Stiff upper lip 英国人真的很严肃吗？
Vocabulary: emotions 词汇：感情，情绪
Many people in Britain have been moaning about price rises, low interest rates for savings; and it's not unusual to see couples kissing in the streets of London. What's happened to the famous British stiff upper lip?
The image of a nation resolute and stoic in the face of adversity still stands around the world, but it's questioned by the Brits themselves from time to time.
The TV documentary Stiff Upper Lip: An Emotional History of Britain, shown recently by the BBC, has been providing the latest opportunity for reflection. It says the emotional reserve that is part of the national identity is actually a far cry from the exuberant attitude of some 500 years ago.
Foreigners in the 16th century couldn't believe how touchy-feely the English could be. "Wherever you move there is nothing but kisses", wrote the Dutch philosopher Erasmus.
The journalist Ian Hislop, who presents the programme, says his countrymen have the French to thank for their current composure. The British ruling classes got worried when they saw the political passion brought about by the French Revolution.
In the 18th century, it was polite to express some degree of emotion in public. A quiet tear when watching a play was acceptable, as sensitivity was seen as a sign of refinement. But the concept didn't last.
The upper lip stiffened during Queen Victoria's reign when unflappable soldiers and explorers became role models for the nation. The Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, destroyed his beloved violin in his youth as a character-building move.
According to Hislop, in the far-flung corners of the empire, the colonisers cultivated an illusion of superiority by appearing to be aloof and unshakeably self-confident.
Suffering? Discomfort? The Brits make no fuss; and some expressed pride when Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, took part in the boat parade on her Diamond Jubilee earlier this year. The elderly couple endured cold and rain showing that the spirit of the stiff upper lip lives on.
Glossary 词汇表 （点击单词收听发音）
- the ruling class统治阶级
- role model模范榜样
- to make no fuss没有大惊小怪