jueves, 30 de junio de 2016

Brexit - George Mikes - How to be an Alien

--  How To Be A Brit  --
“An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.” 
“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.” 
“Q. Why don't the British panic?
A. They do, but very quietly. It is impossible for the naked eye to tell their panic from their ecstasy.”
George Mikes, How to Be an Alien: A Handbook for Beginners and Advanced Pupils

“Remember: If you go for a walk with a friend in England, don't say a single word for hours; if you go for a walk with your dog, talk to it all the time.”
George Mikes, How to Be an Alien: A Handbook for Beginners and Advanced Pupils
“Many Continentals tink life is a game; the English think cricet is a game.” 
“5. Television is of great educational value. It teaches you while still really young how to (a) kill, (b) rob, (c) embezzle, (d) shoot, (e) poison, and generally speaking, (f) how to grow up into a Wild West outlaw or gangster by the time you leave school.
6. Television puts a stop to crime because all the burglars and robbers, instead of going to burgle and rob, sit at home watching The Lone Ranger, Emergency Ward Ten and Dotto.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“THE British are brave people. They can face anything, except reality.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“If a continental youth wants to declare his love to a girl, he kneels down, tells her that she is the sweetest, the most charming and ravishing person in the world, that she has something in her, something peculiar and individual which only a few hundred thousand other women have and that he would be unable to live one more minute without her. Often, to give a little more emphasis to the statement, he shoots himself on the spot. This is a normal, week-day declaration of love in the more temperamental continental countries. In England the boy pats his adored one on the back and says softly: ‘I don’t object to you, you know.’ If he is quite mad with passion, he may add: ‘I rather fancy you, in fact.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“On the Continent learned persons love to quote Aristotle, Horace, Montaigne and show off their knowledge; in England only uneducated people show off their knowledge, nobody quotes Latin and Greek authors in the course of a conversation, unless he has never read them.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Q. Why don’t they work harder?
A. They just don’t like hard work. The Germans have a reputation for hard work, so they like to keep it up. The British find it boring.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“In England it is bad manners to be clever, to assert something confidently. It may be your own personal view that two and two make four, but you must not state it in a self-assured way, because this is a democratic country and others may be of a different opinion.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“There are some occasions when you must not refuse a cup of tea, otherwise you are judged an exotic and barbarous bird without any hope of ever being able to take your place in civilised society.
If you are invited to an English home, at five o’clock in the morning you get a cup of tea. It is either brought in by a heartily smiling hostess or an almost malevolently silent maid.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Remember that those five hundred words an average Englishman uses are far from being the whole vocabulary of the language. You may learn another five hundred and another five thousand and yet another fifty thousand and still you may come across a further fifty thousand you have never heard of before, and nobody else either.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“While all this goes on, the English remain staunch believers in equality. Equality is a notion the English have given to humanity. Equality means that you are just as good as the next man but the next man is not half as good as you are.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Mr S. got angry.
‘Yes, I do have a son. He’s a good-for-nothing. A dead loss.’
I couldn’t ask which prison he was in, so I put it more tactfully: ‘What is he doing?’
He sighed deeply: ‘He’s a professor of mathematics at London University.”
George Mikes
“Overstatement, too, plays a considerable part in English social life. This takes mostly the form of someone remarking: ‘I say…’ and then keeping silent for three days on end.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Before you are admitted to British citizenship you are not even considered a natural human being.
I looked up the word natural (na’tural) in the Pocket Oxford Dictionary (p. 251); it says: Of or according to or provided by nature, physically existing, innate, instinctive, normal, not miraculous or spiritual or artificial or conventional.... Note that before you obtain British citizenship, they simply doubt that you are provided by nature.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“The worst kind of soul is the great Slav soul. People who suffer from it are usually very deep thinkers. They may say things like this: ‘Sometimes I am so merry and sometimes I am so sad. Can you explain why?’ (You cannot, do not try.) Or they may say: ‘I am so mysterious.... I sometimes wish I were somewhere else than where I am.’ (Do not say: ‘I wish you were.’) Or ‘When I am alone in a forest at night-time and jump from one tree to another, I often think that life is so strange.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Can you tell the difference between our margarine and our hair tonic? WE can’t.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“There are various, centuries-old, true British traditions to secure this aim.

1. All orders and directives to the public are worded in such a way that they should have no meaning whatever.
2. All official letters are written in such a language that the oracles of Delphi sound as examples of clear, outspoken, straightforward statements compared with them.
3. Civil Servants never make decisions, they only promise to ‘consider,’ — ‘consider favourably’ — or — and this is the utmost — ‘reconsider’ certain questions.
4. In principle the British Civil Servant stands always at the disposal of the public. In practice he is either in ‘conference’ or out for lunch, or in but having his tea, or just out. Some develop an admirable technique of going out for tea before coming back from lunch.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“IN my early days there were stories about funny refugees murdering the English language. A refugee woman goes to the greengrocer to buy red oranges (I mean red inside), very popular on the Continent and called blood oranges.
‘I want two pounds of bloody oranges.’
‘What sort of oranges, dear?’ asked the greengrocer, a little puzzled.
‘Bloody oranges.’
‘Hm...’ He thinks. ‘I see. For juice?’
‘Yes, we are.’
Another story dates from two years later. By that time the paterfamilias — the orange-buying lady’s husband — has become terribly, terribly English. He meets an old friend in Regents Park, and instead of talking to him in good German, softly, he greets him in English, loudly.
‘Hallo, Weinstock.... Lovely day, isn’t it? Spring in the air.’
‘Why should I?”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“It is so much nicer to ask, when someone speaks of Barbados, Banska Bystrica or Fiji:
‘Oh those little islands.... Are they British?’
(They usually are.)”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“IT is easy to be rude on the Continent. You just shout and call people names of a zoological character.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Then you have tea for breakfast; then you have tea at eleven o’clock in the morning; then after lunch; then you have tea for tea; then after supper; and again at eleven o’clock at night.
You must not refuse any additional cups of tea under the following circumstances: if it is hot; if it is cold; if you are tired; if anybody thinks that you might be tired; if you are nervous; if you are gay; before you go out; if you are out; if you have just returned home; if you feel like it; if you do not feel like it; if you have had no tea for some time; if you have just had a cup.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“In the last century, when a wicked and unworthy subject annoyed the Sultan of Turkey or the Czar of Russia, he had his head cut of without much ceremony; but when the same happened in England, the monarch declared: ‘We are not amused’; and the whole British nation even now, a century later, is immensely proud of how rude their Queen was.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“There is nothing personal in the fact that they ignore you: they are simply Miltonists. All English shop assistants are Miltonists. A Miltonist firmly believes that ‘they also serve who only stand and wait.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“An average English house combines all the curses of civilisation with the vicissitudes of life in the open. It is all right to have windows, but you must not have double windows because double windows would indeed stop the wind from blowing right into the room, and after all, you must be fair and give the wind a chance. It is all right to have central heating in an English home, except the bath room, because that is the only place where you are naked and wet at the same time, and you must give British germs a fair chance.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“While the Rumanian Radio was serializing (without my permission) How to be an Alien as an anti-British tract, the Central Office of Information rang me up here in London and asked me to allow the book to be translated into Polish for the benefit of those many Polish refugees who were then settling in this country. ‘We want our friends to see us in this light,’ the man said on the telephone. This was hard to bear for my militant and defiant spirit. ‘But it’s not such a favourable light,’ I protested feebly. ‘It’s a very human light and that is the most favourable,’ retorted the official. I was crushed.
A few weeks later my drooping spirit was revived when I heard of a suburban bank manager whose wife had brought this book home to him remarking that she had found it fairly amusing. The gentleman in question sat down in front of his open fire, put his feet up and read the book right through with a continually darkening face. When he had finished, he stood up and said:
‘Downright impertinence.’
And threw the book into the fire.
He was a noble and patriotic spirit and he did me a great deal of good. I wished there had been more like him in England. But I could never find another.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“Zebra crossings have produced a peculiar new type of mentality in an increasing number of people. This has its new correlated freedom: THE RIGHT TO ZEBRA-CROSS. If Freud were still alive he would certainly be able to define this new psychological trait, this zebra-complex. For those afflicted, life is simply a huge zebra-crossing: as soon as they step into the arena they expect all movement to come to a standstill and give way to them. In very bad cases the patient expects people to watch him admiringly and wave to him with friendly smiles.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit
“The first aim of a British film producer should be to teach Hollywood a lesson. Do not be misled, however, by the examples of Henry V or Pygmalion, which tend to prove that excellent films can be made of great plays without changing the out-of-date words of Shakespeare and the un-film-like dialogues of Shaw by ten ‘experts’ who really know better.”
George Mikes, How To Be A Brit


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