No sex please we’re British: exploring On Chesil Beach’s chaste state of mind

Interesting piece in The Guardian today about British Cinema’s sexual repression tendencies. – Johnny Foreigner

Repressed, stiff-upper-lipped Englishness is en vogue again. But should we be encouraging it?

“They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.” Ian McEwan’s 2007 novel On Chesil Beach sets out a familiar stall in its opening lines. The story revolves around a fateful night of non-consummation between newlyweds, played in the new movie adaptation by Billy Howle and Saoirse Ronan. We have seen their condition many times before: it’s called Englishness. It begins with a stiffness of the upper lip but soon extends to the entire host organism [ . . . ]

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Was George Orwell just a dirty old man?

George Orwell
George Orwell

CRAIG BROWN: In our contemporary climate, would George Orwell be allowed a platform to speak up about anything?

THE DAILY MAIL 2/14/18
A week or two ago, I pointed out that Brexiteers and Remainers alike are convinced that if George Orwell were alive today he would be firmly on their side.

This raises another question. In our contemporary climate, would George Orwell be allowed a platform to speak up about anything?

In America, the wonderful comic writer Garrison Keillor has been silenced following allegations of improper conduct. The long-running radio show he created has been given a new name and old episodes are no longer being repeated; his weekly newspaper column has been cancelled; and a plaque in his honour at his old university has been removed.

 And what exactly was his crime? No one is saying. According to Keillor, he placed his hand on a woman’s back, meaning to console her after she told him of her unhappiness.

‘She recoiled. I apologised. I sent her an email of apology and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.’

Nearly 70 years after his death, George Orwell is still regarded as one of our greatest essayists and novelists, but a trawl through his life and work by the Thought Police would, I’m sorry to say, unearth far worse.

Even his most sympathetic biographers acknowledge that, as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he paid regular visits to the waterfront brothels of Rangoon. After spending time in Morocco, he also confessed to his friend Harold Acton that he ‘seldom tasted such bliss as with certain Moroccan girls’.

A friend recalled Orwell saying that ‘he found himself increasingly attracted by the young Arab girls’. He confessed to the same friend that he told his wife, Eileen, he ‘had to have one of these girls on just one occasion’. Eileen agreed, and so he went ahead [ . . . ]

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