the war upon poor spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Anywhom, this shall be a rather short post, but one which will tie into a wider series of posts on my favourite issue toward which bigotry directs it's bulging, rage-filled glare: immigration. In this short post, I'll try and deconstruct what it is about 'us' (the British common volk) that must be defended from the predations of the scruffy immigrant. Please note that I only refer to Britain as I live there. I'm sure that other countries have their own share of shits with their own misconceived perceptions.

'Britishness' is difficult to define, as it is a nearly universal psychological noumenon, but is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. I shall use as my example here the notion (which we've all heard) of 'good old British food'. If you asked a person (who, for argument's sake, has just uttered the phrase) to explain what it is that they actually meant when they described their dinner in such a way, I'd wager that they'd be unable to do so in anything even approaching a comprehensive manner. Essentially, it's a composite description which adds up to sum greater than that of it's total parts. Let's break it down. We'll ignore the word 'good' as I can't be bothered to go into the gravitas that tradition has knocking around it. Let's assume that the weight of tradition hangs heavy over the phrase.

Firstly, the food is 'good'. What is good about it? Do you simply like the taste (smell, texture, appearance etc.)? So what is it that makes food which tastes nicer than other food somehow morally superior to other food. Why is it significant that, for argument's sake, the French just don't get 'good old British cooking'? Perhaps, to 'them', it tastes a bit sickly and is too stodgy. Or do you like the food simply because of it's familiarity? Are you simply admitting a psychological kick you get from a subconscious realisation that your Mam gave you this food when you were growing up?

Secondly, the food is 'British'. In itself the word (adjective?) carries a weighty connotation. "ah, good old Blighty". Why does it conjure up such a stirring warmth from the depth of the soul, even if you really think the country is a bit shit? In the contest of the phrase, what the speaker is really saying is that the food was either grown and/or invented and/or cooked in Britain. So what is it that makes eating food that by necessity was grown in Britain thanks to factors such as climate which would impede the growth of crops (for example - I understand why crops have trouble flourishing thanks to environmental considerations than animals) somehow an implication of patriotism and superiority to that grown elsewhere. In truth, in a world that existed before the era of mass communication and transport, cooking from any given area was dictated by what was available. Traditional recipes are simply a consequence of what was to hand (although artfully put together, I add hastily).

So, hopefully that little delve into the world of emotive suggestions has got us on track for some more in-depth analysis of why we dislike immigration so much. I will say that I've no problem with 'traditional' British cuisine, I do, in fact, love it. On that note, I'll leave you with the chap (thanks to who, quite correctly, states that the government have an "an absolutely splendid idea. Cut the number of illegal immigrants by allowing them to come over legally." He's entirely correct, but I think he's rather missed the point that legalised illegal immigration is, in fact, immigration. Which happens to be legal.

So, in the style of the How? presenters, "that's chow, for now!"

1 comment:

  1. simply wonderful stuff, jon... I really am loving your work. If i wasnt masturbating right now i would applaud.