about the english

sorabji.com: Are you stupid?: about the english

By droopy on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 01:06 pm:

    i realize i'm posting this apropos on nothing, unless it happens to be for one or two people. i just had the urge. my urges overwhelm me.

    Jorge Luis Borges; "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"

    "In his lifetime, he suffered from unreality, as do many Englishmen; once dead, he is not even the ghost he was then. He was tall and listless and his tired rectangular beard was once red. I understand he was a widower, without children. Every few years he would go to England, to visit (I judge from some photographs he showed us) a sundial and a few oaks. He and my father had entered into one of those close (the adjective is excessive) English friendships that begin by excluding confidences and very soon dispense with dialogue."


    Max Beerbohm; "A.V. Laider"

    "Anywhere but in England it would be impossible for two solitary men, howsoever much reduced by influenza, to spend five or six days in the same hostel and not exchange a single word. That is one of the Charms of England. Had Laider and I been born and bred in any other land we should have become acquainted before the end of our first evening in the small smoking-room, and have found ourselves irrevocably committed to go on talking to each other throughout the rest of our visit. We might, it is true, have happened to like each other more than any one we had ever met. This off-chance may have occurred to us both. But it counted for nothing as against the certain surrender of quietude and liberty. We slightly bowed to each other as we entered or left the dining-room or smoking-room, and as we met on the widespread sands or in the shop that had a small and faded circulating library. That was all. Our mutual aloofness was a positive bond between us."


    Graham Greene; "Cheap in August"

    "Once a woman from St. Louis had taken too obvious pity on her, when she sat alone in the bar writing postcards, and invited her to join their party which was about to visit the botanic gardens - 'We are an awfully jolly bunch,' she said with a big turnip smile. Mary exaggerated her English accent to repel her better and said she didn't care much for flowers. It had shocked the woman as deeply as if she had said she did not care for television. From the motion of the heads at the other end of the bar, the agitated clinking of the Coca-Cola glasses, she could tell that her words were being reapeated from one to another. Afterwards, until the jolly bunch had taken the airport limousine on the way back to St. Louis, she was aware of averted heads. She was English, had taken a superior attitude toward flowers, and as she preferred even warm martinis to Coca-Cola, she was probably in their eyes an alcoholic."

By droop on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 01:07 pm:

    "apropos of nothing"

By agatha on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 03:28 pm:

    droop, do you find these to be accurate descriptions of the english?

By R.C. on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 04:48 pm:

    So how come nobody around here ever says "Fuck the Brits!"?

    It's always 'Fuck the French"/even tho' their culture has given us champagne/great cheeses/the world's best desserts/& the coolest fireworks display of the millennium celebrations.

    The English are cold fish. Their food sucks. They still have a parasitic monarchy. The only worthwhile contributions they've made to the world are 'Absolutely Fabulous' & a few good actors.

    And 'AbFab' isn't even on the air anymore.

    I say "Fuck the Brits!".

By cyst on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 04:53 pm:

    me too. and I'm more british than anything else besides american. my mother is a british citizen. a couple days ago I realized that the car I've been driving has a GB sticker on the bumper.

    I'm sure I have my british ancestors to thank for my longanimity and cellulite.

By Isolde on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 09:33 pm:

    Fuck the Brits!

By droopy on Monday, March 13, 2000 - 02:22 am:

    these aren't things i hunted down to prove a point about the british. i had been reading the borges story this morning over coffee and that passage reminded me of the other two - these are all short stories in the same collection. the consensus of opinion struck me as funny. wouldn't know if they're accurate or not - you tell me. make of them what you will.

By Mr. Kipling on Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - 02:00 am:

    "An American"

    The American Spirit Speaks:

    "If the led striker call it a strike,
    Or the papers call it a war,
    They know not much what I am like,
    Nor what he is, my Avatar."

    Through many roads, by me possessed,
    He shambles forth in cosmic guise;
    He is the jester and the jest,
    And he the Text himself applies.

    The Celt is in his heart and hand
    The Gaul in his brain and nerve;
    Where, cosmopolitanly planned,
    He guards the Redskin's dry reserve.

    His easy unswept hearth he lends,
    From Labrador to Guadaloupe;
    Till, elbowed out by sloven friends,
    He camps, at sufferance, on the stoop.

    Calm-eyed, he scoffs at sword and crown,
    Or, panic-blind, stabs or slays:
    Blatant he bids the world bow down,
    Or cringing begs a crust of praise;

    Or, sombre-drunk, at mine or mart,
    He dubs his dreary brethren Kings.
    His hands are black with blood - his heart
    Leaps, as a babe, at little things.

    But, through the shift of mood and mood,
    Mine ancient humour saves him whole--
    The cynic devil in his blood
    That bids him mock his hurrying soul;

    That bids him flout the Laws he makes,
    That bids him make the law he flouts,
    Till, dazed by many doubts he wakes
    The drumming guns that - have no doubts;

    That checks him foolish - hot and fond,
    That chuckles through his deepest ire,
    That gilds the slough of his despond
    But dims the goal of his desire;

    Inopportune, shrill-accented,
    The acrid Asiatic mirth
    That leaves him, careless 'mid his dead,
    The scandal of the elder earth.

    How shall he clear himself, how reach
    Your bar or weighed defence prefer?
    A brother hedged with alien speech
    And lacking all interpreter.

    Which knowledge vexes him a space;
    But while Reproof around him rings,
    He turns a keen untroubled face
    Home, to the instant need of things.

    Enslaved, illogical, elate,
    He greets th' embarrassed Gods, nor fears
    To shake the iron hand of Fate
    Or match with Destiny for beers.

    Lo, imperturbable he rules,
    Unkempt, disreputable, vast--
    And, in the teeth of all the schools,
    I--I shall save him at last!


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