Whiteness and Everyday Leisure
It’s Monday morning and I am in the shop at my local railway station. It’s 7.30 in the morning but for some reason there are no Guardian newspapers left to buy. I ask for my usual small latte and ask the bloke behind the counter what’s happened to The Guardian. Just sold out of them today, ‘ he shrugs. They never have many at the shop. It’s a small town, the end or the railway line, and there are never that many liberal intelligentsia on the 7.47 out to Leeds — so the shop only has three or four copies of the paper. I ask him if he could put a copy of the paper under the counter for me in future. He agrees but says ‘you do realize the papers are full of rubbish, don’t you?’ I know that! I know even The Guardian, paper of the bourgeois liberal elite, is awfully white and awfully partial, and I despair of its lack of detail on world news, and its obsession with a narrow, metropolitan middle-class Southern elite culture. But I need my daily paper because I’m a crossword addict. Not the quick crossword, the cryptic one. If I don’t get to have a go at the cryptic crossword on the way to work I feel I’m missing something, and I get fractious. I do the crossword because it exercises my brain, and I love the beauty of the solutions (know-all rascal met with disaster [5,4]). But I am aware of two things when I do these crosswords: firstly, I am doing the crossword because I am a professional commuter working in a professional job, and maybe I am just replicating the accepted behaviour of the middle-class white English professional on the way to work; and secondly, to solve the clues it is necessary to have a general knowledge of very specific things in white, Western (English) elite culture — the paper’s cryptic crossword of 10 August 2012, for example, depended on an extensive knowledge of TS Eliot.
KeywordsPopular Culture Shopping Mall White People Transnational Corporation Late Modernity
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