Sunday, June 15, 2008

Adrian McKinty on English self-loathing and faux Celts

Adrian McKinty pinch-hits for Declan Burke on Crime Always Pays and delivers a ringing defense of the classic English fictional detective. He offers that sophisticated, smart, unruffled figure as a kind of Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo for a national self-esteem battered by hooliganism, economic recession, colonial guilt and Hugh Grant. It's the sharpest and funniest piece of sociological analysis you will read all day, and you can read it all here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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10 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

"Irish indeed is the default nationality for uncomfortable Englishmen everywhere."

Pure gold ...

June 15, 2008  
Blogger GJG said...

Ihave to admit upon hearing the suggestion one should identify with the older English Detectives, my mind went immediately to Holmes, and then perversely up popped the image of Mrs. Marple----I need to go lay down now----

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Declan Burke said...

I'd never imagined Marlowe as 'English' until I read this ... but suddenly a lot of things fell into place. Yon McKinty's a perceptive man. Cheers, Dec

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gjg, I hope you will not be tortured by dreams of John Bull wearing a deerstalker and smoking a pipe, and of Miss Marple sitting on the throne.

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Declan, I think in particular of the gentlemanly fashion in which Marlowe drapes a coat across the naked Carmen Sternwood's shoulders in The Big Sleep. Pure English-style courtliness at its finest. He doesn't even leer at her.

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, I knew that Americans liked to ape the Irish, or at least to do so one day a year, but I didn't know the English envied them. And the notion of uncomfortable as a national epithet is delicious, isn't it?

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Quite. And yet poignant, too. I studied for a couple months in the UK one summer, and one of my (American) professors said the country was quietly becoming one huge museum to good days gone by.

June 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Uncomfortable" makes me think of the apologetic tone with which a conductor asked for my ticket the first time I rode a double-decker bus in London. It was touching, actually.

June 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good piece of analysis, but mckinty's missed the boat, its way too late to reform the english. today's yoof dont read books anymore either in school or anywhere else...toby p.

June 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

McKinty does write that reading has become almost a cult behavior. Perhaps he would argue, then, that while English yoof might be beyond help, older folks who still read might take some comfort from his prescription. What the hell, at least they can get a laugh out of it.

June 19, 2008  

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