Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Watching the English

I have just finished a great book by an anthropologist (she calls herself a pop anthropologist) called Kate Fox and it's called Watching the English. Having lived in the UK now for four years I found her observations remarkably spot on. She points out that what many regard as an English obsession with the weather is no such thing- when an Englishman says "nasty weather isn't it?" It's merely an ice breaker and does not really demonstrate any interest in the answer.

She also points out all the subtle class distinctions that persist in English society, ranging from what you call your children (Kevin and Tracey at one end to Sarah and David at the other) to what you call the meal you have at mid day....just why it matters is not clear, but what I find interesting is that even among so called iconoclastic liberals, many of these rules still hold sway in 2005!

Unfortunately the book gets tedious towards the end as she tries to pull together all her remarkably detailed observations into a few pithy soundbites

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