Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
by Tony Thorne
The Times (9 August 2009)

“Language is more subtle and complex than we think. Jolly Wicked, Actually author Tony Thorne shows how speech reveals national character… As the Daily Mirror had it in 2003: “Intellectual, thought-provoking, ground-breaking, incisive, courageously different, fascinating… actually, Richard Curtis’s much talked-about movie is none of these things.” They were reviewing the film Love Actually, which trades on the notions of repressed or muted feelings, a reluctance to emote honestly, a supposedly charming reticence. Hesitancy and tentativeness, real or feigned, is an English characteristic, and is recognised as such by foreigners, but it’s indicative not of an English manner but of a middle and upper-class English manner, of the mannerisms of Oxbridge and the home counties. The adverb actually has transited from a meaningful term — “truly”, “currently” — to what is more usually an empty qualification or hesitation.”


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