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← Translating the British

phil rimmer's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by phil rimmer

I, for one, am delighted that there are a rich variety of cultures in the world. These cultures have a loose bidirectional causality with nationhood, which helps (only just) preserve a degree of distinctness. National stereotypes hold sufficient truths to make jokes about them funny, and more importantly drive cultural evolution.

Danny Boyle's rag bag account of mongrel quirky, creative, self-deprecating (British) us (with the occasional embarrassing dual tendencies to pomposity and fart jokes) was lovely to see. It is possible to identify positively with cultures. (Depending on context I secretly wish for the Epicurean culture of the French, experts surely at the living of lives, and then at other times I hanker for the rather impressive Spartan cultural competence of the Germans...)

Success (in whatever) we can take as success for our "way of doing things". This is functional (rather than hollow) jingoism. I am happy and interested to hear of the success of other cultures. They should crow their successes. Cultures are entirely what imbue individuals with the capacity for and opportunity to employ reason in our individual daily lives (no libertarian I). I think it is false political correctness not to acknowledge a pride in a culture when it has delivered well.

The fantastic success of the likes of Grenada and Jamaica (click the by population and GDP options) should thrill us all and then give us pause to contemplate our own version of success and its significance.

Our sense of national/group identity is somewhat like our sense of aesthetics, an evolutionary gift that seems superficially spurious. But it grants a sense of value and emotional engagement for action. Both can be honed and refined and should be. As we have seen time and again at these Olympics we can set the barriers of our otherness at a height that optimises both our competitve thrills during and our amity after the competition.

Sun, 12 Aug 2012 13:33:16 UTC | #950715