And here all along I thought we English were such wonderful types, living
in an ideal wonderland of peace and honey. Our visitors from the Northern
lands were always so polite and friendly and of course our guests from the
Mediterranean were of impeccable breeding and manners and oh so helpful in
the development of our silver and tin industries and our legal systems.
>From the East we were offered the opportunity for education in both language
and the newest developments in land management. When of course we set out
on our own we were able to demonstrate well the depth of our learning of
those lessons in international relations from those kindly teachers of old.
Imagine our surprise to find out in the last quarter of the twentieth
century that we had done altogether too well and that we and our most
successful direct descendents are now viewed by a world, much more wealthy
and healthy for our efforts, with resentment and anger and that any
celebration of our accomplishments is denigrated and pointed to with anger
and resentment. Why even this innocent note of protest will probably be
cursed as argumentative and insensitive to others. Curiously it seems that
some of the most privileged of ourselves lead these campaigns of accusation.
Perhaps reparations to the world could be arranged to absolve us of our
Instructive is what Montezuma is said to have told Cortes: that if he,
Montezuma, had had a canoe as big as the one of Cortes he, Montezuma, would
have already had the King of Castile as a sacrifice. Cortes by the way
wasn't English and Montezuma wasn't Scot. Montezuma has, however, been
getting even on visitors, especially English, to Mexico ever since.
French Canadian and very mongrel English
McIntosh, NM, USA
McIntosh, NM, USA
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 7:30 AM
Subject: Re: Dans le Restaurant and the Commedia
"The Story of English" was extremely well done, and I assume the facts
were pretty accurate, but the thesis it promoted was, in my view, very
problematic. The only section I could really evaluate was on Scots (and to
some extent Gaelic), and I found it infuriating in its assumptions about the
wonderful way English supplanted them. It simply did not happen that way
nor was its priviliging welcomed.
I saw it too long ago to be specific, but I do think it was an exercise in
presumption and self congratulation that dismissed other cultures. I am
remembering my distressed reaction rather than specific examples.