The Corner

Britishness

The Daily Telegraph is inviting its readers to express their opinions about Britishness. I liked this one (the writer of which, by the way, lives in Switzerland):

“Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign.”

There is a great deal of talk over there reight now about Britishness.

The problem with it all, of course, is its self-consciousness. The fact that such a high level of interest in, and self-consciousness about, some personal or collective trait has been attained, is a pretty sure sign that that trait is as dead as mutton.

There is a fairy tale — one of De Morgan’s, I think — about a castle which, seen from a distance, shows a very curious sliver of sky between itself and the ground. If a wayfarer asks the reason for this, the castle vanishes.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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