Us and them, or all for one and one for all?


Reflecting on the end of an 18 year tour of duty for the New York Times in London, Sarah Lyall writes about English people’s search for identity and meaning: “Who are we, and what is our place in the world? It wasn’t until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games last summer, with its music medleys and dancing nurses and quotes from Shakespeare and references to Mary Poppins and sly inclusion of the queen and depictions of the Industrial Revolution and compendiums of key moments in British television history, that the country seemed to have found some sort of answer.

It was a bold, ecstatic celebration of all sorts of things — individuality, creativity, quirkiness, sense of humor, playfulness, rebelliousness and competence in the face of potential chaos — and more than anything I have ever seen, it seemed to sum up what was great about Britain.”
What she does not tell us is that this particular answer was the masterwork of the son of Irish immigrants, Danny Boyle.

Which might seem to suggest that stereotypes are funny things and should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Taken to extremes they can even poison us.

Sarah Lyall’s full article, full of sharp insight, is here.

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