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  • Those Nutty Brits

    Posted by James R. Rummel on October 25th, 2007 (All posts by )

    I always thought that the British were mad because of what they ate for breakfast. Kippers, bloaters and liver.

    I know that not every person from England eats that stuff, but c’mon! “Bloaters”?

    Back in the days when I worked for the police, we would have to fingerprint corpses to see if we could figure out who they were. Bloaters were what we called the ones who had been in the sun for awhile. You had to skin the finger tips and stretch the skin on wooden dowels to get a print.

    No, I’m not saying that the English are cannibals that prefer food they don’t have to chew. I’m just not about to put anything in my mouth if the word “bloat” can be used as a descriptive.

    But I have found a completely non-gastronomic reason to think the Brits are completely crazy. They are sending their juvenile delinquents to juvenile court. What I mean by that is not a court that specializes in hearing cases where the accused is a child, but a court where the judges are children themselves.

    The idea behind this scheme, if the word “idea” is appropriate, seems to be that young punks don’t listen to adults anyway. If the judge is also a kid, then maybe a little peer pressure will get them to walk the straight and narrow.

    I always wanted to visit England. You know, do some sightseeing, visit the points of interest, enjoy all that history. If this is any indication of where British society is headed, I better hurry up and get that done before the place starts to look like it does in 28 Days Later. Except that they won’t need any virus that turns people into mindless zombies to wreck the joint.

    (Hat tip to Ace. This essay is cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

     

    15 Responses to “Those Nutty Brits”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      You don’t like kippers?

      [:0

    2. Tatyana Says:

      …and liver?
      *shocked silence*

    3. James R. Rummel Says:

      You remember when I mentioned my acute sense of sell? Food with strong odors or tastes are rather overhwelming to me, so most fish and organ meats are passed over in favor of more subtle flavors.

      Oddly enough, hot spices don’t effect me much at all. Maybe it has something to do with getting spritzed with pepper spray all those times while working for the police.

      James

    4. Tim Worstall Says:

      Liver for breakfast? Sadly misinformed I fear. Devilled kidneys now, yes, but not liver.

      Anyway, the insanity of the eating habits of us Brits is entirely explained by the existence of Marmite. It is, quite simply, boiled yeast with added salt, that you then spread on toast and butter. Most excellent it is too, but a clear sign of national insanity to have invented it.

    5. Tatyana Says:

      Tim, now the secret of famed “englishwomen complexion” is revealed: the yeast in Marmite! In my childhood dermatologists used to recommend skincare products made from yeast culture to pacify acne in pimpled teenagers; and to think that supposedly perfect skin of english girls was attributed to the perpetually-mosturizing rainy climate of the Isles!

    6. Andrew X Says:

      And after ’28 Days Later’ came ’28 Weeks Later’….

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0463854/

      Say, wasn’t it the US Army going into London to put things back together after those ’28 days’?

      I do believe it was!

      I’m jus’ sayin’.

      ;-)

    7. Captain Mojo Says:

      Hasn’t England’s national food switched to curry? Hard not to make the switch when the alternative to a tasty vindaloo is a cuisine in which a spotted dick is a leading desert item.

      And Marmite? Sweet Jebus in Valhalla, why? How can people make fun of Americans for peanut butter when such abominations exist?

      As for liver and kidneys, they should only be consumed when ground up into unrecognizable hot dog meat, as God intended.

    8. Tatyana Says:

      Captain M, next time you’re in Brooklyn come over for chicken liver canapes and Polish vodka’ party.

    9. Lex Says:

      “Hanging out on 2nd Avenue. Eating chicken vindaloo.”

    10. James R. Rummel Says:

      Say, wasn’t it the US Army going into London to put things back together after those ‘28 days’?

      In “28 Weeks Later”, they made a big deal about how it was supposed to be a NATO mission. Although several of the actors were either British or Australian, all of the ground troops were obviously supposed to be American. I suppose that is possible, considering how the US is #1 when it comes to NATO contributions.

      Other than that, I noticed that the troops were incompetent as all get out. I was actually personally offended while watching the first half of the movie because even a high school rent-a-cop would have done a better job at protecting unarmed civilians!

      The second half of the film, when the infected start to run amok, was alright.

      James

    11. dearieme Says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbroath_Smokie

    12. Shannon Love Says:

      James,

      Oddly enough, hot spices don’t effect me much at all.

      Most hot spices interface directly with the neural receptors on tastebuds activating them directly. Although our brain integrates them, taste and smell arise from two physiologically separate systems. A chemical that alters the function of the sense of taste will not alter the sense of smell and vice versa.

      I have always viewed the atrocious food of the British Isles as good thing (as long as I did not have to eat it.) I think British food frightens and disgust because in the end it is the pragmatic food of working people. A culture with a sophisticated cuisine is usually one with profound social divisions which uses increasingly elaborate food as indicators of status and as a means of social competition. Wealth and power in such societies comes from manipulating other people instead of coming from personal productivity. People use food as a manipulative tool.

      Places with crappy food, however, usually have a more egalitarian, merit driven culture. Individuals advance by making things so they invest relatively more time and energy in work and less in entertaining themselves and others. They eat for fuel and the differing economic classes eat similar foods. Nobody bothers to try to market food with appealing names.

      England’s reputation as a land of bad food seems to date only from the late 1700′s around about the time that the British tossed overboard the last major vestiges of aristocracy and climbed onto the rocket of egalitarian (relative) industrialism.

      The idea of child courts is not a new one. It was proposed many times back in the 60′s in the US. The major impetus behind the idea seems to be that adults have lost or never had the moral authority to pass judgement on the actions of children. This in itself reflects a profound cultural shift.

      My son and I had a lot of fun watching “28 Days Later.” I found it a very interesting peak into mindset and conditions of modern Britain. The first question that the protagonist ask when he finds others survivors is, “where’s the government?” Also, since England has a disarmed populace, the survivors must defend themselves from the infected using only baseball bats and molotov cocktails. My son pointed out that if that scenario occurred in Texas, our major problem would be running out of ammunition before we ran out of zombies. Hell, we’d probably make a sport of it.

      I think the treatment of the military in the movies ( I haven’t seen the second one) probably owes more to horror movie conventions that it does to any anti-military feelings of the authors. The true terror of zombie story (and most other horror) comes from the sense of isolation and helplessness in the face of an implacable and mindless enemy. In order to create that situation, the author must eliminate any source benevolent power. There are many ways of doing this although if the authors are lazy or ignorant they may simply portray the authorities as incompetent.

    13. david Says:

      Shows just how far the British have fallen. With their cultural institutions in longterm decline (a good example, the Potemkinesque, to quote Chris Hitchens, Anglican Church, the past discredited as a source of wisdom or relevance, not to mention a disarmed and entitlement-ridden populace, Britain is a nice preview of the US in 20 years should we endure a run of Democratic control of the legislature and presidency.

    14. Tatyana Says:

      Shannon: an interesting theory. However, I’d think twice before characterising formerly Soviet states as places with “more egalitarian, merit driven culture”. They food is crappy, however. What’s funny, the post-Soviet citizens, all over the Net, are praising the quality of their food vs. all Western countries they now have a chance to visit…just like some British expats do…

    15. Ginny Says:

      I’ve always thought food in working class cafeterias in Italy was great. Of course, I’m not all that picky. Still, while much about Italian culture is, well, unproductive, the aethetics and the food make life seem good. (Apparently not good enough for the Italians who aren’t exactly filling up those lovely, dappled countrysides.)