Sunday, 26 March 2017

Stiff Upper Lip

Don't know about you, but I'm detecting a creeping emotional exhibitionism evident in the news. It all seemed to start with the death of Princess Diana and has just got worse in the last 20 years. Rather than new stories concentrating on the news and giving us a few basic facts, we're fed a constant stream of 'human interest' stories that delve into the lives of individuals who have suffered tragedies. News media have become like women's magazines. I find it all somewhat vapid, mawkish and very un-British.

Yes, people having suffered a tragedy need to grieve, but not in public and certainly not the whole damned nation, as if they were our personal friends. When a tragedy happens at the other end of the country, even the local news focuses on it to analyse its impact on the local area, however tenuous (or even totally non-existent) that may be. From being a nation renowned for its stiff upper lip and just carrying on, Britain has become a nation of sentimentalists that are portrayed as needing trauma therapy whenever something untoward happens (which I don't actually believe to be the case).

An example is the recent media headlines saying that Britian is 'recovering' from the London attack. No it's not -  for the vast majority of people it was an incident that had no impact on their lives whatsoever. The Daily Mail castigated Holyrood for continuing with business after a brief lull, rather than packing up early and slinking off with their tails between their legs. Carry on, I say!

It may not be politically correct to say this, but the news media is also over-using the term hero or heroine for people who do something at no, or very minimal, personal risk to themselves. The term has become debased through overuse by the media to the  extent that someone who is accidentally thrust into danger and does no more than anyone else in a similar situation would do, is hailed as a hero. No, a hero is someone who purposely thrusts him or herself into danger, knowing the possible consequences or, finding him or  herself in a perilous situation, does something extraordinary. Achilles was a hero; not every last Greek soldier outside the gates of Troy was a hero. Capt. Oates was a hero; not everyone who  goes fell walking is a hero. Heroes are a rare commodity.

Perhaps it's a generational thing, or aligned to the slow demise of the public school system where psychological resilience was prized and admired and passed down.


  1. Just a thought that death is death however it comes, I am thinking of others who lost their lives that day, that week or whatever and those who are left behind without Public Mourning - or even a Public subscription fund however poorly managed.

  2. There are 5 road deaths and many more injured on UK roads every day.