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The most British thing of all…

The most British thing of all…

It’s sometimes joked or cited (especially by Buzzfeed) that this is the most British thing of all… Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.

The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace

 

Indeed, it is the most British thing of all, in the sense that they pretty much all originate from outside England.

Stephen Fry, is one of the finest examples of populist intellectualism that Britain has ever produced. His maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jews.

Buckingham Palace was re-modelled by King George  III. His grandfather was born in Germany.

The Union flag was probably made in China, and was created to celebrate the union of England and Scotland.

The corgi originates from Wales.

The road was possibly originally paved by the Romans.

 

Now, obviously, as the son of immigrants who nevertheless feels so British that I have to work at the British Broadcasting Corporation, I don’t see this as a bad thing in any way.

But if ever some pig-headed nationalists start saluting to this as a reason to keep immigrants out or to persecute “foreigners” in any way… well, they’re even more idiotic.

Is making fun of someone's pronounciation racist?

Is making fun of someone's pronounciation racist?

A work blogger I respect recently made a joke about their local Chinese takeaway mixing their Ls and their Rs when making a mythical dish. The in-house work magazine recently pointed out a menu slip-up meaning that a dish was described as “Lice” instead of rice, not noting that the two letters are very very far apart on the keyboard.

Naturally, that’s immediately raised my hackles and slightly offended me, but I can’t decide if it’s racist or not. On one hand, people do impersonations of Polish or Birmingham accents all the time. On the other hand, said jokes wouldn’t work if you were attributing them to a Turkish takeaway.

Then again, my native-Chinese mandarin teacher habitually mixes up her Ls and her Rs, which rather rankles with me internally. Oh, and the cartoon illustrations in the textbook she uses helpfully distinguish Chinese people by giving them slanted eyes.

*sigh* Oh it’s so confusing. But I definitely feel a whiff of genuine offence.

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