Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The British Terror of the Titfer

The consistently excellent anti-war writer and social commentator Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes in today's Guardian:

Most boys today would rather walk to school bareheaded than wear a hat, even in driving sleet, bitter cold or downright blizzard, but they are only following their elders. A photograph of a football match in 1960 shows all the crowd in hats or cloth caps; even the goalie wore his own cap, and a woollen jumper. Go to a game now on a nasty wet day and you can see scores of thousands of fans - not to mention Alex Ferguson or Arsène Wenger - with rain streaming down their bare heads. It's absurd, but seemingly incorrigible absurdity.

I've often thought the same myself. Not wearing hats (and I don't include baseball caps) has become an unnatural national obsession. If you go to any other country in Europe, you will see people wearing a wide variety of hats; in Britain it is somehow deemed 'fashionable' not to wear one- in the same way it is deemed 'trendy' to go out of cold winter evenings without a proper coat.

We really have become a very peculiar people over the last decade or so. And the fact that Britons spend far more time on 'social networking' sites such as 'Facebook' and 'My Space' than their European counterparts is further evidence of how dysfunctional normal social interraction has become. The Spanish, French, Belgians and Italians don't spend their spare time logging into Facebook because they are too busy socialising in the real world. And because of this, they know, far better than the British seem to do, the difference between a 'friend' and an acquaintance.


Nick said...

Yes, it's quite good out here in the real world - though I had to leave the UK to find it. (Doesn't stop me spending time in the virtual world though, it seems - ah well.) AND I wear a hat when it gets cold in winter, so obviously there's no hope whatsoever for me as a Brit.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Nick,
there's nothing wrong with spending time in the virtual world so long as you spend more time in the real world. If you don't, you end up a deeply disturbed and very sad individual rather like the character 'elena zamm' who spent the night of 25th December trashing my wikipedia entry.
(ms zamm's other wikipedia obsessions were editing the webpage of a man called 'Oliver Kamm' and a woman called 'Anthea Bell' who incidentally is Oliver Kamm's mother- but this time Ms Zamm's edits were very positive!

keep that hat on, if it's anywhere near as cold in NL as it is here in Blighty at present, you'll need it!