Hello everybody. My name is Joe Ledbury, and I'm a second year theatre and performance studies student. I'm doing this module because I'd like to find out about how my own culture looks, as viewed from somewhere else, as well as discovering what differences there can be between 2 cultures within Europe, where it might actually be quite hard or surprising to find significant differences. I have been to Holland a few times, and had some good holidays there. Cycling a lot.
I have inserted here a picture of Tim Henman, a British tennis player. Tennis, and in particular Tim Henman, encapsulate for me the essence of englishness.
Tim Henman is a loser. He was our best tennis player for a number of years, but has never won 'wimbledon' - the huge annual tennis event hosted in England. And yet he was always extremely popular. We loved watching him fail, always wondering if he might not, and being able to laugh and complain afterwards about the inevitability of his failure. Even now, I am describing him as a man who always lost, and am endeared to him for that, for him being an 'under dog.' And yet he must have won a few times, we just forgot. We didn't care.
England love losers and losing. England love to be losers. It suits us. We like to grumble and complainabout losing, and feel hard done by. We like to moan about how bad everything is, especially the weather, and feel that we are the victims of some kind of horrible fate, making us do badly. We like the comedy that comes out of failure. We like to watch ourselves in the eurovision song contest, performing the worst song we can come up with, and then eagerly watch the voting, getting increasingly excited as it looks like nobody will give us a single vote, and say things like,
'Nobody likes us any more because of Iraq.'
We are a nation of defeatests, who very often don't quite try hard enough, and then complain anyway. This attitude has perhaps generated a kind of sarcastic, gloomy british humour, that is quite unnecessarily pessimistic.