Feature

United Kingdom: What ever happened to stiff upper lips?

Has reality television destroyed the British tradition of keeping a stiff upper lip? asked Craig Brown in <em>The Daily Mail.</em>

Craig BrownThe Daily Mail

Has reality television destroyed the British tradition of keeping a stiff upper lip? asked Craig Brown. We used to know how to weather adversity or accept a compliment without making a fuss. Understatement and self-deprecation were core British values. We “always refused to make a drama out of a crisis.” But nowadays, we can create drama out of even the mildest setback.

“It seems that everyone on television is either yelling at someone or bursting into tears, or, more often than not, doing both at the same time.” On reality shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, singers sob when they’re told they’re bad and they sob when they’re told they’re good. How refreshing, then, to hear of the truck driver who got in a crash last week and found himself pierced through the torso by an 8-foot pole. Eschewing histrionics, he simply reached for his cell phone, called his boss, and said, “I’m in a spot of bother.”

If only contestants on talent shows would emulate him. They should “be shrugging and saying ‘Fair enough,’ rather than acting as though they had just been speared through the chest by 8-foot poles.”

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