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Watching The English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox

Socially dis-eased.
I think I stole this book from a holiday cottage. I must have done otherwise I can't remember where it came from.

Regardless, it's a lot of fun. I shan't go on at interminable length about each chapter and the conclusions the author draws about peculiarly English (read British) cultural and social morés, if that's not tautological; but, it is very odd, and sometimes squeamishly embarrassing, to clearly recognise in one's self the social ineptitude, studied aloofness, distaste for earnestness and ebullience of emotion, negative politeness and burning (but generally smouldering like a peat bog fire, rather than a towering inferno) sense of justice and fair play that she so succinctly pinions under the light of curious examination. 

Where the book falls down is in matters of style. This is clearly a book for the layperson. She is trying desperately to be on the reader's side, to have a laugh at herself and her own findings, so that the reader knows she is not being earnest, and it provokes a little of the curled-lip sceptic in me, being terribly British and all that and completely disdainful of the earnestness of hiding one's earnestness. And yes, I realise it's hard to explain explicitly what most people tacitly understand without reverting to tropes and archetypes, like Kevins & Traceys and their middle-to-upper-middle cousins Jamies & Saskias, and the class pitfalls of shopping at Marks & Spencers. In actual fact, I realise now that perhaps I wanted it to be less popular and more academic, in a way I just know would have meant that in my alternative review I would be pillorying it for being dull and unimaginatively written.

How typically Britishly hypocritical.

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