Feature

No longer a land of intolerance.

The week's news at a glance.

United Kingdom

Ben MacIntyreThe Times

The English used to be world leaders in chauvinism, said Ben MacIntyre in the London Times. For centuries, we took it as beyond question that “Johnny Foreigner” deserved only “blanket disdain.” A Victorian-era travel book described the Portuguese as “indolent, just like the Spaniards,” and the Greeks as immature: “When they are unhappy, they scream like babies.” The Roman Catholicism of the Continent was dismissed as “a kind of Christian religion, but a very bad one.” These “sweepingly negative generalizations and racist stereotyping” came from one Mrs. Favell Lee Mortimer, an English travel writer who had never actually left England. These days, fortunately, that kind of ignorant prejudice is behind us. Affordable air travel allows us to “wander in vast droves” and see for ourselves that our foreign neighbors are not so bad after all. Certainly we still laugh at the Fawlty Towers sketch about Germans—“Don’t mention the war!”—but in an “ironical” way that finds the English more ridiculous than the Germans. And while Britons are “as likely as ever to complain that the French smell of garlic and the Germans have no jokes,” deep down we “know the stereotypes are not true.”

Recommended

Why thousands of Haitians arrived in Texas on Mexican Independence Day
Haitian migrants at southern border
Haitian migrants

Why thousands of Haitians arrived in Texas on Mexican Independence Day

Taliban official says executions will return
A Taliban official in front of a flag.
today's taliban

Taliban official says executions will return

DHS says it 'is not and will not send' Haitian migrants to Guantanamo Bay
Haitian migrants at southern border
Haitian migrants

DHS says it 'is not and will not send' Haitian migrants to Guantanamo Bay

Kabul's holdover mayor says he finds Taliban 'more tolerant'
Taliban fighters.
afghanistan

Kabul's holdover mayor says he finds Taliban 'more tolerant'

Most Popular

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness
Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman
Last Night on Late Night

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness

Democrats are governing like Republicans
A donkey.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Democrats are governing like Republicans

After Biden huddles, Democrats moderately optimistic about passing progressive agenda
Joe Biden
Dems in Disarray

After Biden huddles, Democrats moderately optimistic about passing progressive agenda