Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Are the British a miserable lot?

You can waste your life on the internet.
There’s always a story, article or game to help you procrastinate when there’s something more important to do. And so it was when I came across an interesting article entitled, “Why nothing makes the British quite so happy as being miserable?”

Eric Weiner (a Yank) suggests that “we are a nation of Victor Meldrews taking a perverse pleasure from our grumpiness” and as such we are one of the gloomiest countries on the planet. **

Is Weiner correct? Are we a grumpy lot? Do we revel in complaining? Are we a nation where the happy are strange anomalies and regarded suspiciously? Is this why we find David Brent, Jim Royale & Basil Fawlty hilarious? Do we scowl at everyone who laughs out loud on public transport or in a restaurant? Is happiness a sign that you are not intelligent enough to realise how miserable you should be?

Or is it that Mr Weiner himself suffers a sense of humour failure? Does he not appreciate our sarcasm genes, teasing and self-depreciating humour?

Are we actually miserable? And if so, how does this reconcile with “living out the Gospel”? Should it change how we read verses such as Philippians 2:14 - “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God”?

** Incidentally the five happiest places he claims are Bhutan, Iceland, Thailand, India & Switzerland (with all that Milka who couldn’t be happy?)


Paul Armstrong said...

I don't think Iceland are too happy now!

Paul Armstrong said...

I don't think Iceland are too happy now!

Michael said...

Damn! Beaten to the joke about Iceland. I've worked with a lot of Yanks and they really can be a gullible, unworldly lot when it comes to getting our sarcasm. For real moaners though, you can't beat the Czechs.