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‘ASBO Bambi’; and ‘Shock horror! English people can cook!’

March 23, 2010

Okay, okay… I know… It is just too easy to write a post slamming the Daily Mail for being xenophobic. Not big, not clever…. but oh, temptation just gets the better of me sometimes.

It’s about invasive species, but it’s all framed as ‘nasty foreign animals are destroying the British countryside’ – the “Chinese mitten crab”, the “Russian zebra mussel”, the “South African water primrose” and the “Asian muntjac”, to be precise. Muntjac apparently,

“… devour native woodland plants at a terrifying rate, destroy vital bird habitats and can go berserk if unleashed on a suburban garden. They also breed like rabbits.”

They came over as a “legal immigrant” but have now “colonised” Britain (anthropomorphic much?) through their dangerous, sneaky and vicious habits, not to mention unorthodox reproductive behaviour.

This language could be lifted straight from one of their articles on immigrants (people immigrants, that is), I swear.

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For a higher class of sensationalist, xenophobic journalism, the British are now ‘officially’ better than the French at cooking. Anyone who knows more about numbers than me want to comment on whether “more than 2,000 French people and nearly 1,350 Britons” is a statistically significant sample size? Any clue as to where they found these people to ask and whether they are representative? (Are they all, for instance, readers of Olive, a food magazine, and Madame Le Figaro, a more general lifestyle magazine?) Anyone else wonder whether measuring time spent cooking and frequency are really indicators of quality? Or whether more (foodie) Brits bake their own bread because everywhere in France you can always buy delicious bread cheaply easily, whereas this is virtually impossible in Britain? Or whether cooking a hodgepodge of multicultural imports is really the same as having a food culture?

Ah, no – such searching questions would prevent media outlets coming out with such statements as,

“They trounced us at Trafalgar. They whipped us at Waterloo. Now the English have scored their ultimate victory: they are better at cooking than us … we, the self-proclaimed kings of nosh.” (TF1).

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