The most stationary of all stationery items, scissors hate to be hurried. I learned this as a child. You did too, probably. Don't run with scissors. A clear and simple instruction. Pencils, glue, staples... no problem. For them, like us, it's a finite existence. Time is short so don't dilly dally. But don't run with scissors.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

bigots, banter and middle class banality

It’s not easy being white, middle class, well educated and English. Or so I gather. I’m some of those things, not all of them. So I speak (or write) from the vantage point of the partial outsider. If such a beast exists.

This is a group of people that have been denied so many of life’s little pleasures – in particular, public displays of arrogance, superiority and bigotry. These things simply aren’t cool anymore.

They can’t even get away with being bigoted toward the less well off or the working class anymore. It’s frowned upon.

Don’t go thinking their fetid snobbishness has died off though. It’s the getting found out that’s frowned upon. Being clumsy enough to give the game away is not cool. And so the bigot just reinvented itself – well, slightly.

Want to see it in action? Check out the I hate banter brigade. On one hand this is a great example of how some people on twitter really need a few actual problems in their lives in order to gain some perspective. But on the other, it’s a plain as they come down-the-nose sneer at the working class.

The kinds of conversational dynamic that get labeled as banter are really no different to badinage, or witty repartee. Except even I know you’re unlikely to hear “it’s just a bit of badinage” offered as an excuse from someone who doesn’t have three or four A levels, a 2:1 from a red brick, and who has a job rather than a career.

When I hear (or read) “I hate banter” it translates as I hate people who aren’t like me, who aren’t as clever as me, who don’t share my sensibilities.

No one’s perfect though, least of all me. I hate bigots and snobs – I’m only human. I especially have a problem the ones that are not as funny or as clever as they think, but do have a superiority complex than tends a little toward clinical narcissism.

I wonder sometimes if part of the problem is simply that WMCWEEs (that’s white, middle class, well educated and English) can’t be racist anymore. Unless they’re talking about Americans, of course. For some reason I haven’t been able to figure out, despite several years of thinking about it, it’s still OK to tell racist jokes about Americans – mostly about them being fat or stupid.

I’ve heard middle class English whities with degrees from hard-to-get-into universities make remarks about Americans that simply would not be tolerated in public if the word “black” was used rather than the word “American.” The extent of their denial when their racism is pointed out to them is the only thing more astounding, in fact.

It’s the same with the French. Being rude about the French is a commonplace activity. But again, isn’t it tantamount to racism?

I think what I’m getting at here is displacement. Those people savvy enough to realise they have to cloak their bigotry will do just that and will find other targets and use other weapons.

I don’t have any answers. This is, really, little more than my using 500+ words to say “I hate smug middle class wankers.”

Footnote: I dislike anonymous commenters. If you can't be adult enough to put your name to a comment, don't bother. I'll only delete it. 

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