Dr John Marenbon

Against the New Normal: The Battle for Britain’s Cultural Identity

by Dr. John Marenbon In general histories, 2020 and 2021 will without doubt be remembered as the years of Covid. But in those histories that aim to discern shifts in thought and attitudes, these two years will stand out for a different reason, as the time when a set of views about discrimination, prejudice, culture and guilt moved from being the preserve of some in the media, politics and the universities to becoming, at least nominally, the accepted way of thought in public life in Britain and the West more generally. It was the moment when white, heterosexual men began to be obliged to feel guilty for being themselves, and when it became no longer thinkable for the BBC to present its series of classical composers of the week, or its Promenade Concerts, without including among them a liberal scattering of women and people of colour. It is these views, as much as the adjustments to daily life in response to the pandemic, that should be called the ‘New Normal’ – a New Normal which, unlike social distancing, threatens to endure for decades. This New Normal has two main, intertwined strands.  The first strand is a view about society, and how different groups within it should be related. A certain section of the population – the usual cases are: women,...

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June 2022
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