Friday, April 18, 2008

A Rotten Red Herring?

Among the many wonderful and deeply significant news items in today's Mail is this journalistic gem about the foul smell that appears to have bothered La La Londinium (and the poor, poor home counties) over the past few days.

As usual, staunch island isolationists blame someone else for the matter. Says one Sarah Holland, forecaster with the Met Office:
"The origins of the smell come from Europe and have brought in pollution."
Europe, right? So where's the UK then -- geographically, I mean? In Africa, Miss Holland (Holland being, by the way, a country, also in Europe)?

And pollution, right? Because Britain is such a green and pleasant land and an ecological role model for the rest of the world. Like...Europe.

Would readers currently in London please confirm that they, too, have noticed this stench? Because over here -- in Europe -- it actually smells quite nice (and it is sunny, and the Redstarts and Wrens are frolicking in the hedges). Which leads me to wonder if this is not another instance of hysteria-inducing misinformation manufactured by the Tory press. Now that it's official that the UK immigrant crime wave is a construction by certain British newspapers, maybe the next non-issue for Britain's benighted masses to fret and frown over is already being prepared.


Jura Watchmaker said...

My dear Anja,

Britain, in case you didn't know, is a sceptred isle that stands proud and alone. It belongs to no world region, and the fact that it sits on the same continental landmass as the European mainland is purely incidental.

But as for referring to Europe as something 'other', I think you will that those notorious Europhobic isolationists the Fenno-Scandinavians do likewise.

You ask if I can smell "Das Stink". Well no, but then I'm feeling a little bunged-up (der Francis hat seit heute einen Schnupfen).

The Wife said...

Dear Francis,

You probably caught your cold from John when you met him the other day -- he's a highly contagious chap. Like all things that come from Germany. As expected, the stink, too, has been traced back to the freshly manured fields of northern Germany:

Although, being a Bavarian, I don't consider that part of Deutschland Germany at all. That's Prussia.

Admittedly, my felt understanding of Germany's geopolitical realities is as flawed as that of people from other nations -- especially those sharing a vicious Viking ancestry.

Nevertheless, I think Britons ever, ever shall be reminded of the fact that not too long ago, their rocky lozenge in the North Sea was merely a European peninsula:

Gute Besserung!

Jura Watchmaker said...

Rocky lozenge? I shall probably borrow this.

The Wife said...

I'm loath to admit it, but the image is not entirely of my own invention. Call it a case of osmotic intertextuality/intertextual osmosis, but I think I might have got it from Julian Barnes's novel _England, England_:

"'The island,' he began, 'as Sir Jack pointed out two weeks ago, is a diamond. Otherwise a lozenge. Some have compared it to a turbot. Twenty-three miles in length, thirteen across at its widest point. One hundred and fifty-five square miles. Each corner at a cardinal point of the compass, more or less. Was once joined to the mainland, back in the days of sedimentary rock and flint arrowheads. Could find out, but pre-television, anyway. Topography: mixture of rolling chalk downland of considerable beauty and bungaloid dystopia.'"

As you might have noticed, this description does not refer to Britain (though the rising North Sea might one day swallow enough of the land to reduce it to a mere 155 square miles), but to the Isle of Wight, which said Sir Jack plans to turn into a theme park ("England, England") based on every availabe "1066 and all that" cliché.