“Challenging” Homophobia And Britishness

Last week, Hayley Bloomingdale, 30, communications director at Moda Operandi, compiled the list of 42 points after living in the UK for around 10 months.  Her article is entitled A New Yorker in London: 42 Peculiarities You Must Know Before You Cross the Pond.

There were some interesting points, not least because London must be a different country to the rest of the England / Britain / the UK, but also because some of the points are simply because what we do over here isn’t American.

Apparently, “British people do not use umbrellas, even though it rains every day”.  I always have an umbrella in the car, one in the house (assuming I remember to take it out the car) and a smaller one I carry in a man bag just in case (when the man bag is also necessary).

“James Corden and Jeremy Corbyn are two different people.”  This doesn’t give much credit to the average American’s intelligence.

I was intrigued by “English people wear winter coats starting on October 1” because Hayley says she’s been in London for 10 months.  With an article publication date of 15th September 2016, that would place her arrival in London sometime around December 2015, so how does she know we start wearing winter coats in October unless someone told her?

Hayley also points out that us Brits call it “1 October” rather than “October 1”.  Yes, that’s because we go from the smallest unit to the biggest rather than formatting our dates so that they’re easily sorted in a spreadsheet.  And we’ll say “18:30” to you because you have no idea what we mean when we say “half six”.  We do know, however, what Greenwich Mean Time is.

Despite what I’ve just written, there wasn’t a great deal to annoy me.  What did annoy me last weak was the news coming out of The Royal Grammar School at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.  They created a maths test for students containing 8 “challenging” questions.

Credit: Wessex News Agency

 

Question 7, confirmed as true by the school, was this:

If in a town 70% of the men are married to 90% of the women (and each marriage is between one man and one woman, as God intended when he made humans male and female) what percentage of the adult population are married?

Apparently the test was written by a long-retired teacher who helps occasionally, but what was going through the mind of said teacher when they felt the necessity to add that bit about God? I understand the “one man and one woman” bit to take out the ambiguity and make the question answerable, but this was a maths test.  It wasn’t a debate or structured conversation, it was just airing a homophobic opinion on an unsuspecting audience (who, in the circumstance, probably did not want to know that opinion anyway).

Just going back to the “one man and one woman” bit.  Without that statement, there would have been too many variables to consider to make an answer available.  However, with that statement I would also argue that the question is not particularly “challenging”!

I think I’d rather live in the Britain that is perceived to challenge the flavour of my crisps and have our chips hot than one where opinions are ventured where they’re not wanted.

Yes I know it was late
We were greeting the sun
Before long
And you live with someone
I live with somebody too
Leave it there
For safe keeping
One of the west village in plains
That was the custom
Come dawn

On the walls of the day
In the shade of the sun
We wrote down
Another vision of us
We were the challengers of
The unknown
“Be safe” you say
Whatever the mess you are you mind okay
That is the custom
On down

Na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na…

Until I see you around
Until we clear the accounts
Leave it there
Leave it to us
We are the challengers of
The unknown

Oh-la, oh-la, oh-la, oh-la
Oh-la, oh-la, oh-la, oh-la

Challengers by The New Pornographers

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