Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Only Culture I Like Is Yeast

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

Chesterton

BB has dealt with Dave on drinking habits already. (But will probably appear above this post, because I started a draft before work this morning.) Having spent the article talking about sub-cultures and fashion in history, he concludes "Mornington Crescent" style with:


Underachievement is a huge problem, but what can governments do about the anti-learning culture in our schools and on our screens, where “swots” are to be pitied and the playing of football is the sole reliable virtue? It's in the culture. Like racism or smoking, it takes decades to shift. It isn't Balls; it's us.


This doesn't seem to come from anywhere; as BB says "he starts off by banging on about fictitious moral panics and then finishes up by propagating one of his own." Do our schools really have an anti-learning culture? And is it remotely true that "swots" are pitied? School cultures really are quite mouldable; and that is what government is for. The playing of football is one of those things that binds us together; I know a lot of clever, academic people who like watching or playing football.

His last sentence loses me. Where does anyone argue that something is "Balls"? And what "isn't Balls"? Underachievement in schools? Ruff wearing? Middle class Merlot imbibing?

And could our man do any research? Justin covers this one very well. DA is usually a much better writer than Nick, but, possibly because I haven't followed this story, I can't tell if he's joking or serious. "So we got ideas for extending ASBOs to persistent public drinkers ..." Come on, that has to mean "tramps". Where are they supposed to go?

I think "it's us" - ie "it's you, you smelly lot" is now a DA trope. Blame the readers.

3 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

Well, each week I play football with a bunch of professors and lecturers and a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Bloody swots.

6/05/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I doubt that I'm the only person here who can recite correctly the "to be or not to be" soliloquy and a complete list of World Cup Final results.

6/05/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Balls line is an echo of a similar cheap shot/pun Heseltine once made during a Tory party conference speech about Balls' role in Brown's economics team. In sporting terms, the name is a 'gimme' or open goal.

[redpesto]

6/08/2008 03:14:00 PM  

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