March 2, 2024

How England conjures the perfect star world

DrUltimately, he is prime minister, the government is barely able to move, the economy is stagnant, and the inflation rate is at a record level: Great Britain is in the midst of a deep political and economic crisis. once again. This is nothing new. If you take a step back, step back from day-to-day operations and broaden your focus to include the past century, for example, the steep downward curve the kingdom has taken and continues to find itself on becomes clear. From the largest and most powerful empire in world history, it has transformed itself once again into a small island kingdom in the North Sea, a middle power that lives mainly on its history, as much as politics and economics.

But when it came to culture, there was something completely different going on at the same time. While the empire fell slowly but surely, which even Brexit could not reverse, Great Britain maintained, strengthened, if not enhanced, its cultural influence around the world. British artists of all kinds – musicians, actors, writers, film-makers, comedians, painters, magicians' apprentices – are famous all over the world to a degree that German cultural workers can only dream of. This is of course also due to global English. In addition, the British have other advantages, one of which stands out because it mirrors the others: unlike German artists, the British like to praise each other to the heavens with appropriate sarcasm, support each other, and thus enjoy working together to increase value. . It is as if in Adam Smith's homeland, where competition theory was born, a new and more productive form of competition is being practiced—that of mutual honor and admiration for common advantage.


Kate Moss
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Photo: EPA

This British type of cultural cross-fertilization, which ultimately benefits everyone, constitutes a global competitive advantage. No phenomenon illustrates this better than the breeding and nurturing of so-called “national treasures.” Stars who are particularly British and particularly beloved are described as “national treasures” half ironically, half dead seriously. They are welcome to be individualistic and eccentric, preferably a little older, they must have plenty of humor and self-irony, their heart is in the right place and, as a prerequisite, so to speak, they must be distinguished masters of their field. Anyone who meets these criteria and is declared a “national treasure” according to rules that no one knows but everyone understands serves national self-confidence at home – and as a person of value abroad.

America is a stark counterexample

Examples include actress Judi Dench, biologist David Attenborough, musician Paul McCartney, model Kate Moss, and TV chef Jamie Oliver. By joining forces to increase their exposure, the entire country ultimately benefits as it makes the Great Britain brand shine brighter and brighter.

Helena Bonham Carter


Helena Bonham Carter
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Photo: Getty

It's basically clever self-promotion, which raises the question of why other countries don't emulate the Brits and put their own stars in the spotlight in the same way. In America it is clear: the division in the country has grown to such an extent that there is no area of ​​public life left whose champions are not considered intolerable by half the country. Great musicians, writers, athletes and actors almost all belong to one camp and are shunned by the other camp.

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