Monday, April 25, 2005

‘When You’ve Got Nothing In Your Life to be Proud About, Be Proud Of Your Country’

Originally posted by The Realist

I had a wonderful St George’s day. I spent it in a way the Turk himself would have been, ahem, proud of. It was only the next day that I realised I had spent ‘England-day’:

Having a Jewish breakfast
Having a Turkish lunch
Watching an American version of a Japanese film
Going out for an Italian meal.

Like him, I travelled extensively, sampling many cultures. Without leaving zone 2.Nationalism really is an ugly little emotion – I just hope we can all grow up and move on from it.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most balanced people can be pround of their own country without disliking others.

Anonymous said...

Ummm...yes indeed. Any hint of disliking other races/counties in this post? Idiot.

Anonymous said...

So in what way is nationalism an ugly little emotion then? I was infering from your post that you disapproved of nationalism because you thought it engendered negative emotions, and as nationalism is about nations then those emotions would probably be aimed at other nations.
If you are going to use insults make them interesting/amusing - but not coarse, up to now they have been very much at the pre-school level.

Anonymous said...

I'm really quite lost here - are you arguing amongst the initial post or with each other, Anonymous 1 and 2?

sparx said...

Your day was not ironic considering our patron saint wasn't english, and probably never even visited our shores.

Anon 1. Being proud of your country and being 'nationalist' are, IMHO, two slightly different things. The BNP are 'nationalist'. American white supremists are 'nationalist'. The Nazi's were 'nationalist'. Nationalism is the assumption that your nation is better than other nations because it's yours. That is an ugly little emotion and I agree with the realist. The sooner we get over our jingoism the better.

PH said...

But the post said we should 'all' grow up, suggesting that nationalism is not just a position held by the uglier shades of political thought but by the population in general.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to seeing you dig yourself out of this one! You seem to love talking about yourself, so come on - let's hear what you've got to say.

The Realist said...

‘You seem to love talking about yourself’ – that is largely what blogging is about. I suppose you could argue that Anne Frank’s diary didn’t provide enough commentary on the outside world and was somewhat self-obsessed…

I was, in fact, linking my personal experience to a newsworthy item (patriotism/St. George’s Day) – textbook news-based blogging technique. In addition, I do not need to justify my blog topics – again, the beautiful nature of blogging. Indeed, tomorrow’s post has nothing to do with the news and is tentatively entitled – ‘How Being Anonymous Cannot Be Justified’

In terms of clarifying my initial post, the point was that people who feel the need to publicly (oh, and it’s always publicly) exhibit their ‘pride’ for their country are, probably, lacking something meaningful in their own lives. Hence the quote ‘When you’ve got nothing to be proud of, be proud of your country’.

You should be proud of yourself.

More than happy for you to disagree with that – it’s probably not a popular view, despite being the truth. Perhaps you and I can still agree with Sparx’ comments on nationalism?

p.s. Top comments as always, Sparx.

Anonymous said...
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The Realist said...
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Anonymous said...
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The Realist said...

p.s. the three deleted comments are just my message half-posting themselves - server problems apparently...

ph said...

Why 'should you be proud of yourself' ? From my experience the proud, are also conceited, arrogant, and unpleasant. There is far too much pride and too little humility around. In fact, I think the idea of having pride in your country is refreshingly different to rampant narcisism of today.

Citizen Sane said...

Good grief, what a lot of fuss about nothing. The point The Realist was trying to make (and Anonymous 1 & 2 would do well to take heed, because they have clearly mis-read or just do not understand) was that celebrations of national identity are kind of meaningless given that there is no real national identity: culture and society are permanently in flux. He was NOT being diparaging about other nationalities. Read the piece again, have a think and try to understand. It was meant to show the array of different cultures that can be enjoyed in various ways in this huge city of ours, put into context against the whole idea of St George's Day - this redundant event where we are supposed to "celebrate" being "English".

Nationalism IS an ugly emotion. Getting misty eyed about which particular section of rock you happen to inhabit, or saluting flags or crying during the national anthem is just ridiculous.

PH said...

I know he was not being disparaging about other nations but he was being disparaging of those who take some pride in their their own country. He implied that they had ugly emotions (he was possibly thinking of xenophobia/racism etc etc). My point was that most people are mature enough to be proud of their own country without being 'ugly'.

As the Irish celebrate St Patrick's day with far more fervour than the English celebrate St George's day does that make them uglier than the English.

No national identity ? Thats not what the rest of the world think.

I thought you wanted us to disagree with you so that you could tell us that we are wrong.

Citizen Sane said...

I would argue that while nationalism is not in itself "ugly" (as an ideology it was, after all, born out of struggle for independence from imperialist powers, particularly in mainland Europe in the 19th century - so perhaps we should instead be discussing "patriotism"?), it does have a tendency to manifest itself in bigotry, xenophobia and, yes, racism. Not necessarily, but this is often the case.

St Patrick's day is very different, I think. Ireland is not weighed down by an imperialistic legacy like England. The same is true for the Welsh and the Scottish - in many ways they are passive components of the "British" identity, whereas England is dominant in nearly every way. That is why St George's Day tends to go unnoticed: there is a source of embarrassment that goes with being English, and for many good reasons.

BTW, I wouldn't say we want people to disagree with us as such, but it is fun when they do. And we certainly appreciate the comments and the debate.

Anonymous said...

I had written a long post on distinguishing between patriotism and nationalism but it hasn't appeared on the site after I submitted it, which I don't mind saying has extremely pissed me off.

But in summary: patriotism involves looking at, improving and laughing at your country for what it is - working together for the good of, ultimately, the wider world. It is essentially internationalist in its outlook.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is a mindless yobbish 'we're the best in the blaaahdy wooorld so faack the rest of you' mentality. If a human exhibited that sort of behaviour, most would judge them to be rather insecure with a large inferiority complex. And so it is when looking at a country as a whole.

I think/hope this is what The Realist was trying to originally say, despite the rather hysterical reactions of some after him.

Now this better bloody post.

Anonymous said...

Am pretty sure the world is full of serious assholes that love the idea of the rest of us forgoeing our individual national pride. It is a unity that an enemy 'with' National pride fears and seeks to destroy in war. (will) England is the best example I can think of at the moment. And when the interests of diverse nations overlap or conflict pride defends. The first nation to effectively eliminate national pride will be absorbed by immigrants and investors and may provoke war among competing interest for the absorbtion. I think the practice of colonization is far more complex and subtle than traditionally defined and was never limited to Western Powers. We being more powerful just did it overtly and abruptly. dw