My essay on corporate image building forms part of a new book from The New Culture Form, A Sorry State: Self-denigration in British Culture, edited by Peter Whittle with a foreword by the historian Michael Burleigh. You are welcome to attend the launch event: see below.
Self-loathing permeates our culture to such an extent that we no longer even see it for what it is. For many of us, it has come to be the natural way of looking at the world. We have become used to living in a permanent state of cultural cringe, of apology, of guilt for real or imagined acts; where our opinion formers appear to agree that western culture is an indefensible horror.
The aim of this collection of essays is to illustrate how self-denigration operates in both specific and general areas of contemporary life. So, along with Helen Szamuely’s essay on history teaching in schools, Emma French’s exploration of the effects of cultural self-laceration in higher education and Marc Sidwell’s analysis of the big state as an expression of self-distrust, we have Gulliver Ralston examining the effects of self-hatred on music education, Paul Seaman on corporate image-building, Juliet Samuel on the environmentalist movement and Douglas Murray on how our response to radical Islam is being compromised. Tony Wells describes the minefield of a simple dinner party among the middle-class intelligentsia, Guy Stagg makes an argument for religion as an expression of self-hate, and Richard D. North describes how so-called ‘anti-elitism’ is another facet of the same phenomenon.
We have aimed to be constructive in this collection, to offer up ways out of self-hatred. Leadership is not just about economics, and the sooner our own elected representatives acknowledge that the burning issues of our time are cultural ones, the better. In the words of countless demonstrators over the years, it is time to ‘Stop the Hate’.
Contents of A Sorry State
Table manners by Tony Wells
Over the rainbow: How radical environmentalists thwarted Copenhagen by Juliet Samuel
There’s no such thing as the state by Marc Sidwell
Cultural self-effacement in music education by Gulliver Ralston
How public relations sells western firms short by Paul Seaman
‘Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe’: Cultural self-laceration in British universities by Emma French
Mea maxima culpa: Religion and the sanctity of self-hatred by Guy Stagg
How do self-hatred and self-blame shape our response to radical Islam? by Douglas Murray
History came to a . by Helen Szamuely
The country that hates itself: Why curing anti-elitism can sort things out by Richard D. North
Thursday 25th November 2010 6.30pm-8.30pm
55 Tufton Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AY
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 340 6059