Happily we can still expect similar stoicism today from our armed forces; but the civilian population has turned into a rabble of emotionally incontinent psychobabblers. The Diana debacle was the turning point when, assisted by the media, self-respect was supplanted by self-indulgence.
Hundreds of thousands of hysterics indulged in an orgy of grief over a woman they had not known. When the Queen, as so often throughout her reign, gave an example of dignified restraint and, very appropriately, took her grandsons to church, she was reviled. Manipulating this inversion of British values was the greatest exponent of the quivering lip and onion-in-the-hankie, which-camera-am-I-on pseudo-grief, Anthony Lynton Blair.
I couldn't agree more. Recently I learned that the rabble criticized the Queen for behaving properly when Diana died. All my sympathy was for Her Majesty; wasn't it bad enough that she had had to tolerate having that unstable tramp in her life for all those years?
The column contains some lovely examples of Britishness: "By God, sir, I've lost my leg."
Allow me to cite an example of stiff-upper-lip-ness I got from one of Florence King's books, which she recalls from memory: In 1943, Lou Costello learned that his one-year-old son had drowned. Mere hours later, he went on the air to do his radio show as scheduled. He was as hilarious as always and no one knew what had happened until the papers the next day. The judgment of the papers? "Trooper" was the word that appeared over and over.
Contrast that with the behavior of singer Sade, which I read about in the 80's. In the middle of a concert, she stopped singing and told the audience, "Hold on to your loves, I've lost mine." She then went into her dressing room and cried for two hours before being persuaded to finish the concert. Later she and her boyfriend made up from their tiff.