Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's Going On? by Mark Steel (2008)

There's a layer of society brought up with the expectation that it will rule. At their schools, when they do subjects like the First World War, instead of being asked to write about what life must have been like shivering in a trench, they're asked to construct a battle plan for capturing Verdun. They consider, like Tony Blair, that to end up as a Headmaster would be a failure. Instead of being taught to respect authority they're taught to BE authority. They ooze confidence that it's hard not to be intimidated by. For example, I was contacted by an Eton student who wanted me to speak at his debating society. I was doing a national tour at the time, so I called him back to say it would have to be after that finished. He rang me back and left a message that went, 'Right. Now I've looked on your website and seen the dates of your shows, and you've got two days off one week so I'm booking you in to come down on the Tuesday. It's quite simple.' And the words 'quite simple' were imbued with a slight exasperation, as if he was having to take time out from an important meeting with an admiral to explain to the servants how to serve the pâté.
On the other hand, whenever starts a request, as most of us do, with 'Oh, eer hello, um sorry to bother you but I was just wondering' you know they didn't go to Eton.

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