Sunday 5 October 2008

When the English Rose became the Common Ragwort

Before anyone writes to correct me, I do know that Deborah Kerr was born in Helensburgh, and is therefore actually Scottish, however, over almost two decades, from the late 1940's until the early 1960's, for much of the world she was one of a select group of women who represented the ideal of cool English beauty.

More than most, Kerr personified what was popularly referred to as an English Rose. Many of her contemporaries, such as the violet eyed Elizabeth Taylor, or the sultry Joan Collins, although born in Britain, seem firmly located in the mid-Atlantic, whilst the likes of the lovely Audrey Hepburn, actually born in Belgium, exuded a European chic which would break its kitten heel on a Yorkshire moor, yet even they aspired repeatedly to play English Roses. At that time an English Rose was what most British girls, and many woman across the world wanted to be.

Englishness such as that portrayed by Kerr had a currency, and her predecessors, like Phyllis Calvert or the exquisite Margaret Lockwood, who were great stars in Britain despite making less impact in Hollywood, were quintessentially and passionately English whilst those who did make it big in Hollywood, such as Greer Garson and Anna Neagle occasionally seemed to overplay their Englishness to the point of caricature.

Another great British movie star, the troubled Vivien Leigh, the first Lady Olivier, who's heyday preceded Deborah Kerr's by about a decade is now primarily remembered as the feisty Southern Belle, of Irish Origin, Scarlett O'Hara, in “Gone With the Wind” or as the tragic Blanche DuBois, a role, perhaps too close for comfort, in "A Streetcar named Desire". However, at the zenith of her fame, and to her bedazzled fans at the time, she was nothing less than an iconic English Rose.

As a Scott, Deborah Kerr was perhaps playing a role when she donned the mantle of Englishness, but, actors play roles which suit the culture of their age and as a true Brit, she seems to have instinctively known what the role required. A grace and refinement, which transcended class, a reserved sensuality that is is never slatternly and most vitally, a sense of honour, kindness and decency which radiated from any rose worthy of the name. Although Kerr personally had physical beauty in abundance, great beauty is not an essential requirement of an English Rose, rather the English Rose had an inner beauty, which has a far longer lifespan than transitory physical beauty and travels into old age with those English women who possess it.

Kerr carried that grace and refinement into all her celluloid roles, even managing to play Karen Holmes in the famous beach scene in From Here to Eternity with a dignity which never came close to the down and dirty blatantness favoured by the Susanna Yorks Glenda Jacksons and Charlotte Ramplings who were to follow her.
Indeed, those who have seen the film will remember that it was Burt Lancaster's body which was primarily on display amongst the surf and not Kerr's.

Of a different, but equally famous role. I have occasionally heard people wrongly describe Deborah Kerr's great venture into musicals, lip-synching to Marni Nixon's voice in Rogers and Hammerstein's The King and I, as an early venture into interracial romance. However, even a cursory analysis of themes of the movie reveals the error of such an assessment, whilst demonstrating a respect for other cultures, the story clearly exposes the chasm which exists between races, and with the King's death demonstrates how damaging and indeed fatal, attempts to impose one culture upon another will inevitably be.

Kerr was a class act, and for almost two decades, she embodied how much of the world viewed English women, depite attempts by Diana Dors or Yvonne Mitchell to present an alternative image.

However, it is not my aim to celebrate the career of Deborah Kerr, who sadly died last year, but to question why an ideal she represented and which had existed for centuries, up to a generation ago, has now almost completely vanished, to be replaced by something which is it's complete antithesis. Why is it that, when our mother's generation aspired to become an English Rose our daughters seem to favour the common ragwort.

The female celebrities of our age are the likes of the slatternly Cheryl Cole, the tattooed and substance dependant Amy Winehouse and the largely bionic Katie Price, women whom a generation earlier would have been lucky to appear in the red lighted windows of Amsterdam or the Reeperbahn, if in Europe at all, rather than the front pages of children's magazines.

Today, little girls play with dolls called Bratz, which appear to represent mixed race, botox enhanced, re-pubescent sluts in minuscule, buttocks exposing, skirts, and nobody views that as unhealthy. From an early age, the next generation of women are being taught to admire females who are one step up from being backstreet hookers, some less than a step, and informed that the ultimate female ambition is to be a pelmet skirted executive at work, and a slapped up gangsta's Ho at home.

I used to think that the type of girl who fell for the “spread your legs and show your power” school of feminism were victims of cynical male voyeurs, but I now suspect that the aims behind it are more sinister than that, can it be that those who seek our downfall believe that by turning the sort of people who our parents would have viewed as the lowest of the low in to social icons, they can undermine the values which built our society.

Furthermore, by enticing young white women to behave as whores they will inevitably become more receptive to the sort of, frequently non white, men who will treat them as such. Is this really what those who campaigned for women's rights fought for?

As far as the women's movement is concerned many believe the rot set in during the late 60's, when those who aspired to parity with men were replaced by radical lesbians or fanatics who viewed all sex between men and women as acts of rape and scorned contemporary attitudes to femininity as subjugation. However, I doubt that even the most man hating of bull dykes ever thought they would see a day when women believe they can gain respect by exposing their bare bottoms.

It is as if feminism lost its way, fell asleep and woke up in a Bangkok cathouse.

What seems to be a desire to be demeaned extends well beyond young girls, visit the city any day and you will see women, old enough to know better, travelling to work in suits which are too short and too small to qualify as smart, and who no doubt wonder why there is still a glass ceiling.

In politics, similarly embarrassing spectacles can be seen, does our Home Secretary, Jackie Smith really believe she can be taken seriously, reading some statement on terrorism or social upheaval, when her exposed cleavage fills most of a wide angle TV screen, or do ambitious ministers like Caroline Flint really expect to be viewed as anything other than a token women when she wears skirts split to areas best left to the contemplation of one's gynaecologist?

I am certainly not suggesting that western women embrace the burkah, but how can society, let alone male society, respect women who do not respect themselves. The English Rose of yesterday had self respect, yet one has to wonder if today's common ragwort, dressed in what amounts to little more than two band aids and a pocket handkerchief, even understands the concept.

This is a subject I have touched on before, the propaganda aimed at young women is so relentless one has to wonder if there is a deliberate aim to it. Does a nation fall when its women become whores? If that the game plan? For that certainly seems to be what is happening.

The male role model is also changing, but not to the same degree as the female, for every Ashley Cole or Pete Doherty, our celebrity culture still embraces a few remaining chiselled jawed men who would not took out of place in the company of Cary Grant and David Niven. But where are the Ann Todds, the Margaret Lockwoods the Joan Greenwoods or indeed the Deborah Kerrs? How often does one see a female celebrity under 50 who could be fairly called a lady?. There may be some but there are not many left and they do not appear in the magazines our children read or the TV shows they watch.

In an age when the queen's own granddaughter (allegedly) cavorts in the nude and ogles black men we must sadly accept that the the English Rose has become an endangered species whilst the common ragwort thrives in plague like proportions.

NB: This post should in no way be seen as a comment on the excellent English Rose blog which remains highly recommended


Editor said...

quite, quite brilliant

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Thank you Mr C, you are very kind


Robert said...

Lovely essay.

Harry J said...

Have you seen the absolutely delightful Gemma Arteton who plays the lead role in the BBC's recent adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbevilles? An English Rose if ever there was one.

alanorei said...

"the slatternly Cheryl Cole"

About sums it up, I think. She and Ashley deserve each other - though I guess it won't be long before he steps out on her again.

The cheapening of young white women in this and all English-speaking countries is typified by the tabloid pronorgraphy established by Rupert (Reptile - Genesis 3:1, occurring on page 3 of any bible, which is significant) Murdoch and, regrettably, sustained largely no doubt by the English-speaking, white male reader and viewership.

English roses were, unfortunately, also downgraded by the iconic status of the late Diana Princess of Wales, a deluded New Ager who hung out with sodomites (Elton John) and Muslims (the Al-Fayeds).

And by the foul mouths and dissolute behaviour of contemporary English actresses playing even 'educated' female roles, e.g. Emilia Fox in Silent Witness.

English roses will only regain their former esteem when Englishmen as a whole deem it an honour for them so to do.

That said, the YBNP is cause for some encouragement in this respect.

alanorei said...

I genuinely regret having to be the bearer of not-so-good news but Gemma Arteton's role in the Bond film Quantum of Silence tends if anything to reinforce Sarah's article.

(I have always tended to regard Bond as an amoral cad and subversive of English honour. His on-going popularity spanning 5 decades also reinforces Sarah's article, sadly. I would love to see Bond given a sound and well-deserved thrashing by Walker, Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris), who is a genuine on-screen gentleman, as Norris is off-screen (read Norris's book Black Belt Patriotism for demonstrable proof). But it will never happen, sadly.)

Anonymous said...

"This is a subject I have touched on before, the propaganda aimed at young women is so relentless one has to wonder if there is a deliberate aim to it. Does a nation fall when its' women become whores? Is that the game plan? For that certainly seems to be what is happening."

It is often said in politics, nothing happens by accident. Everything is planned well ahead in time, not in months but in years.

HERE is a brief summary as to what was revealed to Hollywood director Aaron Russo by his one-time acquaintance Nick Rockefeller.

Anonymous said...

Following on from ‘Anonymous’ regarding a possible “game plan” or conspiracy; here is a link to a 10-minute excerpt from Alex Jones’ interview with Aaron Russo on YouTube - where Aaron makes his allegations regarding the Rockefellers involvement supporting feminism, and their motivations for doing so (women’s ‘liberation’ enters the conversation at around the 9-minute mark):

I think women were once the backbone of our society. Feminism has been criminal in setting women against men. Corrupting such a fundamental relationship has perniciously destroyed our bedrock – the family.

Of course, multiculturalism is also bullshit. Let’s not get too carried away with race though. I’m uncomfortable with how easily genuinely ugly racism can be incited. Such a battle - like the battle of the sexes – could well just be a ‘red herring’.

The rich are getting richer, and - as has always been the case - it seems their thirst for power is never really quenched. Plutocrats (an ‘elite’) will want to consolidate their position - and conceivably will conspire together in order to do it.

For the ‘elite’ to maintain their position, the general population must be kept weak and ineffective. What better way to keep us weak, than to set factions of us against each other in conflict. Profit could even be made from the conflict itself. I am talking about the deliberate act of fragmenting our society – a case of ‘divide and rule’. A fragmented, individualistic, and selfish society - is one which is weaker, and more pliant. It can be more easily manipulated – and yielding to their will.

I was directed here from a MRA site ( I have become disillusioned by our dysfunctional society, as have you I guess. We could well be coming at the same thing from different angles. For me; it was primarily feminism, and the fragmentation that causes which got me down. For you; it seems to be multiculturalism.

There is interesting material on that MRA site; more along the lines of that Aaron Russo interview. I warn you though; investigation could cause severe mindfucking! I have only just been introduced to it, but since I have; I find I can’t quite see things again in the same light. Take a look at the video library here: The male bias may be unpalatable, but the same ideas can be found all over when you look; e.g. Some may take it a bit far though, as I see you have already noticed (!

P.S. I’ve been despairing of modern British women. You give me hope; the English rose may not yet be totally extinct! Thanks. :-)

I’ve waffled on a bit. Sorry about that. I hope you think it has some relevance, and I haven’t gone off on too much of a tangent for you. Cheers.

Nota reargunner said...

Why castigate Jakee Spliff. The only decent thing about her are her two tits - Gordon Broon and the Prince of Darkness. A woman would never know which way to turn!
Twenty seconds watching Jer rem mee Vyle tells you all you need to know about the modern English rose. Each new rose should stand in front of a mirror and repeat, do I deserve the criticism? Absolutely.

Nota reargunner said...

Levity aside, when I was in Namibia, not as a weekend tourist but a worker in reasonably high employment, one of the interesting conversations I had with one of the indigenous leaders,was the advice given to all African students studying in the UK. They were advised to get an English girlfriend, get her pregnant and get a British passport. This dilution of the British passport came into being to the amazement of myself when I returned home, to find so many Umfazi's with picannini's on the pap. What horrified me more was the number of English roses who had multiple piccs with multiple fathers, all of them of African decent, whose only contribution to the Nation was to breed and produce British kleurings.

Curry&Bacon said...

what do you think of tandi newton the half black actress who is married to a white brit?

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

I'd say Tandi Newton shows a little better taste than some, and statistically she is certainly less likely to become battered, raped or indeed murdered and considerably less likely to be abandoned with children to raise on her own, than tends to be the case when the races are reversed.

The relationship is less likely to be celebrated by the press, who seem to have issues with the black woman / white male combo, probably to do with penetration and their very old fashioned and sexist attitudes to the power balance.

The black community also tend to frown on black women who cross the race divide, and many of the same issues apply in relation to cultural differences and the inevitable difficulties which such relationships place on children.

alanorei said...

From what I can tell, the liberties that non-white males seem to assume as of right never apply to their womenfolk, however much media propaganda to the contrary is bandied about.

The founder of Islam, with his numerous female consorts, including one young enough to be his granddaughter, is a case in point.