Matt's Reviews > The Angry Island: Hunting the English

The Angry Island by A.A. Gill
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May 03, 08

Read in May, 2008

"England's default setting is anger: lapel-poking, Chinese-burning, ram-raiding, street-shouting, sniping, spitting, shoving,vengeful, inventive rage. But many of the traits and tics that make the English so singular and occasionally admirable are the deflective mechanisms that they've invented to diffuse anger. The tolls and speed bumps and diversions of anger. Not giving in to your nature is very English, clinging on, white-knuckled, bottling the urges, refusing to slide into spittle-flecked release of snarling national fury.

The simplest and most straightforwards way to replace the pin is an apology. The S-word."

"There is: sorry, I apologize; sorry, I don't apologize; sorry, you can take this as an apology, but we both know it isn't one; sorry, will you shut up; sorry, empathy; sorry for your loss; sorry, I can't hear you; sorry, incredulity; sorry, I don't understand you; sorry, you don't understand me; sorry, excuse me; sorry, will you hurry up; sorry, I don't believe you; sorry, I'm interrupting; sorry, this won't do; sorry, I've reached the end of my patience; sorry, sad and pathetic--as in, sorry excuse or sorry little man...Sorry is a prophylactic word. It protects the user and the recipient from the potentially explosive consequences of the truth."
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