One of the greatest malaises in the post-politically-correct world.

After the era of political correctness (approximately 1988-1995 AD in my social circles), came a massive shift, at least amongst males aged 16-35, towards a phenomenon that was dubbed New Laddism. Towhit, you weren't a real man unless you had an encyclopaedic knowledge of lager, football and birds.

Fuelled by Loaded magazine, Euro '96, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's Fantasy Football League and Oasis, an entire generation of blokes suddenly put down their glasses of dry white wine and sympathetic ears and took up lager-gargling, football hooliganism and misogyny as a national pastime.

Of course, this being England, a return to our basest roots meant that anything intellectual was well off the map - which gave rise to a massive groundswell of inverted snobbery. Oxford graduates suddenly forgot how to conjugate simple verbs. Legal professionals burnt their copies of Orwell and Dickens and replaced them with Nick Hornby and Irvine Welsh overnight. If you mentioned Dostoevsky you better have been referring to the Spartak Moscow full-back who scored twice against Tottenham in the 1984 UEFA Cup fourth round. In short, it became a major social faux pas to even imply that you had any education whatsoever further than a comprehensive grasp of football lore and a keen eye for Page 3 girls.

In these heady days, even in the bastions of education that are the English university system, you were liable to get a good kicking if you did not subscribe to this philosophy. The poorer you were, the thicker you were, the more working-class you were, the more money you were. The fog didn't dissipate until about 1998, by which point Britpop was dead, the England team sucked and women were no longer impressed by your potted account of how it 'kicked off big style' at a Cardiff-Stoke match in 1988.

Inverted snobbery of course covers a much broader spectrum that this...but the Holy Lads Triumvirate of Football, Birds and Fighting still holds true in the UK. A hangover from school days, when the social structure in English schools dictated that the bad lads get all the girls and nice guys finish last, the concept of the working-class kid made good still holds true in the old country. Except that when we did make good, our peers dismissed us as swots and crawlers. Damn.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.