Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Carp.

A carp? I hear you cry. No, no. Not the fish. I mean bellyache, bitch, bemoan ... in a word: complain.

We British are supposed to be good at complaining, but we complain in a singularly useless way. An American who is served a bad meal in a restaurant will likely complain to the restaurant and tell them where they were falling down on the job, and Brit will usually complain to his or her spouse during the car ride home, having betrayed not the least dissatisfaction to the waiter, chef or restaurant owner.

This is not moral cowardice or even good manners gone mad. We simply think that it's not our job to go around correcting the performance of bad restaurants. We punish them by simply not going there again, and we hope that in due course the erring business will shrivel up and die.

The French, of course, are excellent complainers. Not for them the constant miserable criticism of the weather - British weather is singularly mild and harmless, so we have developed a fetish over its many fine distinctions. But the French - they find a cause and go for it wholeheartedly, right down to throwing cobblestones through the windows of the local town hall. The last time a Brit threw anything at a town hall was in the reign of Edward the Confessor. And as a result we put up with a lot of misery, injustice and general slackness.

Well, now I have complained about complaining. Is that a first, I wonder?

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