Dear God I despise this

The New Year’s Honours list has been released, and while there are plenty of names on it that are well-known, there are many other recipients that you may have never heard of.
That’s because these people are ordinary Brits who have done extraordinary things – and now they are being recognised for their work.

I know to an extent that this hatred is irrational but it really does get to me, this description of people as “ordinary”.

We see it in Westminster often enough: “ordinary families”. We see it here in the honours lists, “ordinary” people. It’s grossly condescending: there’s this group over here, which we speakers and writers and proper people belong to, then there’s that undifferentiated mass over there of ordinary ones. “Ordinary” people doing extraordinary things: it’s akin to congratulating the traveler on the short bus for having managed to stop eating his crayons.

We’re all Darwin’s special little fucking snowflakes and don’t you bloody forget it you uppity little ass.

23 comments on “Dear God I despise this

  1. Yes, you are being a little irrational here, Tim. ‘Ordinary’ here seems to mean no more than ‘not well known’, and it provides a rhetorical counterpoint to the truly ‘extraordinary’ things that many of these good folk achieve and do.

    Now, what makes me froth is the way the ghastly and utterly incompetent, Lin Homer, has been honoured again — CB in 2008 and now DCB! She is a disaster: everything she touches turns to dust or failure. The only thing this dreadful woman deserves is a disciplinary procedure and her P45.

  2. Up there with hard working families. As if single people surviving on a single income have it easy as they pay for other people’s kids to go to school and doctor’s appointments.

  3. I tend to agree with Theophrastus.
    It seems reasonable to want a term that means ‘not famous’.
    If so, then what word can you use (since ‘infamous’ means something different)?
    I’d support ‘unfamous’ as the least bad choice.

  4. Obscure?

    The problem is that most obscure people probably value their obscurity but are the embarrassed into accepting some official gewgaw.

  5. Normal.
    The commentariat are abnormal.
    It also puts the “better”/”worse” overtones the correct way round.

  6. The extraordinary thing about Lin Homer is that condemnation of her past career came from so many sources, including a Judge. It really is taking the wotsit.

  7. Magnusw, when the English hating Scottish git used the phrase “hard working families” I always mentally added “in the public sector“. It made more sense that way.

  8. mw is right: “hard working families” has largely replaced “ordinary people” in political rhetoric.

    One I don’t like is the notion that my “hard earned cash” should receive protection from tax. i resent paying excessive tax on the money I earned easily too.

  9. My great aunt turned down an OBE for services to the environment. (She’s a decent local environmentalist, not a lefty loony one) Her excuse was she didn’t know what to wear to meet the Queen. Never been so proud of a family member.

  10. My preferred description would be: “Better men and women than the tawdry bunch of time-serving cronies and useless fuckholes which clogs up the rest of the list”
    “Ordinary people” is rather less clumsy though…

  11. Better men and women than the tawdry bunch of time-serving cronies and useless fuckholes which clogs up the rest of the list

    Basically this. If the “honours” system does nothing more than give baubles and titles to retiring bankers, overpaid fake-charity bosses, politicians and civil servants then it should be abolished as being an anachronism.

    The level of incompetence displayed by Lin Homer over numerous roles (not just HMRC) is deserving of dismissal, not honours. Then again she has got boobies, so maybe that is why.

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