You know the best thing about being English? It’s that our patron saint is a bloke who was canonised for fighting a flipping DRAGON. It’s a rare and beautiful thing for a country’s saint to so perfectly capture the national character.
Specifically, the character of a self-aggrandising, hopelessly transparant bulldunger.
Because that’s England’s role in the twenty-first century. If the global community were a bar, England would be the beery loudmouth sat in a corner pummelling anyone unfortunate enough to wander into range with shaggy-dog stories of the outrageous and fantastic things he did when he was younger, painfully unaware of how needy and pathetic he sounds. We’re the fatuous git with the bloodshot eyes and gin blossom who so routinely inflates the tales of his past glories that he’s come to believe them himself. We’re the sort of person who pines openly and obnoxiously for The Good Old Days when he was Somebody and young people had respect and you could say what you liked about the birds and the darkies and the fairies without the PC Brigade turning up to cart you away.
England is the Pub Bore Of The World.
This is part of what makes the World Cup so special. Seeing every third house and car decked out with the flag of St. George, to see the country so fervently celebrating the non-existant acheivements of a lying git is a sweet, sweet thing. It’s a nice little reminder that even while the American fundamentalist right wing continues to preach hate in the name of the Prince of Peace, England’s still got a thing or two to teach the world about doltish, unthinking irony. And if that truth’s not worth a bit of chest-thumping tribalism I don’t know what is.
So, you know. If the England football team could see their way clear to extending my state of weary ambivalence by squeaking past Slovenia tomorrow, I wouldn’t object overmuch.