Monday, October 15, 2012

low living among the upper-crusty

It's "the highlight of the summer calendar for the well-off and well-connected" as well as "the Queen’s favourite racing event," according to Rebecca Evans, who covered Ascot Race Day for this very literate website in 2011, and was appalled.

"A quick glance across the terraces reveals a sea of flesh and unsightly tattoos – of women in cheap, tawdry dresses and men who have shunned the expected top hat," Evans sniffs, although why the irreverence of male race-goers toward strange, cylindrical headgear is noted in this story above the fact that a large, drunken brawl broke out at Ascot that year mystifies me.

She did cover the fight more than adequately, with lots of fun pictures of rich arseholes and the descendants of aristocrats tolchocking each other. However, our correspondent in Meddy England appears just as concerned with the presence of an infamous woman of easy virtue at the race that day (and obligingly provides a photo and a name), and seems also to have a special dislike of tattoos, especially at "the queen's favourite racing event."

Even though I've never been to England, I've got opinions about all this, of course. And I have been to Europe, so I've probably got a half-assed accurate picture of life in the land of my ancestors.

First of all, with regard to tattoos, even face tattoos, and the failure of many gentlemen to don the favorite headgear of 19th-century capitalists, worrying about preserving tradition when the fabric of society is unraveling in a huge fistfight, that's like worrying about flies when you're being overrun by wolves.

Secondly, I'd be willing to bet dollars against donuts that high-priced whores have been showing up at Ascot for more than 100 years. Today, we know who they are and who they do, because, the internet. It would take solid evidence to convince me that British decadence is shiny brand-new, like nobody knows about it.

In fact, every other thing the reporter is unhappy about pales into insignificance beside the drunken brawl. That's a problem they'll have to solve, and presumably did take steps to prevent a reoccurrence this year. But there's always a danger of big fights erupting where people are drinking to excess, and drinking too much has been part of Ascot, I suspect, a long, long time.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the subtext of this article is England's national drinking problem. From what I've seen, it's worse there than in the US, just not as bad as in Ireland. But then, nobody's that bad, except the Russians.

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