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dearieme

Yup, 410 AD, these bloody Anglo-Saxons are the limit, aren't they? Result: no central heating for a millenium-and-a-half.

Shuggy

Ah, nostalgia's not what it used to be, eh?

Shuggy

Actually, if I could make a serious(ish) point? It is true that you can pick absolutely any point in history and find people saying the same sort of Daily Mail things. On the other hand, ever since we've had any kind of social history, you can *also* find people saying that people have always said the country's going to the dogs (erm, if you know what I mean?). In other words, just because you've always had people bitching about the state of the country, that doesn't mean it isn't in a state now. Although of course it doesn't mean that it is either. Clear? It isn't to me either - but there's a point in there somewhere...

laban

Thanks Shuggy. The (implied) argument is :

"People have always complained about cultural decline and the behaviour of the young. Therefore, at no time, and in no society, have any of these complaints ever been justified".

laban

PS - I really wouldn't read too much into sentiments placed in the mouths of Christie's characters. While you can learn a lot about the societies about which she wrote from her (mostly unspoken) assumptions, not even her biggest fans would declare she was a great writer about people.

Most of her characters are pretty one-dimensional stereotypes - and therein lies much of the charm of her books.

But I guess it does reinforce your point that the guy moaning about the country going to the dogs was a stereotype even when she was writing. And probably before. Perhaps for thousands of years people have been noticing a tendency to bemoan declining standards.

Third Avenue

Laban -you're quite right that Christie lacks any real emotional insight. But that, as you imply, only emphasises the fact that her characters embody types and stereotypes that would have been immediately recognisable to her readers. Gilbert and Sullivan, writing at a time when Britain (viewed from today's standpoint) had never been more powerful, also have a number of characters who embody the 'country's going to the dogs, our glory days are over' mentality that still permeates the national culture.

Are things getting worse? In some ways they are, in some ways they're not. I have plenty of gripes about modern society - one of which is that aspect of the British character that seems to take positive delight in wallowing in examples of all that is bad and rotten, while dismissing anything good as a trick of the light or statistical witchdoctory.

laban

But there IS nothing good !

Third Avenue

Laban - you need to get out more. There's more to Britain, much, much more, than stories on the crime pages of the newspapers...

Laban Tall

No way. I'm staying in this ex-WW2 bunker, deep under the Wiltshire hills.

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