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Tigger_MK4

Past Britain ..a foreign country to even the Brits

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Tigger_MK4

Hawkeyes comment got me thinking :

 

Misterhawk wrote:

 

Anyone know the source of this quote:

 

"The British walk the earth as if they owned it.. The Americans walk the earth as if they don't give a DAMN who owns it"

 

Thanks,

 

Hawkeye

It strikes me that this observation is no longer true of the British in 21st century - from my experiences with Corporate Amrecia I'd swap the observation over in fact -

but is almost certainly true during Gaslight/classic era.

 

My PCs play to that attitude, anyway !

 

Which got me wondering - are there any other attitudes of the British Empire that you emphasise in your games ?

Presumably the casual racism/sexism gets a mention occassionally ?

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Mr_Lin
Hawkeyes comment got me thinking :

 

Anyone know the source of this quote:

 

"The British walk the earth as if they owned it.. The Americans walk the earth as if they don't give a DAMN who owns it"

 

Afraid I don't know the source of the quote but I've heard something very similar in the context of former pupils of Eton and Rugby public schools walking down a road. For the life of me I can't remember which one felt like he owned it and which one didn't give a toss. Any ex-public school boys out there able to assist?

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Stormcrow

For the game I run in England I include quite a bit.

 

 

The thing is I run it in the 30's which saw an upswing in fascism with the British Union of Faschists.

 

I do tend to stress the cap in hand to a better person while sneering about the toffs. The rascism is anything but casual and England is coming to terms with the results of suffrage and more freedoms for women. In fact to any new player I point out that their 21st century sensibilities may be offended particularly if they are going to play any of the typical targets. For instance no coloured employees hardly at all especially in Uni's as it was a "medically proven" fact that the negroid brain (read any encyclopedia of the time) could not do higher levels of mental stress. With that hanging over your head you would be lucky to be a navvy and thats if the other navvies didn't shovel you over the head for stealing good honest mens jobs!

 

Then you have the rise of British Socialism among the working classes. This affects my campaign a lot being set in Sheffield what with the Steel and Coal industries.

 

 

Sheffield is a little more provincial at the time so all this is stressed further particularly the class divide and the diversity in this particular area juxtapositioned with the isolationist back country nature of the Peak district makes it all work nicely.

 

I love the whole turmoil though as it ats a distinct patina to the game if you can get the players who can role play it!

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malcojones

 

an upswing in fascism with the British Union of Fascists.

 

The rascism is anything but casual

 

no coloured employees hardly at all especially in Uni's as it was a "medically proven" fact that the negroid brain (read any encyclopedia of the time) could not do higher levels of mental stress. With that hanging over your head you would be lucky to be a navvy and thats if the other navvies didn't shovel you over the head for stealing good honest mens jobs!

 

You've certainly picked an interesting setting but I think there are other ways to read the 1930s, especially in terms of race relations.

 

Numbers of non-white British persons in the UK was very small in the 1930s. The BUF tended to target the Jewish community as their German model had done. There were certainly the perverse biological theories around in the 1930s that you mention and similar opinions were often used to justify colonial activities.

 

However, where there were persons of colour they tended to be accepted freely in a way that only dramatically changed with large scale immigration from the Carribean in the 1950s (this is when 'taking our jobs' comes in). In the 20s and 30s there were examples of black and asian lawyers and doctors (of colonial origin) training at universities and living in Britain.

 

I'm not saying that there wasn't racism that was deeply embedded in attitudes; I am saying that, compared to the US, there wasn't a rigidly enforced racial heirarchy. During the war the British population sided with black American troops against white soldiers attempting to impose 'Southern' rules on them in the UK. In the 1930s Paul Robeson was appearing in British films (in horribly restricted roles mostly).

 

Overall, I'm suggesting that reactions and racism in the 1930s would be much more varied than you're suggesting. Best, malcojones

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Stormcrow

True true.

 

I know we were never as extreme as the American Hierarchical system and the Jewish problem was one of Moseleys chief loves of rhetoric. However in the British working classes any people of colour were targets during the depression period of the early 30's. "Bloody Foreigners" were far more acceptable to people of education as they were paying to be educated. However they were still a minority at the time as you have pointed out.

 

The depression did cause quite a bit of tension. But as you say the time is very interesting. Just coming out of a golden age and accepting the realities of a lowered economic standing. Mind you down mines colour was never an issue. Everyone was the same colour!

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HJ

It's interesting watching "Life on Mars" and seeing the change in attitudes in even such a short stretch of time 1973 to 2006.

 

When you're living with it you don't notice it so much and to a certain extent you do forget what it was like even when you've lived through it.

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Mr_Lin
It's interesting watching "Life on Mars" and seeing the change in attitudes in even such a short stretch of time 1973 to 2006.

 

When you're living with it you don't notice it so much and to a certain extent you do forget what it was like even when you've lived through it.

 

I'm enjoying Life on Mars, apart from last night's episode which was crap - nice shootout in the mill though. Nonetheless I do think it walks an unsteady line between a warts and all portryal of the 70's and the kind of sanitised, isn't-this-ironic view you get on rubbish like those "I love..." programmes. Too much music on the soundtrack for starters. Also I rather suspect that in the real 70's the black pub landlord wouldn't have been on such good terms with the local law.

 

True what you say about not noticing the changes. Whenever I visit my brother I always like to watch a few episodes of Minder on rich man's telly and some of that seems quite strange now when it didn't at the time. There was one episode with Paul Barber (Denzil from Only Fools and Horses) as a John Conteh style boxer and some of the things that got said to him during a chat show appearance sounded incredibly crass in these more enlightened (?) days. (Sky try to cut it out but their editing is so ham fisted it's easy to figure out what's being said).

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Simstim

Interesting topic. I tend to play up the class element in my 1920s games, a lot of deference and bossing people about, but also with the spectre of Bolshevism in the background. Certainly the period was racist/sexist, however, unlike, say, the Victorian period, there was a definite space for more enlightened attitudes to exist so that the players' natural tendencies to be less sexist/racist than the NPCs is not as ludicrous as it have been 50 years later.

 

Regarding the Empire, the 20s is an interesting period: the British Empire was at its greatest ever extent but the self-confidence of the High Victorian era was slipping, due to the Great War, the triumph of the US as a global economic superpower, and the increasingly militant demands of the "natives". There's a definite sense creeping in of needing to "hold the line" rather than the expansionism of earlier decades. In retrospect, the 20s and the 30s are probably the period when if the Brits had bitten the bullet on reform (particularly as regards India), the transition to the Commonwealth would have been a lot smoother in the post-WWII years.

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Tigger_MK4

I must admit the class element is far more prevalent in my games than the racist /sexist /etc element.

 

I did introduce certain elements involving racist NPCs into the Masks game I ran ; It wasnt that successful to be honest - my players were very uncomfortable to have to deal with such an issue in a game, so i've diluted it quite a bit since. In fact, for BtMoM I've more or less ignored it.

 

I've had a far broader life experience than my players so i find it a little frustrating that some of the dramatic possiblities aren't really achievable with my current group.

 

I'm not belittling the awfulness of the reality of Isms, of course , but I'd like to occasionally address them in a "realistic" game .

 

( Despite being straight white male, I have been subjected to some pretty bad racism , a couple of years ago when I was in Ireland.

 

As a consequence, I finally got clued in to how bad/demeaning it can be. I'm very glad I dont have to deal with it everyday like many people...for those of you out there who do have my sincere sympathies...

 

Also i lived in Brighton for a while, so got to see alot of alternative-lifestyles amoungst my friends.)

 

However, I do find it interesting that in some games that people have successfully addressed those sort of things ...

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The_Usernameless_Horror

When I first started CoC I played in the classic era, classic US setting; but my knowledge of the era was slight and I found it impossible to do the inherent racism and sexism in the society with any kind of realism without acute embarassment. Now I play exclusively modern era.

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Sinister-Ornament

The good thing about running a game set in the past is that you can adjust the levels of race/sex/class conflict.

 

It's no point running a accurate game, if female players feel restricted (for example) about what they can or cannot do. And if you don't feel comfortable about your knowledge in a certain area then ignore it and tell your players why.

 

Talking of feeling restricted...

 

Personally I feel that free speech and political debate were held in far far far, higher regard in the past.

 

And I think that some of the values we hold dear at the moment will be mocked in the future.

 

 

This thread reminds me of that L.P. Hartley quote 'The Past is a different country they do things differently there.'

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Mr_Lin

 

( Despite being straight white male, I have been subjected to some pretty bad racism , a couple of years ago when I was in Ireland.

Just out of interest, where was this? I've been refused service a few times in Irish pubs on account of being English (albeit partially of Irish descent). This was exclusively in Cork. I guess it might have something to do with it being a rebel town. This probably isn't the place to discuss Anglo-Irish history though...

 

Also if you were working in Ireland I'd expect you to encounter some "attitude". They look after their own over there, and prefer to give jobs to Irish people. At least they used to. I'm told it's changed a bit now.

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Mike_N

Nowadays racism in Ireland appears to be directed towards Asian,African & East-European immigrants despite the fact that these groups amount to a minority of the non-EU immigrants or the fact that they're filling the very lowest-paid jobs in society.

 

Racism towards English people does exist but by and large it's confined to a small minority of fools obsessed with the past. The average Irish person has far more in common with an English citizen than other nationalities.

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Tigger_MK4

 

( Despite being straight white male, I have been subjected to some pretty bad racism , a couple of years ago when I was in Ireland.

Just out of interest, where was this? I've been refused service a few times in Irish pubs on account of being English (albeit partially of Irish descent). This was exclusively in Cork. I guess it might have something to do with it being a rebel town. This probably isn't the place to discuss Anglo-Irish history though...

 

Also if you were working in Ireland I'd expect you to encounter some "attitude". They look after their own over there, and prefer to give jobs to Irish people. At least they used to. I'm told it's changed a bit now.

 

I was in Dublin in 2004.

 

I *think* it was the 80th anniversary of one of the uprisings that month...so no doubt nationalism was running high that week.

 

I was with an Irish-american colleague...the difference in our treatment was extremely noticable.

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Simstim

My impression is that anti-Irish sentiment in mainland Britain has declined as well, but this is partly because the "enemy within" bogeyman has been updated to being Middle Eastern/Muslim (which of course are not necessarily the same thing at all, but moral panics generally don't worry about accuracy). Going back to the 20s, the whole Irish Question is an interesting bit of flavour, I can only think of one scenario (a old London-set zombie one in White Dwarf, by Marcus L. Roland I think) that makes use of it.

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Tigger_MK4
My impression is that anti-Irish sentiment in mainland Britain has declined as well, but this is partly because the "enemy within" bogeyman has been updated to being Middle Eastern/Muslim (which of course are not necessarily the same thing at all, but moral panics generally don't worry about accuracy). Going back to the 20s, the whole Irish Question is an interesting bit of flavour, I can only think of one scenario (a old London-set zombie one in White Dwarf, by Marcus L. Roland I think) that makes use of it.

 

I just put it down to the average human being (of whatever nationality ) to be closed minded, ignorant, stupid, and foolish...

 

I'm in the "Bring on the end times, mankind never did make much of his time in charge" camp :-)

 

1920/irish nationalism...certainly a potentially rich vein of drama, but

Given that there are still strong feelings today as regards Northern Irelands status, I'm not surprised its generally left alone. Lets be honest, the situation of the IRA could be a thread all in itself, and could be pretty contentious...and thats without going into any of the other issues.

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ThothAmon
1920/irish nationalism...certainly a potentially rich vein of drama, but Given that there are still strong feelings today as regards Northern Irelands status, I'm not surprised its generally left alone. Lets be honest, the situation of the IRA could be a thread all in itself, and could be pretty contentious...and thats without going into any of the other issues.

 

You are missing out on much roleplaying goodness if you neglect the Irish Connection. I've run scenarios in 1920's Ireland for my lot (one of whom lost his father in the original Troubles) and there is a lot you can do with the bog-trotting Celts. Neglect not the Celtic Mythos ;)

 

Fact is there was plenty of regional 'racism' going on in 1920's Britain, never mind the racism / prejudices experienced by immigrants. Our scenarios in 1920's Scotland were by turns hilarious and sobering due to the incipient anti-English attitudes of the times. Coupled with the working class socialism vs upper class politics we had a right old chuckle.

 

Tip: Ithaqua and the Lloigor do not respect class boundaries :twisted:

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GreveMagnus
Nowadays racism in Ireland appears to be directed towards Asian, African & East-European immigrants despite the fact that these groups amount to a minority of the non-EU immigrants or the fact that they're filling the very lowest-paid jobs in society.

 

The same as pretty much everywhere else in the EU then. :roll:

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Stormcrow
[Coupled with the working class socialism vs upper class politics we had a right old chuckle.

 

:

 

This saturday in my Cthulhu live we had an english player Captain bertie wilson and upper middle/lower upper class Occult librarian Kas O'Reilly walk into the Barleycorn Inn in Sheffield a Steel workers pub that was a fun mix of classist shenanigans especially when Kas asked for a sherry!!

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Tigger_MK4
1920/irish nationalism...certainly a potentially rich vein of drama, but Given that there are still strong feelings today as regards Northern Irelands status, I'm not surprised its generally left alone. Lets be honest, the situation of the IRA could be a thread all in itself, and could be pretty contentious...and thats without going into any of the other issues.

 

You are missing out on much roleplaying goodness if you neglect the Irish Connection. I've run scenarios in 1920's Ireland for my lot (one of whom lost his father in the original Troubles) and there is a lot you can do with the bog-trotting Celts. Neglect not the Celtic Mythos ;)

 

 

I agree in principle.

:D

However, I have one or two members of my group with strong political opinions. I therefore have to be careful to make sure we dont get a subject that will derail the game into a political debate...

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Simstim

Strong political opinions are fine, so long as they're the same political opinions...

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theshoveller

This should be the best opportunity to point out that I've just joined Stormcrow's game as a working-class, communist, reporter.

 

And hilarity ensues...

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Stormcrow
This should be the best opportunity to point out that I've just joined Stormcrow's game as a working-class, communist, reporter.

 

And hilarity ensues...

 

and it will ensue I can guaran-damn-tee it! It starts when you have to deny you're a reporter in your first game and make nice with the capitalist floosy. Oh hold on you've done that haven't you! hehehe stay tuned for the next installment. Next episode the fit hits the shan in derbyshire!

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David_Hallett

Popular fiction of the age can give you a good insight into people's suppositions. Try reading Sapper's Bulldog Drummond stories, or something by Dornford Yates ("Blind Corner" is a good one) to get an idea of upper-crusty Britain in the 20s. You'll soon notice the casual anti-Semitism of the day, for one thing. And Communists/Socialists are generally regarded as being in need of a good horse-whipping, to teach them some manners...

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Simstim

Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu stories are also hilariously bad in their racism: without an exception, anyone, anyone, who is foreign turns out to be a bad 'un. Anyone from Asia is automatically evil, anyone from closer to home is revealed to be a traitor. The notion that the West was under the threat of a Yellow Peril at that time is also laughable, it was probably the weakest point in China's entire history outside of the Mongol invasion.

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