"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sam Leith on Patriotism

Another storming piece from the Telegraph comment page.

3 comments:

Colin said...

Yes, entertaining. But I think the whole nationalism/patriotism/jingoism thing can be pretty nuanced and complex.

What inspired me to buy The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World yesterday, for instance?

Actually, so far it's pretty good. Written by a (fairly conservative I suspect) American who makes no claims about Scots ancestry, so should be reasonably objective.

Only half way through chapter 1 so far, but the main thing that's struck me so far is how much John Knox's Calvinists were like the Taleban. Although it did lead to schools being set up in every parish, creating a literate population (for scripture-reading purposes), who would later provide a receptive market for books and ideas.

Tom said...

Article is good fun but I agree with Colin. I'm all for the Marxist dictum "workers have no motherland", but in fact I have to acknowledge that my identity, worldview, personal interests and who I share an affinity with are still shaped by being British, as problematic as that concept might be.

There's a good piece on this (in the context of possible Scottish independence) by Neil Ascherson in the LRB this week.

(The article doesn't seem to be online, so instead from the same issue, here's another piece from the ever-brilliant John Lanchester on the politics of global warming

john said...

Of course we're all British, and there's a lot of great stuff in the British cultural tradition, but I think what he's getting at is the idea of people bigging *themselves* up just because of the geographical locus of their birth.