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45897Re: In brief

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  • jimstuart51
    Dec 7, 2008
      Wil,

      Thanks for your post – I find myself in agreement with just about
      everything you have written on this subject.

      I'll just comment specifically on this section from your post:

      "While I understand the fear of a MacDonalds being on every street
      corner of London, it is nevertheless the case that American culture
      (R&B, blues, rock and roll, etc.) has already so affected British
      popular culture as to be, by now, indissociable from it. For many
      years, there were more white Brit kids from Liverpool listening to
      recordings of Albert King, T-Bone Walker or Muddy Waters than kids
      from Long Island, where I grew up."

      I, myself, am not too concerned about American culture dominating
      over here. I consider myself rather a `counter-culture' person
      anyway, quite happy to embrace things which are often explicitly
      reactions against the mainstream culture, whether British or American.

      More than anything else, I consider myself to be a European rather
      than English or British. I see myself as part of the intellectual
      culture of Europe which started with the Ancient Greeks, then moved
      to the Romans, and more than anything else I see myself as a product
      of the Enlightenment.

      I found myself feeling a sense of pride when I read Zizek writing:

      "What makes modern Europe unique is that it is the first and only
      civilisation in which atheism is a fully legitimate option, not an
      obstacle to any public post. This is most emphatically a European
      legacy worth fighting for. (Violence, p. 118)

      I suppose I also feel myself to be a continuation of a tradition of
      English radicalism which embraced such groups as the Quakers, the
      Chartists and the early trade unionists.

      Referring to myself as European tends to annoy British/English
      nationalists and patriots. However they themselves seem to be on
      tricky ground when asked if they are primarily English or British.

      I note that Louise sometimes refers to herself as `British' and
      sometimes as `English'. This is only likely to annoy anybody who is
      Scottish or Welsh. As you know, England has conquered both Wales and
      Scotland at some time or other, and today there are many Welsh and
      Scottish nationalists who wish to defend their Welsh and Scottish
      culture from the English imperialists.

      Sometimes these Welsh and Scottish nationalists talk of the English
      as a different race!

      Finally, moving from culture back to race, I can honestly say that to
      me race is a total non-issue. I see people as human beings primarily
      and hardly notice the colour of their skin. Just as I would be
      perfectly happy for my children to be gay, I would be perfectly happy
      for them to have loving relationships with individuals from different
      racial and cultural backgrounds.

      Perhaps it could be argued that I am so unconcerned about cultural
      and racial only because I have never suffered at the hands of a
      stronger cultural or racial aggressor. Certainly being male, white,
      heterosexual, middle class and European, I acknowledge that I am
      probably not the best person to talk on the subject of the oppression
      of minorities.

      Jim
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