I MUST introduce you to yet another country with an enviable quality of life.
Women desire male celebrities, epitomised by Cary Grant and Rock Hudson, who are well-groomed, clean-shaven, fit and handsome. The hairy, dishevelled and unhealthy are not considered attractive. Men dream of models and air hostesses with beautiful faces and shapely figures, inspired by Sophia Loren and Vivien Leigh. The coarse or rotund are of less appeal. Each year a Miss World contest is held and provides television entertainment for millions of viewers. Some protestors claim the parade reduces the parade to the level of a cattle auction, but they are in a minority. It is widely recognised that we are born with various blessings. Some of us have a developed intellect, others physical strength, a sunny disposition or sharp business acumen. Some are good at “fixing things”. Others are blessed with good looks, so why should this not be recognised and celebrated?
There is a range of daily newspapers and weekly magazines in full colour. The “quality” papers are content to leave trivia and gossip comments to the “red-tops”.
Filthy “rugby” songs abound but, while some may be blasphemous or offensive to minority groups (the disabled, homosexuals, prostitutes or certain races), they hardly ever target living individuals.
Generally, people are not over-sensitive. We are free to use words such as blackguard and black mark – and indeed blackberry or blackbird! – without any second thoughts about causing offence to people of African origin. Men are actors or conductors, women are actresses or conductresses. Fire-fighters are firemen and pupils are known as either schoolboys or schoolgirls.
Churches are well attended and the country upholds many Christian values. In most areas there is tolerance of alternative beliefs and religious practices.
Most families sit round a table together for meals. They bond over fried eggs for breakfast and home-prepared lunches and suppers. The children’s parents – mother and father – have been together since before the birth of the eldest and are likely to remain so. In a majority of cases the parents know where the children are practically all the time. When there are problems with bullying or unwanted attention, the children are likely to confide in their parents for a solution. If they misbehave at school, a caning may instil discipline. At home either parent can decide whether the offending offspring deserves a slap on the bottom or a “clip round the ear”.
Health and safety issues are sensibly appropriate for a mature society. For example, it is recommended that road workers wear face protection when using pneumatic drills to dig roads. The government may offer such guidelines but greater responsibility is invested in parents, teachers and employers.
Sadly there are no flights to this destination. This is, believe it or not, England in the nineteen-fifties.